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The Lavin Agency Speakers Bureau

A speakers bureau that represents the best original thinkers,
writers, and doers for speaking engagements.

Looking For Love Again: Abandoned Buildings That Ask Cities For Renewal

Not all forgotten American cities are struggling

Teju Cole uses his camera and his writing to pry open the cities he visits in ‘Blind Spot’

The secrets of the world’s happiest cities

The Graphic Designer Who Maps the World’s Cities by Smell

DataKind’s do-good data-science projects arrive in 5 more cities

Can We Build Happier Cities? (18:51)

Making Cities Happy (6:07)

How Cities Influence How We Feel and Behave (1:19:03)

How Bike Lanes Can Transform Our Cities

Charles Fishman: Why America’s Cities Need to Change Their Attitudes About Water

Speaking on Sandy, Climate Change, and the Future of Cities

Dreams for Future Cities

Charles Montgomery on The Urban Paradox: What Cities are Doing Right and Wrong

Charles Montgomery: The One Common Factor of Happy Cities

Making Cities Happy

Can We Build Happier Cities?

How Cities Influence How We Feel and Behave

Happier Cities Just Make Sense: Charles Montgomery Talks to The Guardian

As populations continue to urbanize, the debate rages as to how to best streamline our cities for productivity. But another question—one stemming from an emerging field—is now beginning to take hold: How can we be happier in cities? Urban experimentalist Charles Montgomery is the author of the aptly named Happy City, in which he tackles […]

Can Libraries Save Lives? Eric Klinenberg On Social Infrastructure In Cities

“We need to think about the social infrastructure as much as we do about the hard infrastructure of power lines and transit systems and communications networks,” cities speaker Eric Klinenberg tells Urban Omnibus. In a new series of interviews, the Going Solo author shows how important neighborhood cohesion and social planning is to the health […]

Solo Living On The Rise: Cities Speaker Eric Klinenberg On The Shift

Even despite economic hardship after the recent recession, “Americans will [still] pay a premium to have a place of their own,” cities speaker Eric Klinenberg told The Los Angeles Times. The independence gained from living alone has become increasingly valued in America today. Solo living is no longer a trend. In fact, a report published […]

2013 Creativity 50: Cities Speaker Candy Chang Makes The Top 10

Cities speaker Candy Chang proves you don't need expensive, high-tech devices to transform public spaces. That's why she made the 2013 Creativity 50 list this year. Creativity is a website that features the best in design, advertising, and digital creativity. Chang made it into the top ten this year. “Candy Chang's art serves as a wake-up call […]

Cities Speaker Candy Chang Visits The Lavin Agency [PHOTOS]

Cities speaker and TED Fellow Candy Chang stopped by Lavin Toronto for a quick visit before her keynote at the Mixx Conference yesterday. After a quick walk around the office, the acclaimed public space artist talked to us about her home town (New Orleans), cities in general, the work of Jane Jacobs (an inspiration of […]

Charles Montgomery: Cities as Engines of Happiness

Recently Lavin staffers had the opportunity to have a chat with our new urban experimentalist speaker Charles Montgomery. His forthcoming book, Happy City, gathers unconventional wisdom from a medley of global cities which have decided to make their citizens' happiness a priority. With examples as diverse as Bogota, Columbia and Vancouver, Canada, Montgomery explains that […]

Understanding Our History Is the Catalyst for Real Change: Lavin Welcomes #1 NYT Bestselling Author Clint Smith

Lavin is proud to welcome new exclusive speaker Clint Smith, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller How the Word Is Passed. In talks, he offers a compelling exploration of how the legacy of slavery continues to shape our cities, our policies, and the stories we tell—and how we can work towards a more equitable story for everyone.

Clint Smith

The legacy of slavery still shapes our cities, roads, and stories today. Understanding our history will help us make sense of our world—and fight for a better one.

