Innovation Districts on the Rise

Innovation districts are on the rise globally. Brookings Institution plans on shedding light on why.
Cortex Master Plan (Innovation District), St. Louis

Cortex Master Plan (Innovation District), St. Louis

A new urban model is emerging giving birth to “innovation districts.” By definition these geographic areas are where leading-edge institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. These areas are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically wired and they offer mixed-use housing, office and retail for all inhabitants.

The trend can be traced back to locales such as Silicon Valley and is expanding into more areas while becoming a driver of the real estate sector. “Innovation districts are the manifestation of mega-trends altering the location preferences of people and firms and, in the process, re-conceiving the very link between economy shaping, place making and social networking according to a Brookings Institution white paper The Rise of Innovation Districts.

District Hall (Boston's Innovation District Hub)

District Hall (Boston’s Innovation District Hub)

At MIPIM 2016, one of the world’s leading real estate market, conference and networking events, a session titled “Innovation Districts: A New Urban Development Model Emerging in the United States” will examine research findings on the creation of innovative urban developments conducted by Brookings Institution, a private nonprofit organization devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions. The panel, which was made possible by sponsor Lennar International, will focus on the heightened clustering of anchor institutions, companies and startups in small geographic areas of central cities, which are emerging across the United States, Europe, and other global regions.

“Lennar has worked with the Brookings Institution for years as they’ve developed their thinking behind what makes innovation districts in urban areas engines of progress and jobs producers of consequence,” said Chris Marlin, president of Lennar International. “We are thrilled to bring this thinking—and the imaginations and intellects of Bruce Katz and our panel—to the MIPIM experience this year. It won’t disappoint.”

The conference session will examine three innovation districts and how a diverse set of city builders and investors are altering the way they design and develop districts to realize their full innovation potential.

“The rise of innovation districts in urban areas around the world is both predicated on smart real estate and design

Great Lake's Coffee, Detroit Innovation District

Great Lake’s Coffee, Detroit Innovation District

decisions and provides a tremendous opportunity for the real estate community going forward,” said Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution vice president and co-author of The Rise of Innovation Districts. “These open-innovation economic hubs prosper when creative business, residential, and leisure spaces exist in close proximity; real estate is essential to their success.”

The “Innovation Districts” panel will take place on Wednesday, March 16th as part of MIPIM 2016 in Cannes, France, March 15-18, 2016, and will be moderated by Julie Wagner, nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-author of The Rise of Innovation Districts.