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IDEAS CITY Conference

Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 7:30 - 10:30pm

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Ideas City; New York; May 1-4

The IDEAS CITY Conference is a collaborative initiative that involves hundreds of arts, education, and community organizations in an ongoing, multi-platform discussion on the future of cities around the globe. Guided by the belief that arts and culture are essential to the continued health and vitality of urban centers everywhere, IDEAS CITY partners work together to exchange ideas, propose solutions, share with the public, and effect change. Initiated by the New Museum in 2011, this year's IDEAS CITY conference will take place from May 1 through May 4, 2013. The Cooper Union will host the conference on May 1 and May 2 in the Great Hall. Click here for a full schedule of events

This year's conference focuses on the topic of Untapped Capital Ad Hoc Strategies, Waste, Play, and Youth: where untapped capital can be found and put to productive use. Joi Ito, Director of MIT Media Lab gives the keynote address on Wednesday, May 1.  The conference at Cooper Union concludes on Thursday evening with The City and Untapped Capital: Mayoral Panel

A limited number of complimentary Conference tickets are being held for students with a valid student ID. These tickets are available on a first come, first served basis thirty minutes prior to each event at the IDEAS CITY ticketing desk at the Great Hall, Cooper Union.

Wednesday May 1, 7:30 PM


Joi Ito is a leading technologist, creative entrepreneur, and thinker on innovation and global technology policy. Ito is the Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab—the innovation center that brought us the technologies behind Amazon’s Kindle and Activision’s Guitar Hero games. He was a part of the foundation of Japan’s first Internet Service Provider and today maintains his role as a leader both in investment and online creativity as the founder of Neoteny Labs. He will examine the Untapped Capital of the internet as it continues to transform society in substantial and positive ways.

Thursday May 2


9:15–10:45 AM, Ad Hoc Strategies

This panel will investigate how the maximum expression of design today is in the processes, open systems, and tools that shape society by enabling self-organization, platforms of collaboration, and decentralized networks of production.

11:15 AM–12:45 PM, Waste

A group of individuals whose experiences combine analysis, public policy, activism, art, and architecture will discuss these and other issues as they consider the future of waste.

2:30–4 PM, Play

The city itself has long been conceptualized as a "playground," and play is an inescapable part of our current cities, which are a hybrid of physical and electronic spaces. How can play and gaming assist us in reimagining and cocreating urban environments, foster deeper engagement, propel education, and provide solutions to urban problems?

5–6:30 PM, Youth

Youth is a vast global neighborhood replete with its own government, social networks, and modes of learning. Mentors and innovators discuss Youth as Untapped Capital focusing on the incredible capacity of today’s youth as innovators for change.

7:30 PM, The City and Untapped Capital: Mayoral Panel

For some cities, Untapped Capital might be neighborhoods; for others, the arts. Governmental efficiency and green power offer reserves of Untapped Capital, while “downtown” revitalization and transit expansion may have proven less stable resources. How does a city’s history become Untapped Capital and how deeply is a city’s identity tied to its resilience? The mayors will cite specific examples of their utilization of Untapped Capital from their tenures while also considering the context of their cities within a larger national and international framework. 

Partners for the conference include Members of the Executive Committee for IDEAS CITY are the New Museum (founder); The Architectural League of New York; Bowery Poetry Club; Cooper Union; The Drawing Center; New York University Wagner School; and Storefront for Art and Architecture.


$10 per session;
$15 for the Mayoral Panel;
$50 for the IDEAS City Festival Conference Pass, which guarantees entry to all events

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.