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Why downtown universities help fuel the urban startup ecosystem

Columbia University in New York City, one of the top 10 urban research universities in the country, according to a new Brookings Institution analysis of downtown schools.

Urban schools outperform their peers, and have emerged as key competitive differentiators for cities, says new Brookings study

For years, proponents of increased downtown development and innovation districts have spoken of the important interplay between universities, startups, and local jobs. Cities such as Pittsburgh, which has seen its stock rise as a center for technology and innovation, found that local universities such as Carnegie Mellon served as catalysts for commercial and creative growth.

A new Brookings Institution study, which focuses on the economic and educational output of downtown colleges and universities—defined as those within the top 100 metro areas—underlines just how important these learning hubs are in today’s innovation ecosystem.

Hidden in plain sight: The oversized impact of downtown universities, written by researcher and fellow Scott Andes, shows the oversized impact downtown schools are having compared to their peers situated around tree-lined quads in the country. “Downtown universities are emerging as competitive differentiators,” Andes writes.

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