Oct 5, 201309:00 AMPoint of View

The METROPOLIS Blog

Cities are the Innovative Labs for the Future

Cities are the Innovative Labs for the Future

Vancouver. Net Zero senior housing, architect gBL Architects.

Courtesy Glotman Simpson (CC)

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The federal government is closed for business, but our nation’s cities are decidedly open. Mayors and other local leaders are working with designers, the business community, community members, and nonprofits to innovate and lead the way. It’s no surprise, then that political and economic power now finds its greatest expression through municipal governments, with cities becoming laboratories for innovation and change.

The fabric of the city, with its people, buildings, commerce, and transportation networks, promotes relationship formation, business creation, and game-changing ideas. The American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy initiative demonstrates how design can foster innovative approaches to our cities’ changing needs. Cities as a Lab grew out of the realization that policy experimentation and implementation has migrated downward from states to regions and municipalities that have stepped in to become more nimble proponents for democracy and experimentation.

Cities as a Lab Report 

Courtesy Chad Ress

If cities are to thrive, they must be great places.

Our economy is changing. Today the pace is faster, invention that relies on knowledge networks is increasingly distributed, and idea generation can be brought to scale in intensely connected settlements. In the area of education, rapid technological change requires learners to exchange skills and tools, both in school and through life-long education. Active living instigated through design interventions can encourage healthier behavior and improve wellbeing. Technological changes are all around us; and ubiquitous mobile data can access and unlock the secrets of the city, increasing livability and user-friendliness.

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Examining contemporary life through design, architecture, interior design, product design, graphic design, crafts, planning, and preservation.

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