The City Manager’s Office for the City of Santa Monica invites residents to an evening of futuristic contemplation as they explore what life might be like with shared autonomous vehicles, highly tailored retail experiences, and new ways of doing work. Distinguished UCLA professor and economic geographer, Dr. Michael Storper, will moderate a panel of experts in forward-thinking fields to discuss how these emerging trends and technologies could affect Santa Monica’s economy in the long term. Opening remarks from Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tempore, Gleam Davis.

Prior to the Evening Program, they invite attendees to a special Meet the Speakers pre-program reception, where they’ll have a chance to talk with the featured speakers and interact with City leadership and partners.


Confirmed Speakers Include:

Dr. Manuel Pastor — Pastor is a Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California where he also directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and USC’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. Pastor holds an economics Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the inaugural holder of the Turpanjian Chair in Civil Society and Social Change at USC. Pastor’s research has generally focused on issues of the economic, environmental and social conditions facing low-income urban communities – and the social movements seeking to change those realities. His current research culminates in the release of his book, State of Resistance: What California’s Dizzying Descent and Remarkable Resurgence Means for America’s Future.

Becky Steckler — Steckler, AICP, is the Urbanism Next Program Manager for the Sustainable Cities Initiative at the University of Oregon. She has over 20 years of experience in project management, land use planning, transportation, and economic development. Before coming to the University of Oregon, she worked as an independent contractor for a wide array of public and nonprofit clients, most recently as the Program and Policy Manager for the Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association (OAPA). Steckler worked on legislative and policy issues, trainings and events, health and planning, and communications for OAPA. Before becoming a contractor, she worked for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, ECONorthwest, and the California Coastal Commission.


Dr. Michael Storper — Storper (PhD, Economic Geography, University of California, Berkeley) is an economic geographer who holds positions at UCLA, the London School of Economics, and Sciences Po/Paris. His fields of research are: regional economic development; urbanization; the link between innovation and geographical change; and globalization. He is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed academic articles and ten books, including the widely-cited The Rise and Decline of Urban Economies (Stanford, 2015); Keys to the City (Princeton, 2013), The Regional World: Territory, Technology and Economic Development (Guilford, 1997), Worlds of Production (Harvard, 1997). He received a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Utrecht In 2008, a Prime d’Excellence Scientifique in 2010, the Sir Peter Hall Prize from the Regional Studies Association in 2012, the Founder’s Gold Medal from the Royal Geographical Society in 2016, and the Distinguished Scholarship Honors from the American Association of Geographers in 2017. He holds dual citizenship of the USA and France.

The event will be held at the Santa Monica Main Library (601 Santa Monica Blvd.) on June 5 from 5 – 8 p.m.


Meet the Speakers – 5 – 6 p.m., Multipurpose Room, Santa Monica Main Library

Evening Program – 6:30 – 8 p.m., MLK Auditorium, Santa Monica Main Library

Registration is required for attendance.

Visit for more information and registration information.

Submitted by Constance Farrell, Santa Monica Public Information Officer