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This interview is part of the “Tomorrow Lives Here” Conversation Series presented by Miami Business School.
–Lennar executive chairman Stuart Miller was born and raised in Miami.
-He also runs the country’s largest homebuilding company, which makes him uniquely qualified to talk about the future of South Florida’s housing market.
-In a wide-ranging conversation with Miami Business School Dean John Quelch, Miller talked about some of the biggest challenges facing his industry, the impact of the millennial generation on homeownership and why he thinks Miami is a “tale of two cities”.
–Lennar recently acquired CalAtlantic in a $5.7 billion merger that made the Miami based company the largest homebuilder in the US.
-Miller on the impact of the millennial generation on the housing market:
“Initially…the millennial buyer presented as very different. Every generation for the past decades has postponed getting married and having children a year, two years, three years later than the prior generation. But for the millennials it was even later. It was four, five and six years late. Some of that was just natural progression. Some of it related to the economic downturn but many speculated that the millennial generation would be very different than prior generations. In fact, now that they’ve started getting married and having children, we’re starting to see that the trends are very similar [to prior generations].”
—Here’s another cool story: —
Before National Fame, Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho Started As An Undocumented Immigrant
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By: Lungani Gumede
UMLAZI TOWNSHIP, SOUTH AFRICA: Growing up in a rural village has many advantages and some of society’s favorite stories involve a dusty footed hero making it big in the city.
One of the biggest advantages of living in a rural setting is being thrust into the natural environment early on in ones life.
The surrounding forests, fields and rivers are a playground for children and, like other children, Dumisani Msweli quickly became infatuated with this environment.
He used to live with his grandmother in rural Umbumbulu, thirty minutes away from where Kwa-Zulu Natal’s coast meets the Indian Ocean.
However, Dumisani moved to be with his mother and stepfather in Umlazi township, the third largest township in South Africa, just outside of Durban.
Umlazi was one of them.
With a population of close to 405,000 in an area that is 47.46km squared (8,500 people per square kilometre) the township is compacted and land that is supposed to fit one family, has had to accommodate four or five houses on one plot.
So any arable land would have been converted into space for dwellings.
However, Dumisani always felt love for plants and trees and never forgot his passion.
After high school, Dumisani went to University and graduated with a degree in Nutrition, but that was not his passion.
“One of my mentors advised me to follow my passion,” Dumisani said in an interview with RISE NEWS.
Which is what he did by going back to school. He received a National Diploma in Horticulture from the Durban University of Technology.
Dumisani then says he “saw a need and an opportunity in the township,” a need for work, cheap products and a cleaner environment.
This is how Ibala Organics was born.
Ibala means “backyard” or “garden” in isiZulu and Dumisani quickly realized that other amabala or “openspace” that belonged to the people in the community were the key to creating a sustainable, consistently fruitful business for the township of Umlazi.
Dumisani’s idea was to rent and buy land from inside the community, such as gardens, backyards and schoolyards and plant tropical and subtropical fruits and then sell those fruits to supermarkets and fruit processors.
By shortening and localizing his supply chain, Dumisani says there will be no need for expensive refrigeration or transportation.
The initiative will sell its fruits (pun intended) to fruit processors and supermarkets, which means that the gardens will need to provide its wares regularly and on time and the more “amabala” they have, the better.
Ibala already has a square kilometre of household backyard space that it has acquired and processed and a further 1.5 kilometre squared space from schoolyards that are being cultivated for the planting of vegetables in April.
However, Dumisani says he is always on the lookout and constantly negotiating for more spaces.
Ibala Organics aims to provide communities with a very valuable second income, without actually having to toil the land.
Dumisani hires people from the community to work with him and is adamant that he wants to give opportunities to people who just left school with the right qualifications, over eight million people are unemployed in South Africa and university-leaving degree-bearing young people are not being hired.
Besides the good that Ibala Organics will do for the economies of the communities it operates in, Dumisani says “it is our vision to plant the value of tree’s in people’s lives.”
Dumisani wants to ensure that the people who will be participating in Ibala Organics gain a love for the plants and trees that he will be planting.
Getting buy-in from the community was not a problem for Dumisani, because he started close to home – on his own street.
Once he had proven his model to those close to home, it was easier to get support from neighboring communities.
The drought that has hit South Africa has not severely impacted on Ibala’s crop of tropical and subtropical fruit, such as Mangoes,paw paw, avocado, banana, granadilla, citrus fruit and litchi and in April they hope to add vegetables to the offering.
Ibala Organics will soon be completely operational and the gardens of Umlazi will be home to trees and plants with heavy-hanging branches bearing fruit and vegetables.
Perhaps Ibala Organics and Dumisani will create a wave across the 400,000 people strong township that encourages local products and unity in the community.
A hand-in-hand initiative for the people, by the people.
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Cover Photo Credit: Red Bull/ ScreengrabPost Views: 103
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Much like gamers themselves, instances of gaming addiction are often stigmatized.
While stories of deaths stemming from three-day gaming binges in internet cafes are hyped in media coverage, gaming addiction in the United States is more often characterized by someone sacrificing their work, school and social life in order to progress in the digital space.
Psychologists such as Douglas Gentile at Iowa State University have studied video game addiction for decades and asserts that our access to broadband internet and the spread of technology have only increased addiction numbers.
Gentile believes that the global gaming addiction rate falls somewhere between 4 and 10 percent of gamers.
Who is and isn’t addicted is often hard to determine, as researchers offer contrasting definitions of what constitutes addiction.
In an interview with CNN, Gentile says games become compelling because they satiate our basic human needs for autonomy, belonging and competence.
Games put you in control, they can offer a sense of community and most games have skill curves that allow players to feel successful while playing.
Recent additions to modern games include systems designed to keep the player engaged through unpredictable reward systems.
Games such as Destiny have been called out for their random number generator (RNG) loot systems that randomize the rewards dropped for players after completing a mission or objective.
Titles boasting millions of players such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Rocket League and Overwatch feature cosmetic items that are unlocked through a system that most closely resembles a slot machine.
In Call of Duty, items that bear a significant impact on gameplay are obtained through this same RNG system, giving an edge to players able to obtain higher-tier items.
Those unable to secure the best rewards are encouraged to keep playing or spend even more money on a micro-transaction system to gain an edge over others or secure coveted in-game items that hold little to no value outside of the digital game space.
Through these examples, one can assume that not only are modern games hooking players with feelings of empowerment and belonging, but the addition of systems that closely mirrors gambling has created a dual threat of addiction for gamers young and old.
But statistics and insights from psychologists only go so far in explaining the real-world impact gaming addiction can have on an individual.
Speaking from personal experience, I can recall how detrimental my teenage gaming binges were when I would sometimes spend more than 24 hours at a time playing a single game.
I would ignore school work, reject spending time with family and not leave my house for days.
The concept of these marathon sessions weren’t taboo in my friends group.
We would boast about having more than 1,000 hours logged in a game.
It wasn’t uncommon for us to lose literal days of our lives to these online experiences.
I’ve met people well into college with close to 3,000 hours played in an online multiplayer game.
They commonly have the propensity to brush off criticism about their time invested with explanations like “It’s the only game I play,” and “I still get my work done”.
But life isn’t a game, and too much time spent in the digital world can be detrimental to your health, work and social life.
This is all coming from someone who runs his own gaming website, who hosts a gaming and tech talk show at his college and has poured months, if not years of his life into video games and the culture encompassing them.
I’ve seen how gaming can foster creativity, establish connections between generations and empower the physically disabled.
But I’ve also witnessed the impact being too deeply enveloped in a particular game can have on a person.
I’ve seen friends fail classes, fracture relationships and miss out on amazing opportunities, all because they couldn’t pull themselves away from the TV or computer screen.
Although gaming addiction has no fixed definition, its credibility as a real issue in the present day should be undisputed.
The complications gaming addiction creates may originate from time spent in a digital space, but the effects are tangibly existent in reality.
There’s no reset button for the real world.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: COD Newsroom/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 103
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By Brian Martin
In the cutthroat world of book retailers, there are many brands that compete with each other to win consumers over.
Outlets like Barnes & Noble offer deals and memberships in order to incentivize book enthusiasts to sign up and buy their products.
Books & Books is among them, but with its mission of providing avid readers top quality books and creating a community of readers.
It began as a dream that flourished into a reality.
“It started in 1982, I started it, I had been teaching [in high school for a few years] and I had always wanted to be in the book business,” Mitchell Kaplan, owner and founder of Books and Books said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “It had started in Coral Gables, in a small space in about 500 square feet, and that’s how it came about.”
In this era of Amazon dominance, Books & Books has carved out a unique model in order to grow.
It offers memberships that ensure discounts on all purchases and a community feel at the various locations.
Its mission is to attract the most loyal readers in the book community.
“I think from the beginning, we decided that really what we were all about was to provide a community gathering place,” Kaplan said when discussing Books & Books’ mission of creating a community for readers to join. “I don’t think it so much differentiates us [from other booksellers like it did years ago], but it did then. And we also decided to have lots of book events, so we have a lot of authors coming in right from the beginning when we opened the bookshop.”
Holding book events is one way that Books & Books tries to keep its customer base from diminishing.
It is also a co-founder of the Miami Book Fair and is heavily involved with it.
Another advantage is Books & Books’ multitude of locations across South Florida, saving it from being limited to only Coral Gables.
“And the other thing that differentiates us a little bit is that we have more than one location,” explained Kaplan. “We now have now six or seven different locations in South Florida and abroad. And the other thing is that each one of our stores is very distinct and unusual from one another.”
Staff dedicated to providing top quality service to shoppers also maintains each Books & Books location.
Although every Books & Books store is unique in structure, they all share the same services nonetheless, such as a café at every store.
This helps if customers wish to sit down and have a nice meal.
But while Books & Books is on a steady roll with its success, one can only wonder on how it is able to be successful in the book market with different competitors trying to win customers over.
One such competitor would be Amazon, which has recently started opening bookstores in certain locations around the US.
Each store sells books while also providing Amazon-related products on display as well.
However, Kaplan does not believe believe that his business is doomed.
“Well, Amazon has been operating now for over 20 years and of course [they’ve been very successful],” Kaplan said. “So I don’t think it’s going to have that much of a greater effect.”
Books & Books is not even slightly worried about the creation of Amazon brick and mortar stores.
“We’ve already been affected by Amazon, so the decision to open bookstores probably won’t make that much of a difference,” said Kaplan.
Books & Books is the ideal place for those looking to find the next big book to read while also being with a community full of ardent readers.
Its mission is one that celebrates literature and helping those who are fond of the medium to gather and share their literary interests.
“I would say ‘come on in and take a look,’” Kaplan said. “If you’re a book lover you’ll be very surprised.”Post Views: 87
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