The Role of Cities in Cultivating Silicon Valley Innovation
The post, “Big Idea 2014: Goodbye Silicon Valley, Hello Silicon Cities” caught our attention.
Bruce Katz, the author of the post and a vice president at the Brooking Institution, takes the position that while Silicon Valley has delivered stellar innovation for 50 years, its suburban model with isolated corporate campuses is about to be disrupted (to borrow Silicon Valley speak):
“Innovative companies and talented workers are revaluing the physical assets and attributes of cities. A new spatial geography of innovation is emerging and, in 2014, it will reach a critical mass worthy of recognition and replication.”
“This new model — the Innovation District — clusters leading-edge anchor institutions and cutting-edge innovative firms, connecting them with supporting and spin-off companies, business incubators, mixed-use housing, office, retail and 21st century urban amenities.”
Mr. Katz got half the equation right.
The Innovation District is taking hold, but Fremont shows a Silicon Valley city evolving to embrace this concept.
As Fremont gets ready for hundreds of acres of new development surrounding the new Warm Springs BART station in the heart of its existing Innovation District, special attention is being paid to create the “Quality of Life” urban amenities that are required to attract the young professionals who will live and work adjacent to this transit hub.
Bike lanes. Restaurants. Shuttles. A sense of place. Iconic architecture. That’s the vision. In the meantime, we are seeing the clustering of people and companies who are fueling the ideas of tomorrow. From the entrepreneurs at WorkSpace Fremont and Planet Magpie, to the engineers at Lam Research, Warm Springs is R&D Central.
The energy is spilling into “third spaces” including gyms and restaurants. Future event and education space will further enhance the collaboration currently happening informally. In other words, Fremont’s direction offers companies the best of both worlds, the goodness of Silicon Valley combined with the concentrated “amenities” that come from an Innovation District.
Perhaps the Brookings Institute would be interested in a guest post: “Hello Silicon Valley, Hello Silicon Valley Cities.”