Raleigh's enviable "Best City" status today is at least partially due to the vision of local leaders in the mid-1950's. They hoped that an industrial park located near three major research universities -- UNC Chapel Hill, Duke, and NC State -- would be attractive to major national and international corporations. They located RTP (Research Triangle Park) next to the airport, with part of it in Durham County and part in Wake.
At first the Park struggled to attract companies, but in 1965 IBM announced that it would locate a major facility in RTP. After that, growth was rapid.
Today RTP is a 7,000 acre industrial park, home to approximately 150 companies and employing over 50,000 workers. IT/Telecommunications companies have a large presence (IBM, Cisco), as do pharmaceutical companies (GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer). Some 85% of the people employed in RTP have college or post-graduate degrees, which contributes to the high average education levels in the Triangle.
When you drive through RTP, there is little to see but wide, four-lane roads through a wooded, park-like landscape. Most of the buildings are on large campuses set back from the road. This is a photo of the Mary-Dell Chilton Center built by Syngenta Biotechnology on their RTP campus. Syngenta is a Swiss agribusiness company involved in biotechnology and genomic research.