Edward Burtynsky Shares His Major New Award with Ukraine’s Photographers

World-renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky was awarded a Sony World Photography Prize for outstanding contribution to photography, and he dedicated the award to the Ukrainian photographers diligently documenting the war launched by Vladimir Putin. At the event, Edward said: “As a Canadian-Ukrainian, I would like to share this award with the artists of Ukraine, many of […]

Charles Montgomery

The city you live in has a powerful effect on how you behave. How, then, do we design happy cities?

Lavin Speaker Round-Up: Decoding the Most Important Election of Our Lifetime

This year has been an unforgettable one, to say the least. Marked by a global pandemic, a worldwide call for racial justice, and the worst economic recession we’ve seen since the Great Depression, 2020 also happens to fall on an election year. Soon, we will decide on the next President of the United States—a decision […]

The Top 10 Social Activist Speakers Changing the World Today

Lavin’s Top 10 Social Activist Speakers are the thought-leaders and advocates pushing for a better world. Whether it’s through art, history, education, or humanitarian efforts, these speakers are not only calling for change, but actively making it happen.  LaToya Ruby Frazier: LaToya Ruby Frazier treats art as activism. With her powerful images of post-industrial towns […]

Lavin’s Top Happiness & Wellness Speakers Inspire Personal Growth and Positive Change

Everyone wants to be happy and healthy—but it doesn’t come easy. The pressure of performing well at work and having a fulfilling personal life can often be hard to manage—and that’s where Lavin’s Top Happiness & Wellness Speakers come in. Experts in how to actively enhance our inner lives and outer selves, they inspire audiences […]

Rick Mercer Hosts the Upcoming Just For Laughs Comedy Tour Across the Nation

The last time Rick Mercer hosted the iconic comedy showcase was a whopping 16 years ago. On October 23rd, he will pick the mic up once again, kicking off a cross-country tour starting in NewFoundland and ending in British Columbia.  Last year, Rick Mercer said goodbye to his beloved CBC program The Rick Mercer Report […]

Get to Know Lavin’s MacArthur “Geniuses”!

This year Titus Kaphar and Vijay Gupta join a whopping SIX other Lavin Speakers in receiving MacArthur “Genius” Grants—a prestigious honor awarded to those who are forging truly significant progress towards “building a more just, verdant and peaceful world.” Get to know Lavin’s “geniuses”: Titus Kaphar’s sculptures, paintings, and installations create new and striking ways […]

To Build a Better Society, Social Infrastructure like the Library Is Precisely What We Need.

“Libraries don’t just provide free access to books and other cultural materials,” says sociologist, bestselling author, and speaker Eric Klinenberg, whose just-released book, Palaces for the People, excerpted in The New York Times Opinion section this week, makes the compelling case that libraries, parks, churches, and other community spaces, are absolutely crucial to the future of American […]

In His New Book, Celebrated Philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah Disarms Identity

The question of who you think you are is inextricably linked to what you think you are. That is, what gender, religion, race, nationality, class, culture. In Kwame Anthony Appiah’s latest book, The Lies That Bind, the celebrated philosopher and bestselling author explores, disarms, and repositions the collective, contradictory identities that are responsible not only […]

Productive Ease, Meaningful Work, Peaceful Communities: Three Speakers Offer Plans for Happiness at Work and Beyond

Consider the possibility of handling the everyday challenges of work, school, city dwelling, and creative pursuits with nothing more than your own mind. Speakers Daniel Lerner, Emily Esfahani Smith, and Charles Montgomery lay out straightforward actions towards living well, avoiding burnout, and maintaining your performance at work. Happiness is just one part of it.    Daniel Lerner: Balancing Passion with Everything Else     Sometimes it seems […]

VIDEO: How Does Flirting Make a Happier City? Urban Design Consultant Charles Montgomery Explains

“Every city’s doing a little bit right,” said author and urban design consultant Charles Montgomery during his recent Lavin HQ visit. “And a lot wrong, unfortunately,” he adds with a smile. He’s worked on enough cities to know.  “It is necessary to consider human relationships in everything we build.” — Charles Montgomery Charles Montgomery speaks from the […]

