Forecasting the Future City

Forecasting the Future City

By Kelsey Keith
The annual TED Prize, an extension of the multimedia brand hyping rational thought and good works, pledges $100,000 each year to a person with one wish to change the world. Formally called Technology, Entertainment, Design, the series started in 1984 and has expanded its capstone spring conference TED Talks with initiatives like the prize, previously awarded to the likes of Architecture for Humanity founder Cameron Sinclair, former President Bill Clinton, author Dave Eggers, and chef Jamie Oliver. Think of it as design on the grandest possible cultural scale.

This year's prize, to be awarded on February 29, 2012 at the annual conference in Long Beach, California, pairs Leap Year with what TED terms a "giant leap forward": the chance to award not a single individual, but the concept of a future city, with the cash prize. The organization is rounding up a jury including "urban planners, architects, technologists, authors, policy makers, and economists" to define precisely what the The City 2.0 is and advocate on its behalf.

We can assume they'll be addressing issues of sustainability, a mushrooming global population, the wealth divide, the natural resource drought, food crisis, political struggle, and maybe even bike lanes. Which begs the question: what is the greatest issue facing this mythical world city of the future? And how to distribute a concrete amount of money like $100K on its behalf?

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