Last year, in San Fransisco, 60% of real estate was leased by tech companies. In New York City, the cab industry has declined in the wake of Uber. Chattanooga, Tennessee has witnessed a huge shift from manufacturing jobs to technology jobs in the past few years. What do all of these cities have in common? They all stand to be reinvented by the powerful technology industry that’s reshaping cities all across the world.
Certain cities like San Francisco and New York City have been more desirable, historically, to tech giants. They offer urban amenities and a diverse cultural landscape. But a city like Chattanooga, TN, is a new player to the game, thanks to the installation of the city’s new, high speed fiber-optic network. The network runs ten times faster than a traditional broadband service and has attracted companies of all sizes to make their home in the southern state.
An influx of technology jobs can often lead to disruptions, like a lack of housing, or a decline in specific industry-related jobs. But despite these disturbances, many cities continue to embrace the startup industry. Why? To start, the tech sector brings more than an innovative spirit; it forces a city to reassess its existing structures and allows for positive growth.
Many cities like Silicon Valley and San Francisco have already reinvented themselves to adapt to the changing economic and social aspects that the new industries bring. Here are three ideas that all cities can implement to become stronger, more vibrant communities.
Build better schools
Far too often, schools are designated as poor investments in a city’s health. And while providing schools with extra resources may not yield immediate results, the future benefits far outweigh the initial investment. School’s act as the pipeline for a city’s future growth and success. Students who receive an outstanding education are more likely to attend college, work in the area, and give back the community that initially supported them.
Higher education is also a critical component in a city’s adaptability. In Durham, NC, where the tech sector has increasingly grown in the last five years, Duke University continues to evolve with the transformation. The University has invested in a new program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This new major prepares students with the technical skills and creative practices needed to succeed in the tech industry. Schools like Duke, who collaborate with the local tech industry are excellent pipelines, providing recent grads with jobs in the local area.
Create mixed-use developments
Cities are moving beyond the single-use development of the past and embracing the idea of inclusive amenities. Menlo Park, CA has recently started construction on a new project, the Menlo Gateway, that will host numerous office buildings, a luxury hotel, and a large gym. By planning collaborative projects like Menlo Gateway, the development stands to attract more tenants and community members, making the site an asset to local businesses and individuals.
Prioritize Transit-Oriented Projects
In the same vein as the mixed-use developments, cities that emphasize ease of mobility stand to be more successful in the future. Many urban-dwelling millennials are ditching cars and relying on mass transportation. This benefits cities in multiple ways. The city can invest in better public transportation, creating more jobs. The shift is also a huge investment in sustainability. Cities that prioritize infrastructure will be able to retain large companies while regulating the ease of travel for all residents.
A city capable of hosting and growing with the world’s largest industry stands to benefit the most economically, socially, and culturally. These ideas not only benefit a city’s ability to keep pace with the tech sector, but they elevate the standard of living for all residents.