Tech Cities: From Silicon Valley to Silicon Prairie

Since the Industrial Revolution, no singular industry has physically altered cities nationwide as significantly as the technology sector. In this tech-dominated era, communities are embarking on economic development and urban planning initiatives related to infrastructure, employment-center locations, housing choices, and amenities—such as high-speed internet access—that specifically target recruiting, expanding, and sustaining the tech workforce. 

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Corbis)

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Corbis)

It’s no longer just Silicon Valley where you’ll find hundreds of millennial tech employees; instead, the next generation of tech cities is emerging across the U.S. However, to accommodate current employees and attract more talent, established tech capitals face a different set of challenges than the newly emerging tech cities. While tech capitals have primarily reacted to the influx of residents and businesses—rapidly trying to develop and deploy housing, transportation, and commercial solutions—the next generation of tech cities is proactively combining economic development strategies, housing, amenity planning, and development tools to leverage existing assets, advance city growth, and reposition city economies in place-specific, provocative ways.

Agora Partners’ Managing Partner, Howard Kozloff, along with Christina Calabrese, recently published an article in Urban Land titled “Tech Cities: From Silicon Valley to Silicon Prairie.” This article takes the reader through the evolution of development and infrastructure prompted by the tech industry in two established tech capitals—the Bay Area’s Silicon Valley and New York City—but also delves into various effective strategies that are making the next generation of tech cities—examples include Denver, CO, Kansas City, MI, and Chattanooga, TN—successful. 

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Industry Denver, a 120,000-square-foot office space accommodating 400 tech and creative-sector workers. It also has three restaurants and more than 250 housing units. (Kimberly Wolff)

Industry Denver, a 120,000-square-foot office space accommodating 400 tech and creative-sector workers. It also has three restaurants and more than 250 housing units. (Kimberly Wolff)