The City 2.0: Stockton is an initiative that works in conjunction with TEDxSanJoaquin, an independently organized event licensed by TED.

The City 2.0

The City 2.0: Stockton is an initiative that works in conjunction with TEDxSanJoaquin, an independently organized event licensed by TED. TEDxSanJoaquin is themed “Just the Right Amount of Wrong,” intended to challenge us to disrupt the status quo and create innovative and sustainable solutions that positively impact our community, region, and the world. Through TEDxSanJoaquin we hope to create an integrative force that allows local citizens to connect and participate in the creation of our unique City 2.0.


The prolonged economic downturn gripping the nation has been hard-hitting, devastating the well-being of our cities—Stockton, CA is no exception to this reality. As Stockton battles to maintain financial solvency, the city is also challenged with overcoming numerous chronic issues: crime, unemployment, food insecurity, inadequate housing, immigration, foreclosure, gang violence, and an increasingly low-skilled workforce.

Year after year, Stockton sits high at the top of many unenviable nation-wide rankings. In 2010 the city was recognized as the U.S. suburb with the highest poverty rate, reaching 16.4%1. Stockton remains disproportionately affected by crime. The city is only safer than 2% of cities in the U.S., where one’s chance of being a victim of violent crime is 1 out of 70 compared to the state-wide 1 out of 266 statistic2. In January 2011 the city of Stockton had a 22.3% unemployment rate3. Also in 2011 it set the national record high of 56 homicides.

The problems don’t stop there. Today, fewer than one-third of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds are enrolled in preschool4, which in turn affects education in the long-run. This is illustrated by the estimated 4,300 high school students that dropped out from the class of 20105, resulting in overwhelming costs to themselves, their families and the community.

Furthermore, approximately 41% of high school students did not graduate on-time with a regular high school diploma. Of the 23 high schools in the Stockton Metropolitan Area, threeof these are considered among the nation’s lowest-performing schools6. The effects on the city are destructive and can no longer be ignored.

If we wish to be successful in transforming the city, the Stockton community, activists, and leaders must examine the status quo with a fresh perspective in search of innovative economic and social improvement initiatives. We believe that in order to revitalize our city we must come together to implement a key strategy to actualize our long-term vision for a better Stockton. Rather than fix the symptoms, The City 2.0: Stockton seeks to be a part of the solution by tackling the root of the problem through a proven successful tool: civic engagement. Together, we can enable the Stockton population, widely representative of many ethnicities, genders, religions, age groups, and economic backgrounds, to recognize and achieve their full potential to transform a strained city into one filled with progress and hope.

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The Solution

The City 2.0: Stockton aims to promote civic engagement as a tool for re-inventing Stockton through a two-fold approach: one, by empowering future leaders (Stockton high school juniors and seniors) within the Stockton community to develop a vision for a safer, prosperous, and sustainable city; and second, by encouraging community members of all ages and backgrounds to think big and create solutions that uniquely address the many societal problems within Stockton.

HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST- The City 2.0: Stockton will host a high school essay contest that inspires our youth to recognize their potential to be forward thinking leaders. By partnering with existing programs and organizations that specifically work to increase high school completion rates, provide support for college enrollment, and combat “brain drain,” we will provide a platform for students to share their ideas for a better Stockton and realize their role in this vision. The most promising ideas, judged by a review committee, will be rewarded with a $50 cash prize and a free event general admission ticket to TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 held at the University of the Pacific on October 10th. Our goal is to enable our city’s most innovative youth to come together, exchange their stories and ideas, collaborate, and experience the increased opportunities that a high school education can lead to.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE-GRANTS - The City 2.0: Stockton will highlight existing ideas that are addressing the needs ofour city with an innovative approach. We seek ideas that fall into one of five categories identified by TED as valuable to rebuilding our cities: Inclusive, Innovative, Thriving, Healthy, and Soulful. Applications will be accepted from eligible groups impacting the Stockton community and selected ideas will be shared with the 2,850+ live and online TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 attendees, as well as the community at large. Winners will receive a $500 mini-grant to take their ideas to the next level and a free ticket to attend the live TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 event.


Addressing the high school dropout crisis is inevitable when discussing the obstacles that hinder Stockton from progressing. The Alliance for Excellent Education—a national policy and advocacy organization that works to improve national and federal policy so that all students can achieve at high academic levels and graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship in the twenty-first century—emphasizes the link between education and the economy. The organization states that moving even one student from dropout status to graduate status will contribute to a region’s economic growth.

If just 1,000 dropouts in Stockton had graduated from high school, these 1,000 new graduates combined would likely:

  • earn as much as $16 million in additional earnings in an average year;
  • spend an additional $1.3 million each year purchasing vehicles and, by the time they reach the midpoint of their careers, spend up to $51 million more on homes than they would likely spend without a diploma; and
  • qualify to fill as many as 110 new jobs in the region, increase the gross regional product by up to $21 million, and pour as much as an additional $2 million annually into state and local coffers, all through their increased spending and investments.
  • Through the HIGH SCHOOL ESSAY CONTEST, we strive to make this impact real so that our city may appreciate and value the benefits that stem from education. However, we also understand that in order for youth to excel in school, they must be raised in an environment that supports them as well as their families and neighborhoods to live healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives. With this in mind, the

    COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INCENTIVE-GRANTS were created to promote community activists and organizers whose ideas are proactively and uniquely advancing solutions to eradicate the societal and economic issues in Stockton: crime, unemployment, food insecurity, gang violence, and more.

