Capital Knowledge: IDEAS City Festival Touches Down in NYC

IDEAS City is a four-day festival and meeting of the minds that hopes to explore the future of cities around the globe.

Celebrating all things theoretical (and possible), the 2013 IDEAS City conference kicked off at the New Museum in New York this past Wednesday with a keynote address by MIT Media Lab’s Joi Ito. Speaking to the unlimited potential of the internet as it continues to transform society in substantial and positive ways, Ito was the perfect figure to usher in this massive consciousness-raising event.

Announcing a line-up as diverse as it is intriguing, IDEAS City is a four-day festival and meeting of the minds that hopes to explore the future of cities around the globe, and the role art and culture play in the innovation of urban centers. This year’s IDEAS City has been dedicated to the exploration of "Untapped Capital," and the ways cities can use what’s already at their disposal to create and renew.

By focusing on four main areas where Untapped Capital can be found and put to productive use, Ad Hoc Strategies, Waste, Play, and Youth, the festival looks through a series of workshops, panels, and discussions to get the public to think about ways they can rejuvenate their ailing or stagnated public spaces. Featuring such curious events as “Arlin Austin in collaboration with human and puppet colleagues presents: Art-Pedagogy Fun-Time Alternative-Economies Discourse-Adventure”, IDEAS City hopes to act as a city-wide catalyst and open platform to help urban dwellers re-consider the way they view art, design, the urban center, and the way we interact.

Taking place throughout downtown NYC, IDEAS City’s main base will be at the New Museum on the Bowery, where events like artist-led workshops by Burak Arikan and Nicolas Paris will focus, respectively, on networking as a medium for special mapping (Arikan), and architecture as a model, education as a system, and drawing as a tool (Paris).

So far, exciting featured events have included Studio 360’s Kurt Anderson moderating a mayoral panel including Manuel Diaz (Miami 2001-9), Christophe Girard (Paris 2001-12), Jim Gray (Lexington, KY), Bill Purcell (1999-2007), and Will Wynn (Austin, TX), on how government can use untapped resources like green power and the arts to contribute to the betterment of their cities, and a discussion on how play and gaming can assist us in “re-imagining and co-creating urban environments, foster deeper engagement, propel education, and provide solutions to urban problems” (featuring Kickstarter Cofounder Yancey Strickler, video game designer Eric Zimmerman, and many others).

One particular event we’re curious about is Pitching The City: New Ideas for New York. Featuring some of the most recognizable names in New York media and politics, the event is co-hosted by the Municipal Art Society and “Facebook for architects” Architizer, and hopes to offer a platform for fresh ideas that use New York’s untapped capital in new and inventive ways. The founders of LowLine, +Pool, New Lab NYFi, and the Hudson River Powerhouse will have the chance to pitch their ideas (in front of an audience of real New Yorkers) to a jury that includes’s Nick Denton, NY1’s Pat Kiernan, Nazli Parvizi of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, Christopher Sharples of SHoP Architects, Megan Sheekey of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and designer Yeohlee Teng. To further illustrate the remarkable democratization of this bid to mold NYC, at the end audience members will be asked to vote with their mobile devices on their favorite project. The winner will then receive editorial assistance in launching a campaign, as well as the opportunity to present their proposal at the annual MAS Summit for New York City in October.

In all, the conference promises to be an exciting opportunity to witness collective action and conceptualization in real time. Regardless of any genuine outcomes that may emerge from panels and workshops, IDEAS City promises to be an illuminating and thought provoking four days.

IDEAS City Conference May 1 - 4 at the New Museum, 235 Bowery New York, NY; In partnership with The Architectural League of New York, Bowery Poetry Club, Cooper Union, The Drawing Center, NYU Wagner, and the Storefront for Art and Architecture

Images courtesy of IDEAS City/New Museum


Looking back, the year 1995 seems like such an innocent time. America was in the midst of its longest streak of peace and prosperity. September 11, 2001 was six years away, and the internet didn't seem like much more than a passing fad.

Twenty-four years ago, 18 million U.S. homes had modem-equipped computers, 7 million more than the year before. Most logged in through America Online where they got their email or communicated with random strangers in chat rooms.

