U3 Advisors first began working in Detroit in 2009, when a group of local philanthropies engaged U3 to assess if there was an opportunity for Detroit’s anchor institutions — its Eds and Meds — to have a greater economic impact on the city. Together, Detroit’s three largest anchors institutions - Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, and Wayne State University - employ over 30,000 faculty and staff, enroll over 27,000 students, and spend nearly $1.6 billion in goods and services annually. Through a data driven approach, U3 Advisors concluded that there was tremendous potential to capture the anchors’ economic impact within the city, and accordingly created a place-based economic development strategy that defined Midtown as the urban core of the city. Subsequent analysis and visioning resulted in several major initiatives.
North Oakville’s “Innovation District” embodies a new kind of urbanity, where people work and live, where places are built for people not cars, where density and mixed use arrangements facilitate collaboration and creativity, and where healthy living and sustainable growth is in the DNA of the District. U3 Studio, a collaboration between U3 Advisors and Corneil Collaborative, is working with Oakville Green to realize the "Innovation District" vision.