Thursday, September 19, 2013 - By Ben Berkowitz - No comments
I'll be filling this weekend with two awesome TED experiences revolving around The City. Tomorrow is the TED City2.0 event at the NYTimes Center in NY. On Saturday I'm speaking on "Potholes as the gateway drug to civic engagement." at UCONN TEDX.
At TED City2.0 I'm excited to hear Eric Liu, of Guiding Lights Network take the stage. Eric has been gracious to include us in his Citizen University events around the Country and I always enjoy listening to him talk. We've made a great number of connections through his bi-partisan network of civic activists. It will be beneficial for all of us as Eric expands the network with TED. Eric also was a speech writer for Bill Clinton and is one of the most inspiring people I have heard on a microphone.
As an advisor to the Code For America Accelerator I'm also very excited to hear Catherine Bracy talk about the expansion of CFA internationally. CFA puts technologists inside city hall to help solve municipal problems and they've done a great job of getting attention for the civic tech space domestically. The world can not get enough CFA.
On election day last year I had the pleasure of being on a phone call with Secretary of Housing Sean Donovan. Secretary Donovan ignored the politics of the day and spent his hours working with private and public entities to try and help those displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Sean will be speaking tomorrow as well and I'm really excited to hear what drives him. Of utmost importance at these events is a healthy representation from the public and private sectors.
Janet Sadik-Khan, Director of Transportation for NYC, will also be speaking. Over the life of the Bloomberg Administration she has shown us how public officials can disrupt the norm from the inside. New York City is a different place because of Sadik-Khan and if you like bicycles, walking and slower traffic...a better one.
TEDCity2.0 is very much focused on people and people's effects on the City. Many City2.0 conversations are focused on the "Smart City" which includes conversations about 'citizens as sensors,' but mostly focuses on smart grid technology and the network of smart machines that will make our cities 'better.' I think this is interesting but not nearly as interesting as the creativity that passionate humans are investing in our cities to make them more interesting and sustainable. Street performers, architects and aural public space artists will all be in attendance and if I have not said it enough yet...I can't wait for tomorrow. Tonight will be a bit like Christmas Eve.
On Saturday at TEDX UCONN I'll be focusing on stories from SeeClickFix users where citizens have stepped up to help out their neighbors and neighborhoods. Not only by speaking up to let governments know that there's a problem but also by helping to solve some problems on their own. Citizen painted crosswalks, neighbors lending their homes to others in a tragedy and neighbors helping to plow a driveway are some of the points I'll hit. We've been getting more connected to UCONN's computer science department through our wonderful summer intern Zach Dicesare and I'm exited to spend a bit of time in that community.
I love that TED is shining such a large magnifying glass on The City. Wonderful things are happening to neighborhoods all over the world. I can't wait to hear about them this weekend.
TED CITY2.0 will be lived streamed here.
TEDX UCONN will be live streamed on Saturday here.
Here's my "Love the Town Your With." Presentation from TEDx Yale last year.
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