The Brookings Institute defines innovation districts as “geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions (Innovation Depot in our case) and companies cluster and connect with startups, business incubators and accelerators. They are also physically compact transit-accessible and technically wired while offering mixed-use housing, office and retail in close proximity.”

If this were written with a Birmingham focus, the anchor institution is Innovation Depot and the companies that cluster are those like Pack Health. The startups are those found in Innovation Depot and the incubators are programs such as the Velocity Accelerator. The area we are beginning with is compact only spanning a handful of blocks – roughly 1st to 4th Avenues N and 16th Street N to I-65 – adjacent to the city’s Intermodal facility and within walking distance to the city’s largest urban park and more than 2,000 apartments, lofts and condos.