November 11, 2011


Posted by Dr. Laura Guertin


On November 8, 2011, I attended my second TEDx event.  TEDxPhilly was themed around The City, bringing speakers and audience members together “to examine some of the greatest challenges, innovations and realities that shape and are shaped by cities and their inhabitants.”  The day was broken down into four sessions: Engage, Transform, Converge, and Reveal

It’s not possible to write one blog post to encompass the total impact of the event.  Sure, I could talk about awesome organizations such as Philly Youth Poetry Movement, Play On, Philly!, and Elect Next.  I could discuss inspirational artists, such as Janet Echelman and Saturn Never Sleeps.  But what is important to me is to figure out what ideas am I going to spread (“Ideas Worth Spreading” is TED – get it?).

So here are the takeaways for my future course offerings in my Earth/environmental/geography:

  • Revisit the footprint from biking, walking
  • Mix internal and external education (learning for self and for teaching/helping others)
  • Examine the costs of having cars go through traffic lights vs. roundabouts
  • As the I-95 corridor in Philly is structurally obsolete, explore what could be built
  • Connect more with location information on rain gardens, green roofs, etc. (Philly Watersheds)
  • Examine the connection between geographic location and quality of life
  • TED videos can be great conversation starters – either in class or out of class for a discussion board

And other random bits I learned:

  • There are no barriers over which to transmit knowledge (Ethan Nguyen)
  • The app Angry Birds can be fit into any presentation on any topic

By the way, one of my favorite lines of the day came from the opening speech by Mayor Michael Nutter: “The voting booth is a place you want to occupy.”