| JM RAYBURN
As the United States continues to emerge from
the Great Recession, a remarkable shift is occurring in the spatial geography of innovation. For the last 50 years, Silicon Valley and other suburban corridors with massive corporate campuses have dominated the geography of innovation. These were built to be automobile-oriented with little emphasis on the quality of life or on integrating jobs, housing, and entertainment. Today, innovation is taking place where people come together, not in isolated spaces.
The shift in where innovation occurs has given rise to what many call innovation districts. These districts are sprouting up in urban areas where anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups and creative industries. The sort of creative industries we are talking about include design, architecture/urban planning, tech, advertising, and marketing. Many have a DIY aesthetic made possible by 3D printing and machinery, much like you see at the Columbus Idea Foundry. Innovation districts are compact and accessible by all modes of transportation. It’s all about programming: Choreographing spontaneous opportunities for smart people to interact with each other. This is what separates innovation districts from corporate science parks. Given all of these characteristics, innovation districts are taking root in world-class cities with both large employment markets and economic diversity. For example, the New York City economy is strong, vibrant and evolving.
While healthcare remains the City’s largest employer and financial services its engine of economic output, high-tech and creative industries are growing rapidly, changing the dynamics of the economy.