Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities

131024-Town-GownIn recent months our Fourth Economy team has been hard at work on several town-gown development projects.  It’s time to share a few lessons learned.  First, if you live in a smaller town and are fortunate enough to have an institution of higher education close by, don’t squander the opportunity to build upon this high value asset – embrace it, leverage it, and cultivate it.

While the many positives associated with town-gown partnerships may be obvious to most of us, surprisingly those positives often need to be clearly identified, communicated and tactically acted upon. Continue reading “Small Towns, Great Gowns, Big Opportunities”

The Art of Sophistication: Linking Universities and Towns

In the fourth economy, the world’s universities will anchor far-reaching and interconnected communities that seamlessly blend ideation and commerce. These communities will be simultaneously virtual and place-based. In anticipation of this evolution the most forward looking institutions are working to understand how they can control or influence the economics of the marketplace to create thriving campus edge commercial environments. These environments create a neutral space for the life of the university to engage with the world in the most practical sense of the term.

This is nothing new, to be honest. The monastic system both in Europe and Asia produced this creative mixing immediately beyond the walls of the institution where the laity would be taught and blessed in exchange for tithes or food. In the U.S. only a handful of institutions (Harvard Square, Morningside Heights, and Charlottesville come to mind) created and preserved a truly dynamic physical place where the academy mixes with the populous. However, leadership at a growing number of universities and colleges are coming to believe that creating something in this spirit is critical to the success of the institution, as measured by their ability to attract and retain world-class faculty and students.

Continue reading “The Art of Sophistication: Linking Universities and Towns”