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Amy Novogratz

TED Prize Director, TED Conferences

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If you could make a wish on behalf of The City 2.0, what would it be?

Today, TED announces the winner of the 2012 TED Prize: the City 2.0. The City 2.0 is the city of the future ... a future in which more than 10 billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably, together. The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream, but a real-world upgrade tapping into humanity's collective wisdom. The City 2.0 promotes innovation, education, culture and economic opportunity. The City 2.0 reduces the carbon footprint of its occupants and eases the environmental pressure on the world's rural areas. The City 2.0 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life. The City 2.0 is the city that works.

A range of visionaries around the world will be advocates on behalf of the City 2.0. We are listening to them -- and to you.

What is your wish for The City 2.0? A wish capable of igniting a massive collaborative project among the members of the global TED community, and indeed all who care about our planet's future.

Share it below.

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      Dec 6 2011: The goals of the Venus Project are admirable and inspiring.

      Unfortunately, the actual ideas it proposes fall flat on the ground, and its very approach to solving the problems of our civilization violates the most important principle of viable transformation: solutions to complex, interdependent problems can not be imposed by a grand design, but must evolve in a competitive, creative environment where new ideas can be tested, failed, re-engineered and re-launched quickly.

      Venus project thinking is also utterly blind to the most important phenomena of our times - the exponential growth of knowledge and technology. Its obsession with the removal of obsolescence is entirely self-defeating.

      Lastly, the Venus Project utterly ignores everything we are learning about human nature from the sciences of evolutionary and social psychology as well as behavioral economics and ethics.

      Perhaps the Venus Project can be a great foundation for a StarTrek-like TV series about the future where humanity has transcended its limitation, but it is no more than a fantasy.

      That said, anyone who has a couple of hours of free time will enjoy exploring the Venus Project as a fun intellectual exercise in critical thinking.
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        Dec 6 2011: Michael: Agreed that the Venus Project’s “grand design” approach is overly ambitious. On the other hand, isn’t there a place for urban planning? Haven’t some examples of cooperative community organization been successful? I mean, think of cities which you might enjoy living in. Haven’t government based initiatives played an important role in making those cities appealing?

        So where/how do we draw the line between centralized planning and distributed decision making?

        EDIT:

        So what exactly is "City 2.0"? Is it anything like Web 2.0? That is, all hype and no substance?

        Anyone got any links?
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          Dec 6 2011: This is not an conflict of urban planning vs. ad-hock development...

          Rather: how can the goals of urban planning be achieved through evolutionary design methods -- light on ideology and heavy on experimentation and feedback -- what might be called "scientific governance."

          Having a vision (think Steve Job's OSX / iOS ecosystem) helps, but it is evolved over time with market feedback -- and occasional surprises.
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          Dec 7 2011: Tim, check out my response above, but I believe that TED is discussing, as Michael is pointing out, that CITY 2.0 is not a zero-base, start-from-scratch-masterplanned city as much as a "real-world upgrade."

          Simply put, as shiny and clean as Venus Project's ideas are, they are more futurist than real-world. $100,000 won't go a long way to buy his magnetic rail systems and polymer houses.

          TED is looking for what massive impacts we and our collective innovations can do right now. I lay some of that out above.
        • Dec 8 2011: Tim, Michael, Grant--

          You asked for a link so i thought i'd share! I did a project a while ago for the Living Building Challenge that did precisely this...where we tried to imagine a world where distributed decision-making was the norm and where the broad stroke efforts at sustainability and collective community didn't completely mask the individual's expression (which a lot of master planning inadvertantly does). I posted earlier but it feels like this thread has become more about proselytizing and "the venus project" than it is about throwing ideas around. I don't claim to have all the answers but i will claim to have worked my tail off trying to arrive at a visual presentation that describes precisely what you've referred to (the winter image comes the closest). I hope you take a look, read a bit, and enjoy! I won't be insulted if it's nothing more than a few hours of critical thinking :) All the better!

          Kevin

          http://www.rollerhaus.com/reclaiming-natures-metropolis-a-living-building-language/

          (team credits are listed on the main site)
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        Dec 6 2011: I really think that the venus project is a possible way of living with some changes. It is a great vision of what can be, and I think that in some countries, they have adopted a little of that style of living. It really brings forth a closer community and convenience. It could be a lifestyle for some people I think and I also like the option of having what we got as well.
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          Dec 7 2011: To Michael Vladstone:

          "what might be called "scientific governance." "

          You have just arrived at the very underpinning tenet of The Venus Project.

          As someone who has applied some critical thinking to TVP I notice that most of the points you raise seem to be based on a misunderstanding of what the Venus Project is about.

          For eg. the anti obsolescence point assumes that products would not develop however TVP merely advocates that innovation should be freed from corporate ties allowing it to develop exponentially which I believe was exactly what you are calling for.

          So perhaps the critical analysis will take more than 'a couple of hours' ;)
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          Dec 7 2011: Mercury Boy - Your comment comes closest to nailing it, and I really appreciate that you focused our attention on a key issue. What is utterly broken in the USA and many other countries is the political system, not the economic system (i.e. capitalism). Corrupted elections and bureaucracies are effectively run by bribery of special interests - from corporations down to teachers unions. The "revolving door" system makes it possible for supposedly "public servants" to go in and out of private sector, collecting time-shifted compensation from corporations - another form of bribery. Finally, mostly utterly ignorant, uneducated population votes for candidates they feel comfortable having a beer with, rather than carefully considering their character and qualifications.

          The TVP will be up against the same challenges in order to make the transition - it assumes a very large group of highly educated individuals to run the proposed system. The problem is, there is no pathway proposed to get from here to there: first, it is impossible to vote TVP in because it is counter intuitive to at least 80% of the population, and even if it had George Clooney as the winning candidate, it would suffer the same fate as the Obama administration - gradual dilution of principles and ideas under the pressure to compromise with the status quo, sliding back into corruption and inefficiency.

          Competition works because no single group ever has the complete answer. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon and FaceBook are transforming global business and culture in a hugely positive direction precisely thanks to ruthless competition and responses to each other's successes and failures.

          There is another comment elsewhere about TVP emerging in time of global meltdown crisis. I will answer it there
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        Dec 7 2011: I believe evolution is a constant trial and error process, the "strongest survive."

        I also believe that we have the capabilities for trials, with the errors being at no cost of lives. Granted, IF, that is the common goal of man one day. Which is not near in site.

        However if the aim/goal/ambition/path is to make the world run on reusable energy, Eco-friendly, equal for all, unified, whatever... V.P project has already pieced together a lot of details, considerations, and designs for those altruistic goals.

        It's really sci fi when you think about it, because everyone would ultimately have to reject the mass educations of civilization, then sacrifice, in order for the future. The immediate transaction from here to V.P is indeed ridiculous.

        I think therefore I am - > mass mimetic-education involved in multiculturalism - > we think therefore we are

        Jacque Fresco is just a bright guy with a good idea, I am sure he wouldn't care if you named the idea "take a dump in your hand and throw it on the ground for soil." He, I and many TEDsters would enjoy this goal. Instead of nay saying and then saying "..anyone who has a couple of hours of free time will enjoy exploring the Venus Project as a fun intellectual exercise in critical thinking."

        How about critical thinking the details that are in the way of making now to something LIKE-V.P Instead of dictating what is wrong with something that is a little bit more complex than 2000 characters.

        Point A - It does ignore modern cognitive sciences data, BUT it is also a really old idea. I posted it myself because it has surpasses just science, it's another artists desire of the future, which maybe science fiction in practical implications, but so was flying vehicles, which we have, "airplanes."

        Point B - A good REAL education would provide means for the anticipation and nature to question new information. Also the anti-nature of "self" to become "individual anarchist."

        A lot of Star Trek stuff, is today, factual.
      • Dec 7 2011: Michael I'm afraid you have misunderstood or not have done thorough research on the ideas proposed by The Venus Project.
        First of all you are confusing the overarching concepts with the city, transportation etc. designs themselves. The former are those that are important and the latter will be constantly updated. It's not a static societal model that's being proposed, but an emergent one. TVP designs will have to be tested and improved continuously as new methods, materials etc. are found.
        As far as your claim regarding competitive environment being the most important principle for viable transformation, I would have to disagree. There are two types of competition in regards to species. Intraspecific and interspecific competition. Biologists tell us that species with extensive intraspecific competition have either become extinct or are under extinction. I would suggest looking at cooperation within the species if you want to achieve long term sustainability.

        You mention:
        "Venus project thinking is also utterly blind to the most important phenomena of our times - the exponential growth of knowledge and technology. Its obsession with the removal of obsolescence is entirely self-defeating."
        I have not seen any signs of that at all. On the contrary as I mentioned above, TVP mentions about how science and technology are racing forward but human values have stayed behind and haven't kept up. The intrinsic and planned obsolescence of the market system is a reality and leads to enormous waste of resources, having profit as the underlying principle.
        Technological obsolescence which occurs due to advancements, is dealt with modular design methods that embrace change.

        Lastly, in terms of human nature and human behaviour, I suggest you to watch the following video presenting research on behavioral science:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K91ITIrXdqk&feature=related

        I don't see how this is going against the things TVP talks about. On the contrary it supports its claims.
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          Dec 7 2011: OK... Where to begin addressing the mountain of ignorance and inexperience...?

          You are able to have this argument with me on a computer that did not cost you a fortune and is super easy to use thanks to the ruthless, profit-motivated competition between Apple, Microsoft and Google. That competition (and cooperation of engineers within these corporations) also gave birth to the iPhone, the iPad and now the Kindle Fire - at $200 a pop!

          "Cooperation" and "philanthropy" delivered the cute green turd of a laptop known as the OLPC. But where is OLPC 2.0 - the tablet?

          It was a noble cause, but now it appears to have been entirely unnecessary. The private, competitive IT industry will deliver less and less expensive, reliable, high-performance tablets to the entire world in the next few years that any peasant will be able to figure out how to use. In hindsight, I'm embarrassed that I supported that approach when it was presented and promoted at TED. Yes, OLPCs served well the kids who got them and it brought tears to my eyes to see it happen, however, in the bigger picture, where we need to serve billions of children, it was nothing but an irrelevant blip. OLPC engineers might have contributed more to humanity by working at "greedy" Apple, Google or Amazon.


          Dealing with "technological obsolescence through modular design methods that embrace change"... ? ARE YOU KIDDING US?

          How do you "modularize" your way from a MacBookPro to an iPhone or an iPad?
          From oil-extraction based economy to a bio-solar?

          Exponential growth of technology is necessarily destructive in that it ruthlessly obsoletes older technologies and products. Now, planning for closed-loop recycling is an entirely different issue - again solved by profit motivated industries hungry for raw materials.

          Best advice - watch the entire TED archive (as I did, more than once) and then try to compare, contrast and learn. Exactly the exercise in critical thinking previously suggested. :)
        • Dec 8 2011: yes profit is what makes technology evolve, but its not the monetary profit, its the profit of having better and easier life..
          humans probably had to use money in the past, but its not the case anymore, there is nothing anyone can say to convince me otherwise, as someone who got burned waaaaaay too much from capitalism i can see a much better world without money, and its not a dream, its a choice that people have to make..
          money is false, money is a lie, money is just a paper or a number that means debt to someone..
          money is the way to take resource from the poor and give it to the rich, it is a weapon for mass slavery and for controlling people's life, nothing more than that..
          it doesnt make our world spin, its not the material needed to make houses, roads, cars and food, the opposite is true, it is the material that makes most of the people in the world to not be able to get these things.
          and if you ask me its a crime to make a system that there are people who cant get the things they need for living, like the monetary system is.

          in a fully sustainable city there is no need for money or purchasing power in any form..
          there is only the need to educate everyone so they can live with the system in peace.

          people wont need to own cars, or other stuff (like homes), they will be able get it where they need it and when they need it, they will be able to be reasonable with other people cause they wont have a monetary incentive to F#$K each other.
          people will care for other people, cause they dont have to take money from them by doing something the other guy wont like, no more robberies, no more murders, no more stealing, no more crime..

          this is city 2.
          anything else that use the current system (capitalism and democracy(lie)) is city 1.001
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        Dec 7 2011: Looks and sounds like you have a vested interest in dissing the venus project Michael. You are part of the Integrity Capitalism Network?? I don't know too much about it to be honest, but it sounds like you are a capitalist, do you honestly think capitalism works?? It Certainly does for a lot of rich people, but the needy in society [1billiion+] deserve a better system than capitalism. It has failed as a social experiment and we need a new updated system that has no vested interests.

