"Colleges and universities in major cities are becoming increasingly influential in urban development circles. With valuable real estate assets, research-related businesses, endowments significantly augmented by ambitious capital campaigns, and growing student populations, these institutions have the economic and political clout to reshape not only their own campuses but the surrounding communities as well. As the traditional divide between town and gown becomes less apparent, the programs and physical development of colleges and universities have both direct and indirect effects on municipal planning efforts and private development in unprecedented ways that can contribute to the reshaping of metropolitan culture and character.
...Today, universities are top-tier players in the creation of economic superclusters that bring together the resources of major medical institutions, corporate research and development, the government (often in the form of funding from the National Institutes of Health [NIH]), and venture capital. The emergence of this model has moved schoolsespecially those with urban campusesto the front and center in discussions of regional and local economic development and its corollary in infrastructure development."
Thanks to Urban Land Institute