Providence announces creation
of Urban Innovation Partnership

PROVIDENCE MAYOR Jorge O. Elorza announced an Urban Innovation Partnership, a coalition between the city and
PROVIDENCE MAYOR Jorge O. Elorza announced an Urban Innovation Partnership, a coalition between the city and "anchor institutions," to focus on the development of the city's two innovation districts and to focus on implementing a"smart city" plan. / PBN FILE PHOTO / STEPHANIE ALVAREZ EWENS

PROVIDENCE – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza announced Monday the creation of an Urban Innovation Partnership between the city and “anchor institutions” located in Providence.

The partnership will seek to leverage public and private partnerships to support economic development and locally generated innovation in the Jewelry District and the Woonasquatucket Corridor – the city’s two innovation districts. The partnership will also consider a citywide “smart cities plan,” or a plan to use data and analytics to increase the efficiency and quality of government services and welfare.

The UIP will work over the next year to identify collaborative projects to work on, create governing infrastructure for work going forward and will support “innovative programming and place-making opportunities” around Providence, according to the mayor’s office.

“Through the Urban Innovation Partnership we’re making a commitment to work collaboratively because we know that Providence’s future success requires that our diverse anchor institutions join us at the table,” said Elorza in a statement. “Our city has so many existing resources and strengths, and to truly advance them we must work shoulder to shoulder to support innovation and job growth in our capital city.”

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Currently, the Urban Innovation Partnership consists of:

  • Mayor Jorge O. Elorza
  • Co-Chair Christina Paxson, president of Brown University
  • Co-Chair Frank Sánchez, president of Rhode Island College
  • James E. Fanale, president, CEO and chief clinical officer of Care New England Health System
  • Mim L. Runey, president of Johnson & Wales University
  • Timothy J. Babineau, president and CEO of Lifespan Corp.
  • Brian Shanley, president of Providence College
  • Rosanne Somerson, president of the Rhode Island School of Design
  • Andrew Workman, interim president of Roger Williams University
  • Katharine Flynn, executive director for the Business Engagement Center of the University of Rhode Island

It was said additional partners may be added to the partnership at the direction of Jenn Steinfeld, the program’s director of strategic partnerships and economic advancement, and Café Venture.

Chris Bergenheim is the PBN web editor. Email him at