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.
Last night, over 100 people crowded into some 15th century cellars in the centre of Krakow (now housing a very modern bar!) to watch the livestream from TED. For most of us, this was the first time we’d had the chance to watch a TED conference happening live and it was a massive success - a completely different experience to watching the talks individually.
The nerds from our team had had a few scary moments when it looked as though there was a problem with our internet connection and when the first image to appear was Scooter, so we weren’t sure that we had the right channel. But it soon became clear that all was well and we settled down ready to be amazed. And we were.
The first session blew everyone away. Regina Dugan’s talk got our minds into gear and the nerds in the audience (of whom we have many thanks to the amazing technical universities here) glowed when she told us to be nice to them. And Vijay Kumar’s flying robots earned a round of applause from pretty much everyone present. The ad for breast examination was also much appreciated by the female (and some male) members of the audience.
After a break, there was only enough time to grab a beer and it was back for Session 5: The Earth.
Here we were taken down a different path; beautiful images of birds nests, extraordinary film of bears inching down a sheer ice cliff, incredible never-seen-before footage of the bat with ‘that’ tounge and the breathtaking Canadian wilderness were much appreciated by these nature-loving Poles. As it was already after 10pm here in Kraków, the “official” part of the evening finished at this point and most people called it a night.
A small group of hardcore TED fans went off for some food and came back for Session 6: The Crowd. It was worth it. We loved Lior Zoref and were stunned that our guess for the weight of the ox (814kg) came so close to the reality (815kg). We saluted Jennifer Pahlka. As a former communist country we know all about bureaucracy and the idea of being bureaucratically, rather than politically, active intrigued us. We welcomed the opening up of the TED API (and some of our lovely home grown nerds will definitely be in touch about that). Frank Warren and the Postsecret Project made us laugh and brought tears to our eyes. And finally, we’d like to invite Reggie Watts to TEDxKraków in September because it’s clear that he is a genius.
Unfortunately by now it really was time to call it a night, but that doesn’t mean that’s the end. Our next challenge is to figure out how we can get this buzzing, small but perfectly formed central European city involved in the TED Prize for the City 2.0. Wish us luck!