Inaugural Philadelphia Fellowship Awarded to Renowned Urbanist Richard Florida
New collaborative initiative by Drexel, Jefferson and the Science Center fosters groundbreaking research on inclusion and equity
On November 27th, Drexel University, Thomas Jefferson University and the University City Science Center today announced Richard Florida, PhD, a distinguished scholar known for his groundbreaking research on urban demographic changes, as the inaugural recipient of the Philadelphia Fellowship.
The Philadelphia Fellowship—a collaborative program initiated by the three partner institutions—will invite thought leaders and scholars to Philadelphia for year-long research engagements focused on pressing urban issues, such as inclusive economic growth, infrastructure renewal and development of smart cities.
Florida’s fellowship will focus on Philadelphia’s affordable housing and human capital gaps, and the role of large-scale local institutions in identifying potential solutions. Findings will be shared at three major public engagements, culminating in a research publication expected to be released in late 2019.
Florida will kick off his fellowship as the lead presenter at the inaugural Venture Café Philadelphia on Thursday, November 29 at the Science Center. With a presence in seven cities around the world, Venture Café is a global non-profit working to build stronger and more inclusive innovation ecosystems and accelerate and enhance the innovation process.
Through the Philadelphia Fellowship, Florida will partner with each institution to further study Philadelphia’s urban demographic changes and urban revival trends, specifically analyzing drivers of economic and racial segregation and defining meaningful goals for equity and economic inclusion.
“Richard Florida is uniquely qualified to be the first Philadelphia Fellow,” Drexel President John Fry said. “Richard’s pathbreaking writing and research predicted the rise of the creative class driving the renaissance in many cities today, including Philadelphia. He is the foremost scholar on the challenges and opportunities facing cities. At the same time, Drexel’s partnership with the University City Science Center and Thomas Jefferson University underscores the central role that anchor institutions play in ensuring the innovation economy creates opportunities for everyone.”
Florida is the director of the Martin Prosperity Institute, professor in the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto, and author of two seminal urbanist treatises—The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis.
"I am honored to accept the Philadelphia Fellowship and have the opportunity to work closely with the city, community leaders and these important research institutions to build a strategy for greater inclusive prosperity in Philadelphia, spurring a national movement for increased equity in our cities," he said.
"At Jefferson we're committed to helping design the healthy and smart cities of the future,” said Stephen Klasko, MD, MBA, president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health. “Unfortunately, Richard Florida is right when he talks about an urban crisis. We continue to see disparities between Philadelphia's neighborhoods that we must address. This is the perfect place to plan the action steps we must take."
As a prescient observer of urban trends who is deeply committed to inclusive growth, Florida’s research will make an invaluable contribution towards understanding the impact the partner institutions can make and how we can create a more equitable city that works for all members of our community.
“In the spirit of Jefferson’s motto—Redefining Humanly Possible—the Philadelphia Fellowship creates a collaborative avenue for drawing on world-class experts to help us pioneer human-centered design strategies that address inequities and stressors impacting the health, education and well-being of our city’s residents,” said Mark Tykocinski, MD, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and dean of Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.
“With a goal of convening and connecting an inclusive innovation community through Venture Cafe, Richard Florida is a natural fit to kick off the weekly gathering,” says Science Center President & CEO Steve Zarrilli. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity for him to share his insights on urban trends at Venture Café and eager to learn alongside him as the fellowship takes shape over the next year.”