How Does a 30-Year-Old Novel Become a Runaway Bestseller and Hit TV Show? Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale Rides Again

Wherever you look these days, swaths of red seem to be marking the pages of every major publication, from The New York Times to Teen Vogue. Why? That vibrant crimson is the visceral memory cue for Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, and it means anything but “stop,” as its current climb to the top of the bestseller […]

Trump Won. What’s Next? Lavin Speakers Help Us Understand the Election

Donald Trump has led the Republican Party to unexpected success—baffling pollsters across the world and driving people of all political persuasions to seek out expert opinion. What does a Trump victory mean for international relations and global health? How will it alter world and domestic economies? What will it mean for immigration, women’s health, or […]

Eric Klinenberg in the New Obama-Edited Issue of Wired: On the Power of Community in Overcoming Climate Change

The new issue of WIRED magazine—which focuses on new frontiers in technology—was guest-edited by President Barack Obama. Featured in the magazine is a piece by social scientist and Lavin speaker Eric Klinenberg, who raises an interesting argument: In combating climate change, community may be just as important as infrastructure.

Learn How to Spark a Revolution at the Trend Hunter Future Festival

Today is day three of Trend Hunter’s Future Festival—and attendees can expect a jam-packed morning of rapid innovation workshops, and another exciting afternoon of experiential trend safaris. But as the event continues, we thought we’d look back at a few highlights of yesterday’s incredible keynotes on the trends defining the future (which were capped with […]

This Week: Jeremy Gutsche Hosts Trend Hunter’s Future Festival, October 5–7

This week, Toronto is home to one of the most exciting innovation events in the world. That’s right—Trend Hunter’s Future Festival is once again upon us: three days of dynamic keynotes and innovation workshops, on-trend cultural safaris, exclusive access to consumer insights, invaluable networking opportunities, and (of course!) a whole lot of fun. Read on […]

Candy Chang’s Installations at Athens’ Onassis Cultural Centre

Candy Chang’s participatory art installations, including the wildly popular “Before I Die,” (called “one of the most creative community projects ever” by The Atlantic) are now on display at the Onassis Cultural Centre in Athens, Greece. Her works, which began their Athens run with “School of the Future” in February and March, will remain viewable […]

For U.S. Poor, Geography Determines Longevity: Raj Chetty’s Health Inequality Study

Geography and life expectancy are linked—at least for America’s poorest people. A major new study released by The Health Inequality Project—led by Lavin speaker Raj Chetty, who acted as Corresponding Author and Principal Investigator—shows that where poor people live has a profound impact on how long they live. And while clearly distressing, the study also […]

Escaping Poverty? It’s All About Place: A Bracing New Study Co-Authored by Raj Chetty

A much-talked-about new study on poverty in America, co-authored by Lavin speaker Raj Chetty, reveals how hard it is for poor children in certain cities and towns (like Balitmore City) to climb the income ladder over the course of their lives. Place, it turns out, plays a major role in future earning potential. The New […]

First Look: Modern Romance, a New Book by Eric Klinenberg and Aziz Ansari

Sociologist and speaker Eric Klinenberg is releasing a new book this June. Modern Romance: An Investigation is a collaboration with comedian Aziz Ansari that explores the pleasures and perils of modern love: from texting to Tinder to the delicate use of the pizza emoji (check out the video above for a short clip of Ansari's […]

Science and the City: Charles Montgomery Builds a Better Way of Life

Urban experimentalist and Happy City author Charles Montgomery took abandoned spaces in New York City and reformed them into an living laboratory. In his inspiring TEDxVancouver talk (embedded above), Montgomery opens up about bringing together the right ingredients to build a social, and therefore happy, city. We learn how measures of life satisfaction can lead […]

First Look: Livewired, A New Book by Neuroscientist David Eagleman

David Eagleman is one of a kind—a neuroscientist, Guggenheim Fellow, and bestselling author who connects the science of the brain to literature, advertising, social media, and our justice system. His forthcoming book, Livewired: How the Brain Rewrites its Own Circuitry (Spring 2015), is a fascinating presentation of his new theory about the brain's capacity to […]

Charles Montgomery: An Engaged City is a Happy City [VIDEO]

For those who ignore their surroundings, for those who think cities are simply infrastructural boxes storing people and jobs, Charles Montgomery’s new video (embedded above) will come as a shot in the arm. The urban experimentalist and Happy City author presents the city as a force for good—a force for happiness. How effective a city […]

Celebrating Public Spaces—in Print: Candy Chang’s New Book, Before I Die, is Out Today

The book version of Candy Chang’s famous public space project, Before I Die, is out today—and reviews are already pouring in. Publishers Weekly hails it as “a powerful and valuable reminder that life is for the living.” (Anyone who’s seen a wall in person, or viewed Candy’s memorable TED Talk, will agree). Chang's Before I […]

Pick Of The Week: Happy City Author & Speaker Charles Montgomery

“We've come to a moment in time where we know how to build cities,” says cities speaker Charles Montgomery, “we've got that down—we can cram people into cities. And yet, we haven't figured out how to live well in cities.” He wants to change that. In this edition of “Picks of the Week,” we're taking […]

Water Issues Have No Borders: Speakers Charles Fishman, Shalini Kantayya

Imagine if one day you woke up, turned the faucet, and realized your city had run out of clean drinking water. As water speaker Shalini Kantayya explains, this isn't just a concern for people living in sub-Saharan Africa. Various regions in Texas have been dealing with the very real problem of water scarcity for years. […]

The Case for Air-Conditioning is Made of Hot Air: Eric Klinenberg in TIME

“If you can’t stand the heat, you should know that blasting the AC will ultimately make us all even hotter,” climate change speaker Eric Klinenberg warns in TIME: “Today, Americans use twice as much energy for air-conditioning as we did 20 years ago, and more than the rest of the world’s nations, combined.” He concludes: […]

Solo In The City: Eric Klinenberg On The Increase Of Urban Singletons

More Americans are choosing to live alone than ever before in history—are the cities they're residing in equipped to handle their unique needs? In Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, cities speaker Eric Klinenberg says that “one in seven American adults now lives alone.” That equates to an increase in […]

We Change Our Behavior To Fit The Surroundings: Adam Alter In The NYT

“There isn’t a single version of 'you' and 'me',” Adam Alter reveals in The New York Times. “Though we’re all anchored to our own distinct personalities, contextual cues sometimes drag us so far from those anchors that it’s difficult to know who we really are—or at least what we’re likely to do in a given […]

Confessions: Candy Chang Connects Communities By Sharing Secrets

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. And, thanks to the work of cities speaker Candy Chang, what happens in Vegas also stays scribbled on the walls for everyone in Sin City to see. Aptly titled “Confessions,” Chang's installation turned a Las Vegas art gallery into a space for spilling secrets this past summer. Featured […]

Big Banks: Are We In The Midst Of A Price-Fix Scandal? Matt Taibbi Weighs In

In a searing new article in Rolling Stone Magazine, economics speaker and Griftopia author Matt Taibbi presents a startling revelation: “The world is a rigged game.” He explains that “we found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world's largest banks may […]

Public Art Meets Civic Engagement: Candy Chang Makes The Good 100 List

“Candy Chang  is coming to a neighborhood near you,” a recent profile in Good.is begins. Not only that, but the TED Fellow and “Before I Die” creator also landed on the 2013 Good 100 list.  Her simple, but innovative, installations and projects make cities more comfortable for their inhabitants. Even better, her work has been […]

Immigration Rises & The Power Moves West: John Ibbitson On The Big Shift

With over 250,000 immigrants coming to Canada each year, it's no wonder the new book by politics speaker John Ibbitson is called The Big Shift. Co-authored with Darrell Bricker, the immediate bestseller argues that Canada—traditionally known as one of the world's most consensual countries—is polarizing. With major changes to the population of the country, and to […]

Living Alone—In Style: Eric Klinenberg On Luxury Real Estate For Singles

More people in the United States currently live alone than ever before in history, according to New York University professor and Lavin speaker Eric Klinenberg. As the Going Solo author has said before, the impact of this rapidly growing trend is starting to permeate into many different industries (most recently, into the real estate sector). […]

Why Are More Of Us Choosing To Live Alone? Eric Klinenberg In Smithsonian

“If we once worried about isolation, today, more and more critics are concerned that we’re overconnected,” Eric Klinenberg tells Smithsonian Magazine. “So in a moment like this, living alone is one way to get a kind of restorative solitude, a solitude that can be productive, because your home can be an oasis from the constant […]

Senses Of The City: Teju Cole On “The Greatest Technologies Of Humanity”

Echoing the themes from his book, Teju Cole told students at Boston College that post-9/11 New York is an “open city.” Not so coincidentally, that's also the title of his critically acclaimed book. A self-proclaimed lover of the city, Cole explores the way that the bustling metropolis operates today after being attacked several years ago. “You’re […]

Value Opposing Points of View: Misha Glouberman In The Globe and Mail

If you are going to be sitting in on negotiation speaker Misha Glouberman's class today, here is one of the first lessons he may give you: “[living in a city] you are always in conflict—and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.” Globerman (who begins his six-week workshop on conflict resolution at the University of […]

Make Solo Living More Financially Feasible: Eric Klinenberg In The Economist

Some people believe that the rise in solo living points to the decaying of civil society. Eric Klinenberg, author of the breakthrough book Going Solo, disagrees. In fact, he argues that more people are choosing to live alone than ever before—and they're enjoying the independence that comes along with it. The Economist recently profiled Klinenberg's […]

Neighborland, a New Digital Tool by Candy Chang, Improves Public Spaces

There are undoubtedly things about your neighborhood that you wish you could change. As public space artist Candy Chang explains in a recent talk at a Creative Sante Fe event, there are people in your community who probably share your vision. The problem is that they don't have the means to team up with you […]

Alone, Together: Eric Klinenberg On Rising Global Rates Of Single Living

If you live alone—by your own choosing—you're in good company. As Eric Klinenberg points out in his book Going Solo, about one in seven Americans live alone, which amounts to 31 million people. Of those people, 50% are also single. 50 years ago, only 22% of the population was single and a mere four million […]

Teju Cole: Public Spaces Are Like Lungs—They Let The City Breathe

“For me, the point of public space is that it needs to be something that is open to all kinds of people, to all classes,” Teju Cole, author of Open City, says in a recent interview. Making effective use of public spaces is crucial, he adds, given that cities are, by definition, crowded places. There […]

Knowing Thy Neighbor Is Key To Surviving A Disaster: Eric Klinenberg On NPR

Fresh off his recent feature in The New Yorker, Eric Klinenberg stopped by NPR to give an interview on the importance of community in disaster situations. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, a great deal of attention is being paid to reviving and improving city infrastructure. However, as Klinenberg explains, overhauling social infrastructure is just […]

Climate-Proofing Your City: Eric Klinenberg in The New Yorker

Superstorm Sandy served as a powerful wake up call for policy makers. Not only are people now starting to think critically about the ramifications of an increase in severe weather, but social scientists like Eric Klinenberg are also looking at how we can “climate-proof our cities” to better cope with these natural disasters. In a […]

Jer Thorp in Mashable: “Data is Becoming a Part of Our Everyday Lives” [VIDEO]

“More and more and more, data is becoming a part of our everyday lives,” Jer Thorp says in a new interview in Mashable. “We're producing so much data, we're consuming so much data, but we haven't really, I think, as a culture thought about that transition and what it actually means and what some of […]

