A Plan to Promote Innovation, Creativity and Collaboration
Innovation has long been a hallmark of Winston-Salem, from the time the first Moravians settled on land that became Old Salem more than 250 years ago. Innovation was behind the growth of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. into a manufacturing giant, the P.H. Hanes Knitting Co. into the clothing manufacturer Hanesbrands and the origin of Wachovia, BB&T Corp. and other banking giants that got their start here. Innovation was behind the movement of culture and style that led to Winston-Salem being known as the “City of the Arts and Innovation.”
The Innovation Quarter is the latest incarnation of creativity, collaboration and cooperation in Winston-Salem.
In the early 1990s and for the next decade, efforts by a diverse group of Winston-Salem State University and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center scientists and researchers took on a small downtown development project to focus on research. A major expansion was announced in the summer of 2002, and the master plan for the Innovation Quarter was developed in 2003 by Sasaki Associates of Boston.
That master plan focuses on the unique environment of the downtown location of the Innovation Quarter to stimulate intellectual curiosity and connect ideas with resources. It invites scientists, technology leaders and innovators to explore professional ambitions against an urban backdrop of a well-educated, culturally varied and creatively rich community.
The Innovation Quarter enjoys robust support of government, business and education, and community stakeholders, and the development plans complement those of other city initiatives focused on creating an environment rich with opportunities to work, live, learn and play.
Fully realized, the Innovation Quarter will encompass an area framed by major transportation routes, natural resources and some of the city’s most unique neighborhoods. Wake Forest University, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem State University, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the Center for Design Innovation, and Salem Academy and College are all within, close by or actually have classes or offices at the Innovation Quarter. Winston-Salem and Forsyth County government centers, as well as an ever-growing variety of restaurants, entertainment and arts venues are within short walks.
Like any living ecosystem, the plan for the Innovation Quarter is always evolving. One constant is the pursuit of partners—people, businesses, community—to enliven the Innovation Quarter as a place for excellence in science, technology and business innovation.