In 2007, Oklahoma City was ranked the most obese city in America. The heavy news caused the city’s – at the time – overweight mayor, Mick Cornett to take a hard look at himself and his city. He realized that the city he deemed great, was only great if its citizen was the car.
For the next five years, Cornett committed himself to improving his city’s health. By 2012, Oklahoma City residents lost a collective million pounds, which removed them from the obese rankings and placed the city as America’s 22nd most fittest. This change was made possible by a series of city initiatives that revolved around the integration of health related infrastructure. By doing this, Cornett sparked a cultural shift that significantly improved quality of life. See what these initiatives included and hear the whole story by watching Cornett’s TED Talk above.
In this TED Talk, Xavier Vilalta of Xavier Vilalta Arquitectura walks through the design of two projects: a multistory shopping mall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and a multi-family apartment complex in Tunisia. Each is a prime example of how harnessing nature and referencing local traditions can allow architecture to naturally grow from its surroundings and become an integral component of the city.
Iwan Baan’s recent TED talk on ingenious informal settlement ‘architecture’ became instantly popular, clearly striking a chord with people across the globe. The lecture has been called everything from heartwarming to condescending, but for Parsons graduate students Meagan Durlak and James Frankis it was reaffirming. Durlak and Frankis have spent time working in Sao Paolo’s favelas and understand that finding a balance between the good and the bad is key to the revitalization of these settlements. This article, originally published in Metropolis Magazine as “Response to Iwan Baan’s TED Talk,” journals some of their experiences working in South American slums, and why we need to stop treating those slums as a blight.
Meagan Durlak and I were excited to see the TED talk by architectural photographer Iwan Baan on the ingenuity found within informal settlements. In his presentation he walks us through a range of communities across the world, capturing many such settlements, including houses above a lagoon and a repurposed office block.
Baan’s view of informal settlements resonates with our own work; it’s an under-told story that we very much applaud. He shows an overview of people’s lives and their unique methods for adapting to difficult conditions. Perhaps as interesting as his film are the reactions to it from TED viewers. Many found the innovation in informal settlements to be inspiring and heartwarming; others claimed that this talk is just a life affirming story for the rich 1% of the world, perpetuating inaction for areas which need immediate aid. The two sides of the argument reminded us of our own work and the battles we have gone through in trying to wrap our heads around the systems of informal settlements, as well as the difficulties we have had in explaining their hidden properties to others.
Iwan Baan’s curiosity for the built environment has led him to be one of the world’s most preeminent photographers whose skills are in constant demand by architectural elites worldwide. Constantly on the move, Baan has found himself documenting fascinating testaments to human ingenuity. From the informal vertical community of Torre David in Caracas to the floating Niagara slum of Makoko, Baan’s encounters with thriving communities in some of the most unexpected places has led him to believe that there is “no such thing as normal” and humans can truly adapt to anything.
Janette Sadik-Khan demonstrates how paint, lawn chairs and a bit of imagination can quickly transform city streets, creating immediate public and commercial vitality. Sadik-Khan, listed as one of Business Insider’s “50 Women Who Are Changing the World,” is responsible for re-purposing 26 acres of dense New York City car lanes into pedestrian-friendly space. “More people on foot is better for business,” she says. Despite commanding a two billion dollar budget, her economical approach as commissioner of NYC’s Department of Transportation are testaments to her design sensitivity, relying on rapid-testing and regular iteration to expand the city’s public domain.
On September 20, 2013, TEDCity2.0 took place at the TimesCenter in New York City. Co-curated and co-hosted by Chris Anderson, John Cary, and Courtney Martin, the event surfaced stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, and featured an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners.
On session 4 (videos after the break), you’ll find speakers Enrique Peñalosa (former mayor of Bogotá), Alan Ricks (MASS Co-Founder), Francis Kere and Iwan Baan. More information on all the speakers can be found here.
Calling all urban innovators, organizers, stewards and builders: Today, September 20th, from 9am to 5pm EST, curators Chris Anderson, John Cary and Courtney Martin will kick off TEDCity2.0: Dream me. Build me. Make me real. The day-long event, which will be live-streamed for free, will share stories of urban ingenuity and interdependence from across the globe, while featuring an unexpected mix of over 20 speakers, including walkability expert Jeff Speck, world renowned architectural photographer Iwan Baan, and several 2012 City 2.0 Award winners. View the event program for more details.
Responding to rising sea level predictions and elevated threats of coasting flooding, Perkins + Will design principle Brian Healy has proposed a replicable, floating residential community for Boston’s harbor: Floatyard. In this TEDx, Healy argues that not only would this radical proposal protect coastal housing investments, it could reengage Charlestown’s industrial harbor. In addition to this, Floatyard’s architecture would incorporate solar energy and rainwater harvesting on its roof, as well as capitalize tidal energy from the mooring columns which anchor it.
