Near Southside: Dallas/Fort Worth’s Newest Innovation Hub

A new story posted on the Project for Public Spaces blog shines the spotlight on the up and coming Near Southside district in Fort Worth, where bustling economic activity and entrepreneurship are driving rapid urban regeneration in the area.

Fort Worth happens to have one of the fastest-growing economies in the U.S. right now, with job creation growing at twice the rate of the national average. The article points out that much of this economic growth stems from the earlier creation of the Sundance Square, an area that now encompasses some 25-plus blocks in the city.

However, Fort Worth’s growth is also being boosted by a flurry of innovation in the Near Southside neighborhood, a hotbed of medical, industrial and creative activity that’s rapidly becoming a poster child for the potential of cross-sector entrepreneurialism in local communities. Near Southside, the article points out, is home to a whole host of blossoming startups in the arts, culinary, culture and manufacturing scene that have benefited from massive investment in the area. Things are likely to get more hectic too, because more than $750 million worth of development funding for the are remains in the pipeline, according to nonprofit organization Near Southside, Inc.

Near Southside isn’t alone in its focus on innovation. It’s happening all over the country, but few regions can compete with the level of buzz and activity being generated in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Here in Dallas, for example, we have our very own Historic West End district, which is fostering development in the city along similar lines to what’s happening in Near Southside. Meanwhile, Denton is another hotbed of innovation, with much of the action centered around its TechMill community, while the nearby cities of Addison, Allen and McKinney have all launched their own initiatives aimed at boosting innovation in the local community.

It’s still unclear how these initiatives will play out, but all the evidence suggests that Dallas/Fort Worth, bursting with entrepreneurial spirit, has a very bright future to look forward too.

Mike Wheatley