What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

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.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

We Need Expert Problem-Solvers to Build the Cities of the Future

June 10, 2013, 11:31 AM
Sustainablecity

The definition of discipline is the idea of following a pragmatic growth strategy that is vigilant and flexible and values what’s good for a country as a whole or what’s good for any individual. That is another way of saying that good policies are policies that create long run value.  In order to create long run value one ought to look for problems.  The world is faced with many problems.  And it has always been the ability to solve problems that leads to the best ideas.  So let me give you an example.

Urbanization is a major challenge facing the world.  We know that something on the order of three and a half billion people are going to move into cities over the course of the next 100 years.  People like Paul Romer have told us this.  But we also know that to create a modern city the estimates show it costs roughly $6000 per person to build a modern city.  So we’re talking about roughly 20 trillion dollars of infrastructure investment that needs to happen for the completion of the so-called urbanization project which is the building out of modern cities.  And, by the way, most of this completion of what’s called the urbanization project we know is going to happen in the emerging world.

So how can one make a lot of money and do a lot of good in the world?  Well, financing that 20 trillion dollars of infrastructure investment that needs to happen over the course of the next 50 to 100 years, so putting in place leaders who can think about this as a big economic problem or opportunity is critical.  So we’re talking about making sure everything from telecom, sewage to just the physical infrastructure of the cities has to be done or needs to be done in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way that also creates employment, creates safe and interesting and pleasant places for people to live.  That’s the good outcome. 

The bad outcome is we don’t do this in a systematic way that creates places of employment and amenable places to live.  And so if you want to be someone who’s going to be in the world of finance, how can you be an important conduit in the capital allocation story, the 20 trillion dollar capital allocation story that is the completion of the urbanization project over the course of the next century?

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

We Need Expert Problem-Solv...

Newsletter: Share: