Majora Carter's Tale Of Urban Renewal

Susan notes: Thanks to TED for making TED Talks downloadable and embeddable, and for providing the biographical information that goes along with them.

majora_carter.jpgIn an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx -- and shows how minority neighborhood suffer most from flawed urban policy.

Majora Carter is a visionary voice in city planning who views urban renewal through an environmental lens. The South Bronx native draws a direct connection between ecological, economic and social degradation. Hence her motto: "Green the ghetto!"

With her inspired ideas and fierce persistence, Carter managed to bring the South Bronx its first open-waterfront park in 60 years, Hunts Point Riverside Park. Then she scored $1.25 million in federal funds for a greenway along the South Bronx waterfront, bringing the neighborhood open space, pedestrian and bike paths, and space for mixed-use economic development.

Susan notes: Carter's content is fantastic, her story is interesting, emotional and eventful. Unfortunately, she crammed too much information into TED's traditional 18-minute limit, and thus significantly reduced the overall impact of her talk.

She RACED through (listen to how she sometimes gulps and gasps to breathe) and READ her presentation. These choices detracted from her natural charm and wonderful sense of humour, which nevertheless enabled her to successfully connect with the audience. BUT, she would have been SO much more powerful had she cut the content in half, and slowed down by the same ratio!

See how much more dramatic and effective she is at the very end of her talk when she lets go of the words on the page, when she PAUSES, BREATHES, and allows her vibrant personality to truly shine. The final two minutes of this talk (along with the reference to her brother in the middle), are the best parts by far. Still, hats off to Carter, an amazing and courageous young woman, who had the temerity to challenge Al Gore, who sat in the front row of the audience.

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