IDEAS CITY is a festival that explores the future of cities around the globe with the belief that arts and culture are a driving force behind the vitality of urban centers.



IDEAS CITY Topic 2012/2013: Untapped Capital

As the world’s resources continue to be endangered, depleted, and destroyed, we need to come up with new solutions and practices and develop new approaches. Rather than focusing on our deficits, IDEAS CITY 2013 encouraged an examination of surplus capital that may be under-recognized or underutilized. There are many ways of thinking about what Untapped Capital could be: people, ideas, networks, raw materials, varied resources, and modes of communication. The topic of Untapped Capital provided a meeting place for developing alternative thinking, new methodologies, new solutions, and new goals.






On May 2, a daylong conference at Cooper Union’s Great Hall explored four areas where Untapped Capital could be found and put to use: Play, Youth, Waste, and Collective Intelligence. Each topic was given two hours and the presentation formats included traditional panel discussions, individual lectures, conversation, and debates. The conference culminated in the Mayors’ Panel, a featured event of IDEAS CITY, drawing standing room-only audiences. Four visionary mayors addressed the topic of Untapped Capital in each of their cities and entered into a freewheeling conversation on what resources they have been able to harness and what remains elusive. They also discussed how their cities are unique and how they have responded to global realities and urgencies.




On May 3, the Old School at 32 Prince Street returned to its original mission of education when IDEAS CITY took over the classrooms and created a hive of workshops led by IDEAS CITY, the They Co., and other partner organizations. IDEAS CITY drilled down on the four subthemes of Untapped Capital (Play, Youth, Waste, and Collective Intelligence) covered in Thursday’s conference. Additional partners led workshops to redesign the work day; telematic and live-streamed talks among cultural organizations in cities all over the globe; hackathons with digital developers to redesign and rethink spaces, protocols, and structures of unused spaces; and workshops that brought together young professionals with retirement-age experts in similar industries. Workshops were composed of both invited participants and the general public, with the intention of offering an intimate forum for qualitative discussions and interactions. 



On Saturday, May 4, one hundred participants “set up shop” to present, interact, and demonstrate their ideas of Untapped Capital for our city. The StreetFest takes place along a circuit of four streets: Bowery, Rivington, Chrystie, and Stanton. Sara D. Roosevelt Park is also activated with performances, workshops, and larger-scale participatory installations. Throughout the day, StreetFest “vendors” focus on how to use water, plants, solar energy, and other off-the-grid resources more thoughtfully as well as transportation alternatives (bikes, rickshaws, and waterways). The winning structures of the StreetFest tenting competition are also on display and in use throughout the day.



Throughout the day and evening of Saturday, May 4, over one hundred cultural and civic organizations presented exhibitions, projects, talks, theater, and dance around the theme of Untapped Capital. The Festival partners aimed to rethink and reappropriate underutilized spaces and highlight under-recognized or undervalued groups—youth, seniors, low-income communities, immigrants, and disappearing languages. Art projects animated St Patrick’s Old School on Prince Street and the Art Production Fund unveiled fifteen new artist-designed roller-shutter gates along the Bowery.



Storefront for Art and Architecture is one of the Ideas City Festival Executive Committee institutions with the New Museum, The Architectural League, the Poetry Bowery Club, the Drawing Center and NYU Wagner. 


As part of 2013 IDEAS CITY

Storefront for Art and Architecture presented


1 exhibition: No Shame: Storefront for Sale

2 events:  On Nothingness / On Somethingness  

1 action: Capital City

1 project: Storefront Starter

1 online exhibition: 2011-2013 StreetFest tenting competition entries




IDEAS CITY   was founded by the New Museum as a major collaborative initiative between dozens of arts, education, and community organizations working together to effect change.   The festival is held every other year in New York with satellite conferences and workshops taking place in international cities during alternate years. IDEAS CITY was launched in New York in 2011. The first international conference, IDEAS CITY: Istanbul, was held in 2012 and IDEAS CITY: São Paulo is next.