Innovation Inspires a District to Shape Economic Growth in the Heart of a City

  • Client

    Cortex Innovation Community

  • Project Title

    Cortex Innovation Community

  • Location

    St. Louis, MO

  • Size

    8.4 acres

"…innovation districts are the manifestation of mega-trends altering the location preferences of people and firms and, in the process, re-conceiving the very link between economy-shaping, placemaking and social networking."

The Rise of Innovation Districts

Brookings, 2014

Diverse city populations are demanding more than ever urban conditions that are vibrant, walkable, accessible, and alive with activity.

Project Scale

  • Object

  • Site

  • Community

  • System

  • Region


  • On the Books

  • Under Construction

  • Recently Completed

  • Design Study

  • Established

Project Type

  • Corporate
  • Parks and Open Space
  • Urban Design
  • Placemaking and Branding

Originally envisioned as a research park, Cortex Innovation Community has quickly developed into a hub for start-up biotech companies, urban residences, and streetside shopping within the heart of St. Louis. With opportunities for a new light rail station and regional bicycle/ pedestrian connections being studied, this vibrant urban community is poised for growth.

Looking to bridge the gap between major educational and medical institutions, the Cortex Innovation Community will serve as a driver for sustainable development in a blighted neighborhood, and cultivate incubators and other neighborhood-building amenities for future economic development.

More than one-half mile of streets were reconfigured to capture stormwater runoff in curbside bio-filtration basins, permeable parking bays, and in underground cells.


"The success of Cortex is only possible because of the emergent network that developed more than a decade ago. As the district evolves, so too will the partnerships that make this planning process a reality."

Klaus Rausch

Senior Associate