As I was walking down the hill from Biopolis, I saw a little development between the Ministry of Education and the subway stop: several yellow buildings that announced themselves as the Phase Z.Ro, a “technopreneur park.”

via flickr

If Biopolis seemed familiar, an attempt to outdo Western scientific facilities on their own terms, Z.Ro (get it?) struck me as something potentially quite different.

For one thing, the place makes your average Silicon Valley tilt-up look like Versailles. Each three two-story building is made of prefabricated panels, making them look like cargo containers that have been painted yellow, had windows and doors punched in them, and wired with AC and Cat-6 cable.

cargo container chic, via flickr

It’s easy to dismiss such a modest place, but maybe this is the social equivalent of a disruptive innovation. Maybe the real future of innovation isn’t in glittering science cities like Biopolis, but in grittier places like this?

in the shadow of biopolis (that’s helios in the background), via flickr