University City is the easternmost part of West Philadelphia, situated directly across the Schuylkill River from Center City.
The University of Pennsylvania has long been the dominant institution in the area and was instrumental in coining the name “University City” as part of a 1950s urban-renewal and gentrification effort. Today, Drexel University and the University of the Sciences also call University City home.
The eastern side of University City is home to the Penn and Drexel campuses, several medical institutions, independent centers of scientific research, 30th Street Station, and the Cira Centre. The western side contains Victorian and early 20th-century housing stock and is primarily residential.
The area is ethnically and economically diverse, although the compositions of its 12 census tracts vary widely; for example, the population in the mid-2000s of the easternmost tract was about half white and one-third Asian, while that of the northwestern most tract was almost entirely black.