By Martha Cecilia Ovadia, Senior Program Associate, Equity & Communications

In advance of TFN’s 2oth Anniversary Conference: Power Forward in Miami, we’ll be sharing interesting and insightful resources that provide context for many of the issues we’ll explore as part of our annual conference, which takes place March 18-20, 2019.

Don’t forget to catch our #MiamiSpotlight and #TFNMiami news on our twitter (Funders_Network) and facebook (Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities) feeds, and check out our TFN 20th Anniversary: Power Forward annual conference page  for updates on speakers and sessions.

Wondering About Affordable Housing in Miami? We Took a Closer Look at the Issue (Miami New Tropic | January 2019)

The shortage of affordable housing is an issue that plagues cities across the U.S., however Miami ranks among the worst. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are only 22 affordable housing units per 100 low-income renter households, when the national average is 35 units per 100 low-income-renter households.

When people can’t afford to live here, they can’t afford to work here. And that lack of affordable housing not only affects residents’ quality of life and health, but also limits the economic potential of our region. So we lose important sectors of our workforce, people that make our society vibrant and diverse.

City commissioners passed inclusionary zoning laws for a section of Downtown Miami that requires developers to set aside units in some new buildings for affordable housing. But this solution really only scratches the surface. The city is still short 30,000 affordable housing units.  Meanwhile, luxury condos keep going up even when many of them remain empty. What gives? Read more here.

Reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Time in Miami (Chris Remington | WLRN | January 21, 2019)

The civil right’s leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent a significant amount of time in Miami. During the 1950s and 60s, Dr. King was a regular at the historic Hampton House. The hotel, located in Mimi’s Brownsville neighborhood, was frequented by many of the African American athletes and civil rights leaders of the time including Jim Brown and Malcolm X.

Dr. Enid Pinkney is the CEO and President of the Historic Hampton House. She shared stories of Dr. King’s time in Miami and why he was important to the city’s desegregation movement. Read more here.

Miami lost Amazon’s HQ2. Still, the area looks more attractive than ever, experts say (Rob Wile| Miami Herald | January 30, 2019)

South Florida’s bid to attract Amazon’s HQ2 may have come up short when it came to landing the big prize. But in a panel discussion Tuesday, regional leaders said the bid process itself has galvanized the tri-county area to think and work more collaboratively.

“This process showed an extraordinary level of regional cooperation, done in a record amount of time,” said urbanist Richard Florida, who led the discussion of the panel, “What Did We Learn From Our Amazon Adventure.”

The panel, which drew about 80 attendees, was produced by the Miami Herald, the Downtown Development Authority and Florida International University’s Miami Future Urban Initiative, which Florida leads. It was hosted by the Miami-Dade Beacon Council. Read more here.

Spotlight On Overtown  (The New Tropic | January 2019)

Overtown has for decades been considered the heart of Miami’s black community. In the early 20th century, when it was known as “Colored Town,” the area housed jazz clubs and local businesses that attracted everyone from a young Muhammad Ali to legends like Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday.

Today, the neighborhood is reconnecting to that past as new business and destinations for locals and tourists spring up — including the renovated Lyric Theater, which hosts performances and is home to an archive of Miami’s black history, and the Copper Door B&B, serving up breakfast specials for all the foodies out there.

This historic neighborhood has dealt with poverty, crime, and economic hardship, but longtime residents are set on building it up and making it the “Harlem of the South” once again. Read more here.

Two More South Florida Cities, Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables, Limit Plastic Straws  (Brittany Shammas | Miami New Times | Janaury 28, 2019)

You might as well go ahead and buy one of those fancy stainless-steel straws. Over the past year or so, cities across the nation have taken steps to limit plastic straws and stirrers out of concern for the environment. Now Fort Lauderdale and Coral Gables are joining them.

Declaring plastic straws an “environmental blight,” commissioners in Fort Lauderdale voted last Tuesday to prohibit the products’ sale or distribution in businesses, city facilities, and permitted events. Gables commissioners, meanwhile, are taking a more conservative approach: They decided earlier this month to ban them from city facilities, parks, and permitted events and from use by city vendors and contractors. “Hundreds of millions of straws are dumped into the ocean every month,” Coral Gables Mayor Raúl Valdés-Fauli says. “And they don’t decompose, and they create a horrible mess in our ecosystem.” Read more here.

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