Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America

“Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America,” a Brookings Institution report, reveals the global rise of innovation districts — geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators. Innovation districts “have the unique potential to spur productive, inclusive and sustainable economic development. At a time of sluggish growth, they provide a strong foundation for the creation and expansion of firms and jobs by helping companies, entrepreneurs, universities, researchers and investors—across sectors and disciplines—co-invent and co-produce new discoveries for the market. At a time of rising social inequality, they offer the prospect of expanding employment and educational opportunities for disadvantaged populations given that many districts are close to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. And, at a time of inefficient land use, extensive sprawl and continued environmental degradation, they present the potential for denser residential and employment patterns, the leveraging of mass transit, and the repopulation of urban cores,” according to the report.