Why smart cities should star in the innovation budget

The report charts a global trend that's seeing tech companies that once would have set up in research parks on the edge of cities heading downtown. They're moving because today's breakthrough technologies are pulling together disparate parts of the economy and consequently, entrepreneurs need to collaborate with people working in diverse fields.

Over the last decade, more than a dozen cities – mostly in North America and Europe – have created innovation districts to attract these companies. In Canada, Toronto's Discovery District comprised of MaRS, the University of Toronto and five research hospitals, is now home to the Canadian headquarters of global leaders like Facebook and PayPal alongside scores of startups. Similar innovation hotspots exist in Vancouver, Waterloo and Montreal.

The report suggests that to compete with the global leaders in innovation – places like Silicon Valley, New York and London – Canada should invest in these centres to support vibrant innovation communities that draw in the talent and investment startups need to grow.

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