Baltimore Street in Kansas City, MO’s Crossroads District. Photo by Chris Murphy via Flickr.
This Thursday we’re hosting Tech in the City: Startup Communities in Startup Places, a conversation about DC’s startup companies and the neighborhoods they call home. Follow the conversation on Twitter later this week at #TechintheCity.
Small tech startups are coming together in cities across the country to build communities of innovation and collaboration. Why are these communities taking root in the places they do? And what can cities do to foster these leaders of the new economy?
It may seem counterintuitive for competing companies to move close to one another, but there are reasons for startups to work together. As Brad Feld explains in his book Startup Communities, startups can be more successful, create more jobs, and attract more talent by working together to create an inclusive community of people who gather together to share ideas.
Dozens of cities in the United States are now home to one or more startup communities. These clusters of companies are often grouped around a shared resource like co-working space, a tech accelerator or university. It takes more than that, though, for a startup community to flourish. In city after city these communities are forming in neighborhoods with a common set of characteristics.
I call these neighborhoods Startup Places. Whether in former industrial neighborhoods, a city’s downtown or an historic district put to innovative new use, Startup Places have places to gather, a dynamic mix of people nearby, and affordable commercial spaces. These neighborhood features meet the needs of startup communities by giving startup leaders places to meet fellow entrepreneurs, mingle with new ideas, and find flexible office space affordable enough for a new business. Here’s a closer look at how neighborhoods like these come about.