Towerside innovation district, located at the heart of Minneapolis and St. Paul and residing on Dakota homeland, is a former-industrial district-turned innovation district. As such, Towerside serves as a catalyst for economic vitality, and is currently in the process of district-wide redevelopment. Towerside is both a geography and an organization, focusing on transforming itself into serving current and future residents, entrepreneurs, students, educators, employers, and visitors of all ethnicities with the resources they need. They are promoting innovation, entrepreneurism, wealth creation, multi-generational/racial/ethnic housing, commercial activity, climate responsiveness, arts and culture, and healthy living to create a lively public realm through the vision of their Three E’s: Equity, Economics, and Environment
Unlike other innovation districts, Towerside lacks a sustaining funder. This usually comes in the form of a research university, corporation, or municipality. As well, Towerside lacks a strong government partner. For this reason, Towerside has been limited in initiating and supporting large societal innovations – particularly those around equity, safety, health, economic mobility, and placemaking.
The project then aims to address these issues by identifying smart city frameworks and digital solutions which will shape Towerside into the most equitable, livable, workable, and sustainable district for current and future residents, students, entrepreneurs, and visitors. Further, it will determine how to simplify, attract, and enhance sustained and diverse stakeholder engagement. It will also determine what Minnesota industry or industries can fund Towerside, by asking the following questions: how can we attract said partners? How can these industries innovate for workforce development and equitable wealth-building in Towerside?