Universities as elements of urban/downtown revitalization: the Portland State story and more
The Portland Streetcar passes through the plaza in front of Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs. Image from Rethink College Park.
This article, "Nohad Toulan: The University in the City" from the PSU Institute of Metropolitan Studies magazine, Metroplex, is a particularly good read on the development of Portland State University's College of Urban and Public Affairs, the university's refocusing on an urban agenda, and the development of the college and the university as a connected and integral part of the city's center.
It's amazing to me that we don't have a stellar urban studies academic program at any of the universities based in DC.
2. Arizona State University, which is based in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe, has a growing center city campus. See "ASU law school construction in downtown Phoenix continues" from the Arizona Republic.
3. The University of Arizona has actively supported the development of a streetcar system in Tucson. Brochure
4. Drexel University is increasingly involved in the revitalization of the area around its campus, which is in the vicinity of Amtrak's 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, with whom they are partnering. See "Drexel's new president outlines plan to revitalize neighborhood" from the Philadelphia Inquirer. They have expanded their efforts into nearby lower income neighborhoods, which were recently awarded a "Promise Neighborhood" designation by HUD ("Drexel Plays Key Role in Education Efforts," press release).
The President, John Fry, had previously done similar initiatives when he was at the University of Pennsylvania and Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.
5. Many universities have special transit pass arrangements with local transit systems. University of Utah is one such institution, where on sporting events days, flashing a ticket gets patrons a free ride on the local transit system.
6. I mentioned that Catholic University has moved their college bookstore to the new retail district on Monroe Street NE, from within the campus. This means that they will be sharing their bookstore with the community, which has been without a bookstore for many years.
7. While there are a variety of complaints about funding, etc., I think that the City of Chicago's initiative to move the DePaul University basketball arena to a center city location is an interesting venture also, with the aim of increasing visibility and cross-promotion of Downtown to game attendees.