We spent last week in Cambridge, and it's easy to see the upside of a big university on its surroundings. As we wound our way through the side streets in an effort to avoid Harvard Square at graduation time, we could see the sprawling evidence of gentrification everywhere--Central Square, Inman Square, Davis Square, Porter Square, etc. The subway has gone farther north, but so has the population. And it's not all students anymore--the same young professionals that we are hoping to retain in New Haven are buying condos in converted triple deckers and apartment buildings, and all of the retail and nightlife that follows such is thriving.
While New Haven isn't attached to a large city, as Cambridge is, you can really see the possibilities of building upon the advantages of a college town. If we can continue to add jobs in the sciences and information-based arenas, and we can still provide the entertainment and dining options that New Haven is known for, then our future will stay bright.
And what do we need to do to help this process along? It's pretty simple--create jobs. Connecticut and New Haven must work together to make it an attractive place to start and expand businesses. The City must also focus on keeping crime low and attractiveness high. Private entrepreneurs, whether in real estate or investment or venture capital, can do the rest.