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UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Leads NYU Wagner Town Hall Event

UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg Leads NYU Wagner Town Hall Event

Nick Clegg, UK Deputy Prime Minister, conducts Wagner town hall event Sept. 22, 2010.

Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democratic Party Leader in the United Kingdom, conducted a lively town hall meeting at New York University on September 22, sponsored by NYU Wagner and the University.

The lively, one-hour event drew more than 350 people, predominantly NYU students, to the Kimmel Center for University Life and its Eisner & Lubin auditorium.

Ellen Schall, dean of Wagner, delivered welcoming remarks about the European leader, who was the unexpected star of the national elections held in the UK in May. The Right Honourable Clegg, microphone in hand, outlined the sweep of history that has given rise to the coalition government in which he serves, led by the Conservative prime minister, David Cameron.

The Deputy Prime Minister spent the bulk of the hour fielding questions from the audience on topics ranging from his program for reducing the dole by waiving taxation for low wage workers, the unprecedented peacetime national deficit facing his country, and nuclear policy. His comments also took in the economy, political reform, and how and why liberals and conservatives can and should work together.

 

Uncommon Street Fest Brings Together New Thinking on Cities

Uncommon Street Fest Brings Together New Thinking on Cities

NYU Wagner's Rogan Kersh shines at Festival of Ideas for the New City. [Photo by Dexter Miranda.]

Instead of face painting and kielbasa, there were brightly colored worm tunnels, and a crocheted room. Italian ices and ferris wheels -- the stuff of traditional street fares everywhere -- were replaced by fresh thinking about environmental sustainability, neighborhood heterogeneity, and cutting-edge networking.

The streets and suites all around NYU Wagner's headquarters in the historic Puck Building were awash in new ideas on urban living May 4 to May 8 at the first-ever Festival of Ideas for the New City. Workshops and discussions, dealing with everything from art and housing to urban planning and public policy, took center stage at multiple locations throughout downtown.

The first-ever brainstorm of its kind, the Festival of Ideas was organized by the New Museum, with assistance provided by NYU Wagner and the Cooper Union, and other major partners.

Participants in the festival events included small businesses, local non-profits, and a raft of arts organizations.

The talks tapped the knowledge of thinkers from a variety of arenas. Artists, urban planners, architects and even musicians like David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) - who opened an event on bicycle transportation called "The Sustainable City" -- populated and energized the discussions.

The events were all aimed at coming up with ways of making city life more beautiful, durable, collective, connective, and innovative.

Two of the discussions were hosted at Wagner's headquarters at Lafayette and Houston streets, with Wagner also dispatching expert participants to other happenings, such as Professor and Associate Dean Rogan Kersh. Wagner's Josh Mandell attended the Downtown Policy Issues World Café, co-hosted at the Puck by NYU Wagner and IDEO, the design firm; he wrote up the lively discussion about new ways to use shared space, solar panels, and even white paint. Thirteen.org was also there, picking up intelligence.

Meanwhile, Wagner's Professor Mitchell Moss took part in a Saturday evening conversation on the prospects for a thriving downtown cultural scene, held at Joe's Pub at the Public Theater.

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