Cleveland Midtown Tech Hive: Technology & Community
All my life I have loved cities and strived to understand them. What makes a certain block bustle? Can that historic building be revived? How to connect residents separated by a major thoroughfare? These days I am lucky enough to be thinking about these questions full time as Director of Place at DigitalC. When I am not wrangling my seven month old sons, I spend my days creating welcoming spaces for working and learning in Cleveland’s neighborhoods.
Supporting Cleveland’s Entrepreneurs
Susan runs a small consulting firm and is a grandmother of three. Bill’s data startup won its first round of seed funding last week. Sylvia, a powerful community organizer, wants to learn digital mapping skills that will really let her flex some muscle. And Marcella hopes to take a class to develop the digital skills that will help her connect to her family in California and her primary care physician in University Circle. What do all of these Cleveland residents have in common? As diverse as their needs are, they will all find a home and resources available to help meet those needs at the Midtown Tech Hive, opening this fall in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood.
So what’s a Tech Hive? Well, the idea was born as my DigitalC colleagues and I began looking at what was happening across the US. Cities leading the tech economy such as Austin, Boston, and Pittsburgh were home to dozens of innovation spaces. However, these spaces tended to serve a specific user base: technology entrepreneurs, social impact firms, or hip creatives. As DigitalC focused its work at the intersection of community and technology, the need for a new type of space began to emerge – a neighborhood-based space which welcomed a range of users from those seeking basic digital literacy to technology professionals. This space would welcome members to work, learn, and collaborate around community and technology.
DigitalC aims to begin to address this need by developing the Midtown Tech Hive located at 6815 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland’s Midtown neighborhood. The Midtown Tech Hive will house Cleveland’s first neighborhood innovation space anchored and operated by DigitalC, an organization dedicated to making Cleveland a thriving hub of innovation and digital inclusion. The Hive will provide vibrant workspace, feature robust 18-hour programming, and a commitment to a diverse user base.
The Midtown Tech Hive
The Hive model includes a full time program manager and a community organizer to ensure robust, varied programming to attract and engage a wide spectrum of users. Programs will include civic tech events, art openings and classes, digital literacy training through DigitalC’s ReStart program, and classes such as data & coding bootcamps, as well as community meetings and events. Additionally, the space will provide street level retail serving (stay tuned for more details).
So what do the guts of the Midtown Hive actually look like? The Hive will occupy two and a half floors or approximately 13,000 square feet. The first floor features a street level retail space, full time staff to welcome and support community members, a 36 seat classroom, open desk space (non-reservable), reservable conference spaces, a kitchen, private “phone booths”, and a wellness room. The second floor is home to the open floor plan offices of the anchor tenants, additional conference spaces, and a few reservable coworking spaces. The third floor occupies only half of the floor plate. It includes a variety of reservable work spaces, a kitchenette, and private offices. Monthly co-working costs range from daily passes as low at $8 per day, monthly desk space for $150, to $700 for a private office.
The Hive will not only be a space that creates a welcoming environment for users such as Susan, Bill, Sylvia, and Sheena. It will also be a physical asset uniting the entire Midtown neighborhood. It’s my hope that the Midtown Tech Hive is at least a partial answer to what makes a block bustle, revives historic buildings, and connects residents. When innovation spaces are active and include a broad range of users with varied interests, backgrounds and skillsets, they become a critical part of the neighborhood ecosystem and support the development of community and the success of surrounding businesses.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
The Environmental Impact Bond. It can be used to finance green infrastructure and similar resiliency-oriented projects, which not only protect cities against flooding and pollution, but also create jobs and green underserved neighborhoods. The return to investors of these projects is based on the extent to which the projects produce results; such as the amount of stormwater diverted from flowing into nearby rivers.
To plan for the transition to automated vehicles, cities and county governments should develop building and zoning codes that not only accommodate adaptable parking but encourage it by design. This can include amending building codes to require infrastructure that makes transforming garages into inhabitable buildings possible. As automated vehicles begin to enter the marketplace, cities should consider incentives and other programs to begin the conversion of ground level parking to commercial uses.
For much of the twentieth century, transportation planning focused on moving cars as efficiently as possible. This resulted in streets that are designed for cars, with little room for transit vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. Agencies in charge of roads, signals, parking, taxis and transit need to collaborate more closely to focus on moving people, not just vehicles, as efficiently as possible.
Focusing on all the elements that matters to people not just travel time – It is clear that people travelling across the region have high expectations and want to have consistent, reliable, convenient, clean and low-cost travel options regardless of their preferred mode and what municipal boundaries they cross. People care little about what system they are on or who operates it—they simply want to get where they are going as quickly, comfortably and reliably as possible.