From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)
From left to right: Ryan Binkowski and Alexis Crespo (Waldrop Engineering) with Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner (Henderson Franklin)

This year’s two day Urban Land Institute (ULI) Annual Florida Summit was held in Miami at the Turnberry Isle Resort and was comprised of more than 650 attendees. The theme of this year’s event was Creative Disruption: “The Future Ain’t What it Used to Be.”

The mission of ULI is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. ULI is an independent global nonprofit supported by the top real estate professionals from throughout the state including developers, attorneys, engineers, architects, and land use planners, from both the private and public sector.

The “Creative Class”

The keynote speaker at this year’s summit was Richard Florida, Ph.D., who was recently named #14 of the world’s 50 most influential management thinkers by The Financial Times. Florida focused his presentation on his latest ideas and strategies for jarring cities out of economic and cultural stagnation, and why the latest urban crises may be the grandest challenge ever facing our cities.

According to Florida, the most important drivers of economic development in the 21st-centry will be the “creative class” and related industries which entice artistic and creative workers. Florida explained there is a direct correlation between the innovative “creative class” and U.S. communities that are more open, tolerant and socially diverse, such as San Francisco, Boston, and New York.

Based on years of academic research, Florida concluded that the world has become “spiky,” not flat, with geographic concentrations of talent, wealth, and investment in communities that can attract the “creative class” through the utilization of transit-oriented “walkable” designs.

Following Florida’s presentation, various general and concurrent sessions were offered each day which provided attendees with informative panel discussions on topics such as “Acting Urban in Suburbia,” “The Rise of Urban Master Planned Communities” and “How Demographic Trends Shape Housing Preferences.”

Since this year’s summit was located in Southeast Florida, attendees were also offered mobile tours of several internationally recognized urban development projects including the Miami Wynwood & Design District, Miami’s Riverfront Urbanization, and Fort Lauderdale.

The annual statewide Summit was hosted and produced jointly by the five ULI District Councils of Florida. Henderson Franklin Attorneys Molly Maggiano and Austin Turner, an active member of ULI’s Southwest Florida Chapter, both were in attendance. For more information on ULI events in Southwest Florida, visit: http://swflorida.uli.org/.