About Candy

Bio

Candy Chang is an artist who is passionate about the ways we shape our public spaces and our public spaces shape us. Recent projects include Before I Die, a global art project that invites people to share their personal aspirations in public space. She is a TED Senior Fellow, a Tulane Urban Innovation Fellow, a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and was named a "Live Your Best Life" Local Hero by Oprah Magazine. She received a BS in Architecture, a BFA in Graphic Design, and a Masters in Urban Planning from Columbia University. See more at candychang.com.

TED Conferences

TEDGlobal 2012, TED2012, TEDGlobal 2011, TED2011, TEDIndia 2009, TEDGlobal 2009

Areas of Expertise

Design, Urban Planning, Community Development, Public Art, communication

Favorite talks

Comments & conversations

113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey Linda - Good subject and if you haven't yet, you should watch James Kunstler's highly entertaining TED talk on suburbia http://www.ted.com/talks/james_howard_kunstler_dissects_suburbia.html. Obviously I agree there are tons of benefits to local connections and I am a high-density kind of girl, but just to play out the other side... This makes me think about my parents, who live in the middle of nowhere. After many debates I realized they simply value peace and quiet over everything else right now. They have lots of friends around town but their home is a place for solitude. We want different things from our home life. Some people want to be pillars of their community. Some people want their personal time. And some people want something in between (like me). But in all cases, how can we still facilitate the platforms to share practical information at the local level? This is helpful even if you want to hole up!
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey Peter - That's a good point and good luck with your project. It's great to explore ways we can be more selective in the connections that are meaningful to us. In New Orleans some people talk about "planning fatigue." After Katrina, a lot of people went to a lot of community meetings, but many times they never saw any noticeable outcomes. People only have so much time and energy to give. How can we weed out the noise and get real things done around the issues we care about? We each have our niche interests. How do you better connect the person who wants fresh produce with the local food co-op trying to get off the ground? How do you connect the person who wants more trees with the local green organization? How do you connect the person who wants to open a coffee shop with the local process on how to start a business? Our neighbors are great sources of information for these things - if we could easily reach out to them...
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey gurl! Good to hear from you. Ha yes it's interesting to think how much neighbor drama could be resolved if we only knew we were bothering each other before things escalated. What a good question. I've never asked my neighbors if there's anything I do that bothers them… I wonder if they would be honest with me or feel the need to be polite. I wonder how their responses would be different face-to-face vs. via an anonymous page on my door. Another FB response favorite - "Does my nudity offend you?"
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey Shanai and Colin - Great to check out Works Progress and Give & Take, keep on keeping' on! Good thoughts along with Annabeth on online tools to enhance physical communities. Been thinking about this a lot lately. My colleagues and I are currently launching http://neighborland.org in New Orleans. It takes the I Wish This Was public art project on vacant storefronts (http://iwishthiswas.cc) a few steps further to help people shape future businesses and services in their area. There are pros and cons to both analogue and digital tools and we're still trying to figure out how to rock the best of both and bridge the two.
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey Anne - What a cool project with so many interesting wishes! Thanks for sharing. And Annabeth brings up a great point about busy lives misinterpreted as apathy. Even if we love our community, we all have things to do. We're busy. Our time and energy are precious. How do we make it REALLY easy for people to participate in ways that are constructive? Not everyone wants to be a community leader, but I know a lot of people who'd be happy to give 10 minutes a week or an hour a month (including me). And that would greatly help the passionate people trying to get great things done in their community. How do we easily tap that? Micro-tasks for volunteering? And Annabeth - Ha what a great question. The Friendly But Mysterious Muffin Question. I think it depends on how much foot traffic passes by the muffin. In my current living context (very public with lots of drunk passers-by) I would knock on the apt door first and ask them if they left a muffin. If they say yes, then I would happily snarf it down. If I get ill, I know where they live.
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hi Christina - That's a wonderful observation and I like that phrase, "the shy soul". It's something I've just begun to think about with public art experiments. Anonymity and personal space are interesting benefits to interactive platforms in public space. You can share with your community but on your own time and without the pressure of the crowd or judgment. I don't think you'd see the same responses on the Before I Die wall (http://beforeidie.cc) if it was done face-to-face in a community meeting. The wall gives you the space you need to be private, solitary, and thoughtful. It brings out an honesty amongst people in public space that makes me wonder how much we could share and learn from each other if given the opportunity... Thanks for sharing, your comment will simmer with me for a long while!
113470
Candy Chang
Posted almost 4 years ago
If you could ask one question to all of your neighbors, what would you ask?
Hey Annabeth - You've struck a related nerve! I've created community-based projects that would benefit from promotion through flyers, yet the neighborhood association considers them illegal. This is a common knee-jerk reaction - that all flyers are litter. But there's a lot of constructive information we could share if given the chance... Businesses can shout about their products on an increasing number of public surfaces, while the flyer about the community-improving event is illegal. How can we change the perception of informal messages in public space?