Thursday, March 11, 2010

SUPERcity

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 2:26 PM

The founder of the TED Conference has some super ideas for the Q.C. He's coming to share them in April at two talks in Uptown. Registration is now open. Or, if that's not your speed, check out his books.

Richard Saul Wurman, an architect who taught at N.C. State University in the early 1970s, rocketed to fame as founder of the TED conference, a high-profile thought-fest in California that draws big-name speakers ranging from Microsoft's Bill Gates to "Avatar" director James Cameron.

Nations, he believes, are shrinking in importance compared to huge "supercities" like Los Angeles, New York, Moscow and Tokyo, where more and more of the earth's population lives. He's working on an international project called "19.20.21" that uses 19 major cities as case studies on how this urban population boom will affect the planet.

"Fifty-two percent of all the people on earth live in cities," he said. "The world, basically, as far as marketing, education, culture, finance, invention, healthcare, is made up of 40 cities in America, 16 in Europe and 48 in Asia.

He said that government leaders need to give the public truthful, easy-to-understand information so they can see the challenges ahead. That's difficult because cities around the globe don't have a uniform way of defining themselves or sharing information.

He's working, through his "19.20.21" project, to change that.

"Right now we're taking action without understanding," he said. "I'm not trying to make better cities. I'm trying to understand them."

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article, by Eric Frazier, here.

This is a rather long video conversation with Wurman, from the University of Michigan, but worth the time:

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