CityLab 2018: Rocket Fiber’s Experience
This October, Detroit was home to the CityLab 2018 conference. Rocket Fiber convened with a global community as a part of a summit to discuss the most important issues facing cities.
Our hometown served as an incredible backdrop for an illustration of what happens when industry collapses and a fourth industrial revolution begins to force technological advancement and a hedging of strategy from behemoth organizations; a city that faced financial collapse, pulling through the largest municipal bankruptcy, and where the issues facing modern democracy have often been exacerbated. In the midst of crisis has risen innovation and creativity—Detroit was the perfect party to bring together a worldwide group of urban leaders.
Technology was front and center in the various discussions had at the summit. Some notable talks included topics around mobility with Robin Chase, the former CEO of Zipcar, and Scott Kulby, Chief Programs Officer for Limebike. Chase and Kulby covered issues around ride sharing, biking technology, and scooters.
One of the most candid conversations around mobility included a breakfast chat with Mayor Mike Duggan from the City of Detroit.
Main points in the chat included the importance of data in driving multi-modal decision making. Outside of data collection, the issue arose around complaints regarding pedestrian and public safety with scooters—claims that scooters were creating an unprecedented amount of pedestrian accidents, to which the Mayor was not buying into.
As the Motor City, conversations considered that there are generally fewer public transportation options. Given that, it becomes especially important for new technologies to offer additional options to residents throughout the municipality. Additionally, the data being gathered from scooters and other new tech are particularly helpful when contemplating structuring other public transit programs; highlighting the habits and patterns in last mile usage.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg summed it up best stating that, “cities like Detroit are the global engine of progress,” and we couldn’t agree more.