Organized by the New Museum in Manhattan, last week’s Ideas City Festival explored the modern ways of improving old-style cities.
This year’s festival was the second in what the New Museum would like to see as a biennial event. The theme of the conference, “Untapped Capital” focused on how cities can make use of underused, overlooked or even discounted resources.
The festival began with the conference, and then moved on to workshops in an historic school building. The four-day event ended with an all-day street fair where over 120 organizations showed off their own unique way of making today’s mega-cities more user friendly.
The conference itself was held in the Cooper Union Great Hall. The keynote speaker was Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab. Participants enjoyed a wide ranging list of panel discussions focusing on city issues such as waste, play, and youth. There was also a meeting of the minds of several current and former mayors.
The final event of the festival was a series of performances on Saturday night. One of the performances featured giant white orbs designed by the New York company Snarkitecture.
If you missed the festival you can still enjoy at least one exhibit which will be on display until July 7: Adhocracy features 25 technology-based projects. This remnant of the festival will be located in a storefront annex adjacent to the museum. This exhibit nicely restates the theme of the festival: despite the fact that our cities look pretty much how they did even 100 years ago, the way the residents use their cities is something that is constantly changing.