Innovation Beyond Downtown
Opportunity Outside of Downtown
When it comes to innovation, change is in the wind.
While the landscape of innovation used to lie squarely in the office parks and shiny streets of Silicon Valley, the boundaries are stretching and today’s tech entrepreneurs are looking for something different. This brings them to urban areas that are diverse, growing, vibrant and passionate. These communities offer a multi-faceted approach to innovation, and the pulse of energy required to engender it, both now and in the future.
While downtown San Diego has long been a hotbed of innovation, it’s time to start exploring outside the box.
What Other Communities Have to Offer
In a recent report released by the Brookings Institution, vibrant, up-and-coming neighborhoods are called “Innovation Districts” and hailed for their ability to inoculate the economy against boredom and stagnation.
The report states the following:
“Innovation districts represent a radical departure from traditional economic development. Unlike customary urban revitalization efforts that have emphasized the commercial aspects of development (e.g., housing, retail, sports stadiums), innovation districts help their city and metropolis move up the value chain of global competitiveness by growing the firms, networks, and traded sectors… “
These so-called Innovation Districts focus on the aspects millennials value in their lives. Instead of supporting the ongoing development of isolated office parks, Innovation Districts support the creation of proximal neighborhoods that offer ample amenities, eco-friendly features, diversity and knowledge tools like co-working spaces and more.
In so doing, Innovation Districts are helping to drive the creation of new products, groundbreaking technologies and unique solutions for common problems in San Diego and beyond.
By embracing urbanism in all its various forms, these innovation districts create a truly unique mixture of diversity, complexity and modernity, all layered appealingly over the built-in charm of these neighborhoods as they originally existed. In this way, they help support San Diego’s existing climate of innovation, while also ensuring that this innovation spills over its borders and helps out surrounding neighborhoods.
As companies, organizations, and community leaders ramp up to plan out new budgets and strategies for 2019 and beyond, I have a firm belief there are many diamonds in the rough to be found. It’s going to take key decision makers to dig deep and think outside the box to find innovators beyond downtown that can provide solutions to some of our biggest problems.