Top Six TED Talks About Cities

As the pace in the office slows down over the Christmas period, this is a great time to bone up on the future of property and, to a large extent, that is the future of cities. To help you, we’ve pulled together our top six TED talks on cities. You can watch all six in less than one hour.

1.Stewart Brand

What squatter cities can teach us

Rural villages worldwide are being deserted, as billions of people flock to cities to live in teeming squatter camps and slums. Stewart Brand says this is a good thing. Why? It’ll take you 3 minutes to find out.

2.Janette Sadik-Khan

New York’s streets? Not so mean any more

In this funny and thought-provoking talk, Janette Sadik-Khan, transportation commissioner of New York City, shares projects that have reshaped street life in the 5 boroughs, including pedestrian zones in Times Square, high-performance buses and a 6,000-cycle-strong bike share. Her mantra: Do bold experiments that are cheap to try out.

3. Jeff Speck

The walkable city

How do we solve the problem of the suburbs? Urbanist Jeff Speck shows how we can free ourselves from dependence on the car — which he calls “a gas-belching, time-wasting, life-threatening prosthetic device” — by making our cities more walkable and more pleasant for more people.

4. Amanda Burden

How public spaces make cities work

More than 8 million people are crowded together to live in New York City. What makes it possible? In part, it’s the city’s great public spaces — from tiny pocket parks to long waterfront promenades — where people can stroll and play. Amanda Burden helped plan some of the city’s newest public spaces, drawing on her experience as, surprisingly, an animal behaviorist. She shares the unexpected challenges of planning parks people love — and why it’s important.

5.Kent Larson

Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city

How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.

6. James Howard Kunstler

The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs

In James Howard Kunstler’s view, public spaces should be inspired centers of civic life and the physical manifestation of the common good. Instead, he argues, what we have in America is a nation of places not worth caring about.