Sam Seidel casts an eye on Innovation Districts

Sam Seidel (MUP ’01) is interested in innovation. Currently a visiting fellow at the GSD, Seidel is holding a series of events investigating Cambridge’s Kendall Square, one of the world’s most successful innovation clusters. In a February lecture sponsored by the student-led Harvard Urban Planning Organization, Seidel analyzed the district from different angles –history, relation to the wider region, urban form and the special role of universities in forming those clusters. As former Cambridge City Councilor, Seidel participated in many of the zoning decisions that led to the current incarnation of the area.
HUPO co-president Oscar Quintanilla said, “It was interesting to hear how planning, design and economic development have interacted in Kendall Square. Unlike cities that are trying to promote innovation districts, it happened in a more organic way in Cambridge. We hope this is the start of a broader discussion about what this new R&D economy means for the physical form of cities and neighborhoods.”
Indeed, as part of a larger research project, a number of planning students are currently meeting with Seidel on a weekly basis to study innovation clusters and prepare a forum for April 3rd. As part of this initiative (and open to everyone), the group will also facilitate a tour of Kendall Square on March 1st.
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