Cities as a Lab! Urban Innovation and Change
Sustainability & Innovation
Cities as a Lab!
Urban Innovation and Change
By Brooks Rainwater via Cityminded.org
Examples of this innovative change can be seen in forward-looking cities across the country. Innovation Districts are sprouting, with Boston’s new Innovation District boasting some 100 firms and 3,000 new jobs. The district hosts the largest start-up accelerator and competition in the world; its Innovation Center offers a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. The city’s once stagnating waterfront is rapidly becoming an economic powerhouse, a place to be, with livable mixed-use infrastructure, micro housing, restaurants, and cultural venues to attract a high-energy workforce. Public-private partnerships are spawning new opportunities with successful efforts like Chicago’s, which will leverage $20 million in capital raised through the financial markets for loans to city departments on projects that cannot be funded from existing budgets – but will lead to revenues or cost savings. The City’s new Infrastructure Trust is also the first in the U.S. to use private capital in order to retrofit over 1,000 buildings to make them more energy efficient, create nearly 2,000 construction jobs, and save $20 million a year in fuel costs.
Cities are working with property owners, architects, engineers, utilities, and other stakeholders to pilot replicable new models for the way that new and existing buildings are planned, designed, and constructed. Among these are the 2030 Districts in Seattle and Cleveland; the EcoDistricts in Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.; as well as the Living City Blocks in Denver and New York City.
To further existing efforts and imagine and design new initiatives that will positively impact communities, the AIA is working on a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment, Decade of Design: The AIA Global Urban Solutions Challenge. This commitment seeks to enrich global growth with far-reaching urban policies and focuses on creating great cities by leveraging design thinking, technology, and community participation. The focus of this commitment is to design and implement solutions that cities now face to promote public health, and enable efficient use of natural, economic, and human resources. In order to do this, the Global Urban Solutions Challenge is a commitment to address current and real situations, in specific communities, to demonstrate innovative and lasting effects. Current partners on this Commitment include the Rocky Mountain Institute and Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, and we welcome additional partner organizations in the collaboration.
The second approach mobilizes interdisciplinary university teams to engage with community and professional partners in a selected city to address a complex problem through a collaborative community planning process known as a charette, using design thinking and technology innovation. Teams will propose projects involving academia, practice, and community partners to identify a complex problem that can be addressed with innovative solutions. The charette will demonstrate through on the ground community involvement, visioning, and demonstration how a 21st century city can prepare itself for the radical changes that are upon us all as cities get smarter and design serves as the key integrator between technology and experience.
more information via cityminded.org
"city as a lab: designing innovation economy"
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