Tag Archives: TED

TED Talks on Cities

I recently watched this talk on TED.com, one of my favorite websites, and really wanted to talk about it, but was busy with my big regions project, so I put it off and I’m finally getting around to it.  This talk comes from Ellen Dunham-Jones, one of the founding members of the Congress for the New Urbanism.  Her talk is fairly fast-paced and covers a lot, mostly focusing on the problems with the suburbs and how they can be addressed by urbanising the suburbs.  The information here is great.

This is one of two TED talks that is strictly focused on New Urbanism.  The other is much less academic and much more bombastic.  James Howard Kunstler explains why the suburbs are ugly, and why if we keep building them, we will have a country not worth defending.  Very funny and highly entertaining.  Although I will warn the Mormon folks, there is some harsh language.

There are many, many more talks on TED that relate to cities that aren’t strictly related to New Urbanism, but are still very much worth your time.  You can find all these other talks here.  I would highly recommend the talks by Majora Carter, Jaime Lerner and William McDonough, although they are all great.  I would also recommend watching whatever new talk is on TED every day regardless of topic, like I do.

Nate Silver: Does race affect votes?

I’m a big fan of TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), and I just sort of stumbled upon this talk by Nate Silver.  In studying the racial overtones of the 2008 election, he found that there are two things that can be predictive of racism: poor education, and rural lifestyle.  He traced that further, because saying that all rural dwellers are inherently racist is obviously false, and found that it has less to do with actually living in the country and more to do with living in an area where everyone is white.  His solution?  Traditional neighborhoods with gridded streets where people walk and interact with people unlike themselves.  As much as we want to deny it, much of the migration from cities to the suburbs was reacially motivated (known as “white flight” in planning circles), and the return to urbanity in a lot of ways includes a return to living near people who are different from us.  I think this is a wonderful thing and hope that in the future we learn to embrace the differences of our neighbors, but first, we have to have neighbors that are different.