Innovation Districts

As part of the Bass Initiative, Brookings continues its work on innovation districts, dense enclaves that merge the innovation and employment potential of research-oriented anchor institutions, high-growth firms, and tech and creative start-ups in well-designed, amenity-rich residential and commercial environments.

Innovation districts facilitate the creation and commercialization of new ideas and support metropolitan economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic attributes. These districts build on and revalue the intrinsic qualities of cities: proximity, density, authenticity, and vibrant places. Given the proximity of many districts to low-income neighborhoods and the large number of sub-baccalaureate jobs many provide, their intentional development can be a tool to help connect disadvantaged populations to employment and educational opportunities.

As part of the Initiative, Brookings and PPS are working deeply with a small number of burgeoning innovation districts, starting with Oklahoma City and Philadelphia, to distill practice-based lessons on innovation and placemaking, help local leaders better understand their assets, and develop strategies for vibrant and innovative mixed-use districts. Through the Transatlantic Innovation Districts Partnership, the Bass Initiative is also collaborating with Centre for London, London’s only dedicated think tank, to study and strengthen connections between innovation districts in London and across Europe. Through these and other efforts, the Bass Initiative is creating a global network of cities engaged in serious innovation and placemaking efforts through which cross-sector leaders can share best practices and learn from one another.

Read the paper: The rise of innovation districts: A new geography of innovation

Read the follow up: One year after: Observations on the rise of innovation districts

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