Meeting of the Minds

Conference Circuit: Meeting of the Minds Heads to Detroit

The American city that became a poster child for urban decline will be the backdrop as some of the smartest minds in urban planning meet.

The rate at which people and businesses abandoned Detroit over the last half-century is well documented. Its population dropped from 1.85 million in 1950 to just 701,000 in 2013. Although the city filed the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy case last year, its political and business leaders say Detroit is on the cusp of significant renewal.

So the Motor City makes an obvious host for the 2014 Meeting of the Minds conference, scheduled for September 30 to October 2. Meeting of the Minds seeks to improve standards of living in urban areas across the world, with programs involving food sources, green spaces, and long-term water supplies. The organization “focuses on the people and initiatives at the forefront of the latest efforts in urban sustainability and connected technology,” according to its website.

Industrial leaders from companies such as Oracle, Toyota, and IBM, will attend next week’s conference, alongside city officials from Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and other urban areas. Representatives of local groups, including Detroit Dirt and the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., will also be on hand. Topics on the agenda include underprivileged education, combating red tape, and the potential for smart cities.

Turning around a city with as many problems as Detroit is a huge undertaking, but it also presents a big opportunity for associations to do what they do best: help in their areas of expertise. Groups like the American Planning Association, American Public Works Association, Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and perhaps even your own association can play a role in rejuvenating urban communities like Detroit.

So when the time comes, you can keep track of the event with the #MotM2014 hashtag, or follow along with their live webcast October 1-2.

The Week Ahead

September 30-October 1: Women account for just 27 percent of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics workforce, and even as CEOs, they still face a gender pay gap. So conferences like Women 2.0’s How To Conference in San Francisco are all the more important. The event focuses on the essentials of entrepreneurial success, led by some of the most prominent women in the technology industry.

September 28-30: The American Bankers Insurance Association annual conference is a catch-all for those looking to explore the the post-Affordable Care Act world, the demands of cybersecurity, and the current state of the watchdog Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Down the Line

October 19-21: It’s hard not to love the brashness of the New England Library Association’s theme for this year’s conference in Boxborough, Massachusetts: “Be Bold. Libraries in the Center Ring.” Representing a membership that faces the dual pressures of budget cuts and incorporating new technologies, the association asserts that libraries have an essential role to play in the 21st century.


Morgan Little

By Morgan Little

Morgan Little is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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