The innovation district

Innovation Districts are becoming a common feature of many towns and cities across the world. The clustering of businesses, research, training and supporting facilities recognises the importance of collaboration and the cross-fertilisation of ideas.

Whilst there are variations in the specialism, emphasis and partnerships, the following statement perhaps sums it up:

“Innovation districts constitute the ultimate mash-up of entrepreneurs and educational institutions, start-ups and schools, mixed-use development and medical innovations, bike-sharing and bankable investments - all connected by transit, powered by clean energy, wired for digital technology, and fuelled by caffeine”.
Katz and Wager 2017

The proposed new training establishment in Worksop is an ideal opportunity to bring together what is often termed as the ‘triple helix’ of the public sector, business and academia to develop home-grown talent, design new products, develop the knowledge economy and provide solutions to climate change, health and wellbeing.

A significant element in most Innovation Districts is the role of arts and culture and many have new facilities that co-locate events and conferences with concerts and recitals. This allied to the greenspaces of The Canch and easy access to the Town Centre makes the chosen location the ideal place for a new mixed-use quarter for Worksop with café’s, public spaces, sustainable housing and waterside activity.

Low carbon energy, in particular heat, is a challenge and an opportunity and the establishment of an energy centre serving the Innovation District and the wider area will provide affordable warmth and power to the new homes and businesses. Innovation in low carbon energy may be a future specialism.

Innovative businesses are already established in Worksop, whether that be Whitworth Brothers at the forefront of flour milling, or the already established creative industries sector, the time is right to embrace the future whilst also celebrating the multi-layered history of Worksop.


Timothy Crawshaw (MA MRTPI FRSA) is an International Planning and Development Consultant in the areas of urban design, planning, green infrastructure, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.

With experience in Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East, alongside an expanding UK practice, he has a specific interest in the role of the nature based approaches to addressing the climate emergency, alongside improving health and wellbeing outcomes and tackling inequality.

Timothy is an experienced lecturer, trainer and facilitator with a passion for community development, and he continues to champion the role of planning as a key part of the solution to the challenges of our times. Timothy is currently the Chair of the Tees Valley Nature Partnership and of the Historic Towns and Villages Forum and will be the Vice President of the Royal Town Planning Institute in 2021.

Last Updated on Thursday, January 4, 2024