TEDxCoMo hosts The City2.0 with focus on Columbia's future

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | 7:40 p.m. CDT; updated 1:10 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 10, 2012

*Cale Sears is the curator for TEDxCoMo. An earlier version of this article misspelled his name.

COLUMBIA — Cale Sears* doesn't just want the Columbia community to complain about the way things are, but to look at the way things can be. 

If you go

What: TEDxCoMo The City2.0, an event for the community to share ideas to aid in the improvement of Columbia as a city

When: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday

Where: Daniel Boone City Building, Broadway and Eighth Street

Registration: Not needed for the free event

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Sears is the curator for TEDxCoMo, the Columbia branch of TEDx. The TEDx program is made up of independent groups that provide worldwide platforms for diverse groups to share their ideas on the local level.

As part of a worldwide day of discussion and innovation, TEDxCoMo will host The City2.0 on Saturday. Seventy-five TEDx communities will host the event and serve as platforms for local speakers to share ideas for urban innovations.

TED, an acronym for technology, entertainment and design, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on idea sharing. It is intended to be a place for discussion among members of communities as small as a city or as large as the world.

The City2.o focuses on the future of cities and, according to Sears, is a way for community members to discuss what Columbia can do to become a city of the future. The event is a way for the community to crowd-source its own ideas, he said.

The TEDxCoMo event will be divided into three main categories, with three guest speakers for each. The categories are transportation and energy, public wellness and education, and adaptive reuse and creativity.

The categories were selected by narrowing a broader list of issues recommended by The City2.o, including housing, public space, food, transportation, safety, health, art, play and education.

"We condensed them to issues that are important to our community," Sears said.

The speakers for each category were chosen by crowd-sourcing in the community. They are:

Transportation and energy

  • Darwin Hindman: former Columbia mayor and a champion of non-motorized transportation
  • Ben Datema: sustainability coordinator for the MU Department of Student Life 
  • Tom O'Connor: renewable energy evangelist and columnist for the Columbia Daily Tribune

Public wellness and education

  • Amanda Barnes: Columbia public health educator
  • Eryca Neville: director of alternative education for Columbia Public Schools and principal of  Douglass High School
  • Peter Stiepleman: assistant superintendent for elementary education for Columbia Public Schools

Adaptive reuse and creativity

  • Carrie Gartner: executive director of Columbia's Downtown Community Improvement District
  • Greg Orloff: venue artist for the True/False Film Festival and sculptor 
  • Ted Han: lead developer of Document Cloud at Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE)

"We knew speakers being mentioned repeatedly had a certain resonance," said Keith Politte, a TEDxCoMo organizer.

In addition to these topics, five project ideas selected by the TEDxCoMo organizers will be pitched to those attending.

There are some general guidelines for project ideas submitted to the action pitch session. The projects should be ideas that can be organized in other cities as well. The projects must have a group of people involved rather than just an individual, and the project ideas must fit under one of the event categories. Submissions for the action pitch were due last Friday. 

Despite a full agenda, attendees of the event can expect rapid-fire speakers.

"With our timing, we have to be concise with our planning," Politte said. Both he and Sears acknowledged that this weekend, which includes a Missouri-Alabama football game, will be a busy one for Columbia.

Politte said attendees will be welcomed by City Manager Mike Matthes, who will give an update on the city strategic planning process.

He said the event won't be a standard lecture where a speaker preaches from a podium. 

"One of the best parts of TEDx events is what happens in between speakers," Sears said.

Every TEDx event is recorded and can be found on the TED website, further providing a platform for idea-sharing.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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