New York Times Article Excerpt
Innovation has always been a messy business, a twisting path of colliding ideas and accidental discoveries. What has changed over time is not how we innovate but where we innovate.
Bruce J. Katz, who founded the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program and is an author of the “Metropolitan Revolution,” said it hadshifted from research parks and suburban corporate campuses to companies that work with networks of researchers, entrepreneurs and investors.
And innovation isn’t limited to start-ups. Cities are undertaking groundbreaking projects to remake themselves physically, culturally and economically. —Eilene Zimmerman
KANSAS CITY, MO.
Kansas City, Mo., will soon have the largest co-working space in the world, one that was a large vacant middle school in the city’s center. It will also be among the most diverse co-working spaces — places shared by people working for more than one employer — with both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The former sports field will be a large urban farm and the headquarters of Cultivate Kansas City.
Why a vacant school? Because Kansas City has a lot of them, so many that in 2011 it started an initiative to sell, lease or reuse them. Of the 39 that were vacant, one was Westport Middle School, built in the 1920s.
In December, Sustainable Development Partners Kansas City, in partnership with the co-working company, began work to convert the school into a huge co-working space it has named Westport Commons.
The developer also has development rights to the vacant, 212,000-square-foot Westport High School, which sits across the street on 9.5 acres. It is envisioned as Phase 2 of the project. The campus will house event spaces and a recording studio, lab, game room, coffee shop, barbershop, fitness center and food bar. And it should be able to accommodate more than 50 companies and over 150 entrepreneurs.
Kansas City has become a hub for tech start-ups. It was the first community to receive Google Fiber, which is much faster than basic broadband.