As Durham’s economy collapsed in the mid-1990s, Duke established a plan to intervene. Its actions aligned with anchor institution models at many universities; its approach, however, was unique: In a city where Duke was a fixture, university leadership understood a top-down approach was not viable. Instead, administrators launched a community-led model intended to change the “story [from] look at what Duke did,” to “can you imagine what’s happened in Durham?”. I use a longitudinal case study to examine Duke’s anchor institution model in 12 Durham neighborhoods. The research considers Duke’s approach from the mid-1990s to present, drawing from: interviews with Duke administrators, community organizations, and neighborhood representatives; newspaper articles and reports; and a descriptive analysis of neighborhood change. This case explores an anchor model that engages non-profit partners and community development strategies. Findings show the potential for a multi-partner anchor model that cultivates neighborhood improvement and minimizes (to an extent) gentrification pressures that can arise from anchor investment. Duke’s anchor model offers a unique perspective on university-community engagement, partnerships and neighborhood investment.
Duke’s case offers insights for how major institutions—from university anchors to local government—can recast their roles in communities; it also offers a roadmap for how institutions can engage (and benefit) neighborhoods in meaningful ways. Informed by a collaborative anchor model, Duke empowered residents to identify their own neighborhood priorities and partnered with local community organizations to meet those aims. This anchor model reveals a powerful role for intermediaries, including planners and community organizers, to connect institutional resources with neighborhood priorities. Supported by a participatory planning process, there are opportunities to realign anchor institution strategies and tools with neighborhood priorities to move towards mutually beneficial outcomes.
This article reviews the concept of shared equity homeownership (SEH) in the United States. The review examines the origins of the SEH model and its historic precedents. It considers the impetus for SEH, setting the discourse within the context of US housing policy and, specifically, low-income homeownership research. Subsequently, the review assesses the current state of SEH research, including the evidence associated with SEH as an affordable housing strategy, its application and challenges in the field, and gaps in the scholarly discourse.
Town-gown engagement has evolved over several eras, most recently embodying the anchor institution model. The post-1990 scholarship suggests a distinct shift, describing a new framework for the ways universities engage with neighborhood space. This paper tests this approach, using a survey of universities to question several assumptions about town-gown engagement in the 21st century. While the conceptual definition and stylistic approach to engagement has changed, there appears to be less differentiation from earlier models than one might expect. The study offers a typology of university revitalization strategies and contributes a new perspective to the anchor institution discourse.
Universities are pursuing place-making beyond the campus. In the 21st century, many universities have invested in revitalization, reconceiving of urban neighborhoods as assets, rather than detriments. But what does this mean for the neighborhood?
This study uses Census data and a survey of universities, pursuing neighborhood revitalization in nineteen cities, to examine place-based outcomes. I rely on median home values and rents to evaluate market change (1990 to 2010), testing how the rate of change in target tracts compares to areas without university investments. To account for contextual variation, I employ a multi-dimensional typology to analyze changes by city markets and revitalization approach.
The findings illustrate how extending the university brand into neighborhoods, achieved through bricks-and-mortar projects, is an effective strategy for revitalization. University initiatives, regardless of their intensity or place-based focus, meaningfully impacted neighborhood housing markets. However, market appreciation was substantially greater for target areas located in strong-market cities and/or with high-intensity investment from a university.
Takeaway for Practice:
The findings contribute to an understanding of university revitalization outcomes and offer insight into the importance of context. For instance, strong market cities, on their own, are an indicator of success. University investment, in any form, appears to close gaps and boost lower-value neighborhoods back into an otherwise strong marketplace. For moderate and weak cities, the university’s approach is the defining characteristic—investment in place-based projects is critical for an improved market. Thus, the key to revitalization “success” is two-fold. Either the city is strong, enabling the university invest at any level of intensity, or the university pursues a place-based approach that increases the likelihood of growth regardless of city context. These outcomes highlight the potential for market-boosting effects, but also demonstrate the unique opportunity for planners to moderate housing market pressures alongside anchor institution investments.
University investments are expanding to incorporate neighborhood revitalization. Yet, there is an inadequate understanding of how “town” is impacted by “gown” initiatives. This study combines institutional data with 1990 and 2010 Census metrics to assess outcomes of university-led revitalization in twenty-two neighborhoods. It explores market and socioeconomic change for target tracts relative to others. While the literature hypothesizes that anchor institution initiatives improve communities, the findings complication that notion. Median home values increased substantially and were no longer statistically different from other tracts; median rents nearly closed the gap as well. However, socioeconomic indicators did not suggest fundamental change.
Since 2008, many have questioned the efficacy of conventional homeownership, particularly for low-income households. Advocates champion shared equity homeownership as an alternative, including community land trusts (CLTs) and limited equity cooperatives (LECs); yet, they too have limitations. CLTs offer ongoing homeownership support, but require conventionally “bankable” households. LECs can offer low-income households autonomy and limited asset building, but often require fiscal and organizational support to succeed. This paper explores an innovation in shared equity—the merger of CLTs and LECs to address challenges and maximize collective strengths. Set within the context of the benefits and limits of CLTs and LECs as independent organizations, the paper examines five CLTs with LEC projects. It considers the CLTs’ motivations for pursuing LECs and appraises the characteristics of hybrid projects. While CLT-LEC projects are small in number, they illustrate an emergent practice in the field and speak to the organizational adaptability of the broader shared equity model.