Florida International University College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts Hosts 2016 Mayors’ Institute on City Design


The 2016 East Session of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design [MICD] was held from September 21-23 in Miami Beach, Florida, at the Florida International University Miami Beach Urban Studios.  Through a competitive national application process, the FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts [CARTA] was selected to co-host the session with the City of Miami Beach.

A leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors, MICD has, since 1986, helped transform communities by giving mayors tools that will assist them in serving as the chief urban designers of their cities.  MICD selects and partners with academic institutions from across the Unites States to organize six sessions each year. During the sessions, mayors engage leading design experts to find solutions to some of the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. Sessions are organized around case study problems. Each mayor presents a problem from his or her city and engages the other session mayors and the participating design experts in responding to the case study.

Each two and one-half day session is limited to eight mayors, eight preeminent design and development professionals, and MICD partners. The case study projects presented by participating mayors include urban resilience, waterfront and corridor redevelopment, downtown revitalization, transportation plans, and the design of new civic buildings. The ensuing discussions are typically lively and robust, often resulting in new creative approaches to a broad variety of issues.  Discussions range beyond design to encompass implementation and funding strategies, as well as broader issues of public/ private/ academic partnerships for economic development. Since the creation of the Institute, more than 1,000 mayors and over 700 design and development professionals have participated in sessions across the country.

CARTA Associate Dean Marilys Nepomechie and Mark Marine, Director of FIU By Design, led the Florida International University team preparing for the MICD East Session. In advance of the event, they recruited the participating mayors, traveling to each of their cities to assist in selecting case study problem to bring to the session. They also collaborated with MICD in identifying a resource team of preeminent design professionals, and worked with colleague Julia Sarduy and graduate students Sara Garaulet, Anielka Arguello and Frida Ulloa to prepare the case study briefing book and post-event summary report.

Participating mayors in the 2016 East Session were: The Honorable Patrick L. Wojahn, of College Park, Maryland; The Honorable Jasiel F. Correia II, of Fall River, Massachusetts; The Honorable Allen M. Thomas, of Greenville, North Carolina; The Honorable Dr. Smith Joseph, of North Miami, Florida; The Honorable Peter Scherer, of Pleasantville, New York; The Honorable Jacob R. Day, of Salisbury, Maryland; The Honorable Gary R. McCarthy, of Schenectady, NY; and The Honorable Edward M. O’Brien, of West Haven, Connecticut.

The eight–member Resource Team included: Eric Dumbaugh, Florida Atlantic University [transportation]; Kevin Greiner, FIU Metropolitan Center [economic development and planning]; Cesar Garcia-Pons, Perkins + Will [urban design and architecture]; Jeffrey Huber, Brooks and Scarpa, and Florida Atlantic University [architecture and urban design]; Kate Kennen, Offshoots Productive Landscapes [landscape architecture]; Maria Nardi, Miami Dade County Parks [landscape architecture and urban design]; Rashida Ng, Temple University [architecture]; and Roberto Rovira, Studio Roberto Rovira and Florida International University [landscape architecture and public art].

The event opened with gallery visits and a reception at the Wolfsonian-FIU Museum, followed by an opening dinner hosted Dean Brian Schriner, FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts.

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