TEDxCity2.0: A day of urban innovation

At TED2012, for the first time ever, the TED Prize went not to an individual but to an idea on which our planet’s future depends: the City 2.0. This is the city of the future in which more than ten billion people must somehow live happily, healthfully, and sustainably.

This October 13, 2012, in nearly 70 cities across the globe, TEDxCity2.0 will be a day when TEDx communities around the world host events to share powerful narratives of urban life and the innovations in art, education, health, housing, safety, and other fields that will contribute to the success of the city in the future.

In Beijing, organizer of TEDxCity2.0 event TEDxFactory798, Ellen Cheng is grateful for the spotlight TEDxCity2.0 will put on life in the capital city.

"City 2.0 inspires conversations," she said, “and also promotes actions. We hope we are the beginning of a series of changes after the event ends…You know it’s not easy for a country like China, where it’s even hard to explain what TEDx is, considered its core value is “ideas worth spreading”…But we might be able to create history this time if we succeed, and it’s worth trying no matter what.”

Across the globe, organizer Benjamin Holzman has similar hopes for TEDxDUMBO’s City 2.0 event in Brooklyn, New York. "I think it’s wonderful how all City 2.0 events are held on the same day, creating a global conversation on the future of cities," he said.

"I feel like it will create some momentum for generating new ideas to tackle contemporary urban challenges and will hopefully also launch some new projects into existence, or at least give an extra push to existing projects, which can be equally as important.

At TEDxRawaRiver, in Katowice, Poland, organizer Paweł Wyszomirski is looking forward to a talk by one of the winners of the Shell Eco-marathon, an innovator who designed and built a car that “can run almost 500 km for 10 cents,” a design that could surely impact the Katowice of the future.

A new initiative unique to TEDxCity2.0 events is Action Pitch Sessions. Drawing from the idea that ideas worth spreading merit actions worth doing, TEDxCity2.0 events allow individual TEDx communities the opportunity to invite local innovators, organizers, builders, artists, and tastemakers to pitch ideas for urban transformation that will inspire their local community and the global TEDx network at large.

During an Action Pitch Session, a maximum of five community members propose projects around the theme of “City 2.0." Each participant is given two minutes to get the crowd excited about their idea, and after all pitches are presented, event organizers either have attendees volunteer non-monetary support to one or more of these projects, or vote to have one winning project adopted and realized by the community.

The unfolding story of City 2.0 Actions will be documented on TheCity2.org website, allowing communities across the globe to learn from one another, and cities of the future to gain from this outpouring of new ideas and worldwide calls to action.

With citizens across the world coming together to envision better spaces for our shared future, TEDxCity2.0 day is sure to be a day of community growth, urban innovation, and urban inspiration.

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