        The Venus Project is against the monetary system which creates endless amounts of suffering. Our values need to come up to par with our technology, at the moment we have the tail wagging the dog...
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          Dec 7 2011: EVERY LIVING BEING HAS A VESTED INTEREST - including you.

          I an not "dissing the Venus Project" but actually encouraging people to learn and think more about it -- both its noble goals and its hopelessly childish solutions. The value of the Venus Project is the conversation it has started.

          Capitalism and the monetary system have already succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its inventors, and are the key reasons we actually have 7 billion living on this planet. Despite the many shortcomings of its present implementation, capitalism works and is resilient. in fact, TED is built on, and is sponsored 100% by the fruits of capitalism.

          However, at present capitalism works like MS-DOS in the world that deserves an iOS -- it must and will evolve. WIthout breakthroughs in IT it was impossible to institute pervasive transparency that would keep individuals from violating integrity - as they do under any other system. To make capitalism work better and overcome its shortcomings (periodic cycles of boom and bust driven by fraud and speculation) we must embrace complexity. Integrity Capitalism Network is one possible systemic solution to address the key shortcomings of capitalism as we experience it today.

          Talk of "values" is noting but hot air - human nature will not change until much further in the future when we start tinkering with our own DNA. However, today we can change human behavior by making sure that every time businessmen promise one thing and then deliberately do another to rip off consumers or damage the environment, they wind up paying a price orders of magnitude greater than what they stood to gain through their transgressions.

          To bring this conversation back to the intended themes - City 2.0 -- radical transparency made possible through IT and legislative solutions, in my opinion, will be the key enabling component for the growth of sustainable, equitable and prosperous cities of the future that we have an opportunity to invent and evolve today.
        • Dec 7 2011: Hi there Michael. Please don't feel attacked but what you say about the venus project shows perfectly that you don't know much about it and that you didn't loose any time trying to. Try to understand what they wish to achieve, how and their goals and proposals in general. please,at least before speaking and not agreeing with it learn about it, then if you still don't agree, fine. at least then you can be sure you don't agree even after you understood it and you can even send them your sugestions and let them know why you think it won't work and why. Maybe they find your ideas logical and interesting and might help them get ideas to change something either in technical parts or their goals... They are open to sugestions and feedback I can assure you but without being well informed about it maybe better to just say you don't know enough about it to have an opinion on it. Cheers.
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          Dec 8 2011: I was actually absolutely captivated by TVP when I first discovered it in 2008 and spent over 40 hours learning about since then, downloading and reading all of their published literature, watching presentations and videos of meeting, etc. The more I learned the more disappointing it became - none of TVP's core concepts could stand up to rigorous evaluation. However, I have not looked at it in almost a year and should take a fresh look....
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          Dec 8 2011: Ed, I don't have a particularly strong opinion of the Venus project one way or another, but one remark I feel deserves some clarification. Desire is the cause of suffering....not money. Even if the monetary system were removed, I'm afraid it would simply be replaced by another troublesome factor that would perpetuate this problem for humanity.
      • Dec 7 2011: Unfortunately your derogatory labels seem to serve no purpose to support your arguments.
        It's ironic that you suggest to watch the archives of TED talks.
        Have you watched Clay Shirky's talks? Daniel Pink's talk?
        Have you researched on the work of Alfie Kohn?
        They talk about the exact opposite things that you talk about.
        Have a look at Linux, Wikipedia and open source software and hardware and then come and talk about the profit motive.

        In terms of modularization check the software industry for some good examples and the Open Source Ecology for a hardware one:
        http://opensourceecology.org/wiki/Product_Ecologies

        You are confusing the deliberate obsolescence from industry (intrinsic, planned and perceived) and and the obsolescence due to technological advancements. These are two entirely different things.
        The ignorant person that writes this post, suggests you to spend 50 minutes of your time and watch this documentary devoted to planned obsolescence:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1xt4nEvipg

        I'm really sorry my friend that you are locked into the market doctrine box and deny to see the evidence that supports something other than your closely held beliefs.
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          Dec 7 2011: This is drifting way off the subject of the question, so I'll try to bring it back.

          1) Don't watch TEDTalks to agree with everything being presented, but to educate yourself about a broad spectrum of perspectives on very complex issues - an important feature for City 2.0 might be educating its citizens to embrace complexity. (Yes, I spent quite some time on all the luminaries you mentioned.)

          2) Linux and Wikipedia are driven 100% by the profit motive of individuals who contribute to these endeavors. Where did you get the idea that profit is only defined by cash? For example, when I choose to invest time in debating you on the TED site I PROFIT by expanding my own understanding of complex subjects by motivating the expression of diverse opinions. Embracing a broader definition and inventing new ways of quantifying PROFIT might be a great feature for the City 2.0 initiative.

          3) Planned obsolescence is either hidden product fraud , or the product of ignorance of consumers who purchase it. Both will be solved by radical transparency and collaborative consumption, and have nothing to do with capitalism. These will be essential for City 2.0
          Thank you for the link to the documentary - downloading it now.

          4) You got me backwards from reality - I educated myself over many years and abandoned many closely held beliefs, instead looking at complex and often contradictory evidence.
          Unfortunately, the more you learn the fewer "friends" you keep: I often find myself hated by the socialists and the Ayn Rand libertarians alike because I expose both of their naive oversimplifications of capitalism's shortcomings and strengths.
      • Dec 7 2011: Michael Vlastone, I am a Venus Project fan and I must notice that you have few misunderstandings regarding The Venus Project.

        1. TVP would not impose it's 'Grand design', leaving no place for competitive involvement of people interested in contributing to human society. One can say that if established, TVP would offer just the opposite of inert 'Grand design', i.e. it would open possibilities which are held back today by monetary system - which does not encourage advancement of human society (nor human condition in any sense) at all - which is inadmissible, considering our state of technology and science.
        ‘Competitive, creative environment’ which you advocate is, unfortunately, mostly a form of uncivilized struggle for survival in our monetary system.
        2. Venus Project is not ‘blind to development of technology’, it is an absurd statement from any point of view. ‘Removal of obsolescence’ that you mentioned is true regarding planned obsolescence which is consequence of monetary system and significant source of pollution.
        3. Statements about ‘human nature’ are very bold and, fortunately, utterly unfounded. Such statements can not be put in same sentence with ‘scientific’. Since ‘human nature’ talk is pretty much in domain of philosophy, we could argue that evolution teaches us that every living organism is adapting to surrounding condition, and sociocultural evolution is continuous process, which can, and should, be constructively altered by responsible individuals, unlike it is being done to this day. Presently, sociocultural evolution is being altered in favor of monetary system, i.e. it’s champion - free enterprise system.

        The Venus Project should not be looked at as a pass time, as you suggest. It is rather a proposal of global use of reason. In contemporary state of human society, such a serious attempt to introduce plain healthy human reason to our affairs should be looked upon with gratitude and genuine curiosity.
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          Dec 7 2011: Milos, I started out as a fan too....

          Let me offer you a different perspective. I used to be really frustrated by video games - what a waste of time and computing resources. Then I understood that the obsession with all these stupid games drives the evolution of CPUs, GPUs, etc. THose who spend too much time playing Warcraft, would have wasted their time anyway by sitting at the bar and drinking 20 years ago. Instead, their consumption drives an industry essential to all human progress.

          If everyone was born smart, kind and beautiful life would be fair - but it is not, at least not right now. Think about that one in the context of Venus Project.
      • Dec 7 2011: It seems while the followers of the Venus Project do well in repeating the phrases and promises of the Venus Project, they don't understand its doctrine in its entirety. Neither does Vlastone.

        There is a very important conclusion upon which much of VP's doctrine is built. The conclusion is that a sociocybernated scenario is INEVITABLE for society. Why? Because it is the most efficient economic arrangement conceivable at this time. As the market tends to inevitably push for greater efficiency, it places society on an inexorable path toward a particular organization. This organization will be more controlled than the organization we have today. This process of reorganization is not only caused ultimately by economic forces but forces of social evolution as well. This is THE MARCH OF EVENTS that is made inevitable by the deep structure of technological and sociological co-evolution. This reorganization will be a reaction to the civil unrest generated by a growing world population running short on resources, overloading the carrying capacity of the earth. At this point you can expect top-down control programs descending upon the populations from desperate governments.

        Free markets can't operate in a world that has become too desperate to permit the exercise of past freedoms. Governments will have to install a planned and controlled sociocybernated system by necessity. They will call upon scientists/technicians to engineer this program. There would be no other way of managing societies under such desperate conditions. Solutions for the crisis from the market would be too slow.

        In sum, such an inevitable organization manifests in two ways: 1. something like a technocratic fascist tyranny or a technocratic state controlled military dictatorship, or 2. if forward thinking people work together with large investors (on the scale of Dubai), then we can shortcut to the new organization before governments are forced to take coercive action. Fresco tries for the latter.
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          Dec 7 2011: Just to add to the 'planned obsolescence' aspect of this discussion.

          Isn't planned obsolescence a consequence of 'economies of scale' - In the current paradigm products have to be mass produced in order to achieve economic viability. With the burgeoning 3D printing technologies this will be turned on it's head where bespoke production with minimal waste will be possible.

          This type of 'access abundance' is something I would like to see implemented in City 2.0 especially where food is concerned which is certainly an area covered by the Venus Project by hydroponic farming methods.

          Check out Cybernated Farming Systems, a new venture by ex-shuttle engineer (and TVP supporter) Douglas Malette who aims to get this technology off the ground commercially.

          I guess what all this is pointing to is the goal of 'Self sustaining' which surely no-one is arguing against.
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          Dec 7 2011: The thing about the future is that very few things are inevitable. Religious cults all have their beliefs in their particular "march of events that is made inevitable." Lenin, Hitler, Mao and Bin Laden all believed in their inevitable march of events. All were wrong, of course, but that hasn't weakened the confidence of the many who still maintain their own vision of an "inevitable" future. The past is inevitable. The future is flexible and uncertain. Inevitably uncertain.
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        Dec 7 2011: Appreciate the voice of reason, hard to hear in a sea of frothy dreams.
        • Dec 8 2011: Regarding your response above. Indeed, extrapolating the future is difficult. Some have succeeded in that past. Some haven't. The key is recognizing basic axioms and patterns and understanding how they affect each other.
          -We recognize that humans have a set of absolute needs
          -If you recognize that humans have certain needs, you can delineate a range of reactions when these needs go unfulfilled.
          -We can see one reaction in the world today, that citizens will uprise when their needs go unfulfilled
          -Likewise, you can recognize that self-preservation is virtually a law of life, and that this holds true for institutions as well, beings individual self-preservation is dependent upon the institution. Self-preservation is a primary cause for uprisings.
          -You can recognize that in the past, uprising people were eventually pacified when economic conditions returned to a comfort zone. But can such a return continue?
          -You can recognize that the population growth rate cannot be sustained.
          -You can recognize that the earth has finite resources
          -You can recognize, that automation is a relentless trend in human evolution. B/c it is more efficient, humans will automate wherever possible, as soon as possible

          What lays ahead is quite obvious. It is a threat that no good reason or good prudence could deny. (To think that the market can solve it requires as much faith as you may accuse me of having). We are barreling forward toward a crisis: technological unemployment for an exponentially growing population. That is the end of capitalism and the beginning of something new. How will institutions deal with this? The answer: Sociocyberneering in a global resource-based economy. It will be the most efficient way to administer human needs. Society is a mechanism and someday it will be managed like a mechanism.
        • Dec 8 2011: The point is that a sociocybernated resource-based economy is as inevitable to our era as automation was inevitable to the medieval era. It is as inevitable as the human body merging with technology. It will evolve as naturally as a bee hive. Economic forces, human need, and planetary constrictions will force it into place.

          Natural law is responsible for this evolution. The bee hive was forced into existence by natural law; so too will it force new infrastructures in cities and social arrangements.

          However, there is a point of no return, and there are factors that may interfere with this evolution (natural disaster or nuclear war).

          Of course technology is the most radical variable and is rendering the future of material objects and their function ever more unpredictable. In contrast, the relationship between humans and technology has evolved in a relatively stable and predictable way. Our technology has changed, and its change is difficult to predict, but our relationship to it has not changed. Fresco's extrapolations are concerned with this relationship and operate on its basis. Fresco is concerned with the larger issue of human evolution of which technology is a part. Such extrapolations require a focus on certain factors that many forcasters severely neglect. Some say it is inevitable that humans will merge with machines, but that is as far as they go. They don't concern themselves with what is inevitable for society.
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        Dec 8 2011: Not really, The designs in "flat land" are just an example of how the best technology applied could work. It's more a way of building cities than a unique design, you can learn more about it in the website. However if we keep efficiency and sustaniability as our goal. We need to move forward and forget our current market based structure. That will make a real City 2.0
      • Dec 8 2011: If not a full scale TVP style RBE, what say you about what I consider the transitional and ongoing alternative of self managed communities?

        In any case, I think a lot of people look to find flaws in order to say, "Look, it can never be that great.. just won't happen in reality." Well, finding flaws is a good thing because it allows for improvement- the attitude that this is "Utopian"- when in fact there will always be problems of some sort- and therefore must never even be attempted, is not as helpful. I also agree with Sharon who is saying that suggesting the Venus Project doesn't mean that one agrees with every proposal by Jacque, but rather, the overall picture of what it allows for.
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        Dec 8 2011: We are working on a platform that could essentially handle what you are saying as well as keep things local. I am drafting a more complete response and would appreciate your thoughts.

        http://nolewalkingshaw.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/city-2-0/

        http://prezi.com/tdozumz2s8a3/ynslc-prezi/
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      Dec 6 2011: If one embraces the idea or a vision, it does not mean you have to agree 100%. Take the best things and change some stuff... for now. If great ideas are rejected because it is new, innovative and astounding, we push ourselves backwards. We need to have an open mind because there is a lot of good things in the venus project.
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        Dec 8 2011: Sharon, urban history is littered with wonderful ideas of utopianists. The Venus Project shares so many similarities with these it is not funny. Whilst many goals are noble, creative, innovative, we need to recognise the reality of our villages, towns and cities, and that the way forward is thousands of small projects to change the way cities and towns work.80% of the future is already here. We are better off supporting ways to improve the existing, than to chase one perfect city, in one cultural context that may not translate across cultures and climate zones.
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          Dec 8 2011: @ Peter. Points well taken. There are so many ways to interpreted TVP. I did not say that we copy TVP exactly but taking some great ideas from it and apply to what we have missed here in the US. As I said before there life is a balance. At present, we have moved too far towards greed and mis-management or what ever the reasons may be that contributed to where we stand today. Why are there so many homeless here? I can name you countries like Singapore that there are no homeless people walking the streets. Everyone is taken care of by the family or the Gov. When companies are rich, they give to the poor and actually help create homes for the homeless and sickly and managed the community. No one tells them what to do. They just do it. I think Singapore has kind of adopted the TVP a little. People actually do not need cars. Public transportation is really easy to get to. As the country get richer, I hope the act of civic conscience is still maintained.

          Back to us, maybe a selected, more contained, well-run community could be a solution for us. Because a closer well designed cell community can bring more advantage than a spread out community where no one cares about each other. TVP project seems like a possible solution.
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        Dec 8 2011: Sharon,

        Singapore and TVP share urban/social ideas, which are universal. Singapore has not adopted TVP at all. They are learning from European best practice sustainability. Having worked in Singapore, and with Singaporean urbanists, I am aware of what they are doing, how they are going about it, and who is the inspiration. In many projects, ideas bubble out of local people and are adopted.
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    Dec 7 2011: The Venus Project
    Every action and decision we take (or don’t) ripples into the future...and for the first time we have the capability, the technology, and the knowledge to direct those ripples.
    www.thevenusproject.com
    The Venus Project Goals
    1.Realizing the declaration of the world's resources as being the common heritage of all people.
    2.Transcending the artificial boundaries that currently and arbitrarily separate people.
    3.Replacing money-based nationalistic economies with a resource-based world economy.
    4.Assisting in stabilizing the world’s population through education and voluntary birth control.
    5.Reclaiming and restoring the natural environment to the best of our ability.
    6.Redesigning cities, transportation systems, agricultural industries, and industrial plants so that they are energy- efficient, clean, and able conveniently to serve the needs of all people.
    7.Gradually outgrowing corporate entities and governments (local, national, or supra-national) as means of social management.
    8.Sharing and applying new technologies for the benefit of all nations.
    9.Developing and using clean, renewable energy sources.
    10.Manufacturing the highest-quality products for the benefit of the world’s people.
    11.Requiring environmental-impact studies prior to construction of any mega-projects.
    12.Encouraging the widest range of creativity and incentive toward constructive endeavour.
    13.Outgrowing nationalism, bigotry, and prejudice through education.
    14.Eliminating elitism—technical or otherwise.
    15.Arriving at methodologies by careful research rather than random opinions.
    16.Enhancing communication in schools so that our language is relevant to the physical conditions of the world.
    17.Providing not only the necessities of life, but also offering challenges that stimulate the mind while emphasizing individuality rather than uniformity.
    18.Finally, preparing people intellectually and emotionally for the changes and challenges that lie ahead.
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    Dec 7 2011: The Venus Project all the way on ths one, over 70 years of research into this, and using all current technology it is a realistic goal. Lets make ithappen.
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    Dec 6 2011: I wish that the City 2.0 took "social networks" back to the physical world. The city of the future should be a community of communities. Neighbors should know each other - and interact with one another. Residents of cities who share interests and other common traits should be able to easily find one another - and get to know one another. Technology can obviously play a key role in making this happen, but at the end of the day cities should be about the people who live in them and the interactions that they have together.
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      Dec 7 2011: Ariel, this is absolutely necessary. We have run social networks all over the world. It is time to land social networks where they belong, affecting one's local, physical world for good by accessing the global information network.

      I think that City 2.0 should be "open source."
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      Dec 7 2011: That could be done because the way the City 2.0, it is a closer network of living conditions where you will interact with people.
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      Dec 8 2011: A good claim, Ariel. In order to do that, the city 2.0 needs public spaces open to everyone and intelligently designed to favour self-organized networking. An agora with designated moderators where the public can inform and deliberate amongst themselves for the improvement of their community.
      It also needs providing an infrastructure to facilitate the participation of someone who has an 8 hour shift behind him (which is one of the merits of virtualia). This would not only be valuable to establish a true-to-its-name local democracy but also to harvest the intrinsic unused ressources of the citizens for the citizens
    • Dec 8 2011: Indeed. A Resource Based Economy proposes to automate as many of the menial, repetitive jobs as soon as possible. This will provide abundance of what is needed and shorten work days giving people more free time to socialize, learn new things, be creative, and have work that is more fulfilling to our lives and the lives of everyone else who participates in the system.

      In our current monetary based sytsem, automation displaces people from work and they become unemployed. Without a job for income, citizens lack access to resources which is really what people need anyway. Not some 9-5 that we hate, pays us poorly, and stresses us out.

      With integrated transport systems, youtube "Ultra transport" and "ET3 transport" meeting people halfway around the world in real time will be almost as easy as on the internet. If you give people what they need to survive and the time to enjoy it people will behave very differently as they did in preagricultural days where societies were based on community, sharing, and abundance. Not scarcity and property where one is always stressed out and not able to trust people in a dog eat dog world.
  • Dec 7 2011: / English is not my main language guys, so there may be some small grammatical errors /

    An idea for a city is completely blank without being aware for whom the city is. You cannot build zoo cages for zebras without having grass, water, etc. In other words, you analyze the subject first.
    An understanding of human necessities and human behavior is crucial for starting such a project. Therefore, the known subject must be related to it´s known environment (rates of change, technology, etc).

    This is how scientists work when they plan to colonize Mars or another planet. They start with the subject (the animal in our case), analyze the environment, and arrive at a solution for building the colony (how many resources Mars have, what they can use and for how long, the materials they can substitute, the consumption of a human being, etc).

    The Venus Project (http://www.thevenusproject.com/) is a model (design) for such a society. The designs by Jacque Fresco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacque_Fresco) are built using the scientific method and taking into account the human behavior, present technology, planet resources, the emergent society, etc. Is a very detailed project with little regard for what people feel about it, just like any scientific approach should be. If you want a society for human concern you need to work hard on it to arrive at such solution and be aware of the constant changes that may occur on the way.

    The strange fact is that you (the listener) have very little time to analyze it (job, family, projects, old values) therefore you won´t be able to understand it. Remember, is a society analyzed and improved for more than 70 years, do not think you will understand it completely from a website, or a youtube clip.
    If you are serious you will do a research on it since is in your own good.
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    Dec 8 2011: Hi,
    I'm a french guy (so, sorry for my english) and I purprose The Venus Project.

    Why ?
    "The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream"
    The Venus Project (TVP) was developped during 70years of scientific research. It's not a little kidness in more but a really way with science application.

    "The City 2.0 promotes innovation"
    Innovation is one of the major stuff of TVP who use the last innovation in technology, science, social,...

    "(...)education"
    Éducation is an obligation. Without éducation, we can't learn to live together in a sustainable future.

    "(...)culture"
    The balance between culture need to be conserved but only if it's efficient for a peacefully life between humans: http://tinyurl.com/cjdygor

    "(...)economic opportuniy"
    TVP's focus is to create a Ressource Based on Economy without monetary system: http://tinyurl.com/d3lxlrr

    "The City 2.0 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life."
    Architecture in different TVP city design are wonderfull. It's a fusion between ecology and technology with an intelligent management. I invite you, dear TED members, to watch this 3D Demonstration (from 23s): http://tinyurl.com/ck928hc

    With TVP, you'll join hundreds of thousands people who support the project and a big community who developing and updating the concept.
    Fusion beween TED & TVP for seeing emerge TVP's aims and proposal will be fabulous.

    Take Care,
    S.B.
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    Dec 7 2011: A City 2.0 concept should be in sync with upcoming Civilization 4.0 (where 1.0=Aboriginal; 2.0=Barter; 3.0=Monetary; 4.0=Resource-based).

    A Resource-based Economy is the proposed evolutionary alternative to the current monetary system, where efficient and sustainable cities take the front seat. We should at least be aware of the Resource-based Economy concept and take it into consideration in our collective effort to reach the City 2.0 vision.

    There is already a TED talk on the subject: An Introduction to a Resource-Based Economy [ TEDx - Peter Joseph ] ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mkRFCtl2MI ). I've also put together a few talks and documentaries that are on topic or related ( http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5DD2281A0ECA17C3&feature=mh_lolz ).

    In a few paragraphs, the concept refers to the economic structure that is applied on top of nature/physical laws. The currently used economic structure worldwide is the monetary model, which in turn, current political perspectives and corporations stand on. Our monetary economic model has reached it's peak for the current population and technological progress; it is not scalable anymore on a limited resource planet.

    A Resource-based Economy is an economic structure in which physical laws and the population's needs are taken into account first. We couldn't implement such a system before, as we require current day technical knowledge and infrastructure to deal with global resource inventorying, management and optimal path finding. It should be understood that money is a value proxy that doesn't take resource renewability and human requirements into consideration, which may lead to a social and economical collapse in a few decades if we continue pushing it.

    Regarding a smooth transition, I have found the following article to be informative and concise: Possible requirements for the transition to an RBE ( http://blog.thezeitgeistmovement.com/blog/icavot/possible-requirements-transition-rbe ).
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    Dec 11 2011: The Venus Project city concept & design is not only outstanding but it provides for a comprehensive approach to solving most of the problems of the world through the scientific method within a Resource Based economy System.
  • Dec 8 2011: I would definitely vote for the Venus Project and Jacque Fresco's circular city arrangement as for the City 2.0 Ted's prize. His innovative approach in designing cities goes beyond anything established and constructed even in projects so far. On their website, you can find not only visual models and possible designs of cities that can be built on land, offshore and on sea, but also a media showing the real prototypes of future houses. Besides, the Venus Project is a tangible project, located in Venus, Florida, USA. You can visit the research centre that was built by Jacque together with his colleague Roxanne Meadows.
    More than that, Jacque's circular city is a part of many global cities around the world that could comprise new green technologies, safe transportation, production and distribution centres, modern hospitals, nice parks, comfortable homes, cultural and amusements centres.
    I believe that Jacque's unique project he worked on nearly all his life deserves a very close attention.
  • Dec 7 2011: Definitely The Venus Project.

    Though, it is easy to be overcome by the fanciful drawings; keep in mind those are just possibilities. It's the priority of values that is most vital; Embracing natural systems, maximizing efficiency, encouraging resource abundance, not scarcity. Those are the attributes of City 2.0 and what will bring about Kaku's Type 1 civilization.

    As to critics & detractors seen below, understand you're missing the forest from the trees. Nitpicking on relatively minor points or interpretations diffuses the possibility of starling towards any such advances a resource abundance will bring. You may think you're helping by being critical, but really, without an alternative solution to propose, you're just prolonging the harmful structures that exist and increasing the time to realizing City 2.0.

    To say, we could argue all day long on the finer aspects, but this is not the forum for it. The Venus Project is the beginning of Kaku's Type 1 civilization... so can we not agree it best to solve the other minutiae along the way towards resource abundance, to give our values the chance to evolve organically?

    Be critical, fine, but only as a part of the solution; anyone can poke holes in anything, doesn't mean the effort is justified.
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    Dec 6 2011: I nominate anyone who would talk about the Venus Project. Jacque Fresco (creator of the project) will blow your mind if you watch him talk about the problems of the world.

    http://www.thevenusproject.com/

    V.P should be considered, as V.P is an already existing structure towards similar ideas being strive for by Earth 2.0
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    Dec 6 2011: I'm afraid that people start shooting thousands of ideas, they may all be good ideas, but what I wish is to find a way of integrate all those ideas, no dominant side, no short vision. We need a wide view of the challenge in order to understand, integrate and synthesize; there is no room for "one size fits all" we need a strategy for highly contextualized solutions, empowering local development while been open and connected.
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        Peter R

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        Dec 8 2011: No this does not do what Victor is suggesting
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        Dec 8 2011: With all the respect Mr. Fresco deserves for a life time dedication, I don't think Venus Project is realistic enough, there are many good ideas, but I don't see them feasible to apply as urgently as we need to change things in the world, for sure are useful and inspiring, but again, whatever City 2.0 ends up been must be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, highly contextualized, open solutions, ready to apply ASAP.
        • Dec 12 2011: just cause you don't see them feasible does not mean they aren't. Testing Jacque's theories will prove if its feasible or not, PAL!
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        Dec 8 2011: Victor, your point is spot on. The hot spots for innovation are not the big cities, but the smaller innovative cities and towns, even villages. They have lead the way, and we need to see what they have done, how that can be applied in our context, and how we can improve on it. The city of tomorrow is already 80% built - they are our existing villages, towns and cities. It these that we have to improve. We don't need to build a new city. I believe City 2.0 is the journey of transformation of our existing cities, and it is the way that we enable this. Hence my suggestion that I have put forward here. We need to create a new global dialogue between all the local places, so that each can help each other, as well as learn from each other. Also perhaps we can hope that this may bring many of the spiritual or social wishes presented here. The solution to your local problem may actually not be in your area, but the person holding it could be half a planet away, and unless there is someway to draw people together, and connect local places there is so much we have to lose.
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      Peter R

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      Dec 8 2011: Victor, I agree that the City 2.0 prize approach to the future of the city needs to be a globally integrative approach of the thousands of ideas that are already on the ground making a difference already. Like both a physical and virtual library of alexandria, collaboratively built in every city around the world by local partners and volunteers, linked by the virtual. That way, each city's contextualised solutions can be examined and adapted by other cities. This is not a high-brow C40 approach, but a grass roots approach.
  • Dec 6 2011: Building a city is not just about architecture and civil engineering. There's more to cties than buildings, roads, sewers and parks. A city is a collection of people and what makes a city worth living in is the staggering array of connections between all of those people. But the worst thing about city life is how shallow and empty most of those connections are.

    Having grown up in the countryside and moved to the centre of a city, the thing I miss most (even if I didn't truly appreciate it at the time) is the sense of community that you feel when you live in a small town. There is a tremendous warmth and comfort in sharing your life with the people who surround you.

    Building connections has another great advantage. TED is a prime example of what can be achieved by simply sharing your ideas with the world. It doesn't need to be a groundbreaking scientific discovery, even simple things like learning to tie your shoelaces properly can have a dramatic effect on the way you live your life. When we teach we feel valued and when we learn we feel inspired and when we share we feel a part of something amazing.

    Now, imagine a world where everyone is both teacher and student, sharing their skills and experiences with anyone who wants to learn. Imagine a building on every street or every city block which is dedicated to the sharing of ideas. A place for everyone with no limits on age or background. Whether you're a retired carpenter that wants to pass on his skills to a new generation, a widow who wants to share her perspective on life after the death of a loved one or a schoolchild who wants to scream at the world for not doing enough about climate change; the world will be enriched if you share what you know.

    My ideal city would always have a place where you can do that, freely and openly and for everyone to benefit.
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    Dec 6 2011: ...that humanity's impact on the natural environment will be part of required curriculum for students K-12. It all starts with knowledge!
  • Dec 16 2011: I was once in conversation with the chief of urban planning in Uppsala, Sweden and he pointed out that many of the choices that he and his colleagues made were still heavily influenced by key choices that had been made 400 years earlier. So... one thing I would wish for is that when designing the city living spaces of the future that dreams and visions are imagined with a very long time horizon. Wondering... who will we be as human beings in 500 or a 1000 years time? And then designing with that mystery in the mix.

