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2012 Award of Honor - Innovation Square
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Project Category: Planning and Analysis

 Project Name: Innovation Square

 Project Location: Gainesville, Florida

 Date of Completion: On-going

Landscape Architect: : Leo Alvarez, FASLA - Perkins + Will


Owner: University of Florida

Linda B. Dixon, AICP – Associate Director, Facilities Planning and Construction Division

Ed Poppell – President, University of Florida Development Corporation

Innovation Square is an urban redevelopment project that will transform twelve underutilized blocks in Midtown Gainesville into a mixed-use urban research neighborhood that advances the national and global profile of the city’s largest employer—the University of Florida with its medical center, Shands Hospital at UF—and the growing local biotech industry. 

Unlike the internally focused suburban research parks of the previous decades, Innovation Square aligns the goals of the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida to create a livable, walkable, adaptable and sustainable urban research district that gives Gainesville a competitive edge in attracting and retaining the best minds and companies in research. The Visioning process for the District has set in place lasting partnerships between public and private stakeholders to ensure successful implementation. 

The DNA for the District’s development has been codified in a series of public documents, including a new zoning designation, that are distinguished by their clarity of concept and presentation. The new regulations place an emphasis on an enhanced public realm as the unifying element within the District. Buildings are required to engage the street. Parking lots are discouraged or placed behind structures.

The regulations set forth requirements within the public realm for tree spacing, building relationship to the street, vehicular and pedestrian access as well as ground floor architectural requirements. Additional tools for implementation include the Development Framework and Development Guidelines books as well as high level reviews of the infrastructure needs, transportation opportunities and proposed landscape ordinances. 

The plan has six organizing elements; districts, grid, greenway, streets, parking and uses. The layering of these elements creates a rich urban fabric distinguishing Innovation Square from other research based communities within the country. The Greenway is the principal physical organizing structure within Innovation Square. It is the binding element and central focal point within the district.

It creates a pedestrian connection between the active northern mixed-use section of the district and southern, predominately residential and recreational edges of the district. It is a series of varying gathering spaces such as squares, plazas, parks, and streets; all for researchers, residents and visitors to interact and collaborate.  Plazas promote activity; streets allow for accessibility; squares encourage assemblies; while parks allow for reflection.

The greenway connects to the individual building lobbies, commercial uses, research labs and other active ground floor uses, all in the service of promoting collaboration and collision. The central square will allow for informal gatherings as well as large events. The greenway also addresses a significant stormwater initiative within the district. The infrastructure system in the greenway allows stormwater to be addressed before entering the underground system with varying integrated water quality measures, as well as provides an armature for experimentation in water quality and quantity mitigation initiatives. 

The redevelopment provides new pedestrian and bicycle connections within an enhanced public realm between UF, Downtown and the surrounding historic neighborhoods, with a proposed district shuttle, primary school, and a neighborhood retail street aiming to serve the projected growth by 3.7 million sf and 8,000 new residents and workers.

The phased development of the District has begun on a mega-block formerly housing the Alachua County Hospital, which is divided into four contextual blocks centered on the Greenway. The first science and technology focused building, Innovation Hub, opened in January 2012. The proposed Infusion Center along with the first phase of the Greenway are under design development and are targeting completion for late fall of 2014.


Design Team / Managing Principal : David Green AIA, LEED AP - Principal  - Perkins + Will 

Design Team /  Design Principal: Leo Alvarez, FASLA, CLARB, LEED AP – Principal

Perkins + Will 

Design Team / Project Manager: Geoff Boyd, ASLA,  LEED BD+C - Senior Urban Designer - Perkins + Will 

Client Team: Bradley S. Pollitt, AIA - Vice President,  Facilities - Shands Healthcare 

Community Redevelopment Agency Representative: Kelly Huard Fisher - Interim Director -

Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency

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