Italian innovation has long been connected to one name in particular: H-Farm. Located in the north-east, near Treviso, H-Farm is an open-innovation hub, created with the mission to facilitate the development of projects by young startuppers, to offer educational programs and to help brands source new technologies directly from those who created them, while contributing to their progress. As of this year, H-Farm is expanding its innovation campus to become the largest of its kind in Europe.
Innovation is booming at H-farm
13 new buildings are going to be added to the H-farm complex, to be used for education, startup nurturing and as spaces for new enterprises to experiment and to grow. One of the most exciting things about it, however, is that over 30.000 square metres of usable space are going to be created without building a new complex or, in fact, without altering the ratio of buildings-to nature of the whole area. The project consists entirely of abandoned buildings that will be renovated and it includes the demolition of a disused military base, which will allow the building of new housing for students and of a sporting centre with a skate park and a running track. The campus will also include a library, a restaurant, and an auditorium.
Sustainability meets innovation
This new complex will sum up everything H-farm stands for, with innovation and sustainability being the key concepts. Not only will it be among the first facilities in Italy to implement 5G technology, but it will also be almost entirely solar-powered and therefore energetically self-sufficient. The whole H-farm complex will be surrounded by vast grounds, open to the public. This area already contains a forest, but over 3500 new trees will be planted to boost the ecosystem’s biodiversity. Creating harmony between human-built structures and the surrounding natural environment has been part of H-farm’s philosophy since its inception and the new complex follows along these lines, building – or rather, not building – on the work of the original founders.
A success story
H-farm is set to become the largest education and innovation hub in Europe, and the most sustainable. Its success story is particularly impressive because it attracted the kind of multi-million institutional investments that are needed to make such a project possible while maintaining its high ethical standards. What H-farm has done, essentially, is making innovation interesting and worth investing in for subjects that have generally been known to favour a more traditional approach to investment, one with more immediate and quantifiable ROI. Innovation, in this world view, is something that benefits society at large and creating a positive environment for it to flourish, is a sound investment for any institution with a mission to extend its own future and to influence it positively.