Innovation districts are concentrations of research-oriented anchor institutions, companies, intermediaries, cultural amenities, community-oriented public spaces, retail and residential space.
In 2017, the Brookings Institution and Project for Public Spaces completed an 18-month study of Oklahoma City and its Innovation District potential. The report, “Positioning for Growth: Advancing the Oklahoma City Innovation District” finds that, with the right investments, Oklahoma City’s Innovation District has the potential to become a major center of gravity for regional innovation and economic development.
The Oklahoma City Innovation District is designed to be an epicenter for collaboration, innovation, opportunity, and economic growth. We convene divergent industries to create opportunities for next-level innovation, while positioning our city as a leading competitor for new companies, jobs and talent in a global economy. Its purpose is to capitalize on OKC’s dominant industries; investing in high-quality places where research institutions, firms, and talent concentrate and connect, and the district will support the entire region in being more competitive, both in attracting investment and the national and local talent necessary to continue Oklahoma’s economic expansion.
The Innovation District encompasses about 1.3 square miles east of downtown Oklahoma City, between NE 13-16th Streets to the north, NE 4th St. to the south, and Robinson and Lottie Avenues to the west and east. It crosses Broadway/Interstate 235 and includes Automobile Alley in addition to the Oklahoma Health Center, University Research Park, the Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research and Education (OAIRE) and numerous other institutions. The District is also home to the city’s bioscience sector, where many institutions are already conducting groundbreaking research and fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.
As part of the Bass Initiative, Brookings continues its work on innovation districts, dense enclaves that merge the innovation and employment potential of research-oriented anchor institutions, high-growth firms, and tech and creative start-ups in well-designed, amenity-rich residential and commercial environments.
In the year since we released “The Rise of Innovation Districts: A New Geography of Innovation in America,” Brookings has visited or interacted with dozens of leaders in burgeoning innovation districts in the United States and Europe. In so doing, we’ve sharpened our knowledge of what’s happening on the ground and gained some important insights into how cities and metros are embracing this new paradigm of economy-shaping, place-making, and network-building.
The Innovation District encompasses an area alternately known as the Oklahoma Health Center, OU Medical Center and the Health Sciences Center. The Brookings Institution and the Project for Public Spaces have been studying the district since October 2015. The district stretches north and south from NW 13 Street to Fourth Street, southeast to the railroad tracks, east to Lottie Avenue, and west to Robinson Avenue.