Seasoned and aspiring professionals representing all lines of work from hazardous waste collection to yo-yo-ing will have their moment on one of the most coveted soapboxes this week. From Feb. 25 to March 1, TED2013 will draw more than 1,000 attendees who have successfully applied for a highly desirable seat in the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, in California, for the annual event.

Architects, engineers, and planners have long been known to take the TED Talk stage. In 1984, the event’s premiere year, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte forecasted touchscreen interfaces and interactive media. Frank Gehry, FAIA, discussed his growing body of work at the second TED Talk in 1990. The frequency of TED talks has picked up significantly since then, with sister annual conferences TEDActive and TEDGlobal, and numerous spin-offs such as TEDx Talks, which occur in multiple cities and universities year round.

At this year’s conference, themed The Young. The Wise. The Undiscovered., 70-plus speakers from 14 cities around the world will present their ideas for about 12 minutes each, down from the historical 18-minute timeframe. Speakers in the fields of architecture and design include: Leyla Acaroglu, sustainability strategist at Eco Innovators; Yu “Jordy” Fu, a designer who has worked for Future Systems and SOM; Michael Green, who sees wooden skyscrapers as an answer to a more sustainable future; and Alastair Parvin, one of the team members behind WikiHouse, which provides open access construction drawings that can be realized through CNC cutting machines and online collaboration.

To kick of this year’s event, below are five memorable calls to action in architectural design and planning from previous TED events. To help narrow down selections from the more than 1,400 presentations available for free, this selection was limited to talks that occurred at the annual TED conference. For more architectural inspiration, check out talks by: Daniel Libeskind, AIA; lighting designer Rogier van der Heide; Nathaniel Kahn on My Architect; the late Interface CEO Ray Anderson; the late ceramicist Eva Zeisel; and more.

1. Writer and journalist James Howard Kunstler at TED2004 on how architecture caused and can fix suburban sprawl:


2. William McDonough, FAIA, in TED2005 on the Cradle to Cradle design principle for products and systems:


3. Cameron Sinclair, winner of the 2006 TED Prize, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, on the effect designers can have in relief and humanitarian efforts:


4. Majora Carter on renewing urban communities on a limited budget, but unlimited hope in TED2006:


5. In TED2011, British designer Thomas Heatherwick discussed his belief in bio-inspired design, including the Seed Cathedral for the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo: