Partnerships between municipal governments and other organizations are essential to improving cities. As university enrollment in America’s cities increases, city/university partnerships have become an important political tool. Although there is extensive research on the nature of these partnerships there is little research on how a city and university build a partnership from the ground up. This project looks at the relationship that developed between the city of Phoenix and Arizona State University (ASU) that resulted in the construction of a new campus in downtown Phoenix. Mayor Phil Gordon sought to find a solution to revitalize Phoenix’s stagnant downtown and ASU President Michael Crow needed additional space to supplement ASU’s overflowing Tempe campus. I argue that there are three key factors that caused the leaders of Phoenix and ASU to align their interests. The three factors are the use of New Urbanism as a planning strategy, the presence of “transformative leadership” and regime building. I followed a case study methodology and visited Phoenix for observational research and interviews with key figures in the partnership. I concluded that the three factors were present within the partnership and were integral components of a unique revitalization strategy.


Fitz Gibbon, Heather


Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning


partnership, development, regime, Phoenix, ASU, leadership

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Henry Waldron