Our state is in trouble, and so are a lot of of other states, when it comes to our ecological footprint. A recent report on the bio-capacity of each state measures how many resources we are consuming in proportion to what is available. Unfortunately, Florida is exceeding its biocapacity by 200%, an especially worrisome figure in light of how vulnerable our state is to the effects of climate change.
Locally, however, things are looking up for sustainability when it comes to our transportation options. Alice Bravo, the new transit director at the county level, has announced that she wants to work toward a Miami that is car optional. In an interview with the New Times she observed that the “younger generation...is not interested in having a car and wants to use public transportation. We have to make sure there is a system there for them to satisfy their needs.” Although we’d wager it’s not just younger people who would want or use public transportation, we are eager to hear more about her plans given more and more reports are rolling in on the soaring rental costs in many cities, making city life less feasible for young professionals.
Affordable housing and transit go hand-in-hand toward making a city more attractive for millennials, that generation we can’t seem to stop talking about. And, this is something cities should pay attention to because the data shows that millennials may not be as tied to the city as you’d think. In fact, the numbers indicate that they are decamping for their own hybridized suburbs, to raise families and find housing that won’t break the bank.
With all the talk of millennials, you’d almost think that they are the only ones in need of affordable housing and good transit, but these are things that improve the quality of life for everyone in cities, especially people in low-income communities who are often pushed out as old neighborhoods are gentrified into hip spots for the young professional class (just take a look at how much Wynwood has changed over the last five years). When talking about critical issues like housing and transit, it’s important to consider all residents of a city and how change (or a lack of it) affects them.
Often, low income communities don’t have the political sway to change or influence policies that adversely affect them, and such communities also deal with having their political power limited by gerrymandering. This is an issue that raised it’s head in Florida, where our state supreme court ruled that eight districts had to be redrawn because they unjustly favored incumbents or were partisan. The court spoke to the fact that many districts had been drawn in a way that limited the power of the minority vote and favored the Republican party. These maps are currently being redrawn and will almost certainly impact the outcome of the 2016 election cycle.
Finally, we’ll leave you with some inspiration that is definitely not local, these images exemplify the “overview effect” that astronauts report, and that is a feeling of awe and a renewed sense of responsibility for the planet when they see it from space.