3Q: Dennis Frenchman on the rise of innovation districts in Cambridge and beyond
MIT professor explains how “productive neighborhoods” can remake cities.
Cities around the world are redeveloping industrial areas, downtown districts, and exurban office parks with a mix of retail, housing, and the anchors of the new digital economy: startup incubators and co-working spaces. But beyond these basic ingredients, what makes a 21st-century urban neighborhood both a productive and an enriching place to live and work?
Dennis Frenchman, the Class of 1922 Professor of Urban Design and Planning in the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P), has played a leading role in the design and development of innovation districts around the world, from Medellín, Colombia, to Seoul, South Korea. He has analyzed the technological, social, and economic factors of their evolution, and the planning and policy strategies that encourage the growth of these “productive neighborhoods.” Frenchman is currently leading SA+P’s DesignX program to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship in design and the built environment.