The City of Tomorrow Challenge in-person community workshops throughout Miami-Dade County proved to be an effective way to reach residents of the city, especially one that represents so many different cultures and transportation needs.
The events rounded out the online conversations happening on the platform with in-person, collaborative workshops in which attendees came together to resolve solutions for each other. The workshops were a great way for a myriad of ideas to be exchanged between residents.
Sessions included a diverse group of panelists who told their stories to a group of attentive attendees. Each workshop started with a quick introduction on design thinking to help residents understand how we would reach our goal as a unit. By defining themes and taking note of key insights, the groups were able to discover even deeper insights by asking “How might we” questions.
1 - At the inaugural workshop held at the coveted Cambridge Innovation Center deep in Miami's innovation epicenter, entrepreneurs as well as residents of Miami-Dade shared their insights, ideas and interests for the City of Tomorrow Challenge. The room was bursting with suggestions as well as questions, like one from new resident John who lives in Miami but works in Fort Lauderdale, the next county (north).
2 - South Miami-Dade residents and students looked at the train to Homestead, a line connecting South Miami and North Miami. Mother of two, Rani, emphasized how scary it is to catch the train. She is a homeschooling mom to two boys, one of whom is part-time at Miami-Dade's South Center. Her unique journey included taking the train with her son, waiting on campus with him (as it takes too much time to go back home and return to pick him up), taking the train back home.
3 - At the third City of Tomorrow Challenge workshop held at the Little Haiti Cultural Center, attendees of the workshop were residents of Miami who worked or went to school during odd hours, especially during the day. We met Kimani, a young woman who lives on the county line but travels to Downtown Miami for work, meetings and networking. While she loves the lifestyle the city offers, transportation keeps her from enjoying more of it because she has to consider bringing a change of clothes if it is rainy or humid, parking being too costly, and safety while she's riding her bike and especially so if it is at night.
Two major themes of the final workshop was safety and time. Not being able to enjoy the bike ride in constant fear that a motorist isn’t paying attention.
Mayor Carlos Giménez joined in on the conversation to emphasize Miami’s diverse residents as having different needs and thus our solutions need to reflect the same vastness. “School traffic only accounts for 5% of Miami-Dade traffic” he informed the crowd. The mayor encouraged all the attendees to join the conversation and register for the City of Tomorrow Challenge platform, which many have since done.
Having finished the Propose Phase, the platform is packed with interesting proposals. Ideas are as diverse as those who are submitting and consider residents who walk, bike and drive. Now the Refine Phase is a great opportunity for the platform community to say which are most appealing to the public.