Days 6-7. San Diego/Austin – Smart means Inclusive

The Dojo Cafe in City Heights, San Diego

The weekend brought the tale of two cities.

City Heights is a district in the east of San Diego that covers some four-square miles. With 76,000 official residents and a further 15,000 undocumented, City Heights is a landing pad for immigrants - the ‘Ellis Island of San Diego’. The local YMCA has an air of vibrancy and energy of opportunity serving a microcosm of the cultural diversity, multiplicity of languages and the broad age demographic of the community itself.

Price Philanthropies and Price Charities, founded by retail entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price and his wife Helen in 1982, have been central to making this community thrive. Through strategic and methodical land acquisitions and development underpinned by competitive tender process with incentives for social, environment and public amenity, Price and their partners have delivered thousands of intergenerational multifamily houses.

This ecosystem includes providing residents the opportunity to have input into the housing design, the provision immigration services, partnerships with schools and hospitals as well cultural programs and clean street initiatives for graffiti removal.

Social enterprises such as Dojo Coffee Club and small business programs like the Women Empowered Boutique are also integral to the community and the integration of these new Americans.

Women Empowered Boutique, City Heights, San Diego

By contrast Austin is a place where according to Mayor Steve Adler, “the 20 somethings come to retire”. The eleventh largest city in the US this is a city where technology and music converge and where the population growth is one of the highest in the country. The affordability of housing, mobility and jobs are the biggest urban challenges and the city has looked to technology for solutions.

Mayor of Austin Steve Adler with delegates

The answers have not always come easy for Austin with a light rail system literally stopped in its tracks due to withdrawal of funding and ride share operators Uber and Lift initially packing up and leaving over a stoush on open data. However, perseverance and a cultural acceptance that it is OK to fail has paid off with Austin now having one of the most advanced autonomous vehicle test zones outside of California.

Starting fresh on Monday we will explore more of Austin including discussions with Austin's City Information Officer and the fast-growing incubator and accelerator Capital Factory.

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Level 23, 45 Clarence Street

Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia

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