As you drive around the streets of any UK city, boarded up retail units are commonplace.
Retail units that were once vibrant places of commerce, generating livelihoods for their workers, and contributing to their city’s growth.
But finding new tenants for these units hasn’t been easy. Prime real-estate continues to go empty month after month.
Because the world is changing.
Home-based workers are growing by the day, tech start-ups are forming by the hour, and we’re all spending every waking minute online from a multitude of devices.
Shopping from the comfort of our sofas is becoming far more appealing to the masses than making our way into the city.
Convenience, choice, and price are on offer online too, and the high street faces a tough battle to overcome it.
So cities need to adapt and embrace change in order to have a thriving economy.
And it’s that change that will see the birth of tech cities.
What is a tech city?
A tech city is a place where society encourages innovation.
The most obvious is Silicon Valley, but many other cities around the world are now focusing resources on creating innovation hubs.
Nottingham has already identified Digital Content as one of three key areas of growth the city will focus on over the next 10 years.
And whilst Digital Content does include software, it isn't a sole focus on technology, with music, tv, video, photography and publishing also part of that focus.
But it's certainly a good start in the right direction.
And Nottingham's push to grow its Creative Quarter could be just what's needed to spark the birth of a tech city.
The concentration of like-minded people, companies and facilities within a specific area will lead to creative people rubbing shoulders daily and bringing about new ideas.
And that's what innovation is all about.
Coupled with that, the city is also making investment and grant funds available specifically for those businesses.
The city can only do so much. Investment is limited, and there are only a few people employed to dedicate their focus to this project.
But it's certainly playing it's part, and it needs outsiders to come in and really drive things forward.
It needs a passionate community of creative individuals looking to make things happen.
And social groups like Nott Tuesday and Second Wednesday are making great efforts to provide that.
Later this month Nottingham will also be hosting it's first Startup Weekend, a 54-hour frenzy of taking an idea through to product development.
And events like this will make a big impact on raising awareness and inspiring people to join that community, and growing a culture within it.
It needs the emergence of a tech catalyst, a successful company which creates a reputation for the city, with its own network of tech savvy angel investors with close ties to the community.
And it needs outside investment to get projects off the ground. Particularly in the form of start-up incubators.
Start-up incubators have been central to the rapid growth in some cities, providing small investments and lots of mentoring to support new ideas.
And the presence of one in Nottingham would be a big advance in the right direction.
Nottingham as a city is working hard and focusing on the right things.
And as the community builds, and the city's reputation grows, more and more initiatives will be born, further investment will arrive, and it won't be too long before we have a thriving tech city on our hands.