Since 2005, the TED conference has awarded $100,000 prizes each year to individuals with an idea to change the world. This year, the award was distributed in a different way: to an idea, the City 2.0.
The idea of a reimagined city was a dominant theme at this year's TED conference. Jennifer Pahlka, the founder of Code For America, spoke of how her organization puts software developers who might normally be at home in the startup world into the bureaucratic wilderness of city hall to try to develop innovative solutions to civic problems. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes spoke of how his city was able to win the Olympic games, expand the reach of its public transit system from covering 18 percent of citizens to 63 percent of citizens, bring healthcare and open spaces into the Favelas and build a modern control center to keep track of the large amounts of data about weather, service worker activity and traffic patterns.
The centerpiece, though, was TED's announcement of TheCity2.Org, a collaborative platform where citizens, leaders and corporations can connect to identify and support ideas for the future of their cities. The platform is supported with $250,000 in funding from the Knight Foundation, and a number of large corporations are throwing their weight behind it as well, including IBM and Autodesk.
"With the City 2.0, the TED Prize has embarked on the ultimate design challenge," said TED Curator Chris Anderson. "This is a global call for collaborative action on one of the biggest issues of our day. The new platform we're launching today is designed to empower citizens to connect with each other to help reshape their own cities. And it's designed to be open-tent. Numerous other organizations and individuals have been involved in this issue for years, and this platform allows them to share their successes, resources, and insights with the rest of the world."
TED also announced ten grants of $10,000, coming out of the $100,000 TED Prize, that will be awarded at TED Global in June 2012 to those local projects most likely to spur the creation of their City 2.0.
Check out the slideshow (below) for a look at our favorite TED talks.