Wrapping up the Anchor Institutions Course

For more information on anchor institutions, please visit the Talloires Network website. The course concluded with presentations of student research projects. Topics included an analysis of Business Improvement Districts in Boston and Tokyo, incorporating a new anchor institution in rural Florida, studying anchor districts such as the Boston Medical and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO), African-American grocery stores as anchors, Northeastern University’s Boston Housing Authority scholarship program, and limitations in access to higher education.  Much of this research will become thesis projects in future semesters.

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11/20/12: International Dimensions of Anchor Institutions (Presented by Professor Rob Hollister)

Around the world, an “invisible revolution” is occurring, with the engaged university replacing the ivory tower. Institutions but also professors and students are contributing to this movement both through classwork and research. Global patterns are mirroring the situation in the United States.

The movement is simultaneously achieving 3 results:

1. Engaged university activity in curriculum and research is educating students to be agents of change in such issues as poverty, the environment, and public health.

2. Improving societal conditions: presently there are over 100 million university students worldwide, and this is expected to reach 200 million by 2030. Increasing strategic community work has resulted in huge increases in manpower and expertise.

3. As a result of 1 and 2, public support for higher education has become elevated. This has been particularly important in developing countries with limited public funds and undercapitalized educational systems.

The Talloires Network produced a book, The Engaged University, with case studies of 20 international universities. Overall observations were that a common vision and common strategy transcends major differences in context and institutional type. A fundamental articulated mission/vision/strategy for engaged university work is quite similar across countries, and this is likely due to similar needs in these countries. There are two primary goals of missions around the world: having a positive impact on community conditions, and educating leaders for change. The mix and balance of institutions varies. A major element is extensive investment in community partnerships. Lots of effort is put into organization and maintenance of these partnerships. When talking about the future, engaged universities plan on more engagement. Future plans generally include more collaboration, more interaction and joint effort both with other universities and across sectors. They also plan on more activity in concert with NGOs and government agencies.

Factors driving what happens in individual countries and institutions include institutional leadership and skill at bridging relationship with other sectors, financial constraints–which may lead to limitations but also to creative solutions, and government policies re. student engagement. Often, less prestigious universities are less constrained by tradition so are more likely to innovate. External demands by the community as well as student expectations and student-led community initiatives are increasing community service efforts.

The Talloires Network was created to support this trend of engagement but also to highlight other universities’ efforts. Although the Talloires Network seeks to provide some motivation, universities’ motivation to become engaged is often due to what is happening in their communities. Therefore, the Talloires Network also acts as a data source for university engagement.

The Talloires Network is an international coalition with a secretariat located at Tufts University and guided by an international steering committee. Its founding conference in Talloires, France was attended by 29 university heads in 23 countries; today there are 250 university members in 62 countries–representing a total of 6 million students. To join, the head of the institution must make a formal commitment to the original Talloires Declaration. The Network is now looking to advance the trend of loose global networks with regional networks in Asia, Australia, Latin America, Ireland, South Africa, and the Middle East.

Summit on University Social Responsibility was held in November 2012 at Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute. The university, with 35,000 students, just instituted a new degree requirement for students to take a community service learning course. The Summit was co-hosted by several universities. At present, there are only 4 Chinese members of the Talloires Network, and all are in Hong Kong. As China’s government begins to express more of an interest in university civic involvement, and more connections are created, it is likely that more Chinese universities will join. The network reflected strong student initiatives and a palpable sense of energy toward positive social change, coupled with a strong entrepreneurial vision.

Rankings of colleges and universities  focus only on scholarship, not on service. This may be a disincentive for some universities. Participation by highly-ranked, highly-publicized universities may help to change this. University participation is also complicated because a university is not monolithic. Community service participation often consists of work being done by individuals on different levels.

In the United States, exemplar members include Arizona State, which sought to develop ways to contribute local and state priorities re. public education, and also to chart a global presence and leadership in research. Syracuse University has shifted its focus, repositioning itself relative to its community and making institutional changes to improve its contributions to the community. It has also incorporated scholarly products, being inclusive of evaluating faculty work that goes beyond peer-reviewed publication. Its strong reputation may help Syracuse have a major impact on the movement.

Internationally, Catholic University in Santiago, Chile has created partnerships with ten poorer municipalities in its metropolitan area, with formal arrangements created for university students to plan projects that meet local policy and planning needs. This initiative has been funded by the government.

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11/6/12: Interview Methods and a Case Study of De-Industrialized Cities (presented by Lorlene Hoyt)

Interview methods
To record or not to record? Expect 6-8 hours of transcription for every hour of interviews. Other considerations: personal comfort, use for research. Tufts Library has equipment to rent.

Choosing and recruiting respondents
Avoid cold calls as much as possible. Mutual connections are very helpful. Rely on friends, teachers, etc. Think about the total population at your disposal. Try different methods of reaching people. Be flexible about where and when to meet—people may be much more willing to talk if the interviewer will go to them, during hours (before or after work, at lunchtime) that may not be conventional.
Ask friendly interviewees to recommend other people to interview, or to provide connections.

Send interviewees the questions at least 24 hours in advance, letting them know you may add/subtract questions. Let them know who will see the results. Let them know whether you will be recording.

Be highly prepared! Bring extra batteries for recorder and make sure all equipment is working. Be early. Practice with friends and family. Face-to-face interviews are ideal, but phone interviews can work too. Skype is one step better than telephone.

Incentives for people to participate: many people see interviews as an opportunity to reflect on experience. Offer to share the product with them. If there’s sensitive data, offer to share draft. Get any quotes approved before paper goes to print. Leave the door open for contacting them for clarification or for a future interview.

Location is very important. Make sure interviewees are comfortable and in place where they feel they can speak freely. If meeting in public place choose somewhere not highly distracting.

