Welcome to Anchor Institutions!

Co-taught by Professor Robert Hollister and Dr. Lorlene Hoyt, Anchor Institutions and Community Revitalization is a collaborative graduate research seminar in the Urban and Environmental Planning Department at Tufts University. This blog will be used throughout the semester to record notes of class discussions as well as important questions and issues raised.

This course focuses on the theoretical debates as well as the political, social, and economic impacts and implications of anchor institutions. Anchor institutions are nonprofit institutions that are fixed in place and are investing in the communities where they are located. Examples include: universities, hospitals, sports facilities, museums, public utilities, public schools and faith-based institutions. In metropolitan regions around the world, anchor institutions are directly revitalizing communities by providing jobs and workforce training, incubating the development of new businesses and directing their purchasing power toward local businesses. In addition, they are providing educational and social services, and contributing to the development of public policies. Indirectly, they create a reinvigorated civic sphere that attracts new residents, knowledge-industry workers and tourists. By discussing readings, meeting with leaders in this burgeoning field, and researching an array of illustrative examples, students who participate in this seminar will acquire the following knowledge and skills:

Why “anchor institutions” are becoming a key approach to revitalizing communities around the globe, and of the internal and exterior factors that influence the extent of such work and the approaches to it that institutions are taking;

Alternative institutional strategies, the strengths and limitations of each; familiarity with how various institutions practice collective action for the purpose of revitalizing their communities;

What is currently known about the impacts of anchor institutions on community revitalization, and the future potential of this approach;

An overview of relevant theoretical debates including globalization and deindustrialization, the diminishing role of local government, and gentrification;

Exposure to leading scholars and practitioners from metropolitan regions in and beyond the Boston metropolitan area; and

Strengthening research methods such as personal interviews and case study analysis.

For more information: see Syllabus.

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