2019 National Planning Conference

TransformingTech: Shaping the Geography of Innovation

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 1 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198194

Location: 2006

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  • Understand the physical attributes of place that support innovation and firm performance and the ways in which planning and urban design facilitate these attributes.
  • Recognize the increasingly diverse spectrum of developments, spaces and place types being built across a broad range of geographies.
  • Learn about the recent trends impacting tech-oriented planning and real estate development, and the factors and challenges that tech firms face in making real estate decisions.


As the economy emerged from the Great Recession, job recovery in many areas has been led by growth in technology sectors. Comprising the industries with high shares of workers in S.T.E.M. fields, tech job growth has been a major driver of office market resurgence. Moreover, recent studies indicate that tech is an important source of secondary job creation and regional economic development. Not surprisingly, cities outside of traditional tech capitals look to cultivate their own advanced industry clusters to spur economic development. As Silicon Valley and Puget Sound compete with downtown San Francisco and Seattle for talent and venture capital funding, rising costs in first-tier markets benefit emerging clusters in places such as Austin, Texas; Oakland, California; Portland, Oregon; Chicago; and Denver. These second-tier markets seek to agglomerate physical, human, technological, and financial capital to foster economic development by creating “innovation districts.” In this charged atmosphere, speculation regarding the relative urban-ness or suburban-ness of the tech Industry’s future abound. Lost in the debate is an understanding of the place-based drivers that impact firm performance. Learn about the trends impacting tech-oriented planning and development, the evolving geography of advanced industry clusters, and the transformative potential for the American city.

This course is approved to offer 1.25 LUs (AIA).

Session Speakers

Benedict Tranel
San Francisco

Kelly Pretzer
Brookfield Properties
San Francisco, CA

Allison N. Albericci, AICP
City and County of San Francisco, Planning Department
San Francisco, CA

Kristi Loui, AICP
San Francisco, CA