Miami Urban Future Initiative led by Florida International University to advance inclusive economic development in Miami with $1.2 million from Knight Foundation

Press Release

April 5, 2017


Funding will support a joint research initiative of FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts and the Creative Class Group founded by urbanist Richard Florida

MIAMI – April 5, 2017 – To support the growth of Miami’s innovation ecosystem, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced $1.2 million in new support to the Miami Urban Future Initiative, a joint project of FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (FIU CARTA) and the Creative Class Group at Mana Wynwood. The initiative aims to create insights and strategy for growing a stronger, more innovative and more inclusive economy for the Miami region spanning Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The Miami Urban Future Initiative will help fill an existing research gap on economic, entrepreneurial, creative and technological assets in the region. It combines the capabilities of FIU CARTA, led by Dean Brian Schriner, and the Creative Class Group, founded by renowned urbanist Dr. Richard Florida. It will leverage existing FIU researchers and experts throughout the institution, as well as leading thinkers and researchers across the region and the world, combining their knowledge with that of business leaders, economic development practitioners, and other experts.

“Miami finds itself at a critical inflection point. Our city builders and leaders need a road map to grow our economy,” says Florida. “We are thrilled that Knight Foundation is investing in the Miami Urban Future Initiative to partner with us in creating a path forward for our growing dynamic community.”

Housed at FIU CARTA’s planned facility at Mana Wynwood, the Miami Urban Future Initiative will be active on several fronts. It will develop a series of ongoing applied research reports about Miami’s economy, convene leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss the challenges facing Miami, and host a fellows program to bring the best and brightest urban thinkers, practitioners and researchers to Miami. In addition, an executive director will be hired to help drive the ongoing conversation about Miami's evolving entrepreneurial and creative economy.

“To make Miami a global hub for ideas and innovation, we need to ensure that our decision makers and our community have the information they need to build a more engaging, lasting, inclusive innovation ecosystem,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. “The Miami Urban Future Initiative aims to do just that by helping to craft a strategic direction for the city that stirs new ideas, illuminates challenges and opportunities and helps leaders avoid decisions based on outdated assumptions.”

The Miami Urban Future Initiative will formally begin its research activities September 2017. The initiative is presently seeking matching support to complement Knight Foundation funding and advance ongoing research and engagement plans.

At FIU, we see growing Miami’s creative economy as a vital effort for moving our community forward as well as creating future opportunities for our students,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Partnering with Knight Foundation and the Creative Class Group to deliver the work of the Miami Urban Future Initiative is our way of helping to accelerate Miami’s ongoing transformation and create solutions to the challenges facing our region.”

Support for the Miami Urban Future Initiative is part of Knight Foundation’s broader effort to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past three years Knight has made more than 200 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation:

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

About Creative Class Group:
The Creative Class Group is an advisory services firm composed of leading next-generation researchers, academics, and business strategists. Utilizing its unique approach and metrics, CCG works with companies and governments worldwide. For more information about CCG, visit:

About FIU:
Florida International University is classified by Carnegie as a R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity and recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offers 196 bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, computer science, international relations, architecture, law, and medicine. As one of South Florida's anchor institutions, FIU contributes almost $9 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded more than 220,000 degrees and enrolls more than 55,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, [email protected], and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU's Medina Aquarius Program houses the Aquarius Reef Base, a unique underwater research facility in the Florida Keys. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA with more than 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit

About FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts

The College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts (CARTA) provides students with the distinct experience of working closely with an award-winning faculty, in nationally ranked accredited programs, in the heart of Miami, North Miami, and Miami Beach and Wynwood— four of the country’s most vibrant, diverse, and creative cities!  Focused on our engaged mission of driving the information, innovation, and cultural economy of South Florida and beyond, we are committed to a trans-disciplinary curriculum that prepare our graduates for meaningful careers and leadership in their chosen professions.

The Miami Urban Future Initiative:

The Miami Urban Future Initiative develops new research and mapping on economic, occupational, creative and technological assets in Miami, in partnership with renowned experts, to provide necessary data, evidence and strategy to grow a more inclusive, creative economy for a 21st century global Miami. For more information about FIU, visit

About MANA Group

MANA Group is a diversified conglomeration of businesses controlled by the visionary entrepreneur, Moishe Mana. Mr. Mana’s holdings include logistics, fine art & document storage, entertainment, arts, fashion, technology, and real estate. MANA Group is committed to creating a catalyst for change in neighborhoods across the United States.

MANA Group pursues projects that foster creative culture, not only of the arts, but also of innovative businesses that push the evolution of society. The current projects under development transcend markets & industries, and have proven to impact the communities in which they are located.