Austin’s Innovation District: The Next Millennium Park?

Austin’s Innovation District will be an intentional community that brings together science, education, arts and nature. The Innovation Zone’s epicenter is at 15th and Trinity Streets, where UT’s Dell Medical School and the new Dell Seton Medical Center are now under construction, but its impact will stretch west and east, bridging the IH-35 divide. The redevelopment of Waller Creek adds the potential for the area become an iconic Austin gathering place like Chicago’s Millennium Park or Boston’s Kendall Square. Innovation zones are a way major cities seek to cluster academic, medical and corporate sectors through proximity, vibrant mixed-use development, elements of innovation and community engagement.

Local foundation staff and philanthropists got to hear from several of the project’s leaders:

· “We can’t be afraid of density. Proximity is crucial. We have an opportunity to shape the core of our city. How do we want to do that?” — Peter Mullan, CEO, Waller Creek Conservancy

· “We are transforming how health care is provided. We are thinking of health more broadly. We aim to encourage creativity and collaboration that lifts the whole community.” — Trish Young Brown, CEO, Central Health

· “The overall vision for the innovation zone is that Austin is the healthiest city in the country.” — Stephen Scheibal, Director of Community Engagement, Dell Medical School at UT Austin

· “Philanthropy is already playing a key role in developing the innovation zone.” — Tim LaFrey, Executive Vice President, Seton Healthcare Family

· “Spaces that foster creativity and interaction will be key. I envision creating sanctuary where people can gather and interact.” — Louis Grachos, Executive Director, The Contemporary Austin

Learn more about Austin’s Innovation District.

Learn about: Jewish Foundation of Austin and Central Texas

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