To support the growth of Miami’s innovation ecosystem, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced $1.2 million in new support to the Miami Urban Future Initiative, a joint project of FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (FIU CARTA) and the Creative Class Group at Mana Wynwood. The initiative aims to create insights and strategy for growing a stronger, more innovative and more inclusive economy for the Miami region spanning Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.
The Miami Urban Future Initiative aims to fill an existing research gap on economic, entrepreneurial, creative and technological assets in the region. It combines the capabilities of FIU CARTA, led by Dean Brian Schriner, and the Creative Class Group, founded by renowned urbanist Richard Florida. It will leverage existing FIU researchers and experts throughout the institution, as well as leading thinkers and researchers across the region and the world, combining their knowledge with that of business leaders, economic development practitioners, and other experts.
“Miami finds itself at a critical inflection point. Our city builders and leaders need a road map to grow our economy,” says Florida. “We are thrilled that Knight Foundation is investing in the Miami Urban Future Initiative to partner with us in creating a path forward for our growing dynamic community.”
Housed at FIU CARTA’s planned facility at Mana Wynwood, the Miami Urban Future Initiative will be active on several fronts. It will develop a series of ongoing applied research reports about Miami’s economy, convene leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss the challenges facing Miami, and host a fellows program to bring the best and brightest urban thinkers, practitioners and researchers to Miami. In addition, an executive director will be hired to help drive the ongoing conversation about Miami’s evolving entrepreneurial and creative economy.
“To make Miami a global hub for ideas and innovation, we need to ensure that our decision makers and our community have the information they need to build a more engaging, lasting, inclusive innovation ecosystem,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. “The Miami Urban Future Initiative aims to do just that by helping to craft a strategic direction for the city that stirs new ideas, illuminates challenges and opportunities and helps leaders avoid decisions based on outdated assumptions.”
The Miami Urban Future Initiative will formally begin its research activities September 2017. The initiative is presently seeking matching support to complement Knight Foundation funding and advance ongoing research and engagement plans.
“At FIU, we see growing Miami’s creative economy as a vital effort for moving our community forward as well as creating future opportunities for our students,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Partnering with Knight Foundation and the Creative Class Group to deliver the work of the Miami Urban Future Initiative is our way of helping to accelerate Miami’s ongoing transformation and create solutions to the challenges facing our region.”
Support for the Miami Urban Future Initiative is part of Knight Foundation’s broader effort to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past three years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.
For more information, visit: carta.fiu.edu/creativecity/miami-urban-future-initiative.