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Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy
Healthier Communities Through Design, 2012. Photo by Iwan Baan.
Special Report from Sundance: a National Action Plan for Greening America’s Schools, 2011. Photo courtesy of Grimm + Parker Architects


Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy demonstrates how design can foster innovative approaches to the changing needs of American cities. The world is increasingly urbanizing and cities and their wider metropolitan areas are asserting themselves as a fundamental unit of the global economy. Cities can thrive by building transformational places that incubate creativity and adapt to future challenges and opportunities. Cities as a Lab explores the design and policy choices now creating the great places of the future: urban design interventions, visionary planning efforts, and public-private partnerships. The fabric of the city, with its people, buildings, commerce, and transportation networks, promotes relationship formation, business creation, and game-changing ideas.


Cities as a Lab: Designing the Innovation Economy shows how innovative design is helping to strengthen the economy and spur invention in cities across America. From district scale solutions that build the relationship infrastructure to colocation that creates eco-systems for relationships to germinate, design is transforming places and fostering connections in imaginative new ways. City streets are being re-imagined and temporary architecture is helping to revitalize dormant urban places, all while parklets and alleyways are creating new public gathering spaces. People are learning from one another in exciting new spaces, from robotic libraries to makerspaces that spark inventions. Walls are being torn down as offices and houses are reconfigured to meet future needs and realities. Ideas and energy are flowing, because cities are the place to be, and great design serves as the critical linchpin. Read Cities as a Lab to learn more.

Local Leaders Case Studies

The AIA develops resources for government leaders and community stakeholders who seek to expand green building and foster livable communities. The ultimate goal of the AIA is to help create vibrant communities where green design is integral to all building. Check out recent reports and the select case studies below.

LLIS City Case Studies 2009

Los Angeles | Boston | Grand Rapids, MI | Philadelphia | Nashville

LLIS City Case Studies 2008

Alameda County, CA | Hennepin County, MN | King County, WA | Montgomery County, MD

LLIS City Case Studies 2007

Portland, OR | San Francisco | Scottsdale, AZ | Chicago | Austin, TX | Atlanta


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