Planning Theory & Practice

Defining University Anchor Institution Strategies: Comparing Theory to Practice

Posted on February 12, 2019

Since the 1990s, some urban universities have served as neighborhood anchors with an interest in revitalization. Current theory suggests anchors adopt ‘shared value’ approaches, leveraging resources for mutually beneficial improvement in the community. This study explores assumptions in contemporary anchor frameworks and uses a survey to examine how 22 U.S. universities approach their roles as anchor institutions. The study finds that the universities tend to prioritize place-based initiatives, while contemporary frameworks are more normative and highlight socioeconomic practices. Based on reported strategies, the author proposes an alternate typology that accounts for the ways universities most commonly describe anchor approaches, complementing contemporary theory.

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