According to a Pew Research study that year, only 32% of those who go online say they would miss it "a lot" if no longer available.

Imagine what those poll numbers would look like if the question was asked today.

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"Few see online activities as essential to them, and no single online feature, with the exception of E-Mail, is used with any regularity," the Pew article said. "Consumers have yet to begin purchasing goods and services online, and there is little indication that online news features are changing traditional news consumption patterns."

"Late Night" host David Letterman had Microsoft founder and, at that time the richest man in the world, on his show for an interview in '95 to discuss the "the big new thing."

During the interview Letterman chided Gates about the usefulness of the new technology, comparing it to radio and tape recorders.

Gates seems excited by the internet because it will soon allow people to listen to a baseball game on their computer. To which Letterman smugly replies, "Does radio ring a bell?" to laughter from the crowd.

But Gates presses Letterman saying that the new technology allows you to listen to the game "whenever you want," to which Letterman responds, "Do tape recorders ring a bell?"

Gates then tells Letterman he can keep up with the latest in his favorite hobbies such as cigar smoking or race cars through the internet. Letterman shuts him down saying that he reads about his interests in magazines.

RELATED: Bill Gates has five books he thinks you should read this summer.

The discussion ends with the two laughing over meeting like-minded people in "troubled loner chat room on the internet."

The clip brings to mind a 1994 segment on "The Today Show" where host Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric have a similar discussion.

"What is internet anyway?" an exasperated Gumball asks. "What do you write to it like mail?"

"It's a computer billboard but it's nationwide and it's several universities all joined together and it's getting bigger and bigger all the time," a producer explains from off-stage.

via The Howard Stern Show / YouTube

Former Secretary of State, first lady, and winner of the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton, sat own for an epic, two-and-a--half hour interview with Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show Wednesday.

She was there to promote "The Book of Gutsy Women," a book about heroic women co-written with her daughter, Chelsea Clinton.

In the far-reaching conversation, Clinton and the self-proclaimed "King of All Media" and, without a doubt, the best interviewer in America discussed everything from Donald Trump's inauguration to her sexuality.

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The healthcare systems in the United States and the United Kingdom couldn't be more different.

The UK's National Health Service is the largest government-run healthcare system in the world and the US's is largest private sector system.

Almost all essential health services in the UK are free, whereas in America cost can vary wildly based on insurance, co pays and what the hospitals and physicians choose to charge.

A medical bill in the US

One of the largest differences is cost. The average person in the UK spends £2,989 ($3915) per year on healthcare (most of which is collected through taxes), whereas the average American spends around $10,739 a year.

So Americans should obviously be getting better care, right? Well, the average life expectancy in the UK is higher and infant mortality rate is lower than that in the US.

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Plus, in the U.S., only 84% of people are covered by private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Sixteen percent of the population are forced to pay out of pocket.

In the UK, everyone is covered unless they are visiting the country or an undocumented resident.

Prescription drugs can cost Americans an arm and a leg, but in the UK, prescriptions or either free or capped at £8.60 ($11.27).

via Wikimedia Commons

The one drawback to the NHS system is responsiveness. In the UK people tend to wait longer for inessential surgeries, doctor's appointments, and in emergency rooms. Whereas, the US is ranked as the most responsive country in the world.

RELATED: Alarmingly high insulin prices are forcing Americans to flock to Canada to buy the drug

The New York Times printed a fair evaluation of the UK's system:

The service is known for its simplicity: It is free at the point of use to anyone who needs it. Paperwork is minimal, and most patients never see a bill. … No one needs to delay medical treatment until he or she can afford it, and virtually everyone is covered. …

According to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States spent 17.2 percent of its economic output on health care in 2016, compared with 9.7 percent in Britain. Yet Britain has a higher life expectancy at birth and lower infant mortality.

Citizens in each country have an interesting perspective on each other's healthcare systems. UK citizens think it's inhumane for Americans have to pay through the nose when they're sick or injured. While Americans are skeptical of socialist medicine.

A reporter from Politics Joe hit the streets of London and asked everyday people what they think Americans pay for healthcare and they were completely shocked.