Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From Research Hub To Vibrant Communities: Building a True 'Park' For Research

As research parks have sprouted across the country and around the world, universities and developers have made various innovations to the original concept. What had started as a neatly landscaped area of low-rise buildings where scientists and researchers work in cramped, low-rent facilities, research parks today are turning into lively communities with an atmosphere that's conducive to a live-work-play lifestyle.

Image source: photos.uc.wisc.edu

New research park plans now include caf├ęs, entertainment spots, and places for hanging out where scientists, research staff, engineers, and entrepreneurs can socialize or work outside of their usual office spaces. Some parks even incorporate nearby, affordable housing for the convenience of these professionals.

The Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina, one of the oldest and first parks to be built, has revamped the original research complex. It provides 14 miles of bike and jogging trails and has been adding thousands of housing units and retail centers.

When RTP acquired an additional 100-acre land for expansion, it had planned to make it not just a place for working and living, but a place for leisure. Management plans to add cultural attractions as well as a rail path that would connect RTP with the three vertex cities of the triangle. The goal, according to management, is to be able to attract the brightest minds to work in their research park.

Image source: Inhabitat.com

Dr. Russ Lea  is an entrepreneur, higher education consultation, and R&D administrator who has been instrumental to the development of various tech parks and research facilities in the U.S.  Follow this Twitter page for more updates.

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