Andrade to Offer Economic Development Expertise at 2014 MIT Sustainability Summit

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Ernest Andrade, principal of Andrade Economics and the founder and executive director of the Charleston Digital Corridor, will speak at the 2014 MIT Sustainability Summit, May 3-4, at the MIT Media Lab.

According to the planners at MIT, the objective of this year's summit is to engage the audience with the coastal city sustainability challenge by bringing experienced and knowledgeable speakers, using interactive workshops, providing the opportunity to brainstorm on real sustainability problems from cities and companies, and bringing together a diverse audience with expertise and interest in sustainable solutions for coastal cities futures.

The conference will defy traditional notions of urban development to ask how coastal cities can sustain themselves and continue to grow as the climate changes and their local environments deteriorate.

Andrade will join a range of experts in various fields, including keynote speaker Nancy Kete, managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation.

The theme of the sixth annual summit is "Coastal Cities, Sustainable Futures," which the event planners hope will "shed light on responses to climate change being undertaken worldwide, including how cities, institutions and private companies are integrating resilience planning with broader strategic initiatives."

Andrade was invited to speak with a panel on "Planning for the New Economy," which will delve into the concept that coastal cities benefit from entrenched economic power but now face new environmental challenges.

Some of the questions the panel will tackle include:

  • How can these cities continue to evolve in order to maintain their inherited advantages and be leaders in the new economy?
  • How does the interrelationship of environmental, economic and social challenges transform the way we conceptualize the planning, design and management of cities?
  • What new economic opportunities can be realized by tackling complex urban problems?

Panel coordinator Laurie Zapalac said that Andrade was selected not only because of his noted success with the Charleston Digital Corridor but also his consulting approach, noting in particular that his "ideas about the relationship between economic diversification and urban resilience would be of keen to our audience."

Andrade recently brought his value and results-oriented mindset to other gatherings.

At the South Carolina Telecom Association's 2014 Spring Convention on April 15, he shared highlights of his accomplishments with Charleston's tech economy, including topics such as "ditch the studies and start a process of strategic doing" and "relationships of substance vs. obligation and convenience," among other points.

At the Wilmington Information Technology Exchange Conference on April 8, he delivered the keynote address, highlighting a roadmap for success in his address entitled, "Building a Thriving Tech Economy: What Wilmington can learn from the successes of Charleston, S.C."

The MIT Sustainability Summit is an annual event that has grown to include more than 350 attendees ranging from professionals, academics and students. Past summits have featured discussions with thought leaders and expert practitioners, such as Jeremy Grantham (GMO), Jim Hanna (Starbucks), Mindy Lubber (Ceres), Nancy Gillis (GSA), Jeffrey Hollender (Seventh Generation), Scot Horst (USGBC), James Balog (Chasing Ice), Rick Ridgeway (VP Patagonia) and others.