This is what made the conference particularly exciting, to be able to learn what other cities are doing, what has worked, and what can translate to other cities. Then to be able to meet the people "on the ground" so to speak, coming up with innovative strategies all over the host city. In many instances, strategies are very specific to the region because of local codes, or population density. For example, New Orleans is a shrinking city because of Hurricane Katrina and over 70% of the population in some neighborhoods left and did not return to rebuild. In Oakland we have an increase in population and proximity to cities with job opportunities. Yet our commercial retail sector is very week, so when we speak of vacancies we referring to commercial retail vacancy rates of 35% in some neighborhoods. In New Orleans, vacancy usually means abandoned houses or empty plots.
The panel I presented on was "Engaging the Next Generation of Community Advocates."
Here is the breakdown of the panel summary: Young community advocates are organizing and engaging their generation to create more equitable and sustainable cities. What are their tactics? Who are their partners? And how have they empowered people outside the establishment? By sharing first-hand experiences and individual objectives, this panel will discuss how cities can benefit from the energy and ideas of the next generation of local leaders.
Speakers: Ariella Cohen, Next American City; Sarah Filley, Popuphood; Jenga Mwendo, Backyard Gardeners Network;Dominic Robinson, CenterState CEO
I particularly connected with Jenga Mwendo and Dominic Robinson. Jenga spoke very eloquently about her own neighborhood and moving back to start the Backyard Gardeners Network. Dominic had fantastic strategies to share form his organization UP, and we will be following up with him about engaging hospitals in local workforce development in future posts!