Exploring the future of the city through culture and arts. Learn More

May 28-30, 2015

Participate in a three-day festival celebrating the exchange of ideas and accelerating creativity.

IDEAS CITY 2015 Festival Theme:
The Invisible City

May 28-30, 2015New York City

Open to the public. 100+ Free events.
Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.
– Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities Read More +

The theme of this year’s IDEAS CITY Festival is The Invisible City, an homage to Italo Calvino’s literary masterpiece of 1972. This theme is rooted in civic action, with each of the Festival’s platforms serving as an invitation to explore questions of transparency and surveillance, citizenship and representation, expression and suppression, participation and dissent, and the enduring quest for visibility in the city.

See what's happening See what's happening


May 28

The first day of the Festival will comprise a series of talks, panels, and discussions at Cooper Union. Speakers will include some of the world’s most forward-thinking visionaries who, together, will discuss key civic issues, propose solutions, and formulate action for the city of tomorrow.

Featured Speakers

Rosanne Haggerty President Community Solutions
Haggerty has received a MacArthur Genius Grant and the Jane Jacobs Medal for New Ideas and Activism for her work strengthening communities and fighting homelessness.
Bjarke Ingels Founder Bjarke Ingels Group Co-Founder KiBiSi Design Group
Ingels operates within the fields of architecture, urbanism, and research, and is renowned for his innovative approaches to sustainable development and renewable energy.
Lawrence Lessig Director Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
Lessig is a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and the radio-frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.


May 29

The second day of the Festival will animate a basilica, a gym, and a street with dance battles, poetry slams, urban-design pitches, sound and video environments, hot-air balloons, games, and mobile art spaces. It’ll be a whirlwind of engagement and provocation that illuminates the invisible forces in our cities.

Featured Events

Municipal Art Society and Architizer: Pitching the CityVote for the next best design idea at this high-energy pitch event showcasing the newest city-building projects from urban entrepreneurs from around the world.
BattleFestThe home for the most exciting dance competitions of Extreme Street Dancing around the nation, BattleFest will bring amazing one-on-one dance battles to IDEAS CITY.
NEW INC and Deep LabNEW INC and cyberfeminist research collective Deep Lab’s week-long residency will explore privacy, security, surveillance, anonymity, and data aggregation, and culminate in performances and workshops.


May 30

The third and final day of the Festival will transform the streetscape into a temporary city of ideas, redefining public space and architecture. One hundred cultural and community groups will come together to share their ideas through hands-on workshops, performances, tours, and exhibitions.

Featured Projects

Marjetica Potrč and Design for the Living World: Invisible Lunch DiscussionsArtist Marjetica Potrč and her Design for the Living World students at HFBK Hamburg will invite incognito speakers to address affordable housing and food at a ninety-foot-long table.
Manny Cantor Center: Moving StoriesJoin a senior citizen–led walking tour of the Lower East Side. This immersive journey will combine physical movement with memory to share personal stories of our ever-changing neighborhood.
Circus for Construction with Austin+Mergold: The Wall InsideCircus for Construction is a traveling event space situated on the back of a truck for exhibiting and experiencing works of art and architecture.
Coming soon!

May 28-30, 2015

Festival Schedule

If you're unable to join us in person, you can still participate by watching the live stream.

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IDEAS CITY is made possible thanks to:


Founding Supporter

The grant from Goldman Sachs Gives is at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller

Lead Supporter

Lead Supporter

See All Our Sponsors R

IDEAS CITY Festival Executive Committee:

  • New Museum (Founder)
  • The Architectural League of New York
  • Bowery Poetry Club
  • Cooper Union
  • The Drawing Center
  • Storefront for Art and Architecture
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