Solving Cities

5 ways to foster innovation and technology in cities

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We're already seeing a push from mayors to attract tech entrepreneurs and creative talent to their cities. Now a national task force of mayors offers a blueprint to help cities foster more innovation and technology.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee will lead a national task force to help cities grow more technology jobs and foster innovation. The task force, announced at last week's U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, will look at priorities that mayors and Congress should make for innovation and technology to thrive in cities.

“Technology and new economy companies and the people behind them are the engines of innovation and job creation and, as cities, we must support policies that foster their growth and ensure our residents are educated and prepared for the 21st century economy,” said Mayor Lee in a statement. “Cities must be laboratories for innovation across the nation to create new jobs, improve government transparency and efficiency and build new public-private partnerships."

Here's the task force's blueprint for encouraging innovation and technology growth in cities:

  • Tax Reform -- The reform goal here is to make sure the tax structure is fair across all business sectors, including tech.
  • CEO Engagement -- The task force plans to work with CEOs, from small businesses to large corporations, to make sure cities are creating a good environment for business growth and attracting entrepreneurs.
  • A New Economy Apprenticeship Program -- This initiative would train local workers for new, high-tech jobs, both entry and mid-level.
  • Access to Public Data -- Opening up public data leads to the creation of innovative apps that help citizens better engage with the city.
  • Maintaining a Tech Friendly Ecosystem -- Build cities that attract creative minds. This means building more parks, open-space, public transit, and other quality of life enhancements.

We're already seeing a push from mayors to attract tech entrepreneurs and creative talent to their cities. But this task force should offer a clear path to help other cities that want to see more innovation in their city, but aren't quite sure where to start.

Photo: hyku/Flickr

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure