On Friday, TEDx televised a themed conference on innovation for cities. It was such a treat to see forward thoughts being put into motion and to know that this motion is likely to carry to the 40 + countries that watched the live stream. (USA really gets to set some culture!)
In the last two years, I have heard leaders of four churches in Atlanta declare that their church has a heart for this city in particular, and for serving it, and for seeing more life in it, and for social justice to be the way things are, not a cause to rally behind. It makes sense that many, if not all, of the churches in the area would have these topics on their heart. What does not make sense is that there were ZERO church leaders present at this event.
SO, here are some things I found fascinating.
The day started with a talk from a fabulous researcher out in Califorinia talking about how so many places want to be “world class” but every city that has that title has people in poverty at it’s foundation.
The next talk was about how we need to educate civics as a discussion of who holds power. (This will raise up a generation that sees the importance in voting and volunteering etc.) Citizen University
Then, an app developer who won some sort of contest spoke about her app that is designed to change the culture of harassment on the streets the same way the culture has been changed about harassment in the workplace. Hollaback! When it happens, there is a platform to inform, and this app shows where on the map it has happened and shows whose prescient these events fall in, so the politicians can be VERY well informed.
We had someone share their idea of journalism of solutions etc. (yeay for different news)
Then the NYC public transportation commissioner talked about how making streets walkable boosted shop sales. And, one way they made parts of NYC more pedestrian friendly was by painting connection pieces of road that weren’t doing much in very bright colors and setting chairs up etc. and making them mini parks. B/c it was paint, the officials were willing to try it. (something of a miracle) And, when they saw how it helped the economy, and streamlined traffic, the idea got to stay.
An architect who lost his eyesight two years prior spoke about how having a city that is friendly to the blind is more friendly to society at large…. (wider sidewalks, more walkable, shops on the first floors etc. all good things) and how society needs the blind etc. to keep us valuing each other. He didn’t say how he does architect work these days. I’d like to know that.
Then a professor in NY talked about her studies of people who work in sanitization. We tend to view them as non persons. But, they are very much people. And deserve appreciation and honor.
We had another architect talk about design. Apparently we as a race know from recent studies that color and shapes of rooms affect our well being, so why aren’t we planning our buildings to be more peaceful! (He also gave a potential reason why the golden ratio is… golden. Researchers somewhere have found that that is the most efficient chunk of information for our brain to take in, so it can process that fastest… ergo, beauty from efficiency. I like that.)
A few people talked about how we reduce our carbon footprint by living in cities. (Not what was originally thought) And, the urban sprawl is because people really want their own homes. Their own nice homes that they can afford, so we “drive till you qualify.” If everyone would live in smaller dwellings, public transportation could work better and we could walk and bike more which would a) be more fun and b) be more healthy! This researcher showed that diseases associated with overweightness have been addressed through diet and that hasn’t helped because we were made to be active. So, we need to be active. period.
Another app was started to meet a need for safe bus transport to school. It’s called “Text my bus.” Students were getting hurt waiting for their bus to arrive. So, creative people saw a need. Now this app sends a text message when a student’s bus is coming down their street, so they don’t have to wait in dangerous spots.
Stuff like this just makes me so happy. And, I want to be a part of it. And, I want the groups that care to be a part of it too. So that was Friday.
Being at a place and talking with people leads to invitations etc.
So, because of Friday’s TEDx thingummy, I was told about the Co(lab) summit.