With Colada: Our Sunday Reads 11.08.15

This week’s reads were kind of a hodge-podge of interesting, but only loosely related articles - that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to share though! Read on to learn about exciting events on transportation happening in Miami and get some new insight on gentrification.

Image courtesy Active Living By Design

One article that caught our eye this week was on the value in coming from a place of “I don’t know” when working on systems change. We have found the notion of coming from a place of not knowing widely applicable. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned from working with clients is to stay in the question and to recognize that we “don’t know.” Starting from there on, a project allows us the ability to listen and carefully work with our clients to create what they really need.

What does "staying in the question" mean to you? How can you start from a place of "I don't know"?

Some of our more interesting reads this week were on gentrification and research showing that we aren’t getting the full story in many articles on the topic. City Observatory recently reported that high income inequality neighborhoods (or you could say mixed income) are usually helpful to poor residents, raising their average income. 

"Residents of public housing projects in wealthy and increasing income neighborhoods showed dramatically better economic and quality-of-life outcomes than those in low-income neighborhoods—even though their racial, ethnic, and age demographics weren’t significantly different" - Image courtesy City Observatory

"Residents of public housing projects in wealthy and increasing income neighborhoods showed dramatically better economic and quality-of-life outcomes than those in low-income neighborhoods—even though their racial, ethnic, and age demographics weren’t significantly different" - Image courtesy City Observatory

They also released a report and a number of articles discussing how the immediate association of gentrification with displacement isn’t really reflective of the more pressing concerns facing poor people: concentration of poverty and displacement in high poverty areas resulting in decreased populations (See City Observatory’s Lost in Place report for more). This leaves us with many questions about what positive gentrification looks like and how to reverse the concentration of poverty into certain areas, a segregation of poverty that disproportionately impacts people of color who are poor.

One way to ensure that gentrification happens in ways that benefit current and new residents of a neighborhood is to have a city government reflective of the city’s population. And in Seattle they look to be doing just that; an article in Governing disclosed that Seattle may be electing a much more representative counsel as they are holding elections for all council seats and dividing things up by district. Governing reports that there were 48 candidates and that in the August “‘primaries, of the top vote-getters, five were women, four were people of color and only two were older than 60,’ Liz Berry, president of the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, [reported]. ‘This is not a city of 60-year-old white men, and that’s what our council looks like now.’”

A section of the current M-Path - Image courtesy The Underline

A section of the current M-Path - Image courtesy The Underline

What that same area could be like for cyclists and pedestrians - Image Courtesy The Underline

What that same area could be like for cyclists and pedestrians - Image Courtesy The Underline

Closer to home, we’re excited for what’s happening with mobility and the walkability of Miami. First up, there was an interview with WLRN of Meg Daly about the Underline, a project to develop the M-path into the first complete pedestrian and cyclist corridor to weave through our city. Daly talked about how she was inspired to begin this project when she had broken her arms and was forced to walk to her doctor’s appointment.

Her parting message to Miamians was to look through a different lens in order to have a moment of recognition. She goes on to say that “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve driven on U.S. 1 and I’ve been stuck in traffic and I’ve been heading south to my house in Coral Gables and I never had that moment. I think it’s that notion of getting out of your car and experiencing the city in a different way. I think that everyone has that set of alternative sunglasses we can put on to see things differently, and, fortunately, I had that moment.” Everyone's moment comes in it's own time, but events like the one discussed below are certainly a place were moments could happen.

Find your moment at WHEELS

The event in question is WHEELS - the five day conference in South Miami that is all about changing transportation now! It's an exciting development in terms of mobility events; everything begins on Wednesday (November 11th) evening with a reception and talks about the history of cycling in Miami.  Events continue throughout the weekend, from conference talks to bike rides, be sure to check out the WHEELS website for more information and in this interview on NBC 6 South Florida, Victor Dover talks WHEELS

We’ll leave you with one recommendation for Sunday: enjoy your neighborhood and the afternoon by taking a walk or biking around in your community.