2016 Program

Meet the Authors

As part of registration at this year’s Annual Meeting, we offered a brand new networking opportunity immediately following our program. Guests joined us for dessert and coffee, and an opportunity to purchase the latest books by Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin, courtesy of Rainy Day Books, Kansas City's community bookseller. Both speakers were on hand as well to answer questions and sign books.


It is a competitive advantage for KC to offer our economic development clients and residents a broader menu of lifestyle and business environment choices – urban, suburban, rural and a perfect balance of all three. Richard Florida and Joel Kotkin each presented important and compelling cases, advocating for assets that are critical for all regional economies. While their reference points may have diverged in urban vs. suburban perspectives, both agreed on the importance of lifestyle and cultural values.

Guest Speakers

"In order to be truly sustainable, built environments must reflect the preferences of most people—and families in particular—even if that means encouraging an urbanist’s worst nightmare: lower-density, suburban development." - Joel Kotkin

AM16-web(JoelGrid16)Joel Kotkin
Author, Researcher
Described by the New York Times as “America’s uber-geographer,” Joel Kotkin is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends.   Currently Kotkin is coordinating major studies on Texas urbanism, the future of localism and the re-industrialization of the American heartland for the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. As presidential fellow in urban futures and director of the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University, he was the lead author of a major study on housing, and is currently involved in a project about the future of Orange County, CA.  He has authored nine books, most recently "The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us," and "The New Class Conflict." He writes regularly for The Daily Beast, Forbes.com, Real Clear Politics and The Orange County Register.

"It is our view that artists and musicians, because they are so very mobile, provide key insights into the operation of the knowledge-based creative economy. Studying them can reveal important insights that studying high-tech industries and technology workers may not." - Richard Florida

AM16-web(RichardGrid16)Richard Florida
Director, Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto, Global Research Professor, New York University and Co-Founder and Senior Editor, The Atlantic City Lab

Richard Florida is the world’s leading urbanist. He is a researcher and professor, serving as the Director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, Global Research Professor at New York University and a Visiting Fellow at Florida International University. He is a writer and journalist, having penned several global best sellers, including the award winning The Rise of the Creative Class, and serving as senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded and serves as Editor-at-Large for CityLab. And he is an entrepreneur, as founder of the Creative Class Group which works closely with governments and companies worldwide.

A 2013 MIT study named Florida the world’s most influential thought leader, and TIME magazine recognized his Twitter feed as one of the 140 most influential in the world. He previously taught at Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State University and George Mason University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard and MIT and Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Rutgers College and his Ph.D. from Columbia University.


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