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

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2014 Henry Waldron