Carnegie Mellon University

Aspen Institute

Metro21 Attends Aspen Institute Energy & Environment Program

Metro 21 attended the Aspen Institute Energy & Environment Program, in partnership with REEF Technology, on January 22, 2021 for a conversation moderated by Bloomberg CityLab's Nicole Flatow.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County:

  • In the pandemic, bringing issues of resilience and equity to the forefront even more for issues of income, wealth disparities, environment. Miami-Dade County is adaptable and ready for change.
    • Big firms and tech innovators are interested in living in Miami-Dade. We welcome new jobs/advanced industry and create pipelines for recent graduates and residents
    • The challenge is how to grow “new Silicon Valley” in an equitable way. We don’t want newcomers to eclipse the dynamism of our diverse community. We aim to create opportunities for women, communities of color, people of diverse backgrounds.
    • Company leaders note that this diversity drives them to come to Miami-Dade. Our population has the skills and creativity- now we need to elevate and support/train our population as well as connect the employers with local job seekers.
  • With the new administration, the federal government’s restoration of environmental protections and the pipeline for innovation and investment for forward looking infrastructure and technical pursuits is being laid.
    • Miami-Dade County is a choice destination for the world. We are working with federal agencies on building codes, rode infrastructure to prepare for rising sea levels.
    • Sea-level rise, everglades restoration, pollution, and other climate change leaves us with lots of challenges.
    • On a project scale: prioritize septic to sewer conversion, expedite rebuilding of antiquated water system.
  • Public Transportation has unique strains under COVID. In Miami-Dade County, we are still using CARES Act subsidy for free transit, had to add sanitizing, rear-door boarding, extra vehicles. The County only had 4% ridership before the pandemic.
    • Plans include: SMART corridors choice-rapid transit; Better Bus re-design for most utilized routes; first mile, last mile project; micro mobility
    • Hiring new director of Transportation and Public Works

Panel featuring Federico Negro, Founder of The Canoa Supply Co., Mark Falcone, Founder of Continuum Partners, LLC,  and Emily Talen, Professor of Urbanism at the University of Chicago

We can better describe cities now to be more human-oriented discussing:

  • The 20th century was about the car, so speed of travel or car maintenance infrastructure has had a tremendous impact on US use of urban space.
  • We are still building cities in function of cars- there are powerful lobbies and regional government interest in highway-building. There is a lot of work to do in transportation to push pedestrian friendly cities.
  • We can spur more innovation if we analyze cities in a biological view- how are we allowing human species to function within the habitat that we are creating?

In the private sector, you can prioritize the human innovation in work when there is financial risk by 

  • Keeping the Continuum Partners, LLC small, we can take on innovative projects.
  • The Canoa Supply Co. uses small, community-scale project deployment to give communities bottom-up reinvention tools. An example: local parking lot re-use projects.

The prospect for designing walkability is different in the wake of the pandemic in ways such as:

  • Some trends, such as the decline of store front retailing, accelerated.
  • Equity and gentrification are now the major concern for walkable urbanism.
  • Neighborhood planning and empowering neighborhoods to have a budget and spend money is key to addressing urban culture wars issue and to establishing shared walkable urbanism.