Released today: Meeting of the Minds Annual Report
We are excited to release our 2016 Annual Report with results from all our year-round programming. I think you will find the Annual Report helpful as you think about Meeting of the Minds’ impact in 2016 and how to engage with the Meeting of the Minds global leadership network in 2017 and beyond.
Inside the report, you’ll find interesting statistics and summaries related to the events and resources that we organized over the last 12 months. Webinar attendance was particularly strong this year, and user surveys consistently placed webinars and other digital resources (such as the CityMinded.org blog) as some of the most important formats we provide.Download the 2016 Annual Report
A survey of our network also allowed us to pinpoint the most urgent topics, challenges, and opportunities for leaders working in urban sustainability, innovation and connected technology.
In addition to our digital resources, Meeting of the Minds organized a number of in-person workshops and roundtables, all of which are summarized in this report.
In the second half of 2016, we took a temporary break from our monthly meetups. The meetup.com group continued to grow, however, and our sister meetups in New York and Detroit continued to meet. After many requests for the events to return, we restarted our monthly San Francisco urban sustainability meetups this month. Our next meetup will be February 2nd – more info here.
These are just a few of the pages, summaries and statistics available in the Annual Report. Please download your copy and continue to engage with us throughout 2017.
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Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Accenture analysts recently released a report calling for cities to take the lead in creating coordinated, “orchestrated” mobility ecosystems. Limiting shared services to routes that connect people with mass transit would be one way to deploy human-driven services now and to prepare for driverless service in the future. Services and schedules can be linked at the backend, and operators can, for example, automatically send more shared vehicles to a train station when the train has more passengers than usual, or tell the shared vehicles to wait for a train that is running late.
Managing urban congestion and mobility comes down to the matter of managing space. Cities are characterized by defined and restricted residential, commercial, and transportation spaces. Private autos are the most inefficient use of transportation space, and mass transit represents the most efficient use of transportation space. Getting more people out of private cars, and into shared feeder routes to and from mass transit modes is the most promising way to reduce auto traffic. Computer models show that it can be done, and we don’t need autonomous vehicles to realize the benefits of shared mobility.
The role of government, and the planning community, is perhaps to facilitate these kinds of partnerships and make it easier for serendipity to occur. While many cities mandate a portion of the development budget toward art, this will not necessarily result in an ongoing benefit to the arts community as in most cases the budget is used for public art projects versus creating opportunities for cultural programming.
Rather than relying solely on this mandate, planners might want to consider educating developers with examples and case studies about the myriad ways that artists can participate in the development process. Likewise, outreach and education for the arts community about what role they can play in projects may stimulate a dialogue that can yield great results. In this sense, the planning community can be an invaluable translator in helping all parties to discover a richer, more inspiring, common language.
While the outlook for the environment may often seem bleak, there are many proven methods already available for cities to make their energy systems and other infrastructure not only more sustainable, but cheaper and more resilient at the same time. This confluence of benefits will drive investments in clean, efficient energy, transportation, and water infrastructure that will enable cities to realize their sustainability goals.
Given that many of the policy mechanisms that impact cities’ ability to boost sustainability are implemented at the state or federal level, municipalities should look to their own operations to implement change. Cities can lead as a major market player, for example, by converting their own fleets to zero emission electric vehicles, investing in more robust and efficient water facilities, procuring clean power, and requiring municipal buildings to be LEED certified.