Innovation in Neighborhood Renewal via Targeted Research and Development
Acts: Blackwell: Barabási: Jane Jacobs: Prahalad: Moss Kanter: Von Hippel: : :
Wealth of neighborhoods History of economic impact of redlining Network effects neighborhood resilience Cities as centers of creative economies Poor communities as emerging markets Community based R&D User (bottom-up) based innovation
Background:: Re-G is a title chosen to stimulate conversation around social and business dynamics of urban renewal. Re-G, as in, Renewal without Gentrification. The Re-G model is an organizational design for sustainable economic development. The central theme: Jump-start innovation by encouraging aggressive, market based, private sector investment in public areas with the greatest economic and social need. The model is a synthesis of traditional approaches; social activism typically applied in efforts aimed at urban revitalization, and redesign strategies typically applied in efforts to revitalize stalled, or disrupted businesses: The success of the model depends on creating a dynamic of feedback and cooperation between community and corporation. A dynamic with the power to predict the future value of business concepts and create the means within the community to deliver that value.
 Central to the Re-G model design is the need to re-instate strong ties between urban and rural renewal efforts. Research into the dynamics of historical links between rural migration and urban development promises to reveal the special characteristics of target areas that can be leveraged in designing innovations linked to the special creativity in a given area.
At the core of this model is a belief in the truth of the idiom that “necessity is the mother of invention”. Typical approaches to both managed innovation, and committed giving are becoming less effective because they are impacted by the same dynamics; the dynamics of increasingly complex customer needs, and, increasingly local differentiation of these needs.Competitive pressures in rapidly changing markets and, the structural - largely geographic nature of economic disadvantage, beg for an intersection in effort.
The proposed approach:Marry the risk-taking inclinations of corporations in pursuit of market leadership with the tenacity of social change agents and expect the offspring to be sustainable growth and structural change rooted in proven collaborative innovation. Combined, these efforts form a new approach to public-private partnership in which corporations redirect R&D spending to seed innovation in civil society designs for community development.The collaboration can help both respond to the increasing variability in demand.The ideal result; depressed and abandon areas are transformed into emerging market test beds, rich in diversity of need and the promise of opportunity for replication and expansion. Strategy: Market making meets neighborhood development locally and globally.
The goal of the Re-G proposal is to find ways to revitalize rather than reconstruct, to renew rather than replace, to create within rather than destroy and rebuild. In short, Re-G seeks to operationalize the idiom; to demonstrate that necessity, is truly, the mother of invention.
" we will foster diverse creative and imaginative economies.. ....vibrant places... ...that allow our businesses and workers the best opportunities to innovate and succeed..." President Barack Obama, Conference of Mayors, February 2009