Begin with easy questions to get dialogue going, before getting into more detailed questions. This method can also help the interviewer to get used to the speed at which the interviewee may talk, accents, etc. May need to reel people in if they go off on tangents, prompt them if they give short answers. Try to get people down from jargon level and move beyond lofty sound bites, make sure they go down a level. Make sure they tell when, where, who, how events happened. Make sure to dig deeper. Being good at this comes from a genuine interest in topic. Look for high points and low points in the story. Try to dig into scenes—what does a conflict/success/celebration look like? Have good transitional phrases in your pocket to move on from awkward questions. Repeat what the interviwee says.
Focus on “how” rather than “why”: how do you do this without losing interview’s richness? Often, “why” is contained in the literature/personal synthesis rather than interviewee’s opinion. “How” is often easier than “why,” and it’s not found in a book.

Send a thank-you after interview.

Analyzing data and writing about it
Look for evidence—rich quotes with some level of detail. Do you see any patterns among them? If three or more people say the same thing, it’s a pattern. Self-reinforcing comments coming from a group can indicate a theme. Spend lots of time with data. Where are the best lines? Rather than clogging writing with many direct quotes, it can be much more effective to use just a few powerful ones.

Lorlene’s presentation (created with Andre Leroux): Voices from Forgotten Cities: Innovative Revitalization Coalitions in America’s Small Older Cities

“Forgotten cities” are smaller industrial cities in the U.S. that were once industrial drivers of the economy and are now largely ignored. (Examples: Camden, NJ; Flint, MI; Lawrence, MA)
-not global destinations
-rarely subject of research
-left behind by residents
-abandoned by industry
-old: industrial history, pop of 5,000 by 1880
-small: 15,000-150,000 in 1990
-poor: low median incomes

Study consisted of visits and personal interviews in Lawrence, MA, Reading, Pa, and Youngstown OH. Face-to-face, semi-structured personal interviews with citizens with stakes in community revitalization as well as mayors, county commissioners, and city counselors.

The arc of the report was that these cities went through four stages:
Dominance=infrastructure, industry, in-migrations, institutions, and identity.
Decline=shock, slippage, self-destruction, stigmatization, shame.
New reality=low civic/gov capacity and collective mindset.
Revitalization=rooted institutions and innovative revitalization coalitions.

Beth Siegel: these cities used to be bustling, involved. They represented the typical “hometown America of the 1950s.”

Events of collapse leave deep psychological scars— often, they literally happened overnight with closing of plants. Public service deliveries slipped when demand was the highest. Corruption and nepotism became rampant. Increasing distrust among institutions, residents, neighbors. Self-destruction: weakened state of governance yields bending of the rules. Arson becomes rampant. Mainstream media begins to pick up on stories, worsens cities’ reputations. Negative image makes it difficult for cities and families to begin to bounce back. Even residents in outlying suburbs tend to look negatively on city, and relations with suburbs decline. Civic disengagement becomes a chronic state. Leaders and residents internalize feelings of failure. Cities cannot position themselves against undesirable development—e.g. jails, incinerators.

“Forgotten cities now lack the large employers and corporate presence necessary to provide adequate civic capacity. They lack adequate governing capacity due to limited financial resources as well as dominant position of “old guard.” Collective mindset is chronically low.

Strengths of these cities: location and connectivity to larger cities as well as rural places. Walkable downtowns/neighborhoods, access to elected officials. Layout and infrastructure: rails, rivers, parks. Architecture: historic mills, homes, churches. Cultural assets: symphony halls, museums, small colleges. Diversity: immigrants, niche markets, unique labor pool. Identity: loyalty among old-timers, willingness to donate time and money. Affordability: competitive housing/labor opportunities.

All three cities now have initiatives dedicated to improvement:
Lawrence: Reviviendo Gateway Initiative (joint public-private sector effort)
Reading: Initiative for a Greater Reading (private sector)
Youngstown: Youngstown 2010 (public sector)

Initial lessons: innovative revitalization coalitions are emerging. These cities are capable of achieving change. Corporate partners are not crucial to an initiative’s success.

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10/30/12: Class Presentations, Part 2

SarahAccess to Higher Education
Visual aids: poster from former research highlighting “Distance Education as ‘Gateway’ to Increasing Educational Attainment for Rural Populations,” and handout on access to education. Striking link between education level and average length of time of unemployment.
“Knowledge worker” is a term coined by coined by Peter Drucker. Since WWII average job has more to do with information than production. Today, capacity of workers don’t line up with the jobs we have.
Geographic access is huge.
This paper focused on financial access—tangled with issues of class, race/ethnicity, gender.
Restriction by preparation: are you ready to go to college? (Emotionally, socially, educationally, etc.)
Other barriers? Is public housing in places with low-quality schools, low access to higher ed?
Self-perpetuating cycle may be present, particularly in rural areas, which often have a culture of looking down on people who may try to better themselves.

How could Tufts help through financial/non-financial means? Tufts has many programs that often fly under the radar of the general public. Two things Tufts could do better: be more strategic—access to higher ed is aligned with Tufts vision statement, but not specifically mentioned. Do a better job of communicating within the university as well as in the community at large. Why haven’t many of us on campus heard more about these programs? Difficult to find for those who don’t know where to look. More comprehensive/cohesive approach needed.

Future research: approach interviewees. Begin to address the question of tension between having an elitist mission and a mission based on democratization. Can a top university have a mission that embraces both? Tension between helping everyone and training the best of the best.

Thriving and succeeding in a place is a huge issue; how much does Tufts encourage and ensure retention of students?

