TNOC Festival 2021

Thanks for being with us!

About the Festival

TNOC Festival pushed boundaries to radically imagine our cities for the future. A virtual festival that covered 5 days with programming across all regional time zones and provided in multiple languages. TNOC Festival offers us the ability to truly connect local place and ideas on a global scale for a much broader perspective and participation than any one physical meeting in any one city could ever have achieved. The TNOC festival was 22-26 February 2021, and attracted 2200 participants from 72 countries.

Outputs and new emerging projects will appear in this space on a rolling basis.


The TNOC Festival is a production of The Nature of Cities, with deep appreciation for all of our sponsors:

Meet TNOC Festival’s Imagined City

Every city you’ve ever stepped foot in was first imagined by somebody – or many people, in someway. Sometimes what was imagined was never even built. Like Asia Cairns by Vincent Callebaut or Clusters in the Air by Arata Isozaki. 

We wanted to host this year’s TNOC Festival in Bogotá, Colombia. But the world had other plans for us. So, this year we went virtual which meant we wouldn’t be in any one city. We’d be in every city.

In an effort to create a sense of place that many diverse people could feel at home in for the festival week, we imagined a city that is a collection of many cities.

TNOC Festival Follows the Sun

TNOC Festival programming was designed across multiple regional time zone centers. These blocks of programming facilitate participation around the world. Sessions are scheduled to facilitate convenient daytime participation in a rotation among time zones.

Regional Curators
Asia: Devansh Jain (Singapore), Perrine Hamel (Singapore), Hita Unnikrishnan (Bangalore)
Europe: Gitty Korsuize (Utrecht), Claudia Mistello (Barcelona)
Africa & Middle East: Ibrahim Wallee (Accra), Abdallah Tawfic (Cairo)
Latin America: Ana Faggi (Buenos Aires), María Mejía (Bogotá)
North America: M’Lisa Colbert (Montreal), David Maddox (New York)
New Zealand, Australia: Gareth Moore-Jones (Bay of Plenty), Niki Frantzeskaki (Melbourne)
Arts: Carmen Bouyer (Paris), Patrick Lydon (Osaka)

Many Voices
in Many Languages

Language is a common barrier to participation at international events. Most international events are hosted only in English. TNOC Festival strives to provide content in various major languages around the world. English is the common language of the festival—the “official” language—but TNOC Festival facilitates and encourages crowdsourced sessions in various major languages.

Radically Imaginative Programming

TNOC Festival programming is transdisciplinary and innovative. With multiple session types, the program is designed to push the boundaries of collaborative engagement by mixing the arts, sciences, and urban practice fields, and performance to draw urban thought leaders and change makers together to build better cities.

Session Types:


Small interactive workshops that explore an idea or project, or direction actions in cities.


Short talks and conversation among 3-4 thought-leaders in various disciplines. Keynotes from diverse points of view.


Gather to watch a live-narrated video of an actual walk. Watch the video with the trip leader and discuss what you see. The next best thing to being there.


Attend a performance, listen to a reading, participate in collaborative art to build creative human-nature connections.


Small groups work together over the festival week to take action in their city. Map your actions on our global map to be part of lasting change. This is a specific application of a seed session.

Working Groups

Create a meeting withing a meeting, with your organization building an idea hive, or cluster of seed sessions within TNOC Festival.


Contributed very short talks with Q&A, designed to engage and exchange.


Small groups meet for open conversation in various formats. The conversation goes where it will.

What is a Seed Session?
Seed Sessions are workshops on ideas of all kinds, conversations among diverse points of view united by a green perspective. All of these are planned as small(ish) group workshops: after brief scene-setting presentations, each moves to discussion in various formats to explore the ideas and potentials. City groups and Working Groups are types of seed sessions, organized by geography or focus. Seed Sessions are mostly proposed and led by Festival participants.

What is an Online Field Trip?
A field trip leader will walk the route of the trip, filming with no narration. At the appointed program time of the trip, the leader plays their video to the participants and narrates the trip live, pausing for questions or discussion. It’s just like a live trip, only the participants are not walking the route. But hey, you can take a trip in Mumbai in the morning, Cairo in the afternoon, Bogotá in the evening. Field Trips are entirely proposed and led by Festival participants.

What are Plenary Keynotes and Dialogues?
Plenaries will be large group sessions, typically with three elements: (1) a keynote speech; (2) a “dialogue” in which 3 diverse urban practitioners gather around an idea or challenge, give very short talks, then engage in a conversation; and (3) artistic interludes, such short readings or performance. There will be 4 plenaries every day of the festival , one every six hours: 3am EST, 9am EST, 3pm EST, and 9pm EST, so there will be plenaries convenient to all our global participants.

What are MICROTALKS? Microtalks are pre-recorded contributed papers, organized by themes, but mixing disciplines. Talks are fast! 2 minutes each, and posted as searchable mosaics so participants and browse and explore.

Exhibitor Booths? Sponsors of the Festival have “booths”, which include dedicated Zoom Rooms, to program their own events.

Submit a Proposal

Submission portal for sessions is closed! If you submitted a proposal, you’ll hear from us very soon.

We accepted session proposals for the main festival program. Anyone could propose Seed Sessions, Field Trips, and Microtalks, and we received over 300!

For guidance on what was submitted, see the Session Submission Guidance, which is available in various languages. Most sessions will be recorded for later on-demand playback. Not sure what kind of proposal to make? You can catch the vibe of the festival by checking out our previous TNOC Summit event or our plenaries.

Call For Artists

We also welcomed arts proposals. Our FRIEC curators invited festival submissions from artists, musicians, filmmakers, performers, arts organizations, and others working with arts and urban ecology.

We will review submissions for artworks, performances, films, interventions, stories, and artist-led sessions about cities and nature that resonate with the theme: radical imagination with nature and all people.

Registration is closed!

We wanted to keep the barriers to participation low. Modest registration fees are meant to facilitate broad participation. Full access is given to all sessions.

In our commitment to lowered barriers to access, 73% of the 2000+ attendees came for free.

$25 USD (before 10 February)
$35 USD (10 February and later)

Global South
$50 USD (before 10 February)
$75 USD (10 February and later)

Global North
$75 USD (before 10 February)
$100 USD (10 February and later)

Volunteers of Various Kinds

Get Involved

The event is complete, but you can stay involved. We planned events in the future, and we invite people to publish their ideas at TNOC. For more information, email or subscribe to our newsletter.

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Exhibitor Booth