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Brookings’ Emerging Innovation District Pilot Study

Posted Thursday, May 18th, 2017

Advocacy, Press Releases, Economy, Frontpage 1, home-inthenews-1

In the spring of 2015, a group of 10 major Philadelphia institutions and firms — Comcast, Drexel University, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, FMC, Independence Blue Cross, PECO, University City Science Center, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pennsylvania Health System, and Vanguard — came together to support the Bass Initiative on Innovation and Placemaking at Brookings in undertaking an analysis of the emerging innovation district in University City and western Center City. Recognizing the extent to which this hub concentrates an outsized number of the region’s innovation assets, these leaders engaged Brookings to help them understand the area’s distinctive strengths and to identify the as-yet missed opportunities to build on them in ways that advance the district’s innovation ecosystem and improve the competitive position of the Greater Philadelphia region.

To this end, Brookings—with analytic help from Mass Economics in Cambridge, Mass.—conducted an extensive, quantitative assessment (“audit”) of the innovation district. They examined numerous data sources to understand the district and region’s research expertise, industry strengths, and entrepreneurship outcomes; with Project for Public Spaces in New York, undertook on-the-ground observational research to understand how and when district spaces were utilized; conducted over 75 individual and small-group interviews; engaged with a project Working Group via monthly calls and meetings; and participated in several stakeholder meetings and workshops.

The Brookings’ Emerging Innovation District Pilot Study (Pilot Study) outlines the results of the audit and makes several recommendations that district leaders—working together with other key private, public, and civic leaders in the city and region—can employ to build a more innovative, entrepreneurial, and inclusive innovation community in the years to come. The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia is committed to leading the community dialogue to determine the best strategies to put the recommendations from the study into action.

Download the Pilot Study »

Read Brookings’ Press Release »

Download Project Background Factsheet »


Below are organizational contacts for press officers and staff who can provide additional information on the work of the Pilot Study partner group.

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Emily Ditomo, ditomoe@email.chop.edu

Comcast: Katie Lubenow, Katie_Lubenow@comcast.com

Drexel University: Niki Gianakaris, ng38@drexel.edu

FMC: Ken Gedaka, ken.gedaka@fmc.com

Independence Blue Cross: Ruth Stoolman, ruth.stoolman@ibx.com

PECO: Douglas Oliver, Douglas.Oliver@exeloncorp.com

University City Science Center: Jeanne Mell, jmell@sciencecenter.org

University of Pennsylvania: Tony Sorrentino, asorrent@upenn.edu

University of Pennsylvania Health System: Katharine Delach, katharine.delach@uphs.upenn.edu

Vanguard: Lisha Davis, lisha_davis@vanguard.com

Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation: John Grady, jgrady@pidcphila.com

Philadelphia Commerce Department: Archna Sahay, archna.sahay@phila.gov

Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia: Liz Ferry, lferry@chamberphl.com


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