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How the U.S. government can boost urban innovation districts

Kendall Square, home of MIT and dozens of tech startups, is a well known innovation district. (e2dan/

The creation of innovation districts in American cities could be accelerated with funding and other support from the U. S. government. That’s the conclusion of Alex Jones and Bruce Katz in an opinion piece for the Brookings Institution.

Innovation districts are clusters of startups, established businesses and academic institutions that serve as economic engines for cities. They are popular with young professionals who favor urban lifestyles. These districts would benefit from increased federal investment in research, skills training and infrastructure, they write.

Jones and Katz cite a recent report, Technology and the Future of Cities, issued by U. S. President Barack Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, as the right approach. The report concludes that the federal government should play a greater role in helping to facilitate “technology-enabled cities.”

The report, available here, validates the importance of urban innovation zones as technology incubators, write Jones and Katz, metropolitan scholars at Brookings. They also view the report in the broader context of cities driving policymaking at the national and global levels. 

Brookings Institution

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