Lathan Hodge On The War Between Technology And Culture

“It is important to create policy around innovation. It has to happen on a national, regional and local level.”


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.

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

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 or

About the author

Adisa Banjoko is a writer and speaker based out of Northern California. He has written extensively on technology and youth culture trends