I came across this video on The Atlantic Cities. This one might be too small for me to live in, but I think it’s great that this developer is actively thinking about how to create affordable housing in urban areas that badly need it, such as downtown San Francisco. Check out the video below.
The Genting Group is moving closer to sealing the deal on a $3 Billion project that would significantly change the Miami urban landscape, and maybe most importantly be the engine for 15,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and 30,000 once completed!
The one hurdle that still needs to be overcome is the need to secure a gambling license from the state of Florida.
According to the Miami Herald, Genting’s plans unveiled last Wednesday night includes four hotels, two residential condominium towers, a casino, convention center, more than 50 restaurants and bars and a luxury retail shopping mall.
The project has been designed by local Miami architecture firm Arquitectonica, and is intended to emulate the shape of a coral reef and if built will look amazing at night with an LED-lit exterior. I’m not sure what the negative consequences of another South Florida casino would be, but the incredible number of jobs and business this mega project would generate would be hard to pass up.
My company recently decided to make a move, out of our WorkUrbn office digs into the new Voxeo incubator space on the 10th floor of the Plaza in Downtown Orlando. The entire office space that Voxeo owns, is 60,000 sq. feet and is the only floor in the Plaza that bridges the South and North tower. The decision was an easy one for us to make, as this move puts us right back in the mix with Orlando’s best and brightest creative minds.
The space is amazing, with amenities that include an 8,000 sq. feet area designated as “Town Square” with a coffee shop and personal barista. In addition, the office space is equipped with the latest in audio visual technology, and has a plethora of available meeting and conference rooms. One of the features we have quickly grown to like the most is the 2 professional grade ping pong tables that allow for competitive games when our minds need a break.
Best of all is the creative minds we are surrounded by in the office. Voxeo itself takes up a large majority of the space with their staff, and then there is our old friends Envy Labs with their own decent size area within the space. Joining us on the incubator side is a new social gaming company called Row Sham Bow.
The entire space utilizes the open floorplan office structure, with no private offices which allows for the exchange of ideas to flow with ease. My interpretation of the office, is that the layout of the entire space creates a city within a city, as it has created a cluster of up and coming tech companies in the heart of the Central Business District of Downtown Orlando.
I am very thankful for the opportunity that Voxeo has provided us to be apart of one of the coolest offices in Orlando. I’m looking forward to seeing how the space progresses and the positive effects that will result from having so many smart creatives together here in Downtown Orlando.
I recently learned of the growing tech company cluster in London’s more affordable neighborhood Shoreditch. Company’s calling the Silicon Roundabout home include Moo.com, Last FM and Songkick. Financial Times did a great story on the growing cluster that can be found here.
You can also check out the video below:
I wanted to share a great short documentary that I found inspiring as an urbanist and creative entrepreneur. Influencers has been out since October 2010, if you haven’t seen it yet you can watch it for free below or on the official Influencers website. One of the parts I liked most was when Jeff Staple was talking about how Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood (LES) became one of the urban cultural centers of New York because of low rents that up and coming creatives could afford for office / studio space.
Here’s a synopsis from the creators of the film:
INFLUENCERS is a short documentary that explores what it means to be an influencer and how trends and creativity become contagious today in music, fashion and entertainment.
The film attempts to understand the essence of influence, what makes a person influential without taking a statistical or metric approach.
Written and Directed by Paul Rojanathara and Davis Johnson, the film is a Polaroid snapshot of New York influential creatives (advertising, design, fashion and entertainment) who are shaping today’s pop culture.
“Influencers” belongs to the new generation of short films, webdocs, which combine the documentary style and the online experience.
Below is one of the many visual aids used in the film to explain the product adaptation cycle.
It looks like the plan for Influencers might be to spin it off into an ongoing series, you can learn more by visiting the website or the Influencers Facebook page. Here is one of a series of inspirational “influencer” graphics they have released, this one with Muhammad Ali.
View the full 14 minute film here:
There’s a great new book out there on urbanism called Triumph of the City, by urban economist Edward Glaeser. I’ve only been able to get through one chapter so far, but I really like what I’ve read to this point. The book does an excellent job of covering what a city really is, how they work, and the beneficial roles they serve. Glaiser goes as far as to make the claim that the city is mankind’s best all time invention, and gets into details on the history of many of the world’s greatest city’s.
One of the many highlight’s from the book so far to me was a section in chapter one, called The Rise of Silicon Valley. The section starts by going back in history to long before Santa Clara County had the nickname Silicon Valley, to when Senator LeLand Stanford founded a university on his horse farm. You can buy the book to get the whole story, but basically one young innovator named Francis McCarthy created a breakthrough technology that led to a series of other breakthroughs, until the founding of Fairchild Semiconductor. The founding of Stanford bread Palo Alto’s earliest entrepreneurs, which ultimately created and attracted many more great thinkers until the geographic area reached it’s tipping point and became the great technology cluster that is today.
The Silicon Valley example is a great history lesson on the factors involved in creating a great cluster of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, and possibly a loose model into how another one can be started. Triumph of the City is a must read for any passionate urbanist, or anyone looking to understand how cities play the most significant role in human progress and innovation. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book, and perhaps sharing more insights I get from it.
Recently you may have noticed a trend with newly elected state Governors making disturbing moves that have left little room for opposition. Equally as bold and shocking as the Wisconsin Governor’s union crushing, new Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott has rejected the $2.4 billion earmarked for the first phase of the Florida high speed rail project that would connect Tampa to Orlando. Florida was one of the first states chosen to receive Federal funds to begin building a modern high speed transit system that is projected to one day connect the country’s major regions.
As of the time this post was created, the United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LeHood has extended the deadline for Gov. Scott to make a final decision until the end of this week. At this point Scott has shown no signs of wavering on his decision, even though many rail supporters have tried hard to prove that the state of Florida would not be responsible for budget overruns.
It seems as though that since Scott is ignoring the claims that the State would be covered, his main motive is to go against this Federally proposed rail system pushed forward by the Obama administration. There are already several other states clamoring at the opportunity to snatch up the billions being turned away by Scott.
As a creative professional that is a Florida native, my main concern is how this delay will cause even more creative individuals that live in Florida to move away to live and work in states that are actively striving to create environments that are forward thinking and supportive of creative industries. California is a good example of one of these states that is already a hub to technology companies, and continuing to ensure they maintain their edge by moving forward with the HSR projects. What’s amazing is that California is pushing forward with the rail project without worrying about the State taking on any additional costs, even though it is widely know they have major financial issues.
At this point many rail supporters like myself can only wait and hope things turn around for the better. It is crazy that one man that has bought himself the Governorship of a state can have the power to “derail” a project that has been in the works for 10 years. I believe this will ensure he is only elected to one term, but the question is how much damage will be done in these four years he is in office. Come back and check for more updates on Florida high speed rail…
Our team at 37 North Development has come up with a new urban business incubator concept we are calling WorkUrbn. Right now we have a few select companies that are working within WorkUrbn, and there might be a few more added in the future. We are trying to keep the culture close knit, so we are keeping it kind of exclusive and only adding people / companies that are good fits. Our main goal is to create a prototype that we can learn from and improve on in the future with additional locations. WorkUrbn is not a coworking set-up, as we are not open for part time or drop in usages of the office. Right now it’s just a few businesses sharing the space. We just got the outside facade painted, and put up our new sign! More information and updates will be coming soon. Stay connected through our WorkUrbn Facebook Page.
I recently went on a 10 day land and sea trip to Alaska, the final port on the 7 day cruise was Vancouver. I had always heard what a great city Vancouver was, so I was excited to get a chance to check it out for myself. I had less than 24 hours in the city, but made the most of my time there. Below are some pictures I took while exploring the city, hope you enjoy.