TEDxJacksonville: Introducing the Speakers

October 18, 2014 2 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

TEDxJacksonville has picked an incredible group of people to speak at the TEDxJacksonville event.

Re-Imagining Urban Space

Alasdair (‘Ali’) Butcher is a geographer, historian, and city enthusiast from Vancouver, Canada. After graduating from the Geography Department at the University of British Columbia he took his passion for urban topics to the streets, founding Vancity Detours and guiding people through the lesser-known neighbourhoods and histories of the city.  In 2011 he joined with Tour Guys Vancouver, a collective of story tellers, history nerds, and pop-culture buffs who revel in exposing locals and visitors alike to Vancouver’s unique brand of urbanism. He is particularly interested in how the changing physical form of the city reveals the changing values and priorities of its inhabitants.

In his spare time he enjoys hiking mountains, eating off-cuts, and fostering a psychotic whippet Chihuahua.

1. I applied to give a Talk at TEDx Jacksonville because I want to share some new visions of urban space and landscapes that are worth exploring. I want to look at ways in which we can re-purpose built space and re-value creativity and sustainability within those built forms.

2. My Favourite TED Talk is Ken Robinson's 'How Schools Kill Creativity'. His critique of the ways in which unequal worth is ascribed to different human traits in the education system should be extended to other institutions, including urban planning and development.  

3. (Un)knowing is about stepping back and reflecting before moving forward. It's not so much about obliterating the old way of thinking, as it is shedding the negative habits that have become embedded and constantly searching for ways to improve. So much of what we accept as 'inevitable' is actually an over-reliance on what we 'know'. And so hopefully by (un)knowing we can change our trajectory in positive and meaningful ways.  

4. That's a very broad question! With regards to my talk, I wish we could (un)know some of the values that inform the way we construct our cities. Many people take for granted that privacy trumps community, that automobiles reign over other forms transport, that functionality leaves no place for creativity, or that production takes priority over sustainability. Thankfully cracks in the old mould are starting to appear...

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