playlist

Our future in cities

Humanity's future is the future of cities. Explore the crowded favelas, greened-up blocks and futuristic districts that could shape the future of cities — and take a profane, hilarious side trip to the suburbs.

  1. 20:34
    Parag Khanna How megacities are changing the map of the world

    "I want you to reimagine how life is organized on earth," says global strategist Parag Khanna. As our expanding cities grow ever more connected through transportation, energy and communications networks, we evolve from geography to what he calls "connectography." This emerging global network civilization holds the promise of reducing pollution and inequality — and even overcoming geopolitical rivalries. In this talk, Khanna asks us to embrace a new maxim for the future: "Connectivity is destiny."

  2. 3:05
    Stewart Brand What squatter cities can teach us

    Rural villages worldwide are being deserted, as billions of people flock to cities to live in teeming squatter camps and slums. Stewart Brand says this is a good thing. Why? It'll take you 3 minutes to find out.

  3. 15:40
    Carolyn Steel How food shapes our cities

    Every day, in a city the size of London, 30 million meals are served. But where does all the food come from? Architect Carolyn Steel discusses the daily miracle of feeding a city, and shows how ancient food routes shaped the modern world.

  4. 14:48
    Robert Muggah How to protect fast-growing cities from failing

    Worldwide, violence is on the decline, but in the crowded cities of the global south — cities like Aleppo, Bamako and Caracas — violence is actually accelerating, fueled by the drug trade, mass unemployment and civil unrest. Security researcher Robert Muggah turns our attention toward these "fragile cities," super-fast-growing places where infrastructure is weak and government often ineffective. He shows us the four big risks we face, and offers a way to change course.

  5. 16:58
    Iwan Baan Ingenious homes in unexpected places

    In the center of Caracas, Venezuela, stands the 45-story "Tower of David," an unfinished, abandoned skyscraper. But about eight years ago, people started moving in. Photographer Iwan Baan shows how people build homes in unlikely places, touring us through the family apartments of Torre David, a city on the water in Nigeria, and an underground village in China. Glorious images celebrate humanity's ability to survive and make a home — anywhere.

  6. 14:02
    Janette Sadik-Khan New York's streets? Not so mean any more

    In this funny and thought-provoking talk, Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner of New York City, shares projects that have reshaped street life in the 5 boroughs, including pedestrian zones in Times Square, high-performance buses and a 6,000-cycle-strong bike share. Her mantra: Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out.

  7. 18:36
    Majora Carter Greening the ghetto

    In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx — and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.

  8. 16:56
    Jeff Speck The walkable city

    How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls "a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device" — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

  9. 15:43
    Jaime Lerner A song of the city

    Jaime Lerner reinvented urban space in his native Curitiba, Brazil. Along the way, he changed the way city planners worldwide see what's possible in the metropolitan landscape.

  10. 18:28
    Amanda Burden How public spaces make cities work

    More than 8 million people are crowded together to live in New York City. What makes it possible? In part, it’s the city’s great public spaces — from tiny pocket parks to long waterfront promenades — where people can stroll and play. Amanda Burden helped plan some of the city’s newest public spaces, drawing on her experience as, surprisingly, an animal behaviorist. She shares the unexpected challenges of planning parks people love — and why it's important.

  11. 14:03
    Robert Neuwirth The hidden world of shadow cities

    Robert Neuwirth, author of "Shadow Cities," finds the world's squatter sites — where a billion people now make their homes — to be thriving centers of ingenuity and innovation. He takes us on a tour.

  12. 18:29
    Paul Romer Why the world needs charter cities

    How can a struggling country break out of poverty if it's trapped in a system of bad rules? Economist Paul Romer unveils a bold idea: "charter cities," city-scale administrative zones governed by a coalition of nations. (Could Guantánamo Bay become the next Hong Kong?)

  13. 16:41
    Kent Larson Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city

    How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.

  14. 14:36
    Vicki Arroyo Let's prepare for our new climate

    As Vicki Arroyo says, it's time to prepare our homes and cities for our changing climate, with its increased risk of flooding, drought and uncertainty. She illustrates this inspiring talk with bold projects from cities all over the world — local examples of thinking ahead.

  15. 19:44
    James Howard Kunstler The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs

    In James Howard Kunstler's view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.

  16. 11:48
    Toni Griffin A new vision for rebuilding Detroit

    Once the powerhouse of America's industrial might, Detroit is more recently known in the popular imagination as a fabulous ruin, crumbling and bankrupt. But city planner Toni Griffin asks us to look again — and to imagine an entrepreneurial future for the city's 700,000 residents.

  17. 9:50
    Catherine Bracy Why good hackers make good citizens

    Hacking is about more than mischief-making or political subversion. As Catherine Bracy describes in this spirited talk, it can be just as much a force for good as it is for evil. She spins through some inspiring civically-minded projects in Honolulu, Oakland and Mexico City — and makes a compelling case that we all have what it takes to get involved.