“Our ambition is to bring together the creativity and energy of Shoreditch and the incredible possibilities of the Olympic Park to help make East London one of the world’s great technology centres.”
That’s what David Cameron is due to tell tech leaders in a speech later today. A lofty ambition, but one we’re happy to click the old ‘like’ button for. Shoreditch might be more Silly-coif Valley than Silicon Valley at the moment, but a recent upsurge in new tech start-ups melded with the area’s longstanding arts and fashion credentials is kneading a creative environment in some ways more exciting than the well maintained verges and parking lots of California.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Park, with acres of space and massive infrastructure investment offers an unrivalled chance to create a tech hub from scratch. Like Shoreditch, the area rubs up against parts of Hackney oozing with arty types. The combo of tech geekery with art and design talent is a potent combination. Facebook and Google are doing some serious sniffing round the area.
We’d also like to commend the King’s Cross area to Mr Cameron’s vision. The railway lands currently being developed are another ‘blank slate’ that could foster incubator space for startups. Unlike East London, the area is surrounded by research expertise. UCL, the British Library, and the Wellcome Trust are all nearby, with a major new innovation and research centre ready for construction behind the library. Add in the upcoming arrival of St Martin’s College and you have that heady brew of creativity. Just add a stop on the Overground and you’re minutes from Shoreditch.
According to the Independent, Cameron will also outline around £400 million of investment, while also greasing the wheels by reworking the rules on employment visas and revisiting copyright law.
Image by Scott Cadman in the Londonist Flickr pool.