TED prize awarded to ‘City of the Future’

Urban sustainability is arguably the defining concept of our time. Its possibilities and its urgency have become top-of-mind for all manner of thinkers. Artists and industrialists; philosophers and physicians are joining the “green” league of policymakers, engineers and economists who see cities as our future.

The confluence of several facts and factors has made this so. In 2011 the world’s population surpassed 7 billion; and, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. At the same time, cities are on the frontlines of climate change, responsible for 70 percent of global carbon emissions; increasingly vulnerable to climate risks and impacts; and fast-becoming a leading force for climate action around the world.

So it made perfect sense to us at C40 when renowned conference series TED, announced the unprecedented step of awarding its annual prize not to a person, but to a concept: The City 2.0.

From the TED announcement:

  • The City 2.0 is the city of the future… a future in which more than ten billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably.
  • 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 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life.
  • The City 2.0 is the city that works.

At C40, where the world’s city leaders work to advance a sustainable future, we couldn’t agree more with the vision TED sets forth.

Taking Action

Cities have long been emblematic of innovation and “what’s next.” By fostering a strong network of mayors from around the world, we are helping to channel that forward-looking energy to drive outcomes. And it’s working: C40 cities have collectively taken more than 4,700 actions to tackle climate change – clear proof that city leaders have the ability and the will to forge solutions. Solutions in buildings and transportation; enabling sustainable economic growth and better quality of life for citizens in urban areas; as well as actions to prepare for droughts, floods and storms that often affect the most vulnerable populations. By developing and implementing policies and programs; and by working together, sharing knowledge and borrowing ideas, cities are steadily transforming urban infrastructure and systems. And the collective success of these individual cities is benefiting all of us.

In short, we’re excited about the progress made by C40 cities – and indeed all cities of all sizes -- around the world. And we look forward to continuing to do our part to make the “City 2.0” a reality.

We encourage you to read this blog and follow us on Twitter for ongoing information on our activities.