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Cities urged to leverage colleges as development catalysts

Arizona State University's satellite campus is helping to revitalize downtown Phoenix. (Cronkite School/flickr/cc)

Mayors searching for ways to revitalize downtowns might want to consider teaming with local colleges and universities. Bruce Katz, vice president at the Brookings Institution and a leading urban expert, recommends in Fortune that more cities “leverage” educational assets as catalysts for development.

Katz, also a proponent of innovation districts, suggests that ivory towers not be limited to lush, self-contained campuses. Relocating graduate schools and research centers into the cores of cities offers mutual benefits, he argues.

Satellite collegiate programs help revitalize neighborhoods by attracting businesses and entrepreneurs. Educational institutions benefit by strengthening access to talent, forging relationships and tapping fresh ideas. “We can’t lose sight of the multiplier effects of bringing our most advanced institutions into the heart of cities,” Katz writes.

U. S. universities that have “un-anchored” from traditional campuses include Brown, Cornell, the University of California, Duke and Arizona State.


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