The Do-It-Yourself Life: Molly Crabapple’s Creative Approach To The World

Molly Crabapple—a new Lavin exclusive speaker—is an artist whose work has appeared on CNN, in Vice magazine (for whom she covered the Spanish General Strike), and in the collections of esteemed museums worldwide. The New York Times calls her a “downtown phenomenon,” and she was one of the main artistic voices at Occupy Wall Street. […]

Savage Love: Eric Klinenberg Gives Dan Savage Some Advice on Singlehood

Relationships can be tricky, and sometimes even the most sought-after love gurus need some advice from time-to-time. Eric Klinenberg, author of the popular book Going Solo recently shared his insights with well-known relationship advice columnist Dan Savage (of Savage Love). In the column, a reader wrote in inquiring as to why his friends and family […]

The Invisible World of Microbes: TED Fellow Jessica Green [VIDEO]

New Lavin speaker and TED Senior Fellow Jessica Green is showing us the amazing and important role microbes play in our everyday lives—in our bodies, our forests, and even our buildings—and she's doing it in visually stunning ways. A Professor at both the University of Oregon and the Santa Fe Institute, Green uses art, animation, […]

At a Digital Innovation Conference, Eric Klinenberg Talks About Going Solo

Eric Klinenberg's Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone is a fascinating look at our changing way of life—and it's innovative thinking like this that has landed Klinenberg as a conference speaker at the L2 Think Tank for Digital Innovation. Klinenberg has worked extensively on the rise of solo living, and […]

Eric Klinenberg: Solo Living is the New Nuclear Family

There's no question that the modern family is changing. Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, argues that more people are living alone (largely by choice) than ever before—and that this monumental shift is redefining our modern society. A recent CBC article, quoting Statistics Canada census data, […]

Candy Chang in Urbanized: How People Shape Their Neighborhoods

One of the best parts of the documentary Urbanized, about the issues facing cities in the 21st Century, is when Candy Chang, a public space artist, appears on screen, late in the movie. “There are so many things—living in the same neighborhood—that we could actually share with each other that would help us understand what's […]

Eric Klinenberg: Millions of People, Living Alone, Are Changing Society

Eric Klinenberg's new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, uncovers the biggest societal shift that no one is talking about—the dominance of single person living. In Time's 2012 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life Issue,  Klinenberg's research was listed first. In an interview with PBS, Klinenberg outlines just how […]

The Many Meanings of Debt: Margaret Atwood’s Payback

Margaret Atwood's Massey Lecture-turned-bestselling book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, is a fascinating look at the role of “debt” throughout human history. Now, filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal has adapted Payback into a documentary, continuing Atwood's “line of high-minded questioning” into the multiple meanings of this complex subject. Atwood and Baichwal eschew the more […]

The Water Crisis Has No Borders: Shalini Kantayya

Filmmaker, educator, and eco-activist Shalini Kantayya uses film as a tool to educate, inspire, and empower audiences. In the above clip, she talks about “a crisis of epic proportions,” and why so few people her age are taking action. “Two thirds of the world’s citizens—four billion people—will not have adequate access to water by the […]

Artist Candy Chang Transforms Public Spaces

The Lavin Agency would like to welcome TED Senior Fellow Candy Chang as our newest speaker. A former New York Times art director, Chang is an artist who uses bright graphics in public spaces to help us rethink the contemporary city. Her work, profiled worldwide, aims to reanimate the physical surroundings of dilapidated neighborhoods while […]

Margaret Atwood’s History of Debt, Payback, Now a Documentary

Margaret Atwood’s prescient non-fiction book Payback—a history of debt that was release in 2008 at the dawn of our current financial crisis—is now a documentary. It will make its world premier at The Sundance Film Festival in January. The book, which was the #8 Best Book of the Decade, according to the Times of London, […]

Nathan Wolfe At TED: Connectivity is a Solution to Pandemics

Virus hunter, and acclaimed biologist Nathan Wolfe takes us on a tour of 7 million years of pandemic history in a newly posted TEDMED video. In just a few minutes he expertly highlights the major shifts and major solutions surrounding the current and future battle against viral illnesses. Wolfe illustrates how human evolution has made […]