Innovation Districts: Establish and support Innovation Districts to employ district-scale infrastructure and systems and to implement flexible policies and practices that allow for experimentation and innovation consistent with City goals.
Innovation Districts are an increasingly common tool in cities used to spur and facilitate growth of quality jobs; to coordinate district approaches to stormwater, energy, parking, place making, green space, and waste management; and to increase the tax base. Innovation Districts deliberately form stakeholder collaborations, bringing businesses, residents, non-profits, academia, government, and major institutions together to organize development, manage district systems, and act as a living laboratory for future-oriented research to make progress on big challenges like inequality and climate change.
The Brookings Institution, Project for Public Spaces, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, among others, all recognize the importance of innovation districts. To make these districts thrive, they must be walkable, transit accessible, compact, and include a mix of residential, business, cultural, and retail uses—these attributes help facilitate established institutions and businesses clustering around incubator spaces, maker spaces, and start-up hubs.
Innovation districts are opportunities to experiment with, visibly demonstrate, refine, and produce replicable models of best practices in planning and district systems. This innovation results from intersecting ideas, cultures, and income strata. Innovation should also reside in the infrastructure and systems of an Innovation District, which should be designed to tackle Minneapolis’s and the country’s greatest challenges, from inequality to climate change.
The City will seek to accomplish the following action steps to establish and support Innovation Districts to employ district-scale infrastructure and systems and to implement flexible policies and practices that allow for experimentation and innovation consistent with City goals.
- Support district approaches to energy, stormwater, parking, waste management, and public realm systems.
- Allow for and encourage experimentation and innovation – including through changes to City policies and practices – consistent with City goals and expressed priorities of a given Innovation District such as sustainability, job development, production, equity, and affordability.
- Support funding for redevelopment opportunities including housing,business development, sustainable district infrastructure, and greenspace, with priority given to affordable housing and/or job creation initiatives and projects.
- In exchange for redevelopment and district system support, require above-standard developments and systems in energy efficiency and production, stormwater, parking, waste management, and public realm.