TEDCity2.0 focused on reinvigorating cities

How can cities be improved, in both small, incremental ways, and in large, sweeping moves? How can ordinary citizens impact the communities they live in, and how can governmental entities assist in improving daily lives? Those broad topics formed a framework for the TEDCity2.0 conference that was held this last Friday, September 20, at The New York Times Center in New York.

TEDCity2.0 was a daylong event hosted and organized by Chris Anderson, John Cary, and Courtney Martin. Cary was the co-recipient of the 2009 Contract Designer of the Year award. The event, with 20 speakers on topics of urban ingenuity and interdependence, was focused on four broad themes: Redefining Citizen, Reinventing Urban Experience, Reimagining the City, and Redrawing Geographies. You can view the entire day at this link: http://new.livestream.com/tedx/cityenglish

The speakers were:

  • Poverty professor Ananya Roy, exploring the ingenuity of the world’s most vulnerable
  • Peace strategist Mohamed Ali tackles terrorism with entrepreneurial verve
  • Entrepreneur Eric Liu is reinventing citizenship for the 21st century
  • Harassment avenger Emily May is reclaiming public safety for women and for all
  • Mayor Kasim Reed, who’s shaping the future of one of America’s most diverse cities
  • Pedestrian freestylers Shem Rajoon, Luciano Acuna Jr., and Masi James of Bklyn Beast push the limits of urban movement
  • Walkability advocate Jeff Speck, who fights against suburban sprawl and bad urban policy
  • Aural artist Jason Sweeney, reinventing the urban experience through a crowd-sourced public art project
  • Civic technologist Catherine Bracy is scaling “Code for America” internationally
  • Radical professor Dennis Dalton, an Ivy Leaguer with a thing for street philosophers
  • Urban bard Felice Belle is a poetic voice of and
    on the city
  • Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is putting pedestrians at the forefront of transportation policy in New York City
  • Visionary architect Chris Downey, who lost his sight and gained new ways of seeing the world
  • Robin Nagle, an anthropologist in residence at the NYC dept of sanitation, talks trash
  • Street performers John Pita and Avi Snow of City of the Sun are flamenco/blues/indie rockers
  • Place maker Toni Griffin, an urban planner working to make cities more just
  • Housing advocate Shaun Donovan, the U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development
  • Sustainability guru Lance Hosey, who’s on a mission to make green design beautiful
  • Transportation evangelist Enrique Peñalosa turned Bogota into an international model for pedestrian life
  • Impact designer Alan Ricks believes the global south has something to teach the global north about beauty
  • Burkina Faso architect Diébédo Francis Kéré creates elegance using local crafts and materials
  • Writer Joshunda Sanders, who’s remapping the mental urban landscape with memoir
  • Photographer Iwan Baan captures life in informal communities, including the world’s most notorious vertical slum


Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed inspired the TEDCity2.0 audience.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed inspired the TEDCity2.0 audience.


John Cary, Contract magazine's 2009 Designer of the Year, co-organized and moderated the TEDCity2.0 event.

John Cary, Contract magazine’s 2009 Designer of the Year, co-organized and moderated the TEDCity2.0 event.



Alan Ricks, co-founder of MASS Design Group, Contract magazine’s 2012 Designer of the Year, described his work in Rwanda.


Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development (HUD), told a story to describe how multiple governmental agencies besides HUD play a role in our daily lives and in alleviating poverty.



Janette Sadik-Khan, the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation, stands before a slide that illustrates her legacy: the revamped First Avenue with a protected bike lane to the left and an express lane for buses on the right.

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