Chapter 2: Strategic considerations for urban anchor institutions in local and regional engagement
Anchor institutions, as entities rooted in their geographic settings, must be concerned about the interaction between their internal strategic priorities and the dynamics of their surrounding communities and regions. Conceptions of strategy take many forms, addressing an institution’s competitive advantage and capacity to differentiate within an industry, as well as its ability to think creatively and innovate. Such strategic considerations are not only important to individual institutions, but they are also relevant for municipalities and regions. For example, as municipalities consider their competitive advantage, they must recognize the contributions of their most enduring institutions. Moreover, it is in their best interest to envisage how to leverage the presence of these institutions to strengthen the local economy and address priority matters in the city and region. Anchor institutions, such as universities, hospitals and other long-standing organizations, do not tend to move even when economies and populations shift around them. This stability can be an important factor in strengthening urban competitiveness. Indeed, many anchor institutions are increasingly asked by municipalities and various local organizations and citizens to deepen their local engagement. Anchor institutions are asked to build partnerships with government, community-based organizations, business and other local anchor institutions. They are increasingly expected to leverage their financial, human and intellectual capital toward pressing local needs from education to employment to health, and beyond.
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