November 11, 2021

OHM Advisors Convenes City Thought Leaders to Discuss COVID-19 Challenges and Opportunities

Header graphic for Pandemic Problem Solving webinar

On October 6, OHM Advisors convened a panel of city and regional thought leaders for a webinar discussion entitled, “Pandemic Problem-Solving: COVID-19 Challenges and Opportunities Moving Forward”, moderated by Crain’s Cleveland Business reporter, Dan Shingler.

As part of the panel of experts from the government and private sectors, OHM Advisors Principal Aaron Domini joined Freddy Collier Jr., Director of City Planning, City of Cleveland, Ohio; Katy Trudeau, Deputy Director, Planning & Development, City of Detroit; and Kim Sharp, AICP, Senior Director of Development, Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing cities in the Midwest in this lingering age of Covid.  

The hour of insightful discussion and commentary covered a wide range of issues related to how COVID-19 has irrevocably changed the way we must design, develop, and plan our cities. Among other things, the experts discussed what our city designs should encompass moving forward in terms of strengthening their resiliency and preparedness for the future—including putting in place effective and equitable infrastructure; combining mobility planning and design with land use planning; and designing better public service systems for all residents.

Conversation highlights included:

  • Consideration of a “15-Minute City” mindset when planning long-term infrastructure investments and capital improvements (Kim Sharp, 25:45 min mark)
  • The need for cities to both move at the pace of innovation and rethink how, from a process standpoint, to better deliver services to the public (Freddy Collier, Jr., 57:34 min mark)
  • The potential for the “great resignation” in the American workforce to lead to a “great migration” of talent into Midwestern cities that must be prepared for high population growth (Aaron Domini, 22:30 min mark)
  • The acceleration of the planning profession’s traditional concerns around city planning to a crisis point that could have been avoided with better resiliency planning (Katy Trudeau, 58:44 min mark)

In stressing the need for our country to truly move forward and make “once in a lifetime, generational” changes, Domini referred to the country’s historical developments in shipping, railroads, and the creation of the Federal Highway Administration—innovative disruptions that transformed America.

“We have to stop thinking of these changes as an expense,” he stated, “and start thinking of them as an investment.”

Click below to watch the entire panel discussion.