Higher education and hospitals are leading the way in terms of employment and adding to revitalization efforts in cities and regions across the country. Thus was the premise of a talk given by Judith Rodin at Wayne State University's Van Dusen Forum on Urban Issues.
Rodin is the former President at the University of Pennsylvania and current president of the Rockefeller Foundation. In her role as President at U of Penn, she led a comprehensive and highly acclaimed neighborhood revitalization program in west Philadelphia which she recounts in her book, "The University and Urban Revival."
Rodin noted that in this "new normal", eds and meds as they are affectionately known, account for up to 35-50% of the employee base in many cities and regions across the country. As such it is important for them to understand their place in civic leadership and engagement with the greater community and the need for them ot work aggressively to ensure the places they are located are vibrant and economically strong.
This is why the League's "Center for 21st Century Communities" has made education one of the eight assets of vibrant 21st communities and why we believe that local leaders need to work with anchor institutions, such as higher education and hosptials in their communitiy, as we look to create the kinds of places that people want to work, live and play in.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.