Over the next 20 years, colleges and universities will assume a new role in the urban development process. They will look to their extensive property holdings as a source of revenue as funding dwindles and operating costs rise. With their "unique blend of resources and long range perspective," these institutions will become an active participant in the revitalization of the deteriorated urban environment as well as the conservation of natural land resources. In the upcoming decades, colleges and universities must protect the quality of their environment and generate vitality in their communities. An institution's presence in a local community can provide stability and revitalization. It can be a source of revenue to financially crippled communities through payment in lieu of property taxes and placing land on the tax roll through development of its property. A few examples of the institution as developer of its land and revitalizer of surrounding communities are Rockefeller Center on land owned by Columbia University; Stanford Research Park; Cornell University's performing arts center, located in downtown Ithaca; and The University of Chicago's revitalization of the surrounding area. In addition, many colleges and universities are developing technology parks, for example the North Carolina Research Triangle composed of the University of North Carolina, Duke University, and North Carolina Sate University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Technology Square. The role of the institution as either developer or urban revitalizer is determined by the nature of the locality. Colleges and universities, essentially, can be positive forces in shaping and affecting the character of the surrounding environment in years to come.
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