Organizing a local TEDx event to encourage social connectedness

You might know about TED, talk conferences held all across the globe under the slogan “ideas worth spreading”. Originating from Silicon Valley, it initially focused on technology and design but has now spread its talks into numerous topics like politics, marketing, science, etc. Besides the official TED events, the TED organization also allows for independent conferences held among smaller communities, called TEDx events.

To host an independent TEDx event, you have to obtain the official TEDx license and oblige to follow specified guidelines of the organization. One of the rules states that each up-to-fifteen-minute talk has to be filmed and sent to TEDx staff, so we participated to help with the event’s media coverage.

Our TEDx team

Now let’s return back to our local TEDx event – TEDx Planina, and examine its significance. As I’ve stated in the title, one of the reasons for the organization of this TEDx event was the goal to spark social connectedness and awareness in a local neighborhood near Kranj, Planina.

Planina is a rather large, so to say neighborhood near city Kranj, and presents a quarter of its entire population with sixteen hundred residents. Built through the seventies in socialist Yugoslavia, it represents the largest apartment building area in the whole region. Middle and East-European countries including Slovenia are on the move to minimize such neighborhoods’ economic and social shortcomings and are supporting projects which engage with its citizens in various aspects.

Kranj municipality is increasing its focus on ecologically friendly transport

Those involve changes in their surroundings – improving the aesthetics and functionality of living areas, with the intent to improve life, work, and child-rearing. With the beginning of a local program that attempts to solve such problems in Planina, the neighborhood has already changed to a large extent. So far, almost every single block of flats has gotten a new paint job, which has completely changed the area’s appearance. Furthermore, the children’s playgrounds have been modernized and made safer, and new spaces have been reserved for activities to ensure the citizens’ health.

A playground that promotes activity and physical well-being

Besides the updated looks, there are also workshops hosted by locals and Kranj municipality which help to gain and improve the residents’ skills – computing, marketing, social skills as well as creativity, which are more important than ever before. Young poets, filmmakers, and blockchain experts, who all help to build a better tomorrow through content or technology, acting as agents who provoke others to become active in those fields, and one day, become experts too.

Small flower garden made by the residents

The TEDx event hosted in this exact neighborhood is a marker to just how far it has come. About fifteen years ago, in the building where the event was hosted, there was a small shopping mall, which was later sold to become a Chinese shop that was short-lived. The building was then abandoned for a few years until the team cleaned it and decided to host a TEDx event just there. If you’d see it a week before the event, you wouldn’t believe it’d be possible to even have an event there.

The former shopping mall and Chinese store

The speakers were all people who live or came from Planina, and all made a living in creative industries or state jobs – they learned a lot from Planina, and you can too. The whole event turned out a great success and can act as a reminder that much can be done if everyone steps together and joins forces to improve something. The audience loved the event, and I think were all surprised to see what could be organized.

The event really did connect the crowd, and everyone left satisfied and eager to see similar events in the future. I hope that this example will inspire residents’ activity and productivity – to find regular use for the empty shopping mall and reflect in other areas as well.

Further reading:

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