Work: create clusters of innovative people
People in clusters innovate at a quicker rate, sharing technologies and knowledge easier. In contrast to the Death of Distance global communications theory by Frances Cairncross, ideas need a tight ecosystem to foster creative growth – distance equals death. The ability for small firms to generate ideas and intermingle with larger firms who have the access to capital and the ability to scale and grow those ideas is imperative in entrepreneurial fields. This tight location clustering leads to job creation as well as more efficient product and service design. These Innovation District clusters become the new economic engines for the region, retaining homegrown talent from the surrounding city and intellectual institutions.
Live: build flexible housing options to work for flexible lifestyles
We must “continue to develop [Boston’s] urban vitality, ensuring that it is the kind of place that people from across the country, and around the world, want to live” and offer a complete suite of options. Entrepreneurs are constantly moving. Gaining access to housing comes at the cost of losing the flexibility entrepreneurial lifestyles require. For the entrepreneur who is never at home because she’s at the lab all night or developing a new program with her co-founders, an apartment that meets her lifestyle demands and budget near the office would be a great solution. The City of Boston is working closely with design professionals and developers to produce a palette of new housing options to fit the range of lifestyles and needs of the innovation workforce.
Play: provide public space and programming to foster an innovation ecosystem
Mayor Thomas M. Menino has spurred the investment of monies in transportation and municipal infrastructure that has sprouted a vibrant and diverse social environment filled with world-class restaurants, an active nightlife, unique cultural institutions, and a budding network of recreational opportunities. An abundance of collaborative venues and open space is critical to fostering the creative process. The Innovation District will offer unparalleled opportunities to organically grow projects and networks among entrepreneurs.
The urban lab component of the Innovation District is at the heart of achieving a new level of metropolitan livability. The current underdeveloped landscape will allow for the testing of groundbreaking technologies in clean energy, citizen participation, transportation, and city infrastructure. The South Boston waterfront is a proving ground for collaborative efforts between the City and its partners, scaling up the successes to benefit all neighborhoods.
The 1,000 acres of iconic waterfront property poses an opportunity to shape the future of environmental leadership. The Innovation District provides the space to test new technologies that will fundamentally change the way residents, workers, and visitors interact with the environment, while saving it.
The idea economy provides new opportunities for Bostonians of all backgrounds and education levels for shared innovation – ranging from manufacturing to human services to high-tech. By establishing a hub for emerging ideas and a development space to create new best practices, citizens across the city are able to benefit. As start-up companies take root and grow, they provides citizens with new job opportunities at a range of skill levels; the opportunity to test creative policy strategies can put Boston at the forefront of urban economic development in the twenty-first century; and the ability to conduct small scale tests of new technologies, materials, and designs to enhance urban life allows the implementation of only the most successful projects to other neighborhoods, benefiting all citizens of Boston.