What type of characteristics do you see in college towns? Planning regulations in places and things done by cities in cause of the colleges nearby.
I first off usually see a Borders, Barnes N Nobles, or both in large college towns. I also usually see Peet's Coffee, Chipotle, and other hip places to eat or get a drink. Also in college towns you see more trendy stores. Trader Joes is a common market I see in college towns to cator to the professors and graduates of the university who stick around and others of the middle class that are concerned with what they eat. Whole Foods is becoming popular in college towns too, but is seen less because you need a higher amount of people who can afford to shop there.
I did hear the City Council of Eugene, OR banned Whole Foods from coming by not letting them locate in downtown Eugene bcause they didn't want competition with their farmer's market.
Another common trait of college towns I see is a push for sustainable downtowns and boo-ing of strip malls on the outskirts of a city.