Getting Urban with BMW

I just returned from an engaging weekend in New York arranged by the BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt (BMW's foundation). It was the 15th Trans-Atlantic forum with this year's theme of "Social Cohesion in Urban Development". The general idea is to get a lot of interesting and influential people together to hear best practices, get inspired and help folks out. There were the usual panel discussions and the prerequisite "numbed-by-statistics" moments but also some surprising exercises such as the break out workshops in which we spent four hours with a social entrepreneur to help work through specific challenges — a model I want to replicate at IDEO.

I made new friends (by no means all) that are doing exciting things and want you to get to know them too. Check out their work:

John Cary, CEO of Next American City, an organization focused on the future of cities, and editor of "The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients"

Aaron Hurst, CEO of the Taproot Foundation, an organization that enables professionals to donate their skills pro boon to help build the non-profit sector.

Cassim Shepard, director or Urban Omnibus, an online publication of the Architectural League of New York and also a documentary filmmaker.

Alejandra Lillo, CEO of Graft, a world-class architecture studio and co-founders of Make It Right, a foundation established to help sustainably rebuild the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans.