Global Issues TEDx

X marks the spot: The unique places and spaces of TEDx events

Oh, the places you’ll go with TEDx. This week, we’ve been exploring everything beyond the urban jungle. We followed an explorer to the dark caverns of underground caves, an astronaut to outer space, a time lapse photographer to fields and mountain ranges, and a group of TEDx’ers to the top of snowy Mount Everest.

This is the kind of global perspective you get at TEDx events, dozens of which take place around the world every week. To celebrate TEDCity2.0, we’ve chosen a selection of talks to show how global citizens are changing their cities for the better. Below, watch this week’s featured talks:

Turning urban youth into global citizens: Angela Jackson at TEDxProvidence
Angela Jackson saw the lack of opportunities for New York’s most disadvantaged children and knew she had to help improve the quality of public education. The Global Language Project gives students the chance to become proficient in a foreign language, equipping them with useful skills, broader cultural horizons and the chance for a better future.

Glowing streetlamps absorb CO2 with algae: Pierre Calleja at TEDxLausanneChange
French biochemist Pierre Calleja has invented a streetlamp that doubles as a habitat for microalgae that consume carbon dioxide. In fact, microalgae are responsible for producing half of the oxygen in our atmosphere. These beautiful lights are not only practical, but this symbiotic technology could help in the fight against rising carbon emissions and climate change.

Pop-up houses improve South African slums: Andreas Keller at TEDxWWF
Andreas Keller set out to improve the poor conditions of South Africa’s slums. With effective insulation, proper ventilation and solar power replacing dirty fuels, so-called “iShacks” provide a healthier and safer temporary accommodation for some of the poorest urban citizens in South Africa. And, the program helps locals get involved in the design and management of their neighborhoods.

Floating neighborhoods reimagine coastal living: Brian Healy at TEDxBoston
Sea levels are rising, and coastal homes are now at risk of flooding. Architect Brian Healy thinks we can avoid disaster by building our houses right on top of the water — an idea so crazy he thinks it just might work. He shows off his designs for floating residential complexes built out of lightweight concrete tubes. With communal living spaces and even wetland courtyards, neglected city harbors could become lovely places to live.