For the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Region to continue to compete for the best and brightest minds to fuel economic growth, an Innovation District is essential. Increasingly they are drawn to cities with amenities and services that support collaborative work and an active urban lifestyle. To attract young creative scientists, entrepreneurs and design- oriented thinking, the new innovation districts are physically compact, transit- accessible, and technically- wired and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.
RESEARCH AND INNOVATION
Research and innovation encourage economic growth and job creation. For this research- related economic growth to happen, regional companies need to be in proximity to UMN and other partners in the new economy. Incubator space must be provided that allow start- up companies to scale up without having to leave the center of innovation. Towerside is ideally located for this to happen. Shared district systems planned within the area will provide benefits that improve economic competitiveness.
Public spaces including transit, streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas create a distinct and extraordinary identity grounded in locally- driven planning. This becomes the foundation for a 24- hour culture of interaction and ongoing innovation. The District is designed to put the pedestrian first, by creating a vibrant, safe and completely walkable environment. A Community Commons is situated in the vicinity of the light rail platform, welcoming people into the neighborhood. Places to gather, socialize and exchange ideas are plentiful.
SUSTAINABILITY AND RESILIENCE
Towerside is a living laboratory for the re-thinking and re-tooling of urban living to meet the sustainability and resilience needs of the future. Efficient buildings, renewable energy production, and restorative self- sufficient infrastructure and utility systems make the local community more resilient while also contributing to the resiliency of larger systems. District projects and culture prioritizes stewardship of water, soil, air, ecosystems and habitat through individual developments and public realm landscapes that are not only beautiful but perform for resilience. Sustainable building practices will be applied to all buildings, especially affordable housing.
The District will be a healthy community that makes the healthy choice the easy choice. The design and planning of Towerside makes healthy lifestyle choices easy and accessible for all community members from access to everything from healthcare facilities to parks to supermarkets, and infrastructure that welcomes community and activity. A healthy neighborhood image attracts forward thinking individuals, institutions, and companies, and provides the opportunity to measure outcomes around healthy community strategies. Healthy design and construction practices will be applied to all buildings including affordable housing.
DIVERSITY AND EQUITY
The economic value and environmental quality of Towerside need historically disadvantaged people and new Americans to become full participants in the region’s prosperity. It can be a generator of living wage jobs for diverse population groups that live in the adjacent community as well as those who commute by transit. Equity will be enhanced by providing opportunities for all to participate in governance and management of the community, which is envisioned as diverse in every way. A diverse mix of affordable housing is envisioned.
Towerside will be a real world demonstration of innovative approaches and technologies, which are baked into every facet of the District. It is a place where you see people of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels engaged through making, teaching, learning, and volunteering. This will create a living laboratory where people of all abilities can learn from these opportunities and continually support the research that will be developed around this community. It can also serve to measure outcomes and educate residents and the general public on sustainable development.
DESIGN, ART AND CULTURE
Authenticity and value come through concentrations of people producing art, cultural activity, and design of all kinds. Towerside is an intentional urban community infused with the arts and design. Residents and visitors view extraordinary art in restaurants, offices, and libraries or take in a performance. In addition, they can watch new ideas emerge in one of the community maker spaces, visit a gallery or museum, buy original art or design at a shop, and interact with public art. It is a place where visual and performing arts are the heart of an active, creative community.