If you aren’t familiar with TED conferences, they are well worth checking into. The organization has hosted conferences on almost any topic you can imagine and makes recordings of these available online. Each year, TED also offers a prize of $100,000 to a “wish” project focused on collaboration. These prizes, like the conferences, have been very diverse, funding projects from global art to ocean preservation. This year however, the focus is on Cities:
“Cities are the great hope for our future,” says Chris Anderson, curator of TED. He says the organization was thinking about people and projects worth supporting and awarding for the 2012 prize like usual, but got a little distracted. “This theme of the importance of cities for the future of planet earth kept coming up.”
In recent years, TED has been gathering international attention for its big-thinking conferences on “ideas worth spreading,” its free collection of videos of these presentations and now its officially sanctioned independently organized “TEDx” events. The TED Prize is a $100,000 award given, typically, to an individual in order to “ignite a massive collaboration project.” The exact nature of the project is held under wraps until the TED conference when the winner shares his or her “wish.” Previous winners have initiated global art projects and rallied for the creation of ocean preserve areas. This year, TED is tapping into a panel of city experts – “We’re talking to the smartest people,” Anderson says – to collaborate and come up with this wish for cities.
In a world of about 4 billion urbanites, coming up with one idea to benefit the cities of the world is a tall order. But Anderson argues that whatever the panel comes up with is sure to be wide-reaching.
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