Anatomy of an Ideal Startup Neighborhood

Brad Feld has a new book called Startup Communities coming out that I haven’t read but I have pre-ordered. I love thinking about what goes into a startup community and how to improve it. With the success of Tech Square at Georgia Tech by way of a high density of startups at the ATDC, Flashpoint, and Hypepotamus, I think that there should be more dialogue about startup neighborhoods (Brad Feld talks about it in a post: I’m in Cambridge, not Boston), with the idea that a neighborhood is an even smaller subset of a community, where a community is generally a city or metro area.

So, assuming a neighborhood has a much smaller geographic footprint, here are some ideas on what the anatomy of an ideal startup neighborhood looks like:

  • Great outdoor walkability to promote unplanned interaction with other community members
  • Excellent event space options (e.g. simple things like a small room in a coffee shop to larger options like big rooms that can accommodate 100 people)
  • High density of startups per capita
  • Food, drink, and entertainment options right within the area
  • Positive vibe that this a place people creative people want to be (likely a given if it has the above items)

Areas like Tech Square in the Midtown area of Atlanta meet these requirements whereas places like Buckhead in Atlanta are super nice, but don’t meet the walkability component (hopefully the new Buckhead Atlanta development in the old Buckhead Village does with all its outdoor space, restaurants, retail, and office space helps with walkability). Startup communities would do well to start narrowing in on startup neighborhoods and figuring out ways to make more focused areas successful.

What else? What are some other pieces that you’d add to the anatomy of an ideal startup neighborhood?

4 thoughts on “Anatomy of an Ideal Startup Neighborhood

  1. When Steve Balmer spoke at the St. Regis earlier this year, someone asked him, “What makes a great startup community?”

    He said essentially the same as what you have written, but added in that there should always be a great university nearby for startups to pick up hungry talent at a low cost. I’m so happy to know that we have Georgia Tech for that.

  2. I agree with the fact that there has to be an educational/creative facility near to cycle future generations in and out of the area. By creating a lively atmosphere NOT based around a car it’s easy to get people excited about the “neighborhood.” Space available for people to navigate by foot or by bike. Softening details like flowers, trees, planter boxes, art work and functional elements of outdoor “places.” All put together seamlessly in a dense, human-scaled environment.

    It’s actually quite easy – do the opposite of what has been done in the last 60 years. People are attracted to other people.

  3. I think that this is great. I would love to see a Manifesto for the startup neighborhood. We are building a business around creating startup neighborhoods and are trying to work it into a process and checklist. If you or Brad are interested in doing a workshop around startup neighborhoods we would be happy to host at t GeniusCorps Hacker Hostel at 444 Highland Ave.

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