Jamia Wilson

Executive Director, TED Prize

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What inspires you about your favorite city?

In the next 30 years, two-thirds of our planet’s population will live in cities. Have you ever tried to envision the cities of the future? Cities are enlivened by people, and people enable change. So today, we are launched our redesigned website TheCity2.org, a gathering place for all urban denizens to share stories, videos, ideas and innovations related to urban transformation. We want to hear your city-related stories.

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    Feb 1 2013: I am continually intrigued by how diverse large cities are: how multicultural the societies are and how vibrantly they are represented throughout the city.
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    Jan 30 2013: My favorite city is one with open spaces. It also would have lots of walking spaces where you can meander through the neighborhoods, and still be within easy access to parks and restaurants.

    The city must have lots of trees that will provide shady sidewalks and it must be populated by people of diverse cultures.

    It must be family friendly and also provide great public transportation that caters to those who want to get around without driving.

    Also important are theater and museums and cultural events........and of course a super stocked library.

    One final thing is......it should be near to places where city people can get away for the day......beaches, or mountains, or lakes......or some kind of wild life refuge or national park.
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    Feb 5 2013: I like Chalon sur Saone, in Southern France. The city is calm and very friendly with many terrace restaurants, a beautiful cathedral and a very nice river. The people here are welcoming and they're always willing to say something about their place (if you ask them) . And in the streets, you can see signs which tell you something about the history of the city. It's also a modern place with great stores and almost everything you can find in an american metropolitan city.
  • Feb 5 2013: Beautiful C18th architecture which is cohesive across the city...which is in fact the size of a large town...human sized, and set within green hills and a river,never too far away from any part of the city.
    The people who live here usually live here because they love it..they are in love with their own city.It makes a difference.
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    Feb 5 2013: I'm from Toronto but London is the place I'd move to if I had a the choice. It just works so well. I don't need a car. I don't even think I'd need a TV. It's multicultural. It's historical. It's scenic and I find the people there tolerant of one another, open and friendly. It just all works incredibly well.
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    Jan 30 2013: I love accidentally running into people in New York City. I once told a friend that I found "Seinfeld" to be the most spot-on television depiction of living in NYC, and he was skeptical -- surely, I wasn't always running into exactly the person who would best advance the plotline?

    In fact, that's been my experience. Whether I run into them because they are destined to advance the plot, or that's the way the plot turns because of whom I ran into, the catalyzing quality of many people on a tiny island never fails to be entertaining.
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      Jan 31 2013: I have had the same experience here.:) All the beauty and all of the contradictions and literal and figurative collisions make NYC amazing.
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    Jan 30 2013: Well, I love Hollywood, the beach, the weather (I live right on the edge of L.A.)
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    Jan 30 2013: People & history behind
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      Feb 5 2013: This is Paris. :)
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        Feb 5 2013: How do you know :)
        Yes that is one of those....as I have more ...
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          Feb 5 2013: Every small thing in Paris has a great history behind it.
          Paris is not the only city like that. But it is the one that impressed me the most.
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    Jan 30 2013: Toronto, Canada; the peaceful streets; (it is one of the safest major cities in North America; and it is cosmopolitan, an indicator that we can live in peace and harmony if we really want to. The parks, the greenery, the skyline, the shoreline, and the lakes.
    The CN Towers, beautiful view from a distance, even more beautiful from the heights. The city hall at night; and not forgetting the Nathan Philips square.

    It is called T Dot by residents, but it is hard for visitors not to love this city.
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    Jan 30 2013: Sorry, can't live in a city. But they are nice to visit once in a while. I always remember the analogy of 'rats in a box.' Where the more rats you put in a box, the more aggressive they become to the point of killing other rats.

    So perhaps personal space would be key for me.
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      Jan 30 2013: Do you have a favorite to visit?
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        Jan 31 2013: Good question. I have a couple. Chicago and San Francisco are at the top. Mostly because they have such an eclectic cultural vibe. Where the cultures are distinct yet a part of the bigger whole. They seem to have a 'heart beat' that is similar to mine.

        But I always want to go back to small/town rural because I like to breath air that someone else has not just exhaled.

        Claustrophobia at it's best.
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    Jan 30 2013: One of the most important attributes to me of a welcoming city is easily accessible toll-free anchor points for people to come together informally without having to buy anything. Parks, plazas, public markets and festivals, bookshops, and friendly streets can serve this purpose. Towns/cities with colleges often offer great opportunities for communities to converge for learning, skill-sharing, and play, at zero or nominal cost to participants.

    Walkability and greenery are key for me as well.
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    Jan 30 2013: Thank you so much for sharing your stories! You can add images, videos, and more stories about the cities that inspire you on www.thecity2.org.