WASHINGTON, DC, October 14, 2015—The Brookings Institution and Project for Public Spaces have begun an 18-month study of Oklahoma City’s emerging innovation district, an area encompassing the Oklahoma Health Center and Automobile Alley. The study will focus on the district’s economic strengths and quality of place and is part of the Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking, a joint initiative Brookings and PPS launched last week.
The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking aims to catalyze a new approach to city-building that integrates the reinforcing benefits of vibrant public spaces, innovative urban economies, and inclusive growth.
The Bass Initiative will build on Brookings’s research on innovation districts—dense, amenity-rich enclaves that are typically anchored by R&D institutions and facilitate new ideas and businesses—and PPS’s long track record in placemaking, a participatory community process to develop quality public spaces by capitalizing on a community’s assets and potential. It will encourage mixed-use entrepreneurial and cultural districts through research, network building, and on-the-ground projects, including studies of the innovation ecosystems in Oklahoma City and Philadelphia.
The initiative’s Oklahoma City study will use quantitative analysis and stakeholder interviews to audit the innovative industries and networking and physical assets in the burgeoning Oklahoma City innovation district. The resulting research will suggest ways to maximize and connect the district’s quality of life and economic strengths and bolster its position as a key driver of the regional economy.
The Oklahoma City study is funded through a collaboration of Oklahoma City organizations that includes four lead partners: the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Presbyterian Health Foundation, the Oklahoma Health Center Foundation, and the Alliance for Economic Development/City of Oklahoma City. Additional community supporters include the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and the University of Oklahoma.
The study will build on Brookings’s and Project for Public Spaces’ deep experience working with local leaders to research and implement best practices in urban economic development and placemaking.
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities. As the central hub of the global Placemaking movement, PPS’s pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.