The creation of innovation districts is a recent trend in urban planning that has emerged as a new model to stimulate economic growth in cities across the globe. Since the 1950s, entrepreneurial clustering has been led by the spatial geographic model of Silicon Valley – suburban corridors with sprawling research centers and campuses. However, in the early 2000s mayors in European and American cities began dedicating zones in cities exclusively for the purpose of clustering entrepreneurs, startups, business accelerators and incubators. These spaces are easily accessible via public transportation, wired for public Wi-Fi, support mixed-use development, and nurture collaboration / knowledge-sharing.The first official innovation districts were in Barcelona, Spain with [email protected]
and in Boston, Massachusetts with the Seaport Innovation District. Following these two initiatives, mayors across the globe have replicated variations of this model in their own cities. Today, there are over 80 official innovation districts worldwide.Innovation Districts have proven to be effective solutions for cities to modernize their economies and pivot from traditional industrial-based production to technology-driven services. A wave of academic research is also emerging analyzing innovation districts’ positive effects on job creation and economic development.