The 11th Annual Southern California Economic Summit

Charting an Inclusive Regional Recovery


Image of SCAG Economic Summit 2020 Artwork

Held virtually on
Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020

View the Event Materials
View the Event Program
View the SCAG Regional Briefing Book (2020)

More than 400 leaders in business, public policy, housing and education joined online for the 11th Annual Southern California Economic Summit. This year’s program took a serious look at the strategies needed for building back a strong, inclusive Southern California economy and featured forecasts from the region’s top economists.

U.S. Representative Karen Bass delivered an opening address that laid out an optimistic view about what is to come for Southern California. Bina Shrimali from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco gave a presentation on the importance of building a healthy and inclusive economy, one in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential.

Wallace Walrod, SCAG’s Chief Economic Advisor, provided a comprehensive overview of the region’s economy, noting that much progress has been made in the recovery from the pandemic so far, but much work is left to do. The Regional Briefing Book on the Southern California economy was also released to provide the first step toward a more comprehensive framework for an inclusive economic recovery.

The panel session – moderated by Kate Gordon, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research and featuring Costa Mesa City Manager, Lori Ann Farrell Harrison, Long Beach City Manager, Tom Modica and Cherian George of Fitch Ratings – led to a lively discussion about what cities need to be considering and why when it comes to planning for a resilient local economy and government. The panel was followed-up by breakout discussions about improving access to good jobs, led by Karthick Ramakrishnan and Michael Bates of UC Riverside; access to affordable housing, led by Cecilia Estolano of Estolano Advisors; and access to transportation, led by Evelyn Blumenberg of UCLA.

Tom Friedman

In the summit’s keynote address, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman made a case for reimagining the intersection of government, private industry and other stakeholders to come together to create solutions. He stressed the need for “complex adaptive coalitions” as changes in climate, new technology and globalization further complicate the problems we all face. Like U.S. Representative Bass, Mr. Friedman ended his address on a hopeful note and noted that inclusivity is necessary for our cities, region, state and country to thrive.

Sharing the important messages from the summit, we had news coverage from the Los Angeles Daily News, KVCR and Spectrum News 1.