Pat—access to education: assessing the effectiveness of Northeastern University’s Boston Housing Authority scholarship program
Pat presented her preliminary research, which highlighted the history of both Northeastern University and the Boston Housing Authority and began assessing extent of outreach to potential Northeastern students.

Why this partnership? In past experience in career, when helping parents who wanted children to go to college. Northeastern’s scholarship program is over 28 years old, but rarely publicized. Some facts: 7% of Boston’s workforce is employed in higher ed. Northeastern pays $1 million in taxes on top of PILOT. Very difficult history with surrounding neighborhoods, particularly Whittier St. housing development. This scholarship allows any student from Boston Housing Authority homes to attend Northeastern free of charge, with a few criteria: achievement of a certain GPA, participation in civic engagement, letter verifying BHA residency.

Boston Housing Authority (BHA): also encompasses surrounding cities (e.g. Revere, Charlestown). 58% did not complete high school. 277 residents have taken advantage of this program over 28 years, out of 14,000 units of housing. Why such a miniscule number of students? Wants to look at criteria, requirements.

Community conversations indicate that many residents haven’t heard of the scholarship program, including one person whose child was attending NU. Higher education is a polarizing issue in community: in some of these housing areas, education makes the difference between being stuck and having a “way out.” Research will entail personal interviews as well as small focus groups. Mission Main, Orchard Gardens, and Alice Hayword Taylor are three housing developments to be examined.

The results will be formatted in a creative way to reach the most people. Talking to METCO and Boston high school guidance counselors. Are there demographic factors? (e.g. does BHA housing have a lot of older people?) Would it make more sense to focus on high school education, etc, given low graduation rate.

Dorothy—Anchor planning for other anchors
Medical Academic and Scientific Community Organization (MASCO) is a group in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, which contains 24 anchors within 213 acres. Cultural, research, medical institutions from high school-graduate level. 18.1 million ft2 of development. $3.66 billion total net patient service revenue, $113 million state income tax. Many service/support jobs provided, coming from surrounding areas (Fenway, Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Roxbury). Not much transit access.

MASCO provides long-term strategic planning as well as immediate services. Immediate services include transportation; MASCO runs shuttles from major train stations in the area, because it is impossible for every employee to bring a car. Bicycle/pedestrian access planning. This service makes a big difference in people deciding to work there/businesses deciding to locate there. Doesn’t make sense for businesses to dedicate valuable space to parking. Not an uncommon problem in Boston, but the area is unique because bordered by heavily trafficked corridors and has limited public transit.

Many successes: participated in growth far higher than target, runs 10 privately owned shuttles, and between 2000 and 2008 reduced drive-alone commuting by 20%, increased transit ridership by 9%, and increased bicycling/walking by 6%.

Next steps: interviews with MASCO Commuteworks, planning division, and member organization.
re. short and long term goals, project expansions.

Taka—anchor institutions that act as managers/coordinators.
Yokohama, Japan is 20 miles from Tokyo. 2nd largest city in Japan, but overshadowed by Tokyo. Goal: to become an important city in its own right. Large port city, center for car manufacturing. Port needed to expand, so lots of land reclamation outside of city center led to motivation to redevelop city center as business district.

Minato-mirai 21 Corporation was established in early 1980s to attract headquarters of private companies, small businesses and new entrepreneurs—primary roles to manage types and locations of business, execute area management, institutionalize local rules or agreements with city and landowners. First funded by city, now also annual fees from supporters, user fees for services, rents from tenants. Managers are from some private companies and from city—different from US business improvement districts, which are run by completely separate managers.

Major themes: consistency and flexibility. There has been a fairly consistent ratio between uses of space. In 2009, MM21 switched from role as coordinator to voluntary business participation, changed from 3rd sector to generic corporation. Adapted to meet needs of district. Will it be a challenge to balance consistency and flexibility in the future?

Challenges and next steps: -As more businesses move to the district, should MM21 attempt to expand membership, or should they work without their support? -Get residents involved—many housing developments have been built in the area. -Examine decision-making process in the organization, how MM21takes coordinating role, how compromises are achieved when opinions differ.

Lawrence—community revitalization in a rural Florida town
After experience working in Gretna, Florida for many years, plans to move there after graduation to work for a local nonprofit organization. This paper examines the context of the town itself and explores potential anchor institution partners.

Gretna, FL: 400 households, very poor, majority Black. Not much recorded history. Median income about $10k less than national average. <30% of the population college educated, 60% have a high school diploma. 80% of population born in Gretna—not much movement in or out. Unemployment rate around national average. About 50% of women in community employed in health care—unclear why.

Potential anchors: Florida State University, Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Gadsden County Public Libraries, and a new gambling facility in town. FSU has a planning department and a “Florida Planning and Development Lab” that partners with groups outside to benefit communities. Tallahassee Memorial Hospital has Center for Health Care Careers—works with local high schools and FSU. Gadsden County Public Library has one main branch in Quincy and two satellite branches but don’t do much outreach beyond young children. New gambling facility in Gretna has been controversial. Ownership of casino has claimed they want to partner with community members. Also providing a huge tax boost to community.

Next steps: Research other communities’ relationships with casinos. Are there examples of successful community-casino relationships? Talk with Gretna’s leadership about vision of the community’s future. Learn more about Gretna’s history; part of the town’s revitalization might be to create its first written history. This can be a major opportunity for a coordinating anchor.

Brytanee–Grocery  stores as anchor institutions in traditionally African-American neighborhoods.

Brytanee plans to examine a set of these within a specific geographic context. This is a difficult approach because data is limited. Inspired by her own experiences with a local grocer in Oakland, Mildred D. Taylor books.

