Urban planning: Ecofying Cities

TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. In Ecofying Cities, speakers reveal ideas about sustainable development (and redevelopment) that aren't all about setting limits, going without or preparing for the worst. Rather, they find solutions in resourceful, hopeful, beautiful communities. Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: urban renewal, new urbanism, architecture, economic development, green building, transportation planning, alternative energy production, environmental justice, civil engineering, environmental engineering and biomimicry.

Learning outcomes

TED's Ecofying Cities will provide learners with a deeper understanding of:

  • The basic goals of sustainable urban design
  • The city as an ecological system
  • How energy generation can be thought of as a design problem and how waste can be thought of as a potential resource
  • Why density is such an important concept for urban design and how density affects people’s behavior
  • How cities of the future might address the challenges of climate change and reliance on fossil fuels
  • How retrofitting and reuse can improve the usability of cities and invigorate public spaces at an urban scale
  • The challenges of improving and ecofying our cities so that resources are distributed more fairly and so that cities and buildings reflect our values and provide a meaningful sense of place.

Relevant talks

Introductory essay

Begin Ecofying Cities with a fascinating read that gives context and clarity to the material.

About the educators

TED Studies professor: Pierre Filion

Pierre Filion is a professor at the School of Planning of the University of Waterloo whose research focuses on efforts at recentralizing growth at the metropolitan scale.

TED Studies professor: Terri Peters

Terri Peters is an architect, writer and researcher based in Copenhagen who’s interested in the sustainable transformation of modern housing through radical strategies of reuse, inhabitation and transformation.

TED Studies professor: Andy van den Dobbelsteen

Andy van den Dobbelsteen is a professor of Climate Design & Sustainability at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where he lectures and leads research projects in various areas of climate design and sustainability in the built environment.

About TED Studies

TED Studies created in partnership with
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Each TED Study offers a curated and sequenced set of TED Talks, along with specially commissioned materials for teaching and self-guided learning. Created by world class experts, they cover topics ranging from "Understanding Happiness" to "Covering World News" to "Ecofying Cities." An abbreviated version of TED Studies is offered here; the full curricula — including special modules on each talk with questions, assignments, key terms and recommended reading — are available for licensing to academic institutions, ministries of education, and media companies worldwide.

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