The South Bay Cities Council of Government’s (SBCCOG) invites thought leaders to gather, share ideas and discuss important issues that impact the region. Due to the pandemic, last year’s event took place for the first time on a virtual platform. This year the General Assembly reconvenes in person with a future-focused theme. SBCCOG Board of Directors Chair Drew Boyles explains what conference attendees can expect.
Q. The GA theme this year is “Back? to the Future: Reimagining the South Bay.” How did you come up with this title, and what does it mean for those attending the conference? Also, why the question mark?
A. We decided to have a little fun with the title and of course we all remember the movie. The question mark is meant to be a bit rhetorical. Considering what we have been through over the past two years with the pandemic, socially and politically, can we really go back when shaping the future? The answer is no. There is no going back. Let’s take this teachable moment to ponder what we have learned, and also to consider what we want the future to look like for the South Bay. Abraham Lincoln expressed it well with this quote: “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” We hope to inspire this active and empowering mindset.
Q. Last year the event brought together representatives from the private and public sector to discuss how they could intersect to shape the future. What will be different this year?
A. Two panels—“Community and Innovation” and “Aerospace & Defense: Federal/Local Intersection”—will feature local champions of
innovation introducing bold topics, such as manufacturing in space and new ways to take advantage of a multi-dimensional world for
providing faster, cleaner and more efficient services. Entrepreneurs and investors will also introduce big ideas, dissect how they will
impact society and government, and share insights on where they are targeting future investment in the South Bay.
Q. The SBCCOG has been doing this event for 22 years. How will this event be different
from years past?
A. This year the event is more focused on understanding what private industry is anticipating and planning for by way of investments of time, energy and money, and also how our cities and the region can benefit from these future plans.
Q. In the spirit of the movie, can we expect the DeLorean to make an appearance?
A. You won’t see the DeLorean, but one thing you will get a glimpse of is the possible future of South Bay transportation through the “Local Travel Network Experience.” In our exhibit hall area, we plan to showcase the concept of micromobility, i.e., zeroemission
slow speed vehicles (neighborhood electric vehicles [NEVs – think souped up golf carts], scooters and electric bikes) that operate at 25 mph or less, for attendees to interact with. Through a GIS story map, you will learn about the SBCCOG’s game-changing strategy to move local trips off of arterials, thus reducing traffic, eliminating potential safety conflicts, and providing safer paths on which zero emission vehicle drivers can more safely complete their journeys.
Q. Who should attend this event?
A. The event is designed with elected officials, city staff, city commissioners, residents and local businesses in mind. We should all be actively engaged in the future of our region, so I believe anyone who attends will get something valuable out of it. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors we can offer this event free to our community. •