This year, the TED prize (an award that's given to one of the inspiring speakers from the series) is not a person, but an idea. The prize is $100,000 and 'a wish to change the world,' but with the the 2012 award going to "The City 2.0,' it's not entirely clear how that money will be spent and that wish pursued. TED is currently asking interested individuals to submit "wishes" via the TED site, and it sounds like this collectively crafted wish or wishes will then be funded. 


According to TED, "The wish will be unveiled on February 29, 2012 at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California. On a Leap Year date, we have a chance, collectively, to take a giant leap forward."


With the human population continuing to grow (mostly in urban areas, as people from the countryside continue to migrate to jobs and resources) all of the world's cities are becoming larger and more complex, especially those in developing nations. So looking into the future and using ingenuity to solve problems — which is one of the TED talks main planks — is imperative as we grow.   


What IS the City 2.0? TED has defined it thusly: 


"The City 2.0 is the city of the future … a future in which more than 10 billion people on planet Earth must somehow live sustainably.

The City 2.0 is not a sterile utopian dream, but a real-world upgrade tapping into humanity’s collective wisdom.

The City 2.0 promotes innovation, education, culture, and economic opportunity.

The City 2.0 reduces the carbon footprint of its occupants, facilitates smaller families, and eases the environmental pressure on the world’s rural areas.

The City 2.0 is a place of beauty, wonder, excitement, inclusion, diversity, life.

The City 2.0 is the city that works."


What do you think of a concept like this "winning" a prize? Is this new award format one you support? 

Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

TED announces its surprising 2012 prize recipient
Instead of a person, this year's prize goes to the 'The City 2.0,'