    Also... central to the visioning... I wonder... what are the dreams and visions for cities that are founded on eternal human needs and desires? For instance the human need & desires to have a voice, to be heard, to have dignity, to love, to be loved, to see the stars, to play, to experience joy, to be touched by the natural world.... and so many more. What is it that is eternal that can be made inherent in the design of cities.

    Also... to question... what's impossible for us to do today... but would be desirable if it was possible... (I mean in 100 years time it probably will be!) One thing that comes to my mind... what if children in a city could directly experience the full wonder and glory of the night sky from the heart of a city? Crazy idea... but if it was possible... I think it would be transformational. Imagine being able to lie on the grass of a city park and see the stars like you do from a remote mountain top. ;-)
  • Dec 11 2011: zeitgeistmovingforward.com ,watch the video, a resource based economy makes all monetary based economy obsolete
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    Dec 11 2011: Teams all over the world experiment already with these ideas.
    Key concepts seems to be: collaboration and other fundamental perceptions of the world.
    Need to change they way we educate our children. This should be our topmost priority.
    It is also on our hands to create a model of society as proposed by people on the Venus Project, helped by companies like Google(Information management), and HP(CenSe net) and Cisco(communications).
    People need to wake up and take the next level in civilisation.
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    Dec 7 2011: I think the Venus project (TVP) is not suppose (or should not) to be a project that dominates every inch of the world. That would be a disaster. Animals need to be in their natural environments and respected. Change happens over time and acceptance. I see TVP as an alternate way of lifestyle for our future community to work, innovate, and live better with positive attitudes to improve, learn and grow. For us being a smarter race and more advances in thinking would help the people make the world a better place. Because we need to always push the boundaries, of innovation for advancement.

    We must understand that we cannot take away the CHOICES from people. For choices is our means of freedom as humans. So if people want to live as is… it perfectly ok. TVP project is a means for advancement for human enrichment. With TVP it opens so much possibilities to do such great things.
  • Dec 6 2011: Electronic infrastructure for organizations, cities, people to come together to share the good things that are happening, or even to share resources. So many people and organizations are doing great things (like TED), but there isn't a central hub for things like non-profits to go and share what they are doing and ask questions of other organizations that are similar in other communities across the world. We just need central locations for connecting all of these networks.

    Or cities to go and learn from others in once place with examples from across the world.

    or even business being able to connect more directly with non-profits and school to help out or even donate more of what they are currently throwing away .

    Everyone is always trying to re-invent the wheel, when there is already soo many good things out there, and so much collaborative power waiting to be harnessed and connected!
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      Dec 8 2011: Katie, I agree that the City 2.0 prize approach to the future of the city needs to be a globally integrative approach of the thousands of ideas that are already on the ground making a difference already.

      It could be both a physical presence and a virtual presence, like a modern urban library of alexandria, collaboratively built in every city around the world by local partners and volunteers, linked by the virtual. That way, each city's contextualised solutions can be examined and adapted by other cities. This is not a high-brow C40 approach, but a grass roots approach so that anyone can log on, and see the solutions, and how they work. If they want, they can go and visit the local branch, and see some of the solutions in practice. They can also be referred to the real live demonstration projects that are pioneering the way, such as Hammarby Sjostad in my city, or BO-01 in Malmo, or Kronsberg in Hannover.

      we don't need to reinvent the wheel when there is so much good work on the ground.
  • Dec 14 2011: I wish for city 2.0 to be a place where more people can work and collaborate , for less hours a week. I wish for the city's habitats to be able to actualy enjoy all the great things this city has to offer, and contribute time to pursue with the city's community goals.
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      Dec 14 2011: I agree whole heartily! Social networks give us unprecedented opportunity for collaboration, synergy, and interdependence. Now it is a matter of us as a whole managing those social resources in a way that our efforts are beneficial for the whole human family.

      Ultimately allocation of resources is the human families most limiting factor, not natural resources, or time, or wealth. Until people are willing to distribute their resources according to the situations with the greatest needs, we will only be addressing symptoms of the problem.

      Until we are ready for that, here is a video that talks about the need for consider collaboration as a good start.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XQIxr4gRQM&feature=share
  • Dec 14 2011: Such great ideas! To build on Jennifer Appel's green roofs, when I am flying into Los Angeles (LAX) viewing down at the sea of heat reflecting roofs, I've been longing to see them green, reducing energy demands, reducing the urban heat island, aiding natural filtration for our watersheds, creating more bird habitats and biodiversity. My TED City 2.0 wish would be to focus the green roof effort in the approaches to airports where they can be seen to help seed and spread the idea, and to foster a sense of community for these sometimes neglected neighborhoods.

    In response to Daniel's post below, I share your thoughts about City 2.0 building upon our existing cities. I have to disagree about the monorail though - what better way to appreciate and not adversely affect our existing cities while commuting on a monorail, which could give great vistas (I'm picturing riding along the river in Paris), connect the community, and actually be fun! Here are some of the advantages I agree with.
    http://www.seattlemonorail.org/advantages.html

    That leads me to my last thought about City 2.0 - it should be fun. It should take risks and experiment on social levels as well as with building systems, energy solutions, and agriculture. We have some serious challenges facing us in the future and we need to encourage some creative thinking. Let's start experimenting with ideas on the lawn of city hall and other public spaces at the invitation of our public officials, and occupy LA and other cities with our concepts for an enhanced urban environment. A fruit orchard in place of the public lawn for instance - a gathering place, same water needs, and will provide food for people and wildlife while storing carbon.
    • Dec 18 2011: Cindy,
      Thank you. I agree with your thoughts. E me at appelgreenroof@yahoo.com
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    Dec 8 2011: My ideal city would be 100% energy independent: being capable of providing its own food and transport by maximising the use of automation and investing all of its resources into developing its people through vocations such as healthcare, education and research. A bit like Masdar City, but without the limitations of the monetary based economy.