This paper explores both benefits and potential drawbacks deriving from the spatial distribution of student accommodations across Newcastle upon Tyne. The core of the paper focuses on the interconnections, collaboration and exchange between university and city council as a potential “win–win strategy” for managing the spatial distribution of students across the city. On the one hand, both universities and local authorities in Newcastle are aware of how the urban location of student accommodation provides both services and facilities to students and positive implications for other inhabitants (and the local economy) as well. On the other hand, the increasing number of students living in both private and university accommodations can cause a progressive decrease in families living in such neighbourhoods in the long run. The risk is the formation of an “exclusive geography” in some parts of the city centre, in which the colonisation by students may cause the definition of a “distinctive time and space framework” (Chatterton in Geoforum 30:117–133, 1999), not always in line with that of non-student neighbours. Collaborative planning between university and city council is showing potential solutions for generating new urban spaces which in turn produce collective benefits within the city. This paper concludes that student housing planning should be reconceptualised in the light of collaborative schemes between universities and local authorities in order to guarantee community cohesion and quality of life of both established residents and students. The creation of platforms of dialogue between students, local communities and local authorities might contribute towards enhancing mutual understanding while informing local authorities about the needs of both categories of residents.