Social Studies with Amy Rosenberg


Amy Rosenberg is an attorney and arts advocate who founded the Overtown Music Project and the Arsht Center’s young patrons group. She is the co-founder of the environmental non-profit Dream in Green. Amy is a member of Art Basel’s Junior Host Committee and sits on the Board of the Funding Arts Network. She also serves on the New World Symphony’s Friends Committee as well as The Wolfsonian-FIU’s Visionaries Committee.

FIRE, in the parlance of city planners, stands for finance, insurance and real estate. These are the traditional sectors of a city economy.

Miami, like many other cities in the nation, is now focused on ICE – intellect, culture and education – the pillars of the new economy of ideas. (Also the name of a Revlon perfume, just so you know.)

Via - Richard Bookman Ph.D, and Matthias Salathe,M.D., foreground, use digital video microscopy in their asthma research.

ICE is the subject of nearly every conversation I have these days. These conversations go something like this:

Concerned person: “I’m concerned that we are losing our creative people to L.A. and NY.”

Me (looking around at the huge concentration of people with open laptops, lattes and bangs at Panther coffee at 2:30pm on a Tuesday) “Really? They all seem to be here.”

Concerned person: (almost hysterical) “Our creatives are leaving. We have massive brain drain in Miami.”

Me: (unconcerned) “I’m pretty sure that the rest of the creatives are at Lester’s or LAB Miami. A few might even be at the UM Life Science Center encoding DNA.”

Concerned person: “Miami needs to do better or they’re all going to just leave and move to Portland.”

For me, the concern about our “creatives” seems to focus heavily on our artistic population (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The conversation needs to be expanded. Creatives are not just artists, they are engineers and computer programmers.

Richard Bookman, UM Professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, gets this and is one of the geniuses behind The LAB Miami’s Annual Hack for Change, a part of National Day of Civic Hacking. The event brought together 11,000 people nationally who wanted to “roll up their sleeves, get involved, and work together to improve our society” and “invent open source solutions using publicly-released data, code and technology to solve challenges relevant to our neighborhoods, our cities, our states and our country.”

Via LAB - The Knight Foundation conducted an interactive idea session to open community conversation about government and civic related problems in Wynwood.

Alongside programmers and front-end developers, this hack also called on and attracted artists, musicians, non profits, and government employees. There was even a 3D printer on hand for people to create sculpture from government data sets!

This kind of gathering needs to be the new normal in Miami. Engineers need to be in the same room with gene splicers and sculptors. All of these creatives need to be part of the mix to create a more vibrant Miami. When all the creatives are in the room, then we can address our most pressing issues: affordable housing and transportation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email