Poll: Do Idea Conferences Matter?

Mayor Rawlings welcomes visitors from 51 counties to the New Cities Summit last Tuesday.
Mayor Rawlings welcomes visitors from 51 counties to the New Cities Summit on Tuesday.
Last week Dallas played host to the New Cities Summit, a two-day event during which 800 people from 51 countries converged on the downtown arts district for a series of discussions about the future transformation of our urban environments. Here’s Krista’s take on it.

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture and the Dallas Morning News the other day announced that they’ll host “For the City: The Dallas Festival of Ideas” next February. The stated goal of of the event is to “ignite a passion for our city, to energize our citizens through an exchange of ideas, and to create the opportunity for change by shaping the future of Dallas from within.”

In recent years these sort of short-form intellectual pursuits have seemingly grown in popularity. I’m thinking here also to the many conferences operating under the TED brand — 10-minute mini-lectures on a wide range of topics — including TEDxSMU.

Do events like these have a lasting impact, or are they merely a form of mental masturbation for the educated classes of developed societies?