With the backlash from Amazon HQ fresh in our minds, it’s time to strategically think about how lessons from corporate innovations and digital technology services can improve and inform urban life in a way that puts people front and center.

Doing so properly, however, will require an investment in structured engagement processes from the onset to ensure community buy-in, legitimacy and genuine co-creation with the private sector.

Increasingly, people are living in cities — with 55% living in cities today and the UN estimating more than two-thirds of the globe’s population moving to cities by 2050. Moreover, cities are also becoming hubs of technological innovation. Metropolitan statistical area data shows us that cities are becoming home to more and more STEM and high-tech workers.

And in 2018, New York City raised almost $11.5 billion in venture capital (VC) funding, second only to Silicon Valley as one of the highest-performing innovation ecosystems. Global real estate firm Savills UK and many others are even referring to New York and similar cities as “Silicon Alley.” The original Silicon Valley now has a lot of competition when it comes to VC funding, a more diverse and skilled talent pool and opportunities.

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