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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Smarter Cities: Crowdsourcing Ideas for Urban Innovation

August 16, 2010, 3:54 PM
Cities

What makes your city the next big smart city? That's exactly what Next American City, a nonprofit quarterly magazine advocating for urban sustainability, is asking in a new partnership with IBM's Smarter Planet initiative.

Smarter Cities is a month-long project inviting people to share ideas for the smarter cities they want to live in, then help build them. Between August 9 and September 15, Smarter Cities is crowdsourcing examples of and ideas for citizen- and community-driven urban innovation ranging from open data to alternative transportation to urban farming and everything in between.

So far, submissions include everything from a mobile app for finding and reporting civic issues to a documentary about the formation of America's first great city parks in the late 19th century to a roundup of history's top 20 urban planning successes. As the project progresses, it would be interesting to see whether it transcends the realm of mere information-sharing and yields any actionable implementation of these ideas and innovations across more cities.

Maria Popova is the editor of Brain Pickings, a curated inventory of miscellaneous interestingness. She writes for Wired UK, GOOD Magazine and Huffington Post, and spends a shameful amount of time on Twitter.

 

Smarter Cities: Crowdsourci...

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