Innovation Districts for the Rest of Us
You'll learn about:
- The knowledge base and skill sets of planners with a better understanding of the various aspects of innovation and ways to better connect it with the city / regional workforce, physical assets and the larger economy to create a more sustainable and impactful program
- The opportunities and challenges of innovation as a “place” strategy including the role of “opportunity” for mid-level talent, economic equity for the community as a whole, finding a balance between anchors and startups, the role of business models and more
- New tools designed to address community equity as a part of innovation district planning
Innovation Districts are the latest buzz word in urban planning and redevelopment. The search for the unicorn (in venture capital parlance, the $1billion start up valuation; in an economic development context, the next Amazon) has become top of mind for planners and development officials seeking to spur redevelopment. Typically, major innovation hubs such as Boston/Cambridge or Silicon Valley are used as the measurement – a standard most communities will never reach on such a broad scale. Moreover, much of the discussion and activity regarding these types of centers and districts is largely focused on real estate creation. However, in practice, innovation districts are really “products” representing the intersection of physical assets, talent pull, idea generation, and vibe. And these “products” are increasingly competing with each other for scarce capital investment and talent to drive them forward. The real question for planners is how to become a destination community for talent and investment. Today branding an innovation district is simply not enough.
The inspiration for this proposal has come from years of corporate strategy and economic development consulting. The speakers for this session have worked on urban and rural regeneration development strategies and have found that many cities allocate their limited resources towards the real estate or placemaking but miss the issues of talent, business model design and linkage to the regional economy. This session will focus on understanding, and responding to, the complexities of innovation center development by looking at the economic, talent and land factors that determine investment.
, New Haven
Confirmed SpeakerMichael Piscitelli, AICP, is the Deputy Economic Development Administrator for the City of New Haven and the current President of the Connecticut Chapter of APA. Mr. Piscitelli previously served as New Haven's Comprehensive Planner in the City Plan Department and the first Director of New Haven's Transportation, Traffic and Parking Department. In these various roles, Mr. Piscitelli has worked on many of New Haven’s signature revitalization projects, including the conversion of Route 34 to urban boulevards, the Long Wharf Plan and the 100 College Street / Alexion development. Before moving to New Haven, Mr. Piscitelli served in similar capacities for the MTA/Metro-North Railroad and the City of Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Piscitelli earned his BA at St. Bonaventure University and MRP in Regional Planning at the University of Massachusetts.
, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
, Grand Rapids
Confirmed SpeakerAn award-winning planner by trade and an economist at heart, Kristopher Larson has spent the last decade helping good cities become great. Career stops as an urban designer and an economic developer enable him to speak with an enlightened enthusiasm about how the confluence marketplace dynamics, architecture, and the public realm translate into defining, place-making experiences. Larson currently serves as President & CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), the organization that administers both the tax increment finance and self-assessment districts for Michigan’s second largest city. In that stead, Larson sets the course for public and private improvements within the Downtown area and manages an annual budget over $7M. He has held positions on both the public and private sides of community leadership, with career stops in the Midwest and on both coasts of the United States. Prior to joining DGRI in 2012, Larson served as the Vice President of the Downtown Long Beach Associates from 2009-2012, and as the senior Planner at the Raleigh Urban Design Center (UDC) from 2007-2009. At the UDC, he led the development of the 20-year plan for Downtown Raleigh, North Carolina. Additionally, Larson also worked to develop a set of market-based metrics and benchmarks to guide public policy development. His work in defining the nexus between planning, policymaking, and market-based economics is heralded by planning enthusiasts and critics alike. Before joining the UDC, Larson served as the Deputy Director of the Downtown Raleigh Alliance. In that role, he helped gain the commitment of the City of Raleigh to invest nearly $300 M in public infrastructure in the Downtown. Within five years, that public investment yielded over $2 Billion in private investment. His proven ability to position organizations and communities for success is derived from a combination of strategic positioning, unrelenting passion, and facilitating inter-organizational collaborations that yield powerful results. An insatiable learner, Kristopher is constantly seeking to expand his knowledge of cities through service as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Downtown Association (IDA), and as a member of American Planning Association (APA). The IDA has awarded three Pinnacle Awards, their highest honor, to his projects in the fields and Planning, Advocacy, and Marketing. Additionally, Kristopher has been honored as a member of the “40 under 40” in both Long Beach and Grand Rapids, and in 2014 was named Grand Rapids’ “Young Professional of the Year”. In 2010, he earned the certified planner credential, AICP, from the APA, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from NC State University.
, Ninigret Partners
Confirmed SpeakerKevin Hively - Biographical Sketch Kevin Hively is the President and founder of Ninigret Partners (NP). Ninigret Partners is a business advisory & economic development consulting firm with offices in Providence, RI. Kevin’s business consulting practice has worked with a wide range of high tech industries including: Opto-electronics; Precision medicine; Biopharmaceuticals; Medical devices; Biopolymers; Software/digital technology; Additionally, Kevin has an active economic development strategy practice working with communities throughout the US. His innovation and talent related work has included the cities of New Haven CT, Pittsburgh PA, Detroit MI, Grand Rapids MI, Philadelphia PA, Muncie IN, and smaller communities across Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. He is a graduate of Brown University.
, Interface Studio, LLC
Confirmed SpeakerScott is an urban designer and planner with degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and Georgia Tech. He is the founder of Interface Studio, an inventive and imaginative planning and urban design firm in Philadelphia. Scott’s experience encompasses community revitalization strategies, city-wide housing plans, waterfront design, downtown revitalization, design guidelines and economic development and he has led projects in diverse locations such as Detroit, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Macon and Philadelphia. His work has utilized creative public outreach techniques in each project to enhance communication and collaboration between city officials, business leaders, non-profit organizations and local residents. Interface Studio's locally and nationally recognized work has resulted in creative and achievable actions that have been implemented at the community and city level. Scott is a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, serves on the Boards of the Design Advocacy Group and Citizen's Planning Institute in Philadelphia and was nominated for a Pew Arts Fellowship in 2014. His research on urban design, emerging technologies and sustainability has been presented and published both in the United States and Europe.