Why Today’s Corporate Research Centers Need to Be in Cities

Something is happening in Midtown Atlanta. Georgia Tech’s city-centered campus has become one of the nation’s leading destinations for corporate research centers. Over the last decade, Tech Square, the eight-square-block area in Midtown designed to facilitate private and public research ventures, has attracted the corporate research centers of 12 Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, Panasonic, and Coca-Cola, as well as hundreds of small technology startups. And just recently, NCR, one of the largest U.S. electronics companies, moved its global headquarters from the suburbs to Tech Square, bringing along 3,600 employees. Midtown Atlanta is an example of the growing trend of companies relocating major research facilities to be near urban universities that provide mixed-use amenities, lively places, and a high density of firms. For example, Pfizer recently moved one of its largest research centers to Kendall Square in…


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