The NACTO Designing Cities Conference brings together 1,000 officials, planners, and practitioners to advance the state of transportation in cities across North America. The 2024 event will be NACTO’s twelfth conference, and the first held in the Southeast U.S.
In line with NACTO’s valuesand to advance our movement for safe, sustainable, and equitable cities, NACTO is focusing the 2024 conference around the following themes:
Safety: Stemming North America’s roadway safety crisis
Climate: Mitigating and adapting to the global climate crisis
Equity: Building streets as social infrastructure that broadens access to opportunity and supports the physical and mental well-being of marginalized communities
Sustainable Growth: Holistically accommodating and managing population growth and shifting travel patterns
Regional Collaboration: Multiplying impact and addressing challenges by working together
Miami-Dade joined NACTO in 2016 as a transit agency member, and was the first county to join NACTO’s membership. Miami-Dade County’s Department of Transportation and Public Works performs the street design, operations, and maintenance work in the county, in addition to operating bus and rail transit service. The DPW’s transit system is the largest such system in Florida and the 15th largest in the U.S. Encompassing 34 municipalities, Miami-Dade is uniquely poised to bring a lens of regional collaboration to the Designing Cities conference.
Miami-Dade County embodies the challenges and opportunities in North American cities. Historically, Miami-Dade has been a beacon for immigrants, people of color, and LGBT people seeking acceptance and to contribute to the success of the community. Today, Miami-Dade is a vibrant, dynamic community of 2.8 million residents and the most populous county in the State of Florida. The region is a vibrant tapestry of cultures, with more than 50% of residents identifying as Hispanic* and more than half born outside of the United States. It is a truly bilingual metropolitan region, with a majority of Miamians speaking Spanish at home.
At the same time, Miami-Dade has significant challenges with housing affordability, traffic safety, climate impacts, and threats to physical and mental well-being, especially to marginalized communities like immigrants, Black people, and LGBT+ individuals. Miami-Dade has numerous programs addressing the region’s issues, seeking to unlock the area’s vast opportunities and potential. Miami-Dade has much to share with—and learn from—the broader NACTO network on its work, successes, lessons learned, and challenges.
*While terminology varies across North America, and no term can inclusively capture the vast diversity of Hispanic/Latino/a/e/x communities, in Miami-Dade the term “Hispanic” is generally preferred and will be used in #NACTO2024 materials and communications.
Why We Gather
The NACTO Designing Cities Conference equips thousands of city staff with the resources, information, and relationships to build safe, sustainable, equitable, accessible streets. Just as importantly, the conference is a place where our community comes together. Every year, we catch up with peers and colleagues, make new connections, and feel the buzz of entering a room of over 1,000 people committed to a shared mission. We celebrate our successes and support each other in the face of adversity or tragedy. We recommit to doing the difficult work of addressing the intertwined safety, equity, and climate crises facing our cities.
Our movement is motivated by the belief in the potential for transformative change through urban design and transportation policy. This belief emerges from the conviction that transforming streets is not only possible, but necessary to address climate change and structural inequities. This radical optimism and belief in our collective ability to make change fuels our work and drives all that NACTO does. The Designing Cities Conference is our primary vehicle for building and sustaining the community that makes this movement possible.
The ability to move safely, easily, and comfortably through streets and public spaces is a cornerstone of freedom–and one that continues to be out of reach for many people in every city in North America. Too many people are unsafe on our streets, public spaces, and public transportation because of how they look or present, including visibly trans people, Black people, and non-English-speaking immigrants.
NACTO stands in strong opposition to laws and policies that limit the ability of people–including Black people, LGBT+ people, and immigrants–to fully, safely, and comfortably access the resources of the city they are in, and NACTO intends to program the conference in support of our values of fostering community, centering justice, striving for impact, and leading with imagination.