Open Source Cities

A global collection of the best ideas on the future of cities.





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Helsinki Beyond Dreams

Helsinki Beyond Dreams, a new book of essays published in conjunction with World Design Capital Helsinki 2012, explores the emerging experimental urban culture in the Finnish capital. Recently cited as the world’s most liveable city by Monocle, Helsinki is enjoying a surge of interest in grassroots urbanism, sustainability initiatives, design explorations and cultural experiments.

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TED Prize 2012: Crowdsourcing “City 2.0”

Today, TED announced the winner of the 2012 TED Prize: the City 2.0. Breaking from their tradition of recognizing an individual global innovator, TED is embracing the concept of crowd-sourcing urbanism (an idea we obviously support at Open Source Cities). The organizers published this call-to-arms in seeking ideas on the City 2.0:

"The City 2.0 is the city of the future … a future in which more than 10 billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably, together. The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream, but a real-world upgrade tapping into humanity’s collective wisdom. The City 2.0 promotes innovation, education, culture and economic opportunity. The City 2.0 reduces the carbon footprint of its occupants and eases the environmental pressure on the world’s rural areas. The City 2.0 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life. The City 2.0 is the city that works."

There are a number of provocative assumptions in this paragraph that should make for interesting dialogue in the months ahead leading up to the TED Conference in Long Beach, CA and its sister event TEDActive in Palm Springs, CA. You can share your ideas on the City 2.0 with the TED Community here. We look forward to the conversation!

What makes for a successful city?

The question as to what makes for a successful city is a complex one, and one that affects nearly all of us; by 2050 around three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities (50% of the worlds population will live in slums in or outside of those cities); asked an esteemed group of urban experts for their take on successful city living. 

These experts include Ricky Burdett, Founder of the Architecture Foundation and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme, Richard Sennett of New York University and LSE and Saskia Sassen of Columbia University, New York, all of whom contributed to the book Living in the Endless City which examines our rapidly urbanizing world.

Mayors’ Institute on City Design

"How can design help our cities thrive and endure? How do mayors’ revitalize downtowns and neighborhoods? Where do you invest in infrastructure? How do you make great public buildings? What role does transportation play? These are all challenges mayors face."

The Mayors’ Institute on City Design (MICD) is 25-year-old initiative of National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. More than 850 mayors and 600 designers have participated in workshops to share collective wisdom to help solve specific problems in cities.

Joseph P. Riley, long-time Mayor of Charleston, South Carolina and MICD founder says: “In a city, every citizen’s heart must sing.”

By the City | For the City

As part of Urban Design Week 2011, The Institute for Urban Design invited architects, planners,artists, designers, and students around the world to participate in a collaborative re-imagining of New York City’s public realm. More than 500 ideas submitted by the general public for improving the city’s public spaces, systems, and social fabric can be viewed on the By the City | For the City website.

From a call to fix dangerous intersections in Brooklyn, to a borough-wide demand for a more enjoyable public realm in the Bronx, and all the way up to suggestions for implementing a comprehensive system of rooftop gardens, the ideas collected from the public cover a wide range of issues across every scale and corner of the city, from the pragmatic to the fanciful.

A jury will select ten winners, judged on the categories of Connectivity, Beauty, Enjoyment, Accessibility, and Social Equity. Entries will be featured in a publication, the Atlas of Possibility for the Future of New York, and exhibition during the first-ever Urban Design Week festival in New York City from September 15-20, 2011.

Futureproofing the City

Ant Farm

From the Radical Nature exhibit at the Barbican Gallery. Listen to three different approaches to the question of sustainable living. Gerard Evenden, Foster + Partners, presents their design for Masdar, an entirely selfsustaining ‘city from zero’ in the Arabian desert, Susannah Hagan, R/E/D, addresses how to retro-fit the rapidly sprawling metropolis, taking Sao Paulo as a case study, and Bill Dunster, architect of celebrated eco-settlement BedZED, presents ZEDfactory’s current global solutions. Chaired by Paul Finch, Programme Director, World Festival of Architecture.

10 Plays | Download

New York Farm City

A beautifully shot film featuring urban farming pioneers and advocates in NYC. Featuring Gina and Scott Keatley of East Harlem’s Nourishing NYC, Ben Flanner and Anastasia Plakias of Brooklyn Grange Farm in Queens, NY, Patrick Connolly of Greenwich Village’s Bobo, and Daniel Bowman Simon of the People’s Garden NYC.

Alex Steffen: The shareable future of cities.

Worldchanging founder and planetary thinker Alex Steffen gives a whirlwind tour of inspirational ideas for re-thinking our rapidly urbanizing future. Concepts include: Infill, Urban Retrofitting, Tentpole Density, Placemaking, Walkshed, Augmented Urbanism, Surplus Capacities, Passivhaus, Green Infrastructure. [via]

Wallpaper* Visionaries - AMO from OfficeforNonfictionStorytelling on Vimeo.

Filmmaker Victor Vroegindeweij from the Office of Nonfiction Storytelling, travels to Rotterdam where Reinier de Graaf, director of AMO, the research counterpart to the leading architecture firm the OMA, is laying the ground work for his hugely ambitious project: to create A world driven by 100% renewable energy by 2050. [via Wallpaper*]

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