This year the TED team upended their own tradition by awarding their 2012 TED prize not to a person, but to an idea! Called the City 2.0, the idea is a bit abstract (it is an idea after all), but here’s how it works: a host of leading thinkers contributed to a vision for a future city that respects and incorporates nature into its design, has a small carbon footprint, and drives down disparities in wealth. This plan for the city of the future encourages entrepreneurship and good health, and most importantly it’s an open-source platform that asks the global community to dream up City 2.0 and make it real.

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“With the City 2.0, the TED Prize has embarked on the ultimate design challenge,” said TED Curator Chris Anderson, adding “This is a global call for collaborative action on one of the biggest issues of our day. The new platform we’re launching today is designed to empower citizens to connect with each other to help reshape their own cities.” How is this done? Anyone, anywhere – be it individuals, urban planners, or doctors – is encouraged to visit the City 2.0 website and utilize tools provided by Autodesk to actually build their version of the sweetest urban sanctuary of the future.

It’s a novel idea, but it is also incredibly inspiring. Instead of placing the responsibility of our future in the hands of a few politicians, TED is encouraging all citizens to take it back into their own. TED also announced that it will award ten grants of $10,000 at TED Global in June 2012 to local projects that are most likely to spur the creation of their City 2.0. You can read and watch the whole wish here, but below is a small blurb.

“I am where humanity will either flourish or fade; I am being built and rebuilt every day; I am inevitable. But I am not yet determined; I wish to be inclusive, innovative, healthy, soulful, thriving. But my potential can only be reached through you.” Watch the video and be a part of a better future.

+ The City 2.0