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January

Will a new shared office space work in the post-COVID-19 era? Edward “Ned” Murray, an urban planner and an associate director at Florida International University’s Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center, isn’t so sure. He pointed out that shared office spaces were not doing well even before the COVID-19 pandemic, since it’s more economical for private contractors and freelancers – a major market for shared office spaces – to simply turn their homes into offices.

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February

“We still don’t have the positive economic indicators that will slow down the moving out of the county in terms of wages and jobs, and especially in terms of housing,” said Maria Ilcheva, Assistant Director of Planning and Operations for the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center at Florida International University. “That’s what’s primarily driving prices up: There is higher demand, but the higher demand is not being driven by local conditions.”

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Florida International University recently announced that researchers have created a tool that tracks South Florida’s recovery from the pandemic. The researchers at the Jorge M. Pérez Metropolitan Center created the monthly COVID Economic Recovery Index, tracking tri-county indicators in health, housing and the economy and comparing them to state and national statistics.

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“The impact of COVID-19 on our region is unprecedented,” said Ned Murray, associate director of the Jorge M. Pérez FIU Metropolitan Center. “We hope to quantify the impact of the pandemic through this index and guide policymakers in their decisions during the economic recovery.”

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March

“COVID has underscored long-standing inequalities in our system—the differentials in death rates, and more recently, vaccination rates, between minority and white populations are real,” says Howard Frank, professor and chair of public policy and administration and director of the Jorge M. Perez Metropolitan Center. “These are issues our students need to understand and be aware of.”

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April

The Jorge M. Pérez FIU Metropolitan Center recently released a policy brief entitled “Racial Equity and Inclusion: From Words to Action” that offers suggestions on how to make Miami-Dade a more equitable place. “A just community begins with an equitable economy where the path to prosperity is clear to the eyes of Black Americans,” wrote the study’s co-authors Ned Murray and Nika Zyryanova.

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May

"We’ve never been the center of the state but we’ve been the center of attention. So now the center of the state will become the center of attention,” said Dr. Maria Ilcheva, the assistant director of Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center - which was part of the local census committee.

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"Where we teach financial literacy is just as important as what we teach. We need to invest in education for youths in underserved communities to develop this skill set." - Dr. Joanne Li, dean, professor of finance and Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida International University College of Business and a member of the CNBC Financial Wellness Council.

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The pandemic made in-person follow-ups more difficult, said Maria Ilcheva, an expert in data analytics and behavioral research at the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University who was a researcher on reports on Census outreach efforts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. It was difficult to find and train those workers and get them into the field during the pandemic. Still, Ilcheva said, the Census Bureau was largely successful in collecting information “in the context of the pan

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