Kudos to Alan himself for keeping tabs on Quora (or whoever tipped him off about this question on Quora). He personally answered an inquiry about Xerox PARC with some wiki- and trivia-worthy information about the history of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center – notably including their research “principles” of operation (amazing!).
Q: What made Xerox PARC special? Who else today is like them?
A good book (pretty much the only good book) to read about the research community that Parc was a part of is “The Dream Machine” by Mitchell Waldrop. There you will find out about the ARPA (before the “D”) IPTO (Information Processing Techniques Office) set up in 1962 by the visionary JCR Licklider, who created a research community of 15 or 16 “projects”, mostly at universities, but also a few at places like RAND Corp, Lincoln Labs, Mitre, BBN, SDC, etc.
There was a vision: “The destiny of computers is to become interactive intellectual amplifiers for everyone in the world pervasively networked worldwide”.