The Future of Urban Planning: Innovation Districts

The world as we know it is ever changing, and our cities are growing at a rapid pace. For designers, this is a good thing. They thrive on populated areas where a diverse group of people are able to mix and exchange ideas. Town centers, entertainment venues, and downtown areas all examples of this concept, and all have something in common. What, you might ask? Other surrounding businesses that are strategically placed. Here are three ideas that characterize an innovation district.

Anchor Locations

In populated neighborhoods or regions within a city you will find shopping areas that has one or two main locations. These locations are often hospitals, research centers, universities, or supercenters such as Walmart or Target. A variety of businesses are strategically placed around these locations to diversify the location. These businesses include dining locations, retail, offices, open greenspaces with a focus on a variety transportation options. The favorable option of transportation is mass transit due to its ability to reduce traffic congestion and reduces emissions.

Distribution of People

People are the driving force behind all designs in urban planning and development.

Designers find there is a benefit in having accidental collisions among between people in a workspace. That is the fundamental goal of an urban regeneration strategy. Innovative districts are designed to encourage the distribution of people and ideas. A widespread Wi-Fi service is provided to encourage people to work outside of their traditional workspace and collaborate with others.


Areas with a waterfront or skyline view are ideal locations for innovation districts. The aesthetic of the design is essential, but the infrastructure of the design is most important. There are numerous elements that contribute to the functionality of the innovation district. Utilities, pneumatic waste-handling, gas lines, and underground tunnels for freight all ensure a secure infrastructure and creates room for upgrades.