Terry Torok

Founder at Angel Producers, Founder at Live from Earth


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WHAT IF... we link the ideals of Bryan Stevenson with the infinite possibilities of the City 2.0 ? What can WE do together... IDEAS?

Bryan Stevenson, Public Interest Lawyer "I think the opposite of poverty is justice." TED 2012
consider his thoughts... and consider yours... and then the Heart & Mind of the City 2.0.... what adds up for YOU?

  • Mar 6 2012: I believe that Mitch is hitting on all the right points. To answer your question Terry we have to examine the injustice of City 1.0 to design the justice system of City 2.0

    I think that there is a widespread disbelief, especially in low income communities, in what used to be called "the American Dream." As Mitch pointed out, we have groups of people that have expectations of themselves for the future. There are groups that undoubtedly will deny their chance of ever going to jail, while other groups will describe a future incarceration as inevitable. These expectations are not only learned in the classroom, but also witnessed on a larger scale within society as a whole. The injustice is not solely in letting disadvantages among classes exist. Even worse than that the true injustice is not letting each American, regardless of class, believe in opportunity.

    In Bryan Stevenson's talk he specifically discussed the African-American's lack of opportunity. This included lack of opportunity to be tried as a child, lack of opportunity to be tried without the bias of race, and I argue just the overall lack of opportunity. I believe that we must educate every individual on opportunity. Regardless of obstacles, we must train the character of every individual, just as Jimmy the janitor did. Not every American beliefs in "the American Dream," but I believe this talk was a good reminder to: "keep your eyes on the prize and hold on."
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      Mar 6 2012: I think the work of Jane Elliot is very cogent.
      (I recommend you view the videos).

      In terms of education, I believe that every child should experience the brown eyes/blue eyes program.

      Not knowing who and what we are is a great barrier to finding our way to who and what we can be.
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      Mar 6 2012: Alexander i appreciate your point... "the lack of opportunity" across race, gender and borders, I feel this also applies in many ways to where I work with child soldiers, and in many cases child trafficking, the crime is so wide-spread it is often deemed as complex, yet, at the core, given a better opportunity, a better choice for the chain of criminal activity- changes the victimization of the innocent. In the case of child soldiers, the same economics that create the existence of child soldiers, can effectively eliminate it. I think we have the opportunity to create a brighter City 2.0 from the ground up, than perhaps converting an existing cities, either way is possible and lifting from the energy of positive deviants is a brilliant start....

      and thanks Mitch for the recommendation..
  • Mar 12 2012: You might be interested in checking out Everyday Democracy's process: http://www.everyday-democracy.org. It combines a critical examination of inequities with creating space for everyday people to have a voice and create change.
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    Mar 11 2012: Hi Mitch - you made a great contribution to this debate with your thesis: "The creative individual owns nothing more than the energy required to express the creativity inate in the species"

    Still I completely disagree as much as I respect the brilliant argument for your point. Of course our dissense is an old one in the history of man and philosophy and society. Just two agruments:

    1.) If creativity is in the species, why is it that creative individuals are outsiders or avantgarde in society, regulary outside of the species accepted and tolerated rules and boundaries. creativity, if in art or in science or religion, is a border-breaker of species.
    You can read this also by the Biologist Jacque Monod "Chance and Necessity"

    2.) Just listen to the diversity of creativity - listen to the creatives themselves. It all steems from outside any species or even culture norm. We published a film series with famous creatives from all over the world - http://bit.ly/xsIPLj - from Philippe Starck to David Hockney.
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    Mar 6 2012: For me, one of the most difficult urban design issues to get my head around is that of urban densification being a virtue. I am familiar with the arguments as to how it is more efficient - and therefore environmentally sustainable - to provide services to densely populated areas. But I think there are some assumptions around risk that are perhaps not always fully unpacked in these arguments. In particular, I would like the long term sustainability of the modes of service delivery that are more efficient in dense urban settlements e.g.grid electrification, water borne sewerage and food supply networks and waste management strategies to be subjected to greater scrutiny in terms of the resource constraints that we are starting to hit. Centralised provision of these services inures us to the environmental impacts and creates illusions of abundance in ways that may not be ultimately sustainable.
    At the same time, I am not a Luddite and want to see technological solutions - I just think that we the scale at which we develop solutions needs careful thought - we tend to prefer big centralized solutions that appear to have effortless outcomes but often result in unintended consequences and technological races against resource constraints.
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      Mar 7 2012: Theory of 2.0 is perfect. Flushing the toilets all at once in practicum may back up to prove your point, when we learn what exactly hits the fan.