Lenses to look through: anti-racist historical narrative, fighting against oppression. Fictional accounts (e.g. Mildred D. Taylor). Entrepreneurs. Negotiation of non-Black minority grocers in traditionally Black neighborhoods. (Al Sharpton protesting Korean grocers in NY in 1980s). Brief journalistic accounts in blogs and newspapers. Nutritional perspective.

The nutritional perspective, with anti-obesity initiatives, has perhaps been the most highly-publicized. Interplay between media accounts and nutritional perspective is what interests Brytanee.

Colored Merchants’ Association est. 1929 in Winston-Salem in response to chain stores. At that time grocers made up majority of Black business owners.

Their Eyes Were Watching God— novel by Zora Neale Hurston, another example of African-American grocers in literature. In the first incorporated Black town, in Florida, the mayor owns a neighborhood grocery store.

Why were there so many Black grocery stores? Many Blacks were familiar with agriculture, and opening a store presented a strong alternative to being a wage worker. Compared to Korean or Chinese grocery stores, African-American stores are much more likely to fail. One theory—African-American stores are more likely to grant credit to customers who may or may not pay back.

Interviews will begin with community members and owners of a grocery store called Chatham in Chicago’s South Side.

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10/23/12: Why Behave Like an Anchor? Part II: External Pressure, and Moving Beyond Eds and Meds—A Closer Look at Other Anchors

This class discussion centered mainly around the potential benefits and challenges of two types of agreements: community benefit agreements, and payments in lieu of taxes. Our main sources of information were two papers (see syllabus for full reading list):

Wolf-Power, L. (2010). “Community Benefits Agreements and Local Government: A Review of Recent Evidence.” Vol. 76, No. 2, Journal of the American Planning Association,
Pp. 1-18.

Kenyon, D. and A. Langley (2010). “Payments in Lieu of Taxes: Balancing Municipal and Nonprofit Interests.” Cambridge: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Pp. 1-48.


Lincoln Land Institute piece made it clear that it’s difficult to generalize programs because they vary so much from state-state. Boston’s program is seen as a model.

Rhode Island and Connecticut are the only two states that collect PILOTs on state level (called grants in lieu of taxes, or GILOTs). Interesting idea, why don’t more states do that? Will they be cut from budget? Easy to see why they would do it, but budget is a constraint.

PILOTs can be used as a way to lure businesses and anchors to a community, by offering entity to pay PILOT instead of taxes. This is fairly unusual, though property tax abatements are not unusual in many places This can be a catch-22: how much money is the community losing in tax revenue, and will it be made up for in benefits from the anchor that is coming in?

How political is the process of setting PILOTs and CBAs (community benefit agreements)? They can be fairly political—often, exchange and agreement take place behind closed doors, on a one on one basis. BIDs (business improvement districts) are different—they involve public meetings, have a board of directors, etc. In many places, it would be difficult in many places to figure out who even has a PILOT.

Because they don’t pay taxes, nonprofits have incentive to buy up land that would be particularly valuable for resale. This is given as argument for PILOTs, and there concern that different tax rates across municipality would skew nonprofits’ decisions about where to locate. Potentially less of an issue for anchors, which are, by definition, rooted, and not moving.
Good to finally see solid numbers—if NPs actually paid taxes, it would make up a QUARTER of Boston’s tax base! Huge case for incorporating anchors into neighborhood so they can have the maximum benefit. Tradeoff: job growth and security? Boston was not hit as hard by recession as other areas because of strong anchors.

Tricky questions: where do biotech companies come from? (Romney?) Also from hospitals, other anchors—MIT, Mass Gen, etc were vital in attracting them. How many companies stemmed from MIT innovation? Does tax-generating impact negate tax exemption? What would be tax-generating potential of the land where some anchors are sitting? What would be there if the anchors weren’t? How do anchors qualify their importance? What is the calculus for determining how much impact is enough? Politically inevitable and ethically loaded questions.

A Boston example: One big political priority is improving public schools in Boston, despite that the city has huge educational resources and capacity present. Mayor Menino called together presidents of 5 largest nonprofit institutions and called for each to partner with two low-performing public schools. Anchors formed an organization to pool resources, took on this additional project. Some positive benefit but not much. Difficult for lowest-performing schools to partner with anyone—but good intentions. Good way to leverage resources. But, did he ask them for enough? Many schools already have ongoing partnerships. Could he have asked for something more substantial, set standards for how much they should work with schools, require a comprehensive agreement? Why shouldn’t they have a responsibility for success of community education? There are connections between different types of claims and benefits.

Universities often present a problem because schools think in semesters or school years, but communities need longer-term help. Other anchors tend not to plan partnerships beyond the next year—can they put at it on scale of grants? Shaping this as research? The same people who teach also do research.

Boston’s Tobin School (very low-performing) had 27 AI partners PRIOR to losing great credibility. Anchors can’t just run around haphazardly, must create a comprehensive plan. Must be communication about what schools actually need.

Who calls the shots? Fundamental importance of effective communication with and among anchors and community partners. Underinvestment in coordination. Seems inevitable that starting point would be community outlining their needs.
Broad generalizations about community benefit agreements: local development climate can support a CBA. Good to see this acknowledged. Is there a way to prime your environment for a CBA, or to put community in position where CBA would work well/could be asked for? Again, who calls the shots? Enormously important, variable, and not always transparent.

Are the benefits flowing to the community as well as the developer, or just to the developer? CBA attempts mitigation while a community partnership agreement (like that between Tufts and surrounding communities) comes from institution already providing benefits. Can lessons from CBAs be used when there is no new development happening?
Often a zoning is part of a CBA. Transparency is key: what is the community giving up? Is everyone aware of what the community is giving up for services from CBA?