    TEDxSanJoaquin believes that young people are the future of our city. Future leaders have the potential to inspire, envision, and achieve their long-term vision for a safer, prosperous, and sustainable city.

    Stockton 2.0 is inclusive, healthy, innovative, soulful, uplifting, thriving. It requires a collection of individuals with a range of passions. What’s your vision for Stockton 2.0?

    TEDxSanJoaquin is proud to offer 25 awards of $50 to future leaders with ideas likely to spark the creation of the City 2.0. To discover these innovative ideas, we are holding an essay contest for Stockton’s Junior and Senior high school students to share their unique visions. All essays must be submitted by September 25, 2012 to be considered. Only essays that are completed in full and follow the stated guidelines below will be eligible.

    The 25 most promising ideas, judged by a review committee, will be rewarded with a $50 prize and a free general admission ticket to TEDxSanJoaquin 2012 held at the University of the Pacific on October 10, 2012.

    1. Who can participate?
    Applicant must be a Junior or Senior enrolled in a Stockton High School.

    2. Learn more online.
    Explore the website for details and view the City 2.0 YouTube video.

    3. Essay Cover Sheet.
    Download and print the High School Essay Contest Cover Page available here (Word doc will automatically save to computer when clicked)

    4. What’s your vision?
    Create your vision for Stockton 2.0. Is it inclusive, healthy, innovative, soulful, uplifting, or thriving?

    5. Share your vision.
    Talk to your friends, family, mentors, and teacher—everyone plays a part in building The City 2.0. Share your vision on our Facebook page!

    6. Write your essay.
    Essays must answer the essay prompt. Please see the Essay Cover Sheet for the complete prompt. All essays must be a minimum of 2 pages, doubled spaced, 12 pt. font, and typed.

    7. Submit your essay by September 25th.
    Each student is only allowed to submit one essay. Please see the High School Essay Contest Cover Page for “How to Submit.”

    8. Join TEDxSanJoaquin!
    All essays will be judged by a review committee. The 25 most promising ideas will be highlighted at TEDxSanJoaquin. The winners of the essay contest will be announced by October 1st. Winners will be invited to attend the live TEDxSanJoaquin event. All applicants will be granted access to the live stream.

    QUESTIONS? Email Karelli Cabral at

    “Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.”

    Excerpts from Civic Responsibility and Higher Education, edited by Thomas Ehrlich, published by Oryx Press, 2000.

    The City 2.0: Stockton was inspired by the belief that civic engagement matters. TEDxSanJoaquin believes that civic engagement is a key factor to re-inventing Stockton, CA; it spurs ideas that enable us to fulfill our responsibility as community members of Stockton, CA to ensure the well-being of our city and its people. Such ideas are characterized as being mutually beneficial, where all people involved share resources and responsibilities as co-educators, co-learners, and co-generators of knowledge through the generation of jointly determined outcomes. Through civic engagement we have the ability to strengthen community-wise connections, actualize our potential, and achieve the unimaginable.

    We consider the most effective way to transform our future is by engaging our diverse community to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of progress. We want to see those young and old, from all corners of our city, join together to inspire change by addressing the most prominent issues in Stockton, CA. The City 2.0 aims to highlight community organizers who “think big” to achieve a long-term goal. We are seeking groups that are executing bold projects to remedy existing needs with innovative ideas. These ideas should serve as solutions that have the potential to make a significant impact by connecting short-term action to long-term visions for a better Stockton, CA.

    TEDxSanJoaquin is proud to offer five (5) awards of $500 for local projects likely to spark the creation of the City 2.0. Each group will also be awarded one (1) general admission ticket for the live TEDxSanJoaquin event for a representative of their choice.

    All applications must be submitted by August 15, 2012 to be considered. All accepted projects will be contacted for phone or video interviews. The awards may be handed out on a rolling basis, with all 5 awarded by and announced at TEDxSanJoaquin on October 10, 2012 at the University of the Pacific.

    In addition to the application, each member of the organizing group for your project must create a profile on and one member must add the project as an idea. We encourage you to invite more members of your community to create profiles and to join the idea.

    Economic Opportunity
    Government Transparency
    Social Services Youth Seniors Social Justice

    Urban Agriculture
    New Ideas


    City Planning

    Community Building

    1. Projects should be based on creative ideas that can be replicated.
    2. A group of people, rather than just an individual, must be committed to the project. We encourage cross-disciplinary teams and will favor organizing groups that actively engage residents in their work. All projects must have an organizer who is 18+ years old.
    3. Unproven concepts with a strong action plan are welcome. Our goal is to help people experiment and think big.
    4. Projects that have already begun are eligible for the award. In fact, evidence of progress already made is a benefit.
    5. All projects, whether successful or not, will need to report back to us on their progress and findings. Details will be provided to winners directly.
    6. All projects must fit reasonably under one of the City 2.0 categories presented in the wish: inclusive, innovative, healthy, thriving, or soulful. You can learn more about what type of projects fit under these categories by looking at the ideas page (and using the filter) on

    1. Is the project feasible given the organizing group and the plan? Bold ideas grounded in practical understanding are best.
    2. Will the $500 make a contribution to kick starting or furthering the project? A budget must be included.
    3. Is the concept, or key insights derived from it, replicable? What can be learned from this project that can be applied to other cities? Projects that help other people think differently about their own city, its challenges and possibilities, are best.
    4. How does the outcome of the project impact the bigger vision of The City 2.0? The City 2.0 is about connecting short-term action to long-term vision. A winning project is a possible solution or lesson in solving a larger challenge or reaching a larger goal.

    Please note that only applications that are completed in full will be eligible for consideration.

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