PRESS RELEASE: Norfolk Innovation Corridor Joins The Global Network of Innovation Districts

For Immediate Release

Contact: Linda Peck, Executive Director
Norfolk Innovation Corridor
Phone: (757) 904-5753

The Global Network of Innovation Districts

Norfolk Innovation Corridor has teamed up with an ambitious group of innovation districts worldwide to advance one of the most promising models for 21st-century innovation, work, and urban living.

For decades, isolated science parks and campuses defined where and how innovation was achieved. Accessible only by car, they gave insufficient attention to the quality of life or to integrating work, housing, and recreation. Now, Norfolk Innovation Corridor, along with a select group of other districts, has joined a new cohort that is part of the Global Network of Innovation Districts, to develop and highlight our more sustainable model. GIID launched the Global Network in March of last year with an initial cohort of 23 districts and is now expanding the network to include approximately 20 additional districts.

Innovation districts tend to be physically compact urban areas, transit-accessible and technically wired, with a mix of housing, offices, and retail. Leading-edge anchor institutions, companies, and centers of research excellence typically cluster within districts, connecting with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators. As a result, innovation districts provide the kinds of environments that today’s creative institutions, firms, and workers crave—physical proximity, mixing, and open spaces.

The Global Network is maximizing the potential of innovation districts by learning from high-quality research and by sharing best practices developed within ambitious districts around the world. These insights will help governments and investors see how to help innovation districts to be engines of economic development, social inclusion, and investment.

Those innovation districts taking part are located across Europe, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Australia, and Asia. They are exploring a range of issues, including, but not limited to, how best to leverage unique R&D strengths; ambitious efforts to attract industry and investment; and organized responses to the pandemic and climate change.

Through the Global Network, district leaders are sharing different templates for organizing innovation districts around, for example, governance and finance, as well as strategies for expanding employment and educational opportunities among disadvantaged populations in an equitable and inclusive manner. Districts are looking at different options for creating high-quality environments where diverse populations can enjoy living, working, and playing, all in a compact setting.

“In-depth research and on-the-ground practice demonstrate that successful innovation districts rely on a delicate balance between leveraging unique local assets and leading with intentionality. Strategic engagements with other districts around the world that are experimenting and driving cutting-edge practices provide the key to unlocking such intentionality. This is the value of the Global Network,”

– Julie Wagner, Founder of The Global Institute on Innovation Districts

The Global Institute on Innovation Districts

Over the next year, Norfolk Innovation Corridor will participate in a new learning program, consisting of deep strategic sessions with other districts to help them develop new approaches and systems for catalyzing their growth.

The Global Institute is an independent, international research organization dedicated to the growth of innovation districts worldwide. It has a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and practitioners, including leaders who have worked exclusively to advance innovation districts over the past 15 years. The Global Institute is led by its founder, Julie Wagner, who drew the world’s attention to the growing impact of innovation districts by co-authoring “The Rise of Innovation Districts,” a report published in 2014 by the Brookings Institution. Subsequently, Wagner has co-authored key research to codify this evolving model of place-based innovation, notably “The Evolution of Innovation Districts: The New Geography of Global Innovation,” published by the GIID in 2019.

To learn more about the new program that GIID is launching for new districts in the Global Network– please click here!