Disappointed that most architecture is built for the privileged, rather than society, Shigeru Ban has dedicated much of his career to building affordable, livable and safe emergency shelters for post-disaster areas. As described by TED:
Long before sustainability became a buzzword, architect Shigeru Ban had begun his experiments with ecologically-sound building materials such as cardboard tubes and paper. His remarkable structures are often intended as temporary housing, designed to help the dispossessed in disaster-struck nations such as Haiti, Rwanda, or Japan. Yet equally often the buildings remain a beloved part of the landscape long after they have served their intended purpose.
TED has commissioned architect David Rockwell to mastermind a temporary, pop-up theater inside the Vancouver Convention Centre, designed specifically to “create an even more powerful connection between speaker and audience — and to allow the audience itself to immerse themselves more deeply in the talk.”
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Rockwell, who designed the interior of the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and the viewing platform at Ground Zero (on which he gave the TED Talk above), expresses his enthusiasm for the project, saying: “I have spoken [at TED] and have had that experience of: your talk is influenced by how you feel in the room. The environment affects how the talk evolves.”
The theater will house 1200 attendees in tiered seating areas that curve around the stage. The layout will be entirely flexible, allowing audience members to choose from multiple seating/standing options — from leaning on rails to traditional theater seats, sofas, or floor seating.
In this talk at TED 2013, WikiHouse co-founder Alastair Parvin elaborates on some of the ideas which he presented in 2012. WikiHouse is his project to create an open-source library of houses which can be downloaded, manufactured with a CNC machine and assembled in a day – an idea which he hopes will democratize the production of housing and the city as a whole – as he puts it, “In a way it should be kind of obvious that in the 21st century maybe cities could be developed by citizens”.
Now in its 14th year, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards is continuing its legacy to recognize outstanding achievement across a variety of disciplines in the design community. The awards were established to “promote design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world”. This year the recipients will be honored at a gala in October during National Design Week in New York City. The goal of recognizing this achievements is to reinforce the idea that “everything around us is designed” and the potential for innovation and creation is present across all types of development. The winners of this year’s design awards were selected based on excellence, innovation and public impact.
Join us after the break for a look at the 2013 Winners.
Alastair Parvin, co-founder of WikiHouse gave his TED Talk last week (one of the many architecturally relevant talks at TED 2013). Although the video of his latest talk is not yet available, to whet your appetite we present you with his speech from last year at TED@London. In it he explains the conditions of architectural and material culture that led to the foundation of WikiHouse, an open source database of house designs that can be manufactured with a CNC cutter and assembled in a day.
Parvin says: “If design’s great project in the 20th century was actually the democratization of consumption… I believe design’s great project in the 21st century is the democratization of production.” Last year, the WikiHouse project was one winner of TED’s City 2.0 Awards.
The latest incarnation of TEDTalks has finally arrived with TED2013: The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered. This year’s conference in Long Beach, California will host the largest number of speakers in TED history, more than 70, with more than half coming from TED’s global talent search (which found “some truly astounding youngsters”). Another interesting change for this year? Many will present shorter speeches (most hovering about12 minutes, rather than the traditional 18) .
This year’s conference features some speakers who are particularly interesting for the architecture world. See which ones from the Line-Up we’re most excited to hear from, after the break…
After months of anticipation, October 13th, 2012 (a.k.a. TEDxCity2.0: A day of urban inspiration), is around the corner! This Saturday, TEDx communities around the world, made up of “urban innovators and organizers, stewards and artists, builders and taste makers,” will get together and share their stories of urban inspiration.
Instead of giving the TED Prize to an individual this year, the TED committee recognized a theme, The City 2.0. So far, they’ve published hundreds of awesome urban interventions on their web platform and given individual prizes to 6 of the most transformative ideas (including a “Wikipedia” of house-building and a “storefront” for urban innovation); 4 prizes remain to be granted.
The event will be a great physical counterpart to all the inspiring work that has been shared online – and a brilliant opportunity to connect with others who are passionate about the City of the Future. You can find out where a TEDxCity2.0 event is happening near you (or register one of your own), here.
TED Prize has big news! They have evolved so much since the prize launched in 2005 and now three key shifts have allowed them to turn the page to a whole new chapter. Historically, the TED Prize was awarded to individuals who then made a wish. Starting in 2013, it will be awarded to individuals with a big wish already in mind. Also, individuals may self-nominate or nominate someone else, as long as every nomination includes a world-changing, achievable wish. And now for the biggest change (drum roll, please…), the typical cash award of $100,000 has been raised to $1 million in order to provide powerful seed funding for the wish!
The deadline for 2013 nominations is August 31, 2012. The winner will be selected this fall by a jury drawn from leading members of the TED community. The winner will then reveal his or her wish at TED2013 in Long Beach, Calif., on February 27, 2013.
The year is half way through, and so are TED’s City 2.0 Awards. The Award, which offers $10,000 to 10 innovative ideas in Urban Transformation, has been awarded – so far – to an eco-artist, a Wikipedia of house-building, a noise mapper, a couple of sign-post rebels, and a public-health activist and educator.
More about the Award-Winning Projects…after the break.