What is an innovation district?

Innovation Districts, as defined by Washington DC think tank the Brookings Institution, “are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators, and accelerators. They are also physically compact, transit-accessible, and technically-wired, and offer mixed-use housing, office, and retail.”

Innovation districts bring together a diverse population looking for better places to live, work, and play, inducing an eclectic mix of housing, jobs, and amenities in a walkable community.

History of the district

In 2018, Mesa hosted two Brookings Institution officials who visited Mesa and found that Mesa was well posed to develop an innovation district. Mesa began construction on a new 63.5 million dollar building which will house Arizona State University's Sidney Poiter New American Film School. This program will serve as the anchor research institution for the Downtown Innovation District. The anticipated opening semester is Fall 2022.