The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Feb 29, 2012

Annual TED prize awarded to the city of the future

Posted by Damian Thorman

Video: Razorfish

Just moments ago here in Long Beach, Calif., TED unveiled the details of its annual prize in support of “one wish to change the world.” This year, the award is not going to a person, but to an idea: the City 2.0, the city of the future.

Over the coming year, TED will be asking leaders, innovators and citizens to create a new urban way of living, where 10 billion people can live healthily and sustainably. 

With Knight Foundation support, a new platform,, will allow people everywhere to help create their own future city. Citizens will able to propose – and lead – projects to upgrade their own cities on issues important to them – from transportation to public housing and recreational space and more. Civic and business leaders from around the globe will share ideas and resources.

In essence, as TED says, it’s a design challenge for one of the biggest issues of our day. And through the platform, Knight will help TED identify and spread the most innovative programs that help citizens become more deeply engaged in shaping their own city.

Knight Foundation has been an early and enthusiastic supporter, lending experience and expertise from decades spent helping communities across the country become more informed about and engaged in creating their own future.

Whether it’s helping Northeastern, Ohio come together to foster entrepreneurship and new industries, or Miami transform itself through the arts, we believe our democracy is strengthened when communities tap into their greatest human potential to determine their own solutions.

Knight’s Technology for Engagement Initiative grows out of that history to support innovative, digital technologies - like the new City 2.0 platform - that inspire civic dialogue and action. Several of our funded projects, including Community PlanIt, Code for America and are here at TED sharing their ideas for using technology for action.

With the City 2.0, we are looking for solutions, not utopian dreams, that can help our cities build a better future. We hope you’ll take the challenge.

By Damian Thormon, national program director at Knight Foundation.

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