Champaign-Urbana has the best of both worlds – a dynamic urban community with a small-town feel. The thriving local arts and music scene means festivals, concerts, and exhibits galore.
Spend a night in the hustle and bustle of our downtown areas and find a bounty of unique restaurants, coffeehouses, galleries, shops and pubs. Discover a varied entertainment calendar that features world-renowned symphonies, Broadway shows, popular music stars, major dance companies and much more. Indoor/outdoor sports and recreation opportunities abound at top-notch facilities, parks and forest preserve areas. Annual highlights include critic (and native son) Roger Ebert’s film festival, the Illinois Marathon, and Big Ten college athletics events.
Home to one of the world’s great public research universities—and on a highly accelerated development track—Champaign-Urbana has emerged as a leading exemplar of micro-urbanism. Although the term “micro-urban” does not yet appear in the formal lexicon of urban planning or economic development in the following manner of speaking, it applies to population centers of 250,000 or less that possess a highly uncommon set of desirable attributes normally exclusively associated with much larger metropolitan centers. Among these are a vibrant arts/culture/nightlife scene, an internationally diverse population, a strong technology base, and a palpably animated public discourse on major societal and global concerns, such as sustainability and the environment.
The presence of such attributes within the context of a smaller population center—the size of which can provide advantages such as ease of transportation, more affordable living, and a stronger sense of community—positions the micro-urban lifestyle as an interesting alternative to what might be viewed as a heavier, more logistics-laden lifestyle associated with densely populated urban centers that can often diminish, rather than enhance, quality of life.
Deeply rooted in the heart of the American prairie, micro-urban Champaign-Urbana is home to Nobel Prize winners, Olympians, critically acclaimed international film and music festivals, world-renowned entrepreneurs, elite chefs, the nation’s newest major marathon, the newest and most powerful supercomputer in the world, radical transformers of the Internet, one of the nation’s elite public high schools, leading environmental scientists, the world’s premier university-based performing arts complex, numerous inventions that have changed lives for the better around the globe, a long line of distinguished artists, designers, architects, and landscape architects, and much more.
Smart, innovative, globally connected, and culturally rich, Champaign-Urbana is a micro-urban center on the rise.
Champaign-Urbana Named a Top 10 Tech City to Watch in 2014
Champaign-Urbana: Report on Technology-Based Economic Development Strategy
This Research Park, in coordination with the University, completed a report on strategies for technology sector economic impact in Champaign-Urbana. The Research Park commissioned Business Cluster Development to investigate which technology and industry sectors have the most potential for growing our local economy and leveraging the strengths of the University of Illinois and existing local industry successes. This study was completed to help compliment the strategic planning goals of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in supporting economic development. The research included interviews with government, university, business, and entrepreneurial leaders across the community to provide perspective of what they think has the greatest potential in Champaign-Urbana and the strategies and resources that should be implemented to make us successful. The consultant also included research of other universities and other technology-based economic development programs for trends and best practices that could be implemented here. The goal was identifying both short term and long term goals that could help achieve success.