Democratizing Tech: A Co-Operative for Overtown, Miami

Sidra Fatima (MUP '19) & Stefano Trevisan (MUP '19)

Our project explored the all-too-familiar narrative of how modern cities grapple with the complex evolution of economies and work patterns in an increasingly tech-centric world. We sought to shift the narrative from one of a ‘vulnerable’ community threatened by big tech to one of two actors mutually benefitting and growing inclusively, taking advantage of the unique qualities each has to offer. Toward this end, we proposed a co-operative that would subvert the typical pattern of gentrification by supporting the empowerment of residents and local entrepreneurs.

This project explores the potential of a co-operative that would link tech workers in the ‘gig’ economy to local organizations’ needs. By providing critical support services, these workers fill a necessary gap; by creating a collective that supports wealth creation, co-op workers can benefit from efficiencies of scale and their proximity to a booming tech scene. By housing the array of services these gig economy workers provide, as well as the workers themselves, we can create a one-stop-shop for all the organizational needs described previously. The goal is to provide the list of gap services these organizations face while creating an environment for Overtown residents to learn new skills and develop career pathways. This group can be incubated by competing first in their own backyard, contracting to provide services to key anchors in the community, then broadening their scope to compete in the open market.