6 TEDx Talks on Cities

It’s TEDx season. Between now and mid December, 100’s of independently organized TEDx events will be held throughout the world, including here in Vancouver as well as Phoenix. For those unfamiliar with TEDx events, here how the main TEDx site describes them:

Created in the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” the TEDx program is designed to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

As a TEDx alumnus, I have a special place in my heart—and mind—for these local events. Sure, the main TED events boast an impressive array of the world’s top minds, but the diversity that is on display at TEDx is unparalleled. The is especially true when it comes to talks about urbanism and cities. While was challenging to simply find five TED talks on cities, I had the opposite problem with TEDx; my challenge here was narrowing it down to just 5. In the end I failed to narrow the list to simply 5 and had to throw in an extra one.

Here are 6 of my favourite TEDx talks on cities.

Dan Burden presents the case for creating communities that are centered on people and not cars. He identifies the benefits to the community in terms of both vitality and economic well-being. As a leading expert in his field of creating livable communities he talks about the processes he uses and the results of his many projects.



Christian Sottile is principal of an urban design firm based in Savannah. His work has received over 25 awards, including an international Charter Award from the Congress for New Urbanism, and awards from the American Planning Association and the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. As a professor of Urban Design and Architecture at SCAD, USA Today named Christian one of the Top 100 Academics in the Nation.



Sustainable urbanisation of cities can create space for engaging all community members aged from 8 years through to 80 years.



As Director of Design & Urban Environment for the City of Melbourne with nearly 40 years experience as a practising architect and urban designer, Rob has produced a large number of strategic urban design solutions and projects in addition to design-research based urban projects and strategies, and has attracted over 100 state and national awards for excellence. A champion of both the arts and environmental sustainability he has worked to ensure that good urban design is established as a platform for city development into the 21st Century.



Using insights drawn from his work in business, entrepreneurship and social change, as well as modern GIS data, Naheed Nenshi explores the challenges of how a modern city like Calgary grows, and what some of the implications are for creating inclusive communities.



A brief look at trends shaping the way we will live and how cities must adapt to be successful. Carol Coletta is president of Coletta & Company, a consulting firm leading the start-up of ArtPlace, a new initiative to spark a creative placemaking movement across America. For the past six years, she was president and CEO of CEOs for Cities. In 2008 she was named one of the world’s 50 most important urban experts by a leading European think tank and as one of the top 50 urban thinkers of all time by readers of PLANetizen.com.


Even with the extra video I included, I had to leave out several great talks.  If i missed your favourites, please let me know in the comments

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Yuri Artibise

Yuri Artibise is an experienced policy analyst, community engagement practitioner and social media specialist. I have a Master of Public Administration degree with over 10 years of public policy research, analysis, and advocacy experience.