How to Behave Like an Anchor Institution (2010)

Fifty years ago, it would have been quite easy to figure out the most powerful employer in a city – a carmaker, perhaps, or a steel mill. Or the corporate headquarters of a giant bank or insurer. Obviously, the intervening decades have meant profound change for cities and their economies. Manufacturing has largely disappeared, and many corporate headquarters fled downtowns for easy-to-access, tax-friendly suburban locales.

Those trends have led city leaders and others to pay greater attention to the institutions that in many places now wield the greatest influence – as employers, as developers, as purchasers of goods and services and as sources of creativity and innovation. These are institutions of higher learning, medical research and the arts: colleges, universities, hospitals and arts organizations.

These have become known as anchor institutions – anchored by place. Quite simply, they will never move and are highly motivated to invest in place. This report, a joint project by CEOs for Cities and Living Cities, is an effort to take a look at what six such institutions have done – to examine how they function as community anchors and developers, as forces for making change and boosting the prospects of not just their campuses, but their neighborhoods.

How to Behave Like an Anchor Institution

How to Behave Like an Anchor Institution

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