The Big Idea: Brooklyn Tech Triangle

You are here: Innovation Economy

Brooklyn is part of a massive technological shift. A transformation has taken place in our economy, one in which technology disrupts even the most traditional of industries. Changes in everything from how we order food to how we do our banking and interact with our healthcare system have changed radically due to new technologies.

Outside of Manhattan, the heart of New York City’s innovation economy beats in Brooklyn Tech Triangle, which is made up of three neighboring areas. 

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle is…

Downtown Brooklyn, which serves as the front office headquarters.
DUMBO is the virtual design and advertising suite. 
The Brooklyn Navy Yard is the factory and distribution hub. 

Step-by-step: How the Brooklyn Tech Triangle was formed

So where did the idea come from to combine our three neighborhoods? New York City’s largest cluster of tech activity outside of Manhattan can be found in the heart of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. The area’s growth has become a model for the next generation of innovation hubs – a feat that took strategic planning by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership, DUMBO Improvement District, and Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation to help address challenges specific to each neighborhood’s economic development.     

The initiative was borne in 2012, when commercial occupancy in Downtown Brooklyn was trending in the wrong direction, and DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard suffered from a lack of available real estate to accommodate companies wanting to locate there.

In other words, DUMBO and the Brooklyn Navy Yard had been successful in attracting innovation economy firms, but with historically low vacancy rates, they didn’t have the space to house tenants. Downtown Brooklyn, on the other hand, had the available office space and infrastructure of a powerful central business district. The time seemed right to try and attract the spillover tenants to Downtown Brooklyn.

The concept of a tech hub in Brooklyn

Conceptually, the vision began to present itself with three complementary parts: (1) front office headquarters in Downtown Brooklyn; (2) a virtual design and advertising suite in DUMBO; and (3) the factories and distribution hub at the Navy Yard to make and ship products if necessary.  

Integrated into one tech hub, these three prongs of the 21st century innovation economy could co-exist within a one-mile radius of each other, and, simply by virtue of proximity, encourage maximum collaboration. In a community like this, competitors could just as easily become colleagues and spur further innovation and creativity.

Because this hub is integrated into the larger community of Brooklyn, these innovation firms joined existing companies and creative spaces to add to the urban fabric, a stark contrast to the walled-off office parks only accessible by cars in the traditional mode of tech campuses.

In this way, employees of the innovation economy would support local retail through increased buying power, and the firms themselves would potentially create jobs and internships for the 60,000 students that attend Downtown Brooklyn’s 11 higher education institutions.

Creating a Strategic Plan

Thanks to support from both the public and private sector, the Tech Triangle partners designated a consortium led by WXY architecture + urban design to develop a master plan that would translate this vision into a reality that ensured strategic growth in the area. A strategic plan was unveiled in June of 2013 addressed issues related to place making, land use, transportation and infrastructure, and real estate and economic policy. 

Since its release, the innovation economy in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle has grown stronger than ever. 

Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan

Get the full plan and updates here.

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle Today

What began as a concept is now an area that supports more than 1,350 innovation companies – 22% more than three years ago – employing some 17,300 people – a 45% growth from 2012 to 2015.

With this growth comes a straightforward proposition: the more space we are able to create in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the more jobs will be spurred here.

In addition to addressing commercial office space availability, future efforts will be focused on connecting all communities in New York to jobs in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, through targeted education programs like the Brooklyn Education Innovation Network, and an improved outer borough transportation network with the proposed Brooklyn-Queens Connector Streetcar.

Get involved in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle

Now is the time to give our entrepreneurs and innovators the support they need to keep growing and create opportunity for tens of thousands more New Yorkers in the years to come.

Here’s how:

1. Open your office here

2. Find an intern here.

3. Move your headquarters here.

4. Get involved with Make It in Brooklyn here

5.  Read the 2013 Brooklyn Tech Triangle Strategic Plan.

6.  Read the 2015 Strategic Plan Update.