Durham in North Carolina has done as much as any economic region in the country to transform its past into a modern economic powerhouse. In Duke University it boasts one of the world’s premier institutions
Research Triangle Park, meanwhile, is the world’s largest such concentration of scientific and medical research and manufacturing facilities. Together, Duke and RTP make clear why Durham is often called the city of medicine. In that city’s downtown, the past is becoming the thriving present at a dizzying pace. As the abandoned steel mills of Pennsylvania have provided an infrastructure for redevelopment, so have some 30 old tobacco warehouses and plants provided a framework upon which downtown Durham is transforming the economic engine of its past into a modern commercial economy. And the vibrancy of downtown redevelopment has greatly refreshed the area’s overall quality of life. Where once tobacco made the area an industrial zone unattractive to visitors and residents alike, today those 4 million square feet of old tobacco warehouses that have been or will be refurbished have made downtown a desirable destination.
For its size, you’d be hard pressed to find a region of economic development as vigorous as Durham.
With roughly 250,000 residents, Durham is part of a three-city metropolitan area that collectively forms the Triangle. And while Duke and two other major research universities in the Triangle—the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University in Raleigh—provide much of the knowledge power for new and expanding companies.
The Triangle also includes North Carolina Central University. It was the nation’s first public liberal arts college founded for African-Americans and, along with UNC and NCSU, is part of the 17-campus UNC System, long considered one of the country’s best in public higher education.