The US-Australian City Exchange on Innovation Ecosystems, presented by the Future Cities Collaborative, an initiative of the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, coincided with the Australian Federal Government launching the National Innovation and Science Agenda to embrace new ideas in innovation, harness new sources of growth, and challenge city shapers to look for new ways to transform our cities and create a modern, dynamic, 21st century economy. Australian cities need precincts and districts where innovative ideas can flourish, where universities and businesses can interact, and where access to the latest technologies is guaranteed.
The Exchange examined the various elements that contribute to the success of an innovation district – from the physical infrastructure to the social, economic and cultural shifts that need to occur to generate a thriving innovation ecosystem that generates jobs in the new economy. With limited public resources available to achieve this change, city-shapers will need to learn how to create and sustain successful districts that can contribute to the new economy, provide housing and civic amenities, and renew inner-city precincts into world-class urban areas that are vibrant, connected, competitive, and resilient places.
There is no straight line to this future as our exchange demonstrated as it visited San Francisco’s biomedical and technology hubs; Seattle’s Amazon Campus at South Lake Union; Boston’s global creative incubators; New York's reinvented global engineering hub; and Philadelphia's University City District, a site of research for The Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking, a collaboration between the Brookings Institution and Project for Public Spaces.