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Johns Hopkins president tells how university helped revitalize neighborhood

UNIVERSITIES can play an active role in revitalizing a region’s economy — and do so on a large scale, Ronald J Daniels, president of The Johns Hopkins University, said in Shanghai yesterday.

Daniels shared with local government officials and investors the approach that has transformed a struggling 36-hectare neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, into a vibrate community in the past decade.

Together with government and businesses, The Johns Hopkins University participated in the establishment of East Baltimore Development Inc in 2003. Backed by its strong academic and financial strength, the university became an investor in the partnership and created many jobs.

The community-driven project envisioned the construction of 1,700 housing units, up to 1.7 million square feet of biotech labs and office space, 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a park, a hotel and an elementary school.

Today, about 1,000 people live within the area at the mid-point of the project.

“This approach has actually been practiced in quite a few places in the United States. The difference lies in the sheer scale of it,” Daniels said. “Universities can leverage their financial, intellectual and human resources to revitalize neighborhoods near their campuses, and they will be rewarded one day.”

Founded in 1876, The John Hopkins University is among the America’s top research institutions. It has four Nobel laureates on the current faculty and 36 in total since 1919.


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