Hubs of innovation: The role of Districts, Corridors and Quarters as hubs of the Covid-adjusted innovation economy

This report by The Business of Cities for Connected Places Catapult focuses on what drives place-based innovation and the requirements, including leadership, investment and infrastructure, for places to make a change. The report is aimed at decision makers and stakeholders identifying and/or promoting innovation locations.

Date added 16 September 2021
Last updated 17 September 2021

*This resource is about place-based innovation. It is not specifically about the High Street, but has been included in response to requests for more studies/information about this topic, as well as linking to innovation and adaptability priorities for High Street vitality and viability*

This report by The Business of Cities for Connected Places Catapult focuses on what drives place-based innovation and the requirements, including leadership, investment and infrastructure, for places to make a change. The report is aimed at decision makers and stakeholders identifying and/or promoting innovation locations.

The report highlights ten innovation place formats that have emerged in the last decade:

  1. hub building;
  2. quarter;
  3. vacated site;
  4. campus;
  5. district;
  6. triangle;
  7. park;
  8. zone;
  9. corridor;
  10. landscape.

The ten types of locations share some common attributes that make them successful:

  • Quality and depth of collaboration between stakeholders
  • Physical and digital connectivity
  • Matching goals and resources with place-specific requirements
  • Anticipating growth
  • Understanding what attracts innovation
  • Proactive engagement

The report also uses the term ‘Innovation Economy’ and describes it as:

“what is fuelled or accelerated by the impacts of technology and talent on established and emerging industries”.

As such, the report argues that innovation economy affects all sectors and that cities especially are embracing innovation economy to drive resilience and growth, helping both large and small places understand their role after COVID-19. The report then discusses what an innovation economy needs, followed by a checklist tool of ecosystem conditions to test viability of potential centres of innovation. The checklist includes: economic demand drivers, framework conditions for business and investment, enabling infrastructure and skills and human capital.

The report also presents examples of innovation hub buildings, innovation quarters close to major rail termini, innovation sites vacated by a major employer, innovation campuses, innovation districts in inner city sites, innovation triangles, suburban innovation parks, out-of-town innovation zones, innovation corridors and innovation landscapes in the UK, along with accompanied checklists for each and case studies from around the world to demonstrate each type.