Level of transparency varies a lot. LILU report on PILOTs highlighted examples of secretive PILOTs. How visible/accessible is the agreement over time? Implementation can be a weak link—is some enforcement/accountability built into the agreement? Strong connection with literature surrounding negotiation. Remember not every negotiation is standard, which is why not every PILOT is the same.

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10/2/12: Class Presentations

Note: for a description of this assignment (the first paper of the semester) as well as full references for readings mentioned, please see Syllabus.


Compares Michael Porter’s anchor institution definition with others: anchors hold significant investments in community, making it diff. to pull up stakes and leave. Economic position seems to have brought anchors to current attention. If not for hard economic times, there may not have been such attention. Where to from there?

Other definitions:
Rutheiser-organizations with long-term investments to transform cities, neighborhoods and regions.
Weber—anchors, because of mission, have invested money into communities.
Definitions have changed: where to in the future?

Strengths and weaknesses of anchor types:
“Eds and meds” strengths: specialized workforces, recent interest in growing communities—many alums stay in the area after college. Education provided: eds and meds generally have outreach.
Drawbacks of eds and meds: tension from community members who don’t benefit directly from anchor institution.

Cultural institutions benefits: branding, tourist attraction.
Weakness: more visitors than permanent residents attracted. Hiring not as meaningful/permanent as eds and meds.

Framework in Kauper-Brown piece modified original M. Porter article—tailors original framework to assess health institutions. Lawrence wants to use and frame as criteria to determine how well any anchor is doing.

For his personal work, framework could be very helpful. example of Dudley St Neighborhood Initiative (a CDC organization). Looks at Kauper-Brown’s 9 different activities/roles with regards to DSNI. Seems to be doing many things right. As far as effectiveness, seems to be working well. Smaller scale a potential limiting factor–limited economic power, dependence on government- and grant-funding.

Anchor institutions: strong sense of place, less likely to leave quickly. Eds and meds what most people think about. Phrase <10 years old. Definitely expanding to other entities—nonprofits, large employers, etc.
Partnership key, and focus on negotiation. Made her think of conflict resolution class, because particularly with Tufts and community, many partnerships seem to be a case-by-case arrangement. More can be achieved through partnering.
Partners focusing on what they have in terms of shared values.
PILOT—seems to be balancing well. Tufts providing community benefit, Somerville providing services.
Where is she going w/ research? Impact on built environment—how is that shaped by anchors? Formerly worked for A Better City, a Boston-based anchor. May provide case study looking at how they effect transportation infrastructure.
Showed video from A Better City: “Build It and They Will Fill It.” ABC created “scorecard” to grade captial improvements.

Wide gamut of definitions of anchor institutions. Simply “rooted” or located in place; to modified “by reason of mission invest capital or relationships,” significant investment, difficult to pull up stakes, and the 10-bullet-point list in the UPenn case study.
UMaine Machias as case study. Important anchor in its region. Other Machias anchors: schools, several churches. Nearby towns have small military bases, decommisioned but repurposed. Military bases & prisons important anchors—e.g. prisons providing fire services in forests, in an area with many trees and few firefighters. Takeaway: single definition of an anchor perhaps not necessary. Different places have different needs.
Handout w/ framework adapted from Solvell.
Anchors and social responsibility. Amanda Wittman’s examples of many diff sizes. Will smaller anchors be intimidated by examples presented by large institutions? (We always use examples of UPenn, Syracuse, etc. What about institutions with smaller endowments, less ability?)
Future research? looking at what is going to happen in next 30 years in higher ed. Synergy between readings for this class and for education classes. “Creating more ‘we’ space.” How does higher ed use “other” forms of capital to encourage/embrace social diversity in its population? Lots in literature about money, less about “other” capital.
Implications for smaller institutions fixed in place in cities as well as anchors in smaller communities?

Definition of AI: doesn’t leave community, rootedness, human/econ/other kinds of capital, role in sharing values in community.
2 types of rootedness: physical and social. Physical—the university’s land presence (as noted by G. Proakis). Benefit: reliable access to facilities for community. Social rootedness is permanent relationship w/ community. CDCs included in this def.

Boston BID (Business Improvement District) can be seen as AI—funded by local businesses. Boston only has one, other cities have many. Only directly benefits district where it’s located.
Strength of rootedness-AIs can have long-term investments/projects. Example of BID bringing streetlights to dark neighborhoods recently.
Rootedness of values-case in Japan where university moved from a community, but community still takes pride in university’s former presence. Land regeneration into low-income housing, playgrounds, etc.
Publicity-challenge to define who “public” is and who they should provide service to. Ex: Tufts seems to benefit Somerville more than Medford; Medford residents really only benefit physically.

Used same model as Sarah, looking at diff types of capital provided by Boston BID services. For sharing values, interested in how Boston BID is funded by business owners, reciprocal relationship. Each player needs to understand their own needs as well as those of others. Anchors can create shared values in the community.

Brytanee: Spelman College as an Anchor Institution
Began with anchor institution in mind. Spelman College, historically black women’s college in Atlanta. Attended for a semester. Gated university—many students wouldn’t walk though surrounding neighborhoods or shop at local businesses. Part of AUC (Atlanta University Consortium)—group of historically black colleges. Spelman was only school with gate. Surrounding neighborhood predominantly low-income, African-American.
Within a larger context—HBCUs historically. Interactions between students/non-student African-Americans. Also, Spelman is anchor in community.
Questions: 1. How does Spelman maintain its anchor status? 2. In post-racial, post-gender (supposedly) society, does it still have a place? 3. How does Spelman maintain relationship w/ surrounding universities and other HBCUs?
On Spelman website: “community partners” page. Students required to commit to 250 hours of community service during college. Community partnership with AUC.
AUC’s connection w/ surrounding neighborhood: created timeline of events. Lots of actions seem sort of token. Olympics brought $14 million investment in pedestrian corridor. Difficult to see how universities/partners/communities work together, not very streamlined. Some surrounding neighborhoods ignored, while others receive lots of service/attention. Federal dollars being brought in through HUD, partnership w/ Spelman to rejuvenate devastated neighborhoods.

