As technology and culture clash in the cities, poor minorities get caught in the economic crossfire. Lathan Hodge is a producer of a powerful new film called Innovating Cities. It looks at how people are blending tech trends, culture, education and innovation. It showcases some powerful perspectives from thought-leaders like John Kao and other compelling activists. We talked the other week about the challenges we all face fusing technology and culture. Check it out.
What moved you to being working on the film Innovating Cities?
Lathan Hodge: As a producer, I'm fascinating about cities and how they work or sometimes don't work. We live in them time of the MegaCities and as 80% of the world's population lives in cities, how will cities work in the future? Looking at the United States there are tremendous opportunities in our urban centers.
Who all is part of your team?
Lathan Hodge: The team includes; Ahmad Mansur, the founder of Urban Economy Institute.-Ahmad is a strategist and leadership expert who brings innovated solutions to cities, communities and regions. On the creative side Roy Miles Director and Editor and Morgan Schmidt-Feng Director of Photography worked with me to produce this complex documentary.
When looking at the impact of gentrification across the country what are the issues that are the most alarming?
Lathan Hodge: We see the minority populations shifting out of cities. In Oakland, California 25% of the African American population has moved out the city. In the San Francisco Bay Area there has been a 9.8% loss of African Americans leaving the city. in Chicago, 11% of the African American population was loss between 2000 and 2009, while the Hispanic population is increasing there.
Is it possible to truly innovate a city economically and not lose a large proportion of Black and Latino population?
Lathan Hodge: I definitely think you can innovate city economically and not lose a large proportion of the minority population. It is important to create policy around innovation. It has to happen on a national, regional and local level. Not only that it has to transfer to the education system from early education to the new centers of re-training American (Community Colleges). The model of clusters in cities to train for the jobs in industries of the today and more importantly those of the future is critical to minorities playing a role in the viability of cities from an economic perspective.
How was it interviewing John Kao?
Lathan Hodge: It was great talking with a thought-leader like John Kao. When he riffs about large-scale innovation, you see why the governments of Singapore, the European Union and the United States seeks to engage him. I only wish we had more time to interview him.
When can people expect to see Innovation Cities in their area?
Lathan Hodge: The documentary recently premiered at the Oakland International Film Festival and the Harvard Business School Think Tank on Revitalizing Cities in conjunction with the Harvard Kennedy School. The film is playing in key private screenings around the country. Innovating Cities will be released in July. For more information visit UrbanEconomyInstitute.com  or LathanHodge.com .