Is the Innovation Economy a Cover for Gentrification?
In fact, says Chayka, the innovation economy looks a lot like gentrification:
"While innovation districts may catalyze growth, it remains to be seen how sustainable that growth will be. In the world of entrepreneurial technology, ephemerality and competition are king: The losers are quickly weeded out and the winners go on to be absorbed into larger winners. The process only benefits a thin spectrum of the population that already has access to the kinds of capital—education, real estate, connections—that the innovation economy thrives on. The rest, it leaves behind."
Chayka also argues that the report does not go far enough in suggesting strategies for innovation districts to promote inclusive growth. "Any city looking at developing an innovation district as a way to seek economic growth must ensure that it is sustainable, organic, and woven into the pre-existing fabric rather than simply plopped onto an empty-looking post-industrial neighborhood."