Citizens & Living

To keep Amsterdam liveable the municipality collaborates with its citizens. On average Amsterdam’s population grows with 10.000 people a year. This small big city has a density of 5065 people per square km, over 180 different nationalities. 19% of the total Dutch GDP is earned in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area. Between 2015 and 2016, the amount of tourists in Amsterdam increased by 7%. To keep Amsterdam’s 162 canals, monumental centre and residential areas liveable, innovative initiatives are required. Share your innovative concepts and ideas here!

Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Abuse of artificial intelligence by the police in the US. More than bias

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The 16th episode of the series Building sustainable cities - The contribution of digital technology reveals what can happen if the power of artificial intelligence is not used in a responsible manner.

The fight against crime in the United States, has been the scene of artificial intelligence’s abuse for years. As will become apparent, this is not only the result of bias. In episode 11, I discussed why artificial intelligence is a fundamentally new way of using computers. Until then, computers were programmed to perform operations such as structuring data and making decisions. In the case of artificial intelligence, they are trained to do so. However, it is still people who design the instructions (algorithms) and are responsible for the outcomes, although the way in which the computer performs its calculations is increasingly becoming a 'black box'.

Applications of artificial intelligence in the police

Experienced detectives are traditionally trained to compare the 'modus operandi' of crimes to track down perpetrators. Due to the labor-intensive nature of the manual implementation, the question soon arose as to whether computers could be of assistance. A first attempt to do so in 2012 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resulted in grouping past crimes into clusters that were likely to have been committed by the same perpetrator(s). When creating the algorithm, the intuition of experienced police officers was the starting point. Sometimes it was possible to predict where and when a burglar might strike, leading to additional surveillance and an arrest.

These first attempts were soon refined and taken up by commercial companies. The two most used techniques that resulted are predictive policing (PredPol) and facial recognition.

In the case of predictive policing, patrols are given directions in which neighborhood or even street they should patrol at a given moment because it has been calculated that the risk of crimes (vandalism, burglary, violence) is then greatest. Anyone who behaves 'suspiciously' risks to be arrested. Facial recognition plays also an important role in this.

Both predictive policing and facial recognition are based on a "learning set" of tens of thousands of "suspicious" individuals. At one point, New York police had a database of 48,000 individuals. 66% of those were black, 31.7% were Latino and only 1% were white. This composition has everything to do with the working method of the police. Although drug use in cities in the US is common in all neighborhoods, policing based on PredPol and similar systems is focused on a few neighborhoods (of color). Then, it is not surprising that most drug-related crimes are retrieved there and, as a result, the composition of the database became even more skewed.

Overcoming bias

In these cases, 'bias' is the cause of the unethical effect of the application of artificial intelligence. Algorithms always reflect the assumptions, views, and values of their creators. They do not predict the future, but make sure that the past is reproduced. This also applies to applications outside the police force. The St. George Hospital Medical School in London has employed disproportionately many white males for at least a decade because the leather set reflected the incumbent staff. The criticized Dutch System Risk Indication System also uses historical data about fines, debts, benefits, education, and integration to search more effectively for people who abuse benefits or allowances. This is not objectionable but should never lead to 'automatic' incrimination without further investigation and the exclusion of less obvious persons.

The simple fact that the police have a disproportionate presence in alleged hotspots and are very keen on any form of suspicious behavior means that the number of confrontations with violent results has increased rapidly. In 2017 alone, police crackdowns in the US resulted in an unprecedented 1,100 casualties, of which only a limited number of whites. In addition, the police have been engaged in racial profiling for decades. Between 2004-2012, the New York Police Department checked more than 4.4 million residents. Most of these checks resulted in no further action. In about 83% of the cases, the person was black or Latino, although the two groups together make up just over half of the population. For many citizens of colour in the US, the police do not represent 'the good', but have become part of a hostile state power.

In New York, in 2017, a municipal provision to regulate the use of artificial intelligence was proposed, the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act (POST). The Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a prominent US civil rights organization, urged the New York City Council to ban the use of data made available because of discriminatory or biased enforcement policies. This wish was granted in June 2019, and this resulted in the number of persons included in the database being reduced from 42,000 to 18,000. It concerned all persons who had been included in the system without concrete suspicion.

San Francisco, Portland, and a range of other cities have gone a few steps further and banned the use of facial recognition technology by police and other public authorities. Experts recognize that the artificial intelligence underlying facial recognition systems is still imprecise, especially when it comes to identifying the non-white population.

The societal roots of crime

Knowledge of how to reduce bias in algorithms has grown, but instead of solving the problem, awareness has grown into a much deeper problem. It is about the causes of crime itself and the realization that the police can never remove them.

Crime and recidivism are associated with inequality, poverty, poor housing, unemployment, use of alcohol and drugs, and untreated mental illness. These are also dominant characteristics of neighborhoods with a lot of crime. As a result, residents of these neighborhoods are unable to lead a decent life. These conditions are stressors that influence the quality of the parent-child relationship too: attachment problems, insufficient parental supervision, including tolerance of alcohol and drugs, lack of discipline or an excess of authoritarian behavior. All in all, these conditions increase the likelihood that young people will be involved in crime, and they diminish the prospect of a successful career in school and elsewhere.

The ultimate measures to reduce crime in the longer term and to improve security are: sufficient income, adequate housing, affordable childcare, especially for 'broken families' and unwed mothers and ample opportunities for girls' education. But also, care for young people who have encountered crime for the first time, to prevent them from making the mistake again.

Beyond bias

This will not solve the problems in the short term. A large proportion of those arrested by the police in the US are addicted to drugs or alcohol, are severely mentally disturbed, have serious problems in their home environment - if any - and have given up hope for a better future. Based on this understanding, the police in Johnson County, Kansas, have been calling for help from mental health professionals for years, rather than handcuffing those arrested right away. This approach has proved successful and caught the attention of the White House during the Obama administration. Lynn Overmann, who works as a senior advisor in the president’s technology office, has therefore started the Data-Driven Justice Initiative. The immediate reason was that the prisons appeared to be crowded by seriously disturbed psychiatric patients. Coincidentally, Johnson County had an integrated data system that stores both crime and health data. In other cities, these are kept in incomparable data silos. Together with the University of Chicago Data Science for Social Good Program, artificial intelligence was used to analyze a database of 127,000 people. The aim was to find out, based on historical data, which of those involved was most likely to be arrested within a month. This is not with the intention of hastening an arrest with predictive techniques, but instead to offer them targeted medical assistance. This program was picked up in several cities and in Miami it resulted in a 40% reduction in arrests and the closing of an entire prison.

What does this example teach? The rise of artificial intelligence caused Wire editor Chris Anderson to call it the end of the theory. He couldn't be more wrong! Theory has never disappeared; at most it has disappeared from the consciousness of those who work with artificial intelligence. In his book The end of policing, Alex Vitale concludes: Unless cities alter the police's core functions and values, use by police of even the most fair and accurate algorithms is likely to enhance discriminatory and unjust outcomes (p. 28). Ben Green adds: The assumption is: we predicted crime here and you send in police. But what if you used data and sent in resources? (The smart enough city, p. 78).

The point is to replace the dominant paradigm of identifying, prosecuting and incarcerating criminals with the paradigm of finding potential offenders in a timely manner and giving them the help, they need. It turns out that it's even cheaper. The need for the use of artificial intelligence is not diminishing, but the training of the computers, including the composition of the training sets, must change significantly. It is therefore recommended that diverse and independent teams design such a training program based on a scientifically based view of the underlying problem and not leaving it to the police itself.

This article is a condensed version of an earlier article The Safe City (September 2019), which you can read by following the link below, supplemented with data from Chapter 4 Machine learning's social and political foundationsfrom Ben Green's book The smart enough city (2020).

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

This week: Start of the third part of the Better cities-series.

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In the first part of the series, I explained why digital technology 'for the good' is a challenge. The second part dealt with ethical criteria behind its responsible use. In the third part I have selected important field that will benefit from the responsible application of digital technology:
16  Abuse of artificial intelligence by the police in the US. More than bias
17  How can digital tools help residents to regain ownership of the city?
18  Will MaaS reduce the use of cars?
19  Digital tools as enablers towards a circular economy
20  Smart grids: where social and digital innovation meet
21  Risks and opportunities of digitization in healthcare
22  Two 100-city missions: Ill-considered leaps forward
23  Epilogue: Beyond the smart city

The link below enables you to open all previous episodes, also in Dutch language.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Simone Magilse, Community advisor/Building impact networks at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

Onderzoeksrapport Facility Sharing in de MRA: Optimale benutting van (kennis) faciliteiten in de regio

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Campussen en kennishubs in de metropoolregio Amsterdam zijn rijk aan onderzoeksfaciliteiten, kennis, testruimtes en geavanceerde apparatuur. Uit de gesprekken met de gemeente Amsterdam en diverse campussen zoals het Amsterdam Science Park en het Amsterdam Life Sciences District komt de aanname naar voren dat veel aanwezige faciliteiten maar voor een klein deel benut worden. Dit terwijl faciliteiten vaak een flinke investering zijn geweest voor bedrijven en kennisinstellingen. Wij zien hier een grote kans voor de MRA. Optimale benutting van faciliteiten kan onnodige investeringen voorkomen, ruimte en grondstoffen besparen en mensen uit verschillende hoeken bij elkaar brengen.

Onder de noemer ‘Project Facility Sharing in de MRA’ hebben wij deze kans verkend. Deze verkenning bestaat uit afgenomen interviews en georganiseerde bijeenkomsten. Deze verkenning is uitgewerkt in het rapport: “Facility sharing: optimale benutting van (kennis) faciliteiten in de regio”

Voor meer informatie kun je mailen naar hello@campus.amsterdam 

ampus Amsterdam is het netwerk dat alle innovatiegebieden, campussen en kennislabs in de metropoolregio aan elkaar verbindt waardoor de kenniseconomie van de regio wordt versterkt.

Simone Magilse's picture #CircularCity
Melchior Kanyemesha, Programmanagement + Energy Lead , posted

Hoe zorgen we er samen voor dat er in de toekomst voldoende drinkwater aanwezig blijft in onze regio?

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Drinkwater is wereldwijd een schaars goed. In Nederland is onze drinkwatervoorziening gelukkig goed geregeld. En toch. Als gevolg van
onze veranderende wereld stapelen de transities op. Zekerheden die we lang voor lief namen worden omgegooid. Onze steden groeien, wat nieuwe kansen brengt, maar ook nieuwe uitdagingen. Dat betekent ook iets voor onze
drinkwatervoorziening. Ons gebruik neemt toe en het aanbod staat onder druk.

Binnen de Provincie Flevoland is men aan het onderzoeken wat er nu al voor nodig is om dit probleem een halt toe te roepen. Momenteel zien we de vraag naar drinkwater stijgen, de drukte in de ondergrond toenemen en door klimaatverandering (denk aan droogte en hete zomers) het watergebruik stijgen. Om voldoende drinkwater van een goede kwaliteit te garanderen moeten we werken aan een systeemverandering. Waterbesparing moet worden gestimuleerd en laagwaardig gebruik van hoogwaardige kwaliteit water moet worden voorkomen.

Het huidige drinkwatergebruik bestaat voor ca. 70% huishoudelijke- en 30% zakelijke gebruikers (regio afhankelijk). Hoe maken we bij deze doelgroepen waterbesparing de norm? En hoe zorgen we ervoor dat de kwaliteit van het water bepalend is voor het gebruik? Dit zijn vraagstukken die in de toekomst steeds relevanter worden, maar ook nú al onze aandacht vragen.

Halverwege maart zal er binnen de Provincie Flevoland een Adviseur Drinkwatertransitie aan de slag gaan die zich met deze vragen bezighoudt.

We vragen jou om hulp!

Samen met de Provincie Flevoland zoeken we daarom alvast de ideeën, ervaringen en het draagvlak van het netwerk op. We zijn op zoek naar actuele kennis over dit onderwerp en mogelijke oplossingen. Daarnaast zijn we ook specifiek geïnteresseerd in ideeën om nu al urgentie te creëren voor dit onderwerp, ondanks dat het mogelijk pas in de toekomst gaat spelen.

Ben jij een expert op het thema, of heb jij relevante ideeën en ervaringen uit andere onderwerpen? Laat je reactie achter in de comments!

Melchior Kanyemesha's picture #CircularCity
Anonymous posted

Webinar: Developer Retention: Beyond compensation

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On average, software developers tend to stay in a role for less than 2 years, with the tech industry having the highest talent turnover than any other industry. The impact of lost productivity, delayed digital initiatives and time to replace developers run into the billions globally.

On 3 March, we'll be chatting with Jieke Pan, CTO EMEA & APAC at Mobiquity, about:

👉 How to connect customer pain points to individual engineering outputs, resulting in more meaningful and fulfilling work
👉 Why psychological safety and boundaries are key to a developer’s experience at work
👉 A proactive approach to structured and unstructured growth for your engineers

Online event on Mar 3rd
Marije Poel, Programma manager at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

De stad als professie

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Typisch stedelijke vraagstukken worden steeds complexer en vragen om veelzijdige en snel-schakelende professionals die over hun expertise heen succesvol kunnen samenwerken. Bestaat er ondanks alle verschillen een gedeelde identiteit in stedelijk werken? Wat maakt (toekomstig) professionals stadsbekwaam? En – net zo belangrijk – welke (woon)ruimte en waardering biedt de stad eigenlijk aan haar professionals?

Tijdens de talkshow 'De Stad als Professie’ onderzoeken we deze dynamiek tussen stad en professional. Door middel van tafelgesprekken, discussies en prikkelende sprekers duiken we in hedendaagse kwesties rondom het werken in de stad en benoemen we oplossingsrichtingen. Dit alles aan de vooravond van de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.

Marije Poel's picture Online event on Oct 3rd
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

City deals: Shaping collaboration between cities

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The 15th episode of the Better cities - The contribution of digital technology- series is about collaboration between Dutch cities within the City Deals in the Agenda stad en regio project.

Over the past years, the interest Dutch municipalities in digitization at urban level has increased, partly because of the initiating role of the VNG, G40, the Future City Foundation and forerunners such as Apeldoorn, Helmond, and Zwolle as well. Initially, these were small-scale and isolated projects. In this post, I'll discuss two projects that aim at scaling through collaboration.

A mission-driven approach to public sector projects

In her new book, Mission Economy, Mariana Mazzucato advocates a mission-driven approach to public sector projects at the local level in the way that a man was put on the moon. She refers at large-scale projects with a high degree of complexity, such as the energy transition, the construction of affordable housing, the well-being of the poor part of the population and the conservation of nature.

What is a mission-driven approach? At first, it includes an ambitious vision, followed by breaking down silos within the governmental organization, collaboration within the quadruple helix, and cooperation between higher and lower governments.

A mission-driven approach is appropriate for the major transitions facing the world and digitization as a part of these. The following pertains to a couple of projects that aim at such an approach. The first, Agenda city and region has been running for some time and will be dealt with extensively. The other is initiated by G40 will be discussed briefly.

Agenda stad and City deals

In Agenda city and region, cities, governments at different levels, companies, and organizations, including the VNG, G4, G40 and Platform31, work together to drive innovation in cities. The mission is summarized in SDG 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The most important instrument are City Deals: collaborative ventures around a themes.

The first City Deals started in 2016, there are now 27, about half of which have been completed, but six new ones are about to start. 125 municipalities, 8 provinces, 9 ministries, 10 other government agencies, 5 water boards, more than 100 companies, 30 knowledge institutions and more than 20 other partnerships are involved. There are now 14 partnerships with municipalities outside the Netherlands.

Examples of City Deals are: Working and doing business across borders, cleantech, food on the urban agenda, local resilience against cybercrime, inner city building, the inclusive city, and smart city, that's how you do it. The latter will be discussed below.

Within a City Deal, the parties involved work together in their own way on concrete products, ranging from legislation to policy instruments. The main principles are:
- Formulating an ambition and a strategy.
- Enabling scaling through cooperation between and/or within (urban) regions.
- Realizing collaboration between public and private parties, including the central government
- Innovating by realizing new forms of problem-solving.
- Scaling up, also across national borders.

