Learnings……. What will you be bringing back to MIT?

Posted on November 12, 2011

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What did you learn from the Equity 2011 Summit?

The Equity Summit was a reminder of many things: what has been done, what people are doing, and what we have to do as urban planners. It re-energized me. More particularly, there are a few cantgetoutofmyhead aspects I’ll be bringing back:

  1. Research can be Redefining: From Geoffrey Canada saying he doesn’t need MIT or Harvard researchers to tell him what’s wrong with the world, to Manuel Pastor quoting Dr. Dre as a social commentary, to Rolf Pendall and Martha Matsuoka leading the most fascinating sessions highlighting the connection between research, communities and change I became reinvigorated with what my role as a researcher in academia could be: anything I wanted. It can be pages or passion, but hopefully both.
  2. We need to Enter into Intergenerational Conversations: Leadership development has to be developed across generations to foster sustainable change–policy campaigns are the perfect way to bridge those gaps and create policy change while mentoring and moving leadership across generations. How can we think about developing this pipeline of leadership through our work?
  3. Let’s not Tokenize Design and Arts: I was impressed with the few session that dealt with design and art as a means for working within existing culture to ignite change, I want to do more of that. Plus, looking at the Equity Maps I realized how important it is to message something well not only with words, but design–it makes a difference. How can we improve not only our framing of issues, but messaging, and branding and integrate design in a complementary, not dominating, fashion?
  4. Innovative Financing is Needed, the Recession is Real: The one thing I heard over and over again was, It’s tough times–the recession is real, financing is tough, jobs are on the line, and innovation is no longer a choice. We have to be innovative with financing and work collaboratively with businesses, the public, philanthropic, and noprofit sector in order to finance the projects we’d like to see. It’s about public + private partnerships, thinking about the cooperative comeback, and redefining community development organizations and functions–how can we be increasingly daring and efficient with smaller pools of the often thought about funding? What does sustainable financing look like?
I’m sure I have more highlights, but for now–these are the top of my mind. What are yours?

Check out Amy Stitley from CoLab’s post about inspiring quotes

Please share your thoughts with CoLab and as Comments on this blog!

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