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9/25/12: Field Trip, Part 2: Somerville Community Corporation

Danny LeBlanc, a longtime Somerville resident, has been Executive Director of Somerville Community Corporation for twelve years.

What is the SCC’s affiliation with the city’s government?

Multi-layered and complex. 1. SCC does business with the city, and the city lends money (usually federal money) for affordable housing. 2. SCC often engages in community organizing, and this sometimes causes clashes with the city.

Is the SCC an anchor institution?

Yes—it is a 43 year old organization, widely known throughout the city. It is membership based—over time, as fraternal/church/organizational membership becomes rare, the SCC provides a lasting way for people to engage in community.

What organizations does the SCC partner with?

Tufts, and many other nonprofits, including Community Action Agency, Somerville Homeless Coalition, Cambridge Health Alliance, and the Welcome Project at Mystic High School. A city government partnership is with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

How does the SCC view Tufts?

Resource, potential/actual partner. SCC has a natural affinity with Urban and Environmental Planning program. In past, few students came to East Somerville, and there was less engagement. Changes in the attitudes of both Tufts and the city, where relationships were formerly adversarial.

Does the SCC ever act as an “anchor coordinator,” a liason to coordinate other anchor institutions toward similar goals?

In some ways, yes. In Green Line Extension project, many players involved, and the SCC is convening a group of anchors that wouldn’t normally be involved. However, SCC doesn’t play a larger role in coordinating all or a large group of anchors.

What are the challenges of adapting to new community trends?

The organization’s arc reflects Somerville’s dramatic changes. SCC founded to work in a deteriorating urban area with the goal of attracting investment. At the time, “gentry” was a good word. Somerville had very small professional population, very large poor population. Today, huge market pressure, very high business and home prices. Today, the question is whether the poor will be able to stay. SCC’s programming is now more direct: employment assistance, money management training.

What should Tufts be doing more or less of in Somerville?

It would be beneficial for Tufts to engage in more long-term community partnerships. Potential for Tufts to establish community-based workspace where Tufts knowledge could be more accessible.

Why and how has the relationship between Tufts and Somerville changed so dramatically?

There has been a shift (at Tufts and in higher education overall) from the “ivy tower” mentality to more engaged thinking about civic involvement. Today, economic diversity in Somerville makes the city easier to engage than in past years.

What challenges do anchor institutions pose?

Historically, universities offer opportunities to young people that are not always extended to local residents. Tufts was once a very distant option for local students, but today has a strong reputation for accessibility to Somerville high schoolers.

Tufts’ Somerville Partnership Agreement stipulates that a certain amount of financial aid be set aside for residents. What should this agreement look like in 10 years?

This is a critical question to pose, and now it must be built upon. Having an agreement with city government isn’t the same as having a reciprocal agreement with other institutions, and those are crucial as well.

Storefront workshop planning idea: creating infrastructure, opening for innovation center that is about economic development and planning. Would be helpful for Tufts and community to take longer (10-15 year) view.

“Rooted” may be a more accurate term than “anchor.”

Key point?

Relationship building is very important.

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9/25/12: Field Trip, Part 1: Somerville Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development

Discussion leaders: George Proakis, Director of Planning; Michael Glavin, Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Community Development; Brad Rawson, Economic Development Planner (and Tufts UEP alum!)

With a staff of about 50, Somerville has a relatively large and active planning department. All speakers commented on Somerville’s exciting, inclusive environment, and attributed much of the city’s vibrancy to anchor institutions, adequate financial investment, and effective partnerships with various players.

How would these planners define an anchor institution? Clearly “eds and meds.” Cultural institutions. Organizations with a long-term footprint in community, maintaining a strong, mutually beneficial relationship with the community. Institutions with a long-range plan, which believe they will  exist in the community as long as there is a community. Important that community wants the institution there.

Some neighborhood organizations are more long-lasting than others, but more effective, longer-lasting ones could be considered anchors. 

Somerville benefits from proximity to Boston, draws huge number of non-profits, research institutions, art institutions, etc.

Churches are an important, often overlooked anchor. Major transition as many larger churches decline in membership; meanwhile urban ministries becoming much more popular. 

Many communities that have defined themselves around educational anchor have been particularly resilient during recent recession. There has been a huge growth in intellectual capacity that many other communities have not experienced. Some communities still struggle with how to best take advantage of a university as an anchor–example: Syracuse, NY.  Tufts has a unique position in Medford/Somerville location–has been particularly well-equipped to be able to choose and define its community.

What are examples of anchor institutions the community has partnered with? Who is responsible for coordinating these partnerships?

Mostly an informal process in City Hall, unlike Tufts’ very well-defined Office of Community Relations. Many planners in City Hall reach out to various city contacts. Additionally, many residents approach the city. Community partnerships happen more frequently in planning department than in many other city departments.

Key question for a partnership: What do both sides want to achieve from the arrangement? All players must reveal their goals, or partnership is likely to fall apart/be ineffective.

Does the department have a tendency to hire candidates who are interested in establishing community partnerships?

Many employees have previous experience with these partnerships, in either an educational or an academic environment. Turnover is fairly important, in balancing core group with new members with fresh perspective. Most people come in well-versed in community partnerships.

Part of the success of Somerville’s comprehensive plan, SomerVision, has been in partnerships. Steering committee was made up of a very mixed group, including many from anchor institutions–when list of members was made public, and all publicly advocated for the plan, this was instrumental in public acceptance.

