Through its Greensboro Connections 2025 plan, the city of Greensboro, North Carolina, articulated a vision for growth to make the best use of infill opportunities in its historic core. Greensboro's seven colleges and universities drive the city's economy and physical development, particularly in and around downtown. Public- and private-sector decisions on how to serve these institutions and their staff, faculty, and students dramatically affect the type, pattern, and scale of investment in Greensboro's neighborhoods.
The city requested EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance to engage the colleges and universities in a collaborative effort to improve economic and community development. Presidents, chancellors, and deans from all seven institutions, along with representatives of economic development agencies, neighborhood groups, historic preservationists, and local government officials, participated in a University Roundtable, led by the mayor, to begin the collaboration.
Collaborating on Greensboro's Future (2008) discusses the project and the university roundtable. The roundtable came to consensus around five approaches for Greensboro to better leverage its colleges and universities:
- Re-envision Greensboro as a "college town."
- Collaborate on physical development projects.
- Create economic development partnerships.
- Enhance the colleges and universities' role in promoting neighborhood stability.
- Address sustainability and respond to climate change.
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