Future of Science Parks
This started out intriguingly by iFTF’s Anthony Townsend‘s “The Future of Technology-led Economic Development“. Research parks and incubators are starting to show their age as an economic development tool. Tectonic shifts in the way scientific research and technological innovation happen are leaving them behind, and pioneering new models of collaboration that will require us to rethink how we create places for these activities.
Townsend’s work focuses on the impact of new technology on cities and public institutions, essentially the intersection of science parks + incubators, mobility + urbanisation, future R&D models. It’s fascinating stuff, especially relevant as Singapore was one of the first to enter the real estate science park play and make it really work as a driver of growth.
Townsend is now building out the iFTF ‘Science in Place’ program, which will focus on understanding how future science and technology trends will shape innovation at various scales: the laboratory, the campus, the region and the world. Townsend’s ideas are also summarised in his slideshares below.
I think the last slideshare is the more interesting one. Specifically, most of what Townsend mentions are not unknown to Singapore, and we are already doing it. What is missing is the flexibility, what in FG we used to call scalable infrastructure, to quickly build out for prototyping. Here you might want to take a look at slide 34 for the ecosystem of innovation that builds in community buzz and experimentation (instead of science being isolated) and slide 44 which actually urges mixed uses for future science spaces. Our Biopolis is a step in the right direction, but so much more should be done.
Finally, also in collaboration with Townsend, a Future of Science Parks map. Both Townsend and the creators of the prezi map mention they will unveil the full results of the future of science parks forecast at the XXVI Annual World Conference of the International Association of Science Parks in Raleigh, North Carolina, June 1-4, 2009.