What are some roles Somerville would like anchor institutions to fill? What roles do they currently fill? What types of institutions would the city like to attract?

Somerville does not have a large amount of land to offer to developers, so must constantly consider redevelopment for new uses. Wants to attract anchors that are gateways to entrepreneurship, innovation, and venture capitalism. Somerville could be an alternative to costlier business development in Cambridge. Union Square, Brickbottom, and Inner Belt areas are still developing.

Example of positive development: 2 years ago, Ames Envelope Factory, a major blue-collar employer and longtime community anchor, was shut down. The five-acre, well-located site sat empty until a planner helped to facilitate partnership between several community orgs to move into some of the space. Artisan’s Asylum, a local organization, now leases 40,000 square feet, and has spurred much innovation from the space. Facility now also houses a wine distribution company, open offices, and a rock-climbing gym. The establishment has produced interest, energy, and vitality for a range of people with varying means and interest.

A Boston example: Harvard University’s purchase of old WGBH studios in Allston. Business school rehabilitated the building as an “innovation lab,” where students could meet and discuss potential business ventures. Left the first floor open and transparent to community members, who can use the facility and take advantage of expert advice. Community benefit seen to outweigh Harvard’s tax-free status (which can cause some nonprofit anchors to be seen as undesirable landowners).

Takeaways from these examples: 

1. Communities taking a broad view of multiple players.

2. Communities taking on facilitation of such projects.

3. Awareness of actual and future potential of the anchor as a source of innovation. This one can be a challenge–Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) managed to do so in development of Waterfront district. Any development that would be supported by BRA must demonstrate uniqueness of what type of work will be done, or how it will be done.

What are some challenges communities face when working with anchor institutions?

Somerville views the creative arts as a growth industry, particularly in the Brickbottom district. Tufts will be important in this initiative, and with providing performance space, etc.

Anchor institutions most effective when they employ many people from the community, share their strengths and knowledge with the community, and make a contribution to their cost of carry—fire and police services. Service infrastructure will be important in the future. Nonprofits are welcome, but Somerville also needs to continue to build tax base.

Places need to grow and evolve. Davis Square has made huge investment in transportation, but provides relatively few jobs. Must balance character with jobs and development, and balance human and economic needs.

Huge change coming in travel. More and more use of rapid transit to get to and from cities, and anchor institutions are running out of accessible room. Infrastructure is growing in Somerville, and many medical institutions are looking for space outside of the city for some services.

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9/18/12: Why Behave Like an Anchor? Part 1: Internal Pressure. Guest Speaker: Mary Jeka

Discussion of Readings (see reading list below):

Comment: much of what was in readings seemed obvious. Definite trends that were tried and true; seems like from planning side there is lots of literature about what has been done re. community benefits of bringing in a large employer. Looking at many cases can help in professional context to consider broad “menu” of possibilities in terms of actions and solutions.

Anchor institutions must have proper incentives and opportunity to leverage and promote private sector development. Ex: Northeastern U task force in Mission Hill, after years of inaction have made great strides. Many readings refer to unmet needs/problems, but focus on period of development/active collaboration. There is less focus on earlier stage, which is often very conflicted. Key question: what does it take to help anchors and community reach that new stage of collaboration? How to spur anchor institution to consider self-interest in new way?

Inner cities piece had quite shocking numbers re. land and impoverished people. Where do people find work? Where do they settle? Since major industries have moved out of cities, often what’s left is AI as sole or largest employer. Important for AI to realize the position this puts them in.

Earlier articles referenced University of Pennsylvania’s program—mortgage support program for employees for buying in the area. Amanda Wittman talked about improvements at “cellular level.” Programs like this can promote a culture throughout in community. At UPenn, program initially not entirely well-received. Program only benefited people earning at a certain level. Concerns from community re. housing cost increases.

Keep alert to places where lit provides framework for professional practice as well as further inquiry. Inner cities piece—where does Tufts fit in to different types of participation? Uchicago piece: Chart showing framework of “roots and strategies.” Broad, diverse set of activities—no way to present comprehensive set of examples.

Guest Speaker Mary Jeka, Senior Vice President of Community Relations, Tufts University

Community Relations Partnership Agreements with Medford and Somerville pledged a set amount of money from the University to the communities over 10 years. In difficult economic times, some money was expedited in first several years of agreement. Since Tufts uses community resources (e.g. police and fire services), and doesn’t pay taxes, Tufts responsible for giving money to local governments.

PILOT-payment in lieu of taxes. Always done in Boston and other big cities with many schools, but not so common in other places. Tufts reached out to Somerville and Medford to put in place such a plan, change from former model of contact on an “as-needed” basis. Negotiated a figure, wanted to avoid a formula based on campus acreage or number of students. Idea of buying something (e.g. a new fire truck) for the community every year also rejected, due to lack of visibility for the University and lack of flexibility for community.

Non-monetary considerations: being responsive to neighbor complaints, extra financial aid to community high schoolers, allowing community members to audit classes for a nominal fee. Importance of respect and of keeping communications and relations strong. Community Day picnic and other activities free. Allowing community non-profit foundations to use Tufts space free of charge.

Why do so many activities seem to be directed toward Somerville rather than Medford? Somerville has a rapidly changing demographic, is more diverse, and has more unmet need. There are many non-profits in Somerville, many working closely with Tufts. More artists in Somerville. 

How does Tufts Medical School reach out to surrounding Chinatown community? This is often difficult because of language barriers. In a very densely populated area, very different from Medford/Somerville. Example: Newly built laboratory building, biosafety level 3. In reaching out to community, Tufts had to find exactly the right people to talk to, which required hiring interpreters. 

