This city is angling to build the East Coast’s next innovation hub

Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, represents a near-perfect marriage of technology, science, and capitalism. Butting right up against MIT and down the street from Harvard, the square boasts gleaming high-rises built by Pfizer, Biogen, and Akamai, offices with outposts for Google, Facebook, and Twitter, and thriving incubators and accelerators including Cogo Labs and MIT’s the Engine. In 2009, the Boston Consulting Group called it “the most innovative square mile on earth.”

Officials from around the country and across the globe have approached Cambridge City Hall trying to learn how to create an innovation district as prosperous as Kendall. The truth is, Kendall’s success comes out of a unique set of circumstances: It’s walking distance from MIT, Harvard, and a subway line that connects to a half-dozen other major research universities; it was full of old factories just waiting to be rehabbed or demolished; and the area is flush with venture capital cash (Massachusetts ranked third in the country for number of venture capital deals inked in the first quarter of 2018).

NewsCatherine Lamontagne