      Seems a base of best practices, plussed by positive deviants, and then designers that think from infrastructure out feels like a process worth working through. And since, utopian theory allows us to start with a clean sheet of paper and brilliant minds, we may have a 2.0 chance. Some designers may work best in isolation, crowd source augmentation or collaboration, but I think all should be tried with an agreement of a point in time, a benchmark where designs are shared. This is tangential to your points above, so I'd like to move out of the way and invite others to build on your thoughts Matthew - thank you for them...
  • Mar 6 2012: It's something must consider in the phase 1 - mapping basics, human is the key in urban design. Since the name of BS involved here in the subject, I want to move my thoughts from other discussion to this post. Here it goes: I can see the legitimacy of some arguments here worth to be heard. Take a look at and imagine the "before/after Bryan Stevenson"s reality since this is a broader issue of the society than it seems.Prevention is better than confrontation. Other kinds of Bryan Stevenson(s) need to join in and collaborate as well, actually any issue needs to use collaboration to solve/resolve, I can see the #TED role here is irreplaceable.
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      Mar 6 2012: Thank you Teddia you frame this very well, I started a TED thread focused solely on the City 2.0 -
      [ http://www.ted.com/conversations/9696/the_city_2_0_according_to_you.html ] and also took up Chris's thought at TED, can Bryan Stevenson's ideals link with City 2.0. ? I would agree that a large context of collaborators will make a greater whole... I share some concern of focus.... What exactly can we, as a TED community wrap our hearts and minds, [and resources] around, and make some significant measurable progress in one year's time for a big 2.0 ?
      • Mar 6 2012: Nice to know what audience (web) TED attract each year. When you know the ingredients you know what to cook and maybe the how will reveal itself. And John Rives in his iPad Performance said "Most good trot recipes really only have two ingredients, one of them is trot."Trot here is the human recourse.
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    Mar 5 2012: The fundamental driver behind the issues covered by Bryan's talk is: advantage.
    A human individual needs a certain degree of advantage for basic survival - we do this through tools (physical tools and method tools). We learn these advantages through "education" - it makes us very successful at gaining advantage in competition with other species.
    However, "education" also teaches us relative advantage between humans within our communities. Environmental skills and toolmaking is ony a fraction of what we learn, mostly our minds are bent on the skills of gaining greater relative advantage in the community.
    This is taken for granted so much that it becomes subliminal - we develop "expectation sets" that underpin our entire interaction with our community. Our expectation sets are mostly subconscious. This gives rise to "class structure", where one's expectation-set is fully defined and sublimated - people rarely transcend their expectation sets - the assumptions underpinning expectation sets are subtle and rarely questioned. Expectation sets absolutely define the level of advantage the individual feels he/she has access to - the individuals entire belief system is influenced by it.
    It seems to me, that in many western countries, there is an under-riding set of expectations that it is OK to ruthlessly exploit others and deny them even the basic skills and advantage required for survival. This gets seen as a "god given right" by some.
    I recently caught-up with an old school-days friend. He had become a high level manager in our state maximum-security incarceration system. I had assumed that our system included a degree of remediation to assist inmates to recover from harmful behavioural tendencies. My friend laughed when I said that - his reply "Are you kidding!!?? we do nothing for them - it's no more than human warehousing!"
    It seems senseless to incarcerate someone without doing all possible to prevent recidivism. We don't - because it's not to our "advantage".
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    Mar 5 2012: To me it is not about structure as much as state of mind and culture.

    I question his quote of the opposite of poverty is justice, which implies that there injustice is prevalent. I'm sure there is injustice but I doubt it is prevalent. The reality is that by making everyone into some sort of victim makes them dependent on someone other than themselves. The key is to encourage self respect and earning a living.
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      Mar 5 2012: thank you Pat, it is a thought provoking statement, and I am certain this is a reason Bryan chose it... please watch for his TED talk soon, if you haven't caught it, he, along with you, raise valid points! Thank you, for yours !
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    Mar 2 2012: Gratitude to the thought leaders, introverts and contemplators who start here... and share... thank you... please look for Bryan Stevenson's powerful thought... rolling your way very soon...
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    Mar 17 2012: AS a TED community we can support Bryan Stevenson in ways that may or may not link to The City 2.0..?
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    Mar 13 2012: ... Q.

    IS there a City of the world that best exemplifies an effective criminal justice system, or a peaceful justice system that CITY 2.O can look to as best practices ? Thoughts? Ideas of Cities?
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    Mar 6 2012: Trot on Teddia...
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    Mar 6 2012: Thank you Teddia you frame this very well, I started a TED thread focused solely on the City 2.0 -
    [ http://www.ted.com/conversations/9696/the_city_2_0_according_to_you.html ] and also took up Chris's thought at TED, can Bryan Stevenson's ideals link with City 2.0. I would agree that a large context of collaborators will make a greater whole... I share some concern of focus.... What exactly can we, as a TED community wrap our hearts and minds, [and resources] around, and make some significant measurable progress in one year's time for a big 2.0 ?
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    Mar 6 2012: Depending on how you landed on this thread, you might not have caught Bryan... take a moment it's worth 18 to Life...

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    Mar 6 2012: ...

    In a City 2.0 that we design... what is the system of justice ? How does it work with education? does it effect entertainment and design? what are your thoughts ?

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      Mar 6 2012: For City 2.0, I think it needs to be something that works and is easy to understand.
      To do this there must be some clear definitions of "justice":
      Firstly, I think one has to understand the functional meaning of the word "harm".
      Secondly, we should avoid creating a "criminal" class.

      In City 1.0, we are incrementally criminalizing the entire population. Laws and regulations continue to be generated by our judicary at a rate that cannot be sustained by the capacity of the average citizen to comprehend. Those who practice the application of the law continue to keep it all beyond the average citizen through carfully obfuscated language - creating a dependancy on specialists who are, by and large, beyond reasonable audit. Those who break the rules are treated as enemies of society and become the target for "justified" persecution. Most see the law as a means of vengence rather than an instrument of benefit for society. THose who then become the enemies of society, feel no obligation to support their operssors and form an underclass dedicated to the destruction of civility.

      In City 2.0, A person found to be bringing harm to the city should be seen as someone in need of healing - just as much as the victims of that harm. THe CIty 2.0 justice system would look more like a hospital than a jail. As Bryan pointed out, the incarcerate/parolee is much more than their "crime". The "crime" itself should be seen as the symptom of a failure of the mind. Skilled psychotherapists would be mobilised to address the disease using the recently recognised tools of neuroplasticity to accomplish the healing. In this way, the remaining value of the person is conserved, not wasted, or entirely converted into a sociopath.

      In CIty 2.0, The word "Justice" would equate to "compassion" and would have the true benefit that justice purports to grant.

      I'd also like to recommend that CIty 2.0 does not engage in prohibition as this provides niches for warlords.
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        Mar 6 2012: excellent thought - superbly articulated, thank you Mitch, CitiZen 2.0
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          Mar 6 2012: Terry, The power of "class-ification" was brought home to me very viscerally during my career.

          I grew up in a mining town - we were all "working class" full of ignorance, violence, drugs/alcahol and the grinding acceptance that we would never see more than persecution and tension with the privelidged and the law. Few made it tio university, less than half (including me) even finished secondary school. We sought ways to subvert the officialdom and ways to become numb and accept our poverty in whatever ways we could. Everyone dreamed of becomeing rich, but no one expected it.

          I happened to get a chance to enter the booming IT industry - and entered into another world entirely, my fellow IT professionals mostly came from the privileged "upper middle class", all had university degrees and all lived in prestigous suburbs. All of them had no compunction in demanding high wages - that seemed to me to be far in excess of the value they delivered. In learning how to ask for that much money for such little work, I realised that the main thing separating my working class past and my middle class present was nothing more than expectations.
          I am still convinced that the middle and upper class expect too much for too little given.
          It is this expectation of a right to exploit the "working class" that I blame for the on-going rapine of this planet.
          I have identified some of the devices and tools that the privileged use to subjugate the human "sheep". Chief amongst these tools is money. After money it is "job".

          Accordingly, I have abandoned "job" and taken up my work, Incrementally, I am reducing my dependance on money and finding ways to purge privelege aqnd advantage from currency.

          In City 2.0, there will be no "jobs", there will be only "work".
          Trade will be conducted using real value - counted in calories and watts. Goods and services will be valued by effort, not "rights" and intellect wil be the property of the city, not any individual or corporation
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        Mar 7 2012: great thesis and propostion - one addition, one question.

        City 2.0 needs empathy - persons with empathy. Unfortunately they are very difficult to get. Our society today does not "grow" them...

        How can intellect belong to a city? It is a pure personal quality. Innovations can owned today by companies or institutions, but not even by cities. At least not in Germany. What do you mean by cities being owner of intellect? And why is it better than individuals or corporation? I experienced often how cities can build an unfriendly monopoly quite quick. Cities are not per se better than other bodies... or what do you have in mind?
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          Mar 7 2012: Good questions Bernd!

          Empathy is something developed in childhood. I suspect it has something to do with the neural "mirror systems" that have been observed in neural science. At one time, there was a lot of discussion about "the sympathetic nervous system". Either way, empathetic outlooks can be grown through attitudes in child-raising. Chief amongst these is to abandon the old memes: "Spare the rod and spoil the child" and "as the twig is bent, so grows the tree". My experience in raising an autistic child has given me evidence that these maxims are untrue, misleading and destructive because they fail to comprehend the true role of empathy and the child's capacity if left to develop without undue interference.

          With intellect .. I say "the property of the city" . but, in my outlook intellect is the property of a species - just as arms and legs are. I just re-framed it to indicate that all expression is in the domain of the environment - therefore public domain - therefor of value to the gestault, not the individual.
          Ideas, art, music. These are all meta-things. A meta thing has no material value component.
          Most intellectual development is based on development that went before - it is a herritage of the people, no individual can claim it. In my world view, all creativity arises through the meduim of life - regardless of the individual through which it finds outlet.
          The creative individual owns nothing more than the energy required to express the creativity inate in the species. THe skill and capacity by which that individual operates will have some relative value as adjudged by the community - this value can be afforded to the "creative" by way of resultant transaction (output) or by an hourly scale, by stipend, sponsorship, sinecure or patronage granted by the city or citizens. All resulting ideas, methods, compositions and copies thereof are naturally a free expression into the embient environment and can be deemed to be enjoyed by all who perceive them freely.