What are goals in next community partnership agreement (which begins in 2013)? Better defined partnerships and more types of partnerships–e.g. extending to concerns relating to Green Line Extension. Keep money moderate, while being equally fair to Medford/Somerville, Grafton, and Boston campuses.

Have other universities taken such a broad, long-term approach? Tufts initially looked to Trinity (Hartford, CT), but surrounding area had much more extreme needs, especially re. capital improvements. Activities of colleges in Worcester, MA more comparable. Schools partnered with community but did not provide direct renovation or city purchases.

Are there many tensions between Tufts’ growth and surrounding community? Tufts has enough development space and opportunity to buy surrounding houses that the tension is not as great as at many other institutions. Small actions go a long way–e.g. building a new driveway for neighbor who had to move driveway because of construction of new Tufts gym.

What are major challenges and pitfalls? Negative political attention stemming from high tuition. Continuing poor economy leading to financial struggles. New mayors or city officials in Somerville/Medford could pose a challenge.

2 fundamental principles: respecttake concerns of neighbors seriously. Communication–used to be a major problem, and has improved greatly.


Initiative for a Competitive Inner City. (2011). “Anchor Institutions and Urban Economic
Development: From Community Benefit to Shared Value. Inner City Insight. Vol 1,
Issue 2, Pp. 1-10.

CEOs for Cities with Living Cities. (2010); “How to Behave Like an Anchor,” Pp. 1-29.

Webber, H.S. and M. Karlstrom. (2009) “Why Community Investment Is Good for Nonprofit Anchor Institutions: Understanding Costs, Benefits, and the Range of Strategic Options.” University of Chicago: Chapin Hall, Pp. 3-48.

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9/11/2012: Impact of Anchors, Part 1: Institutional Perspective. Guest Speaker: Amanda Wittman

In upcoming weeks, the class will be visiting Somerville City Hall and Somerville Community Corporation. Advantages to meeting at their places, rather than having them visit our class, include an enhanced opportunity for us to see their places of work as well as allowing them more flexibility. Often, our lecturers will appreciate these visits as an opportunity for them to reflect on their work.

Why do so many of Tufts partnerships focus on Somerville rather than Medford? Question for Mary Jaka and others in upcoming weeks. Some possibilities: more need in Somerville, richer nonprofit landscape, more economic diversity. After history of strife between Somerville and Tufts, Somerville government will often directly approach Tufts for collaboration.

Importance of time in establishing community/anchor partnerships: MIT/Lawrence partnership began rocky, with distrust on both sides. Lawrence Community Works was a crucial partner, with staff who were MIT alumni. Many projects begin with skepticism on both sides, creates need for clear communication and setting realistic goals. 

Discussion of readings (see reading list below):

Feels similar to discussions in negotiation classes. How can anchors offer positives to cancel out potential negatives? Not just tax money. People whose lives are attached to anchors also affect communities.
What would it be like if anchors embraced these negotiation techniques? How to make the “pie” bigger and perceive resources as being abundant rather than scarce? Many resources embodied by these institutions, as illustrated by Appleseed piece.

What is difference b/w university that engages in community and one that doesn’t? Upenn as example of exemplar institution. That kind of engagement doesn’t happen easily, requires work on both sides.

What will be role of smaller institutions? In UPenn case, community orgs key.
Many students in the class are  interested in smaller institutions.
Small institutions rarely included in literature, badly needed contribution.

Dr. Amanda Wittman—Director of Academic and Strategic Initiatives, Campus Compact

Higher ed in its traditional form is an anchor institution. Higher ed has a public purpose. Not just for students. Comes from history, moral land grant, providing engaged, active students. Civic engagement is way to become an anchor.

Stakeholders: community and students. Vision statement includes these stakeholders, but doesn’t provide comprehensive definition of being an anchor. Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities has a more specific definition of the role of the university as an anchor.

How do anchor institutions function in more rural areas? Several members of class provided examples of anchors in Maine and New Hampshire–a common theme is that the anchor often serves a much larger area than simply the surrounding community.

New publication from Campus Compact looks at success stories throughout the country, examines the ways that higher ed and community economic development interact. Many case studies are examined.

How many schools have a department dedicated to this purpose?  Most have a related office (e.g. Community Relations), but not one so specific. Very important to have a team approach to community projects.

Need for capacity-building. How can anchor institutions help to build that capacity while being a resource and not a burden? Risk of wasting huge pool of talent?

Must be true collaboration between both groups, negotiation, very clear idea of exactly what the community needs. Helpful when initiative is the community’s idea. Very clear idea of return on investment, etc.

Example of any universities with very solid buy-in from students/staff? Often most effective in smaller schools. One school put in place a one-on-one faculty mentor program. Often, institutional practices very important, e.g. giving staff paid days off to perform service.

Origins of non-profit status for universities: supposed to be engaged in a greater level of community public service. Could be a tool for political pressure for universities to do more. Public universities generally perform higher levels of service than private.

What next, after this study? Answering continuing questions, improving assessment tools and resources, incorporating concepts of engaged learning communities into campus communities. Conference on innovation and civic engagement. Bridging cultures through community-based learning



Ruthleiser, C. (2011). “The Promise and Prospects of Anchor Institutions: Some Thoughts on an Emerging Field.” PD&R EDGE HUD User, Pp. 1-2.

Maurasse, D. (2007). “Leveraging Anchor Institutions for Urban Success.” CEOs for Cities, 1-28.

Appleseed, Inc. (2003). “Engines of Economic Growth: The Economic Impact of Boston’s Eight Research Universities on the Metropolitan Boston Area.” Report Summary, Pp. 1-12.

“The Role and Impact of Colleges and Universities in Greater Boston Today.” Report of the Carol R. Goldberg Seminar. http://www.tbf.org/tbfgen1.asp?id=1705

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