On April 13, 2017, the Arts + Business Council, a Council of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia welcomed leading urbanist Richard Florida to the Prince Theater, to share his vision for A New Urban Future. To follow the conversation as it unfolded, search #NewUrbanFuture on Twitter.
The morning began with an engaging panel discussion featuring Sheila Ireland, SPHR, Vice President, Workforce Solutions, University City District; Michael O’Bryan, Senior Manager, Youth Programs, Village of Arts + Humanities, and Principal, L + M Consulting; Charles V. Pollack, MA, MD, FACEP, FAAEM, FAHA, FESC, FCPP, Associate Provost for Innovation in Education, Thomas Jefferson University; Director, Jefferson Institute of Emerging Health Professions; and Joseph A. Reagan, Jr., AIA, Senior Vice President, Development, Wexford Science + Technology. The panel was moderated by Mark L. Tykocinski, MD, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Thomas Jefferson University; The Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
Then it was time for Richard Florida to take the stage. His keynote began with an overview of the challenges facing American cities as rapid growth continues in urban areas across the country. In Florida’s view, disproportionate wealth and prosperity occurs in only in “clusters,” causing gentrification, unaffordability, segregation, and inequality to spread through urban areas unaffected by revitalization.
After outlining the problem, Florida proposed methods to work toward a solution. By investing in infrastructure, building more housing, and creating pathways for educational success, Florida believes it is possible for cities to once again become engines for middle class growth. Florida also proposes that a council of city mayors be set up in order to develop new national urban policy, and reform zoning and tax laws.
Florida had a strong message for the city of Philadelphia, which he feels is at a pivotal moment in it’s redevelopment. He warned that Philadelphia will only develop into a strong and prosperous city for residents of all socio-economic backgrounds if citizens and civic leaders work together rather than depend on federal help.
At the conclusion of Florida’s remarks, he was joined on stage by John Fry, President, Drexel University and Stephen S. Tang, PhD, MBA, President & CEO, University City Science Center. Their discussion focused on how Philadelphia can capitalize on Florida’s insights into the future of urban living.
Richard Florida is the Co-founder and Senior Editor of The Atlantic City Lab, Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, and Global Research Professor at NYU. He latest book is The New Urban Crisis.
Click here to view a gallery of photos from A New Urban Future.