Innovation Districts

The National League of Cities (NLC) released a report on innovation areas within cities targeted to incubate creativity and build partnerships across sectors, highlighting Chattanooga.  Innovation Districts are urban planning models that catalyze economic growth by attracting entrepreneurs, highly skilled workers, and thought leaders. NLC notes that by locating resources, collaborative workspaces and job centers in cities, larger ecosystems may be created which foster innovative ideas and technological advancement.

I have witnessed the transformative power of an innovation district on a local community. Like Chattanooga’s Innovation District, which is anchored along its eastern edge by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Innovation Square in Gainesville, Florida has undergone a similar revitalization.

Innovation Square was created as a technology, science, research oriented development to attract and retain intellectual capital while expanding economic development and diversifying the economic base. The Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency worked in partnership with the University of Florida and City of Gainesville.

Innovation Square is a 40-acre urban master plan for a modern research and innovation community that aligns the private sector with the University of Florida’s access to cutting edge research and information, creating opportunities for collaboration. Innovation Square fosters a super business incubator that connects entrepreneurs with working capital to change the way we live, work and play.

As a graduate of the University of Florida, I  experienced the “before” of Gainesville.   Now, as the proud mother of a Gator currently residing in Infinity Hall, the nation’s first entrepreneurial-based academic residential community located within Innovation Square, I have witnessed the transformation.  It truly is great to be a Florida Gator!