"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Festival of Ideas for the New City

Location: New York, NY

Website: www.urbanomnibus.net/2011/03/save-the-dates-festival-of-ideas-for-the-new-city/

What makes the city worth living in? How can we encourage and preserve the positive qualities of the city? How can technology be used to improve city life? Are there places or elements of the city that can be repurposed and re-imagined to serve new needs and populations?

When we talk about sustainability, what do we mean? And, what can each of us do to contribute to a healthy, diverse, equitable, tolerant, innovative and fun place to live? Above all, how are the creative arts crucial to the above and how can they move conversation forward?

These questions are at the heart of the Festival of Ideas for the New City, a brand new initiative focusing on culture, community, education, and participation. The festival will transform downtown Manhattan into a dynamic laboratory for creative thinking and action, bringing together scores of participants and public events, working together to affect change.

The Festival will harness the power of the creative community to imagine the future and explore the ideas destined to shape it. It will take place from May 4-8, 2011, in locations around Downtown Manhattan in an area spanning East to West including the Lower East Side, the East Village, Soho, Nolita, and Chinatown — and will serve as a platform for artists, writers, architects, engineers, designers, urban farmers, planners, and thought leaders in various disciplines to exchange ideas, propose solutions, and invite the public to participate.

The Festival of Ideas for the New City is organized around three central programs:

A three-day slate of symposia, lectures, and workshops with visionaries and leaders — including exemplary mayors from a variety of countries, forecasters, architects, artists, economists, and technology experts — who will address the four broad Festival themes: The Heterogeneous City; The Networked City; The Reconfigured City; and The Sustainable City. Wednesday-Saturday, May 4-7 at The Cooper Union, New York University, and the New Museum.

An innovative, minimal-waste, outdoor StreetFest will take place along the Bowery. More than seventy-five local grassroots organizations, small businesses, and non-profits will present model products and practices in a unique outdoor environment.

The Festival will premiere a new environmentally inspired tent module commissioned for the Festival, as well as outdoor living rooms and inflatable structures. Visitors can expect cooking demonstrations with urban farmers, rooftop gardening classes, oral history projects, bike tours and valets, and a variety of affordable and healthy, locally grown, sustainable food options. Saturday, May 7, 11 a.m-7 p.m.

Over eighty independent projects, exhibitions, and performances, which expand on the Festival’s themes, will open at multiple Festival Partner venues Downtown, activating a broad geographic area, and includes a solar powered mobile art studio; artist-commissioned roll-down, metal storefront gates; projections of poems in endangered languages on Lower East Side buildings; a prototype of an urban campground; a marathon event where architects will present their ideas about reconfiguring public space in a rapid fire format; an exhibit exploring the political, economic and social relevance of preservation and its role in architectural thinking; and a wide range of other activities exploring ideas for the future. Saturday evening, May 7, and Sunday, May 8.

The Festival was initially conceived by the New Museum over three years ago as an outgrowth of its ongoing commitment to public education and civic outreach. The eleven Organizing Partners include The Architectural League; Bowery Poetry Club; C-Lab/Columbia University; Center for Architecture; The Cooper Union; The Drawing Center; New Museum (Founding Partner); New York University/Wagner School Public Policy; PARC Foundation; Storefront for Art and Architecture; and Swiss Institute. Together, we reached out to hundreds of other groups and organizations to participate in the Festival. The Organizing Partners of the Festival are unified in their belief in the power of collaboration to make a difference and influence public awareness; together they advocate the central importance of creative capital to the quality of life in New York and any future city.

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