Town–Gown Collaboration in Land Use and Development
Once considered enclaves of intellectual pursuit, institutions of higher education now play a much broader role in their neighborhoods and cities. The character of communities near expanding educational institutions drives a need for collaboration between public officials and school administrators.
The evolution of universities increases the impact on real estate, land, and economic development in their surrounding community. They have become anchor institutions and key partners in contributing to urban economic and community development.
Universities and colleges impact cities by expanding their student housing, research, and facilities, directly influencing neighborhoods and banking land for future use. Through their ability to produce innovation, attract industry, and revitalize their own neighborhoods, they have a direct impact on employment, spending, and workforce development.
The community works to protect its interest in social equity, quality of life in neighborhoods, sustainable development via its planning process, and preservation of tax revenues. To meet their expanding missions, institutions often have to reach beyond traditional campus boundaries, and establish more collaborative town–gown relationships. This Policy Focus Report describes the economic role of the university, sources of conflict with the community, and positive practices in use by successful city-university partnerships.
About the Author
Yesim Sungu-Eryilmaz was a research associate at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy from 2004 to 2009. Her work focuses on strategies and collaborations that balance economic and community development goals in urban areas, such as community land trusts and the role of universities in planning and development.