City Deals also work together and new deals are created from among them, such as ‘Smart customization', a new City Deal that arises from the existing City Deals 'Simple customization' and 'Smart city, that is how you do it'. If I had to imagine how a moonshot works, which I referred to in the introduction of this article, then Agenda city and region could be a good example.

City deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it'

The goal of this City Deal, as we read in the annual report, is to use digitization to tackle the major challenges facing Europe and the Netherlands, such as poverty, social cohesion, and insecurity, and to achieve a society in which everyone can live in freedom. 60 parties are now involved in this City Deal.

The aim is to change at least 12 processes by which regions, cities and towns are designed, organized, managed, and governed, and to make the most of the opportunities offered by digitization. The starting point is the existing practice and aimed at matching city’s demands.

The City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', has 14 working groups. Each of those have chosen which a process to tackle, on the understanding that three municipalities must be prepared to test the results and can be scaled eventually. The City Deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it' has been underway for almost two years now, and the processes to be tackled have crystallized. In a few cases prototypes are ready, most are under development. Below is a brief description of the situation on November 15th, 2021. A lively description of some participants’ experience can be read in ROMmagazine, volume 39, no. 11.

1. Open urban data platform
This project is developing a procedure for tendering an open data platform, which is shareable and scalable, in which privacy and data autonomy are guaranteed and that offers sufficient precautions for cybersecurity. The result will be a step-by-step plan, in which technical questions (what it will looks like), legal questions (who is the owner) and financial questions (funding) are discussed.

2. Cookbook for effective data strategy
This project develops a procedure for the acquisition and storage of data. A 'data cookbook' has been developed that supports the collection, storage, and application of data. It offers an 11-step plan from the formulation of a measurable questions to the interpretation of the measurement results. It accentuates the importance to make explicit the assumptions behind the selection of data. The usability of the steps is tested in practice. A first concept can be found here.

3. Smart initiatives test
The aim of this project is to allow initiators (citizens, companies) to make optimal use of available public data, including those that will be provided by the DSO (digitaal stelsel omgevingswet). The DSO will provide information about which rules apply at a specific location and ultimately also about the quality of the physical living environment itself. Ideally, the ‘smart initiatives test’ will collect and optimize all data needed for a plan. The project group is currently investigating which types of (geo) data users need most ('usercases').

4. Sensor data and privacy
The aim of the project is to develop a tool that allows a municipality to tender for the installation of sensors that exactly match the type of data that will be collected and that consider ethical questions and GDPR rules.

5. Design of the new city
The growing availability of various types of (real-time) data, for example about air quality and noise pollution) has implications for the way in which cities and neighborhoods are developed. The working group is developing a canvas that functions as a ‘translator' of available data. The starting point for its development was a matrix with as inputs the phases of the design process (initiative, design and realization phase) and the area type (urban, Randstad and suburban area). This matrix must indicate which data is needed at what time. The usability will be tested through pilots.

6. Everyone (and everything) a sensor
Citizen measurement initiatives (via telephones and with sensors attached to bicycles, cars, and homes) have a double goal: to increase citizen’s involvement and to improve the insight into living environment of those who execute the measurement. It can also contribute to behavioral change, especially if the measurements match the needs of residents and they are also involved in the interpretation of the results. The working group is striving for a roadmap based on several user cases.

7. Local measurement: comparing projects
Measuring data locally – as was done in the previous project – may be redundant if data from elsewhere is available. In that case, comparability is required with data being searched for and standardization is needed to enable such a comparison. However, standardization can lead to mistrust and remove the incentive for resident groups to get started themselves. Ultimately, the working group opts for the development of a self-service portal, which will be developed together with the Healthy Urban Living Data and Knowledge Hub. Resident groups can then choose for themselves to participate in a standardized project that reads their measurement results directly or for a 'do-it-yourself' solution. A manual will be written for this last option.

Both projects are being further developed in collaboration with Eurocities, a network of 190 cities in 38 countries, under the name CitiMeasure - using citizen measurement to create smart, sustainable and inclusive cities.

8. Smart mobility: Towards a safe and sustainable city
Digitization in traffic has already taken off, for example by intelligent traffic systems (IVRIs), but usually the existing situation, for example private use of cars, is the starting point. The question is how to connect to the pursuit of a better quality of life. To this end, the working group has chosen three themes: better accessibility for emergency services, shared mobility, and city logistics.
A step-by-step plan is being developed for emergency services, with which municipalities can realize the necessary facilities to always priorize emergency vehicles – and possibly other target groups as well.
If everyone were to travel with the most suitable means of transport at that time (varying from walking, (shared) bicycle or scooter, public transport to (shared) car, private car use would decrease considerably and thus improve the quality of city live. Additionally, the working group is developing a 'map' to encourage shared mobility, which provides answers to all related questions.
Developments in city logistics are already taking place via other routes. Therefore, the contribution of the working group in this regard will be limited.

9. A business model for the smart city
New forms of collaboration between governments, the business community, knowledge institutions and citizens can result in new 'values' for areas, but also to the need to allocate costs and benefits in a different way. A new 'business model' may then be necessary. To this end, the working group is investigating the consequences for companies and organizations of entering partnerships for the successful development of products and services. This compared to more traditional client/contractor relationships.

10 Ethical Boards
Within the City Deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it', a rule is that digital instruments to be developed always comply with ethical principles. The implications of such principles are often situational. That is why municipalities are setting up an 'ethical board', which includes experts and residents. To support its work, the committee wants to create a knowledge platform that informs which ethical principles or tools suit best for different digitization projects.

11 Model Acquisition
Local authorities want to regulate the use of digital tools such as sensors in public spaces. Anita Nijboer, who works as a lawyer at Kennedy Van der Laan, who is also a partner of the City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', has drawn up a model regulation for this purpose, which has already been tested in Rotterdam and Helmond. The most important learning effect is that departments within a municipality have fundamentally different view of the way in which these types of questions should be legally framed. In response to this, the working group is examining the question of whether a model regulation is an appropriate answer to obtaining consent for the use of digital tools.

12 Dealing with crowds in the city
Measuring (too large) crowds in parts of the city was a problem long before corona times. The aim is to develop a digital model ('digital twin') of the city - a so-called crowd safety manager - that provides real-time insight into pedestrian flows and concentrations. Such a model must also be able to communicate with people in the city. A prototype of a dashboard, developed by partner company Argaleo, is now being used in 's-Hertogenbosch, Breda and The Hague. This instrument does not use any personal data. It is being further developed at European level with external subsidies.

The instruments to be developed and existing instruments have been brought together via a website, the Toolbox. Other City Deals also develop knowledge, which is far from being systematically documented. That is why the best way to distribute this knowledge is investigated together with the Knowledge Lab for Urbanism.

G40: Smart sustainable urbanization

In March 2021, G40, the umbrella organization of 40 medium-sized municipalities, submitted a project proposal to promote digitalization and thus also create opportunities to the business community.

The project plan rejects the current approach of 'smart urbanization' and the realization of 'main social tasks'. Decentralization, broadening of tasks, narrowing of implementation funds and a fragmented central government policy have led to an impeding control gap and financing deficit in municipalities. Instead, a bundled approach is wanted, led by representatives of municipalities and central government, and the latter is being asked to invest € 1 billion.

When studying this plan, I was surprised by the absence of any reference to the activities of Agenda city and regioand the City Deals. Instead, one wonders whether Agenda city and region is the subject of criticism of the fragmented approach and G40 wants to get rid of it.
The strength of Agenda city and region is the cross connections between urban projects of all kinds, the involvement of citizens and intermunicipal cooperation. This is something to cherish.

In my opinion, G40 would be better off by ushering in a new phase of Agenda city and region, characterized by economies of scale and acceleration of the findings so far. The aims of this new phase could be consolidation of the cohesion between the themes of the individual City Deals within the framework of the major transitions facing the Netherlands. The theme of digitization thrives best in this context. After all, the ultimate value of digitization lies in the contribution to the energy transition, the reduction of traffic nuisance and the growth of a circular economy, to name a few examples. However, that requires a different plan.

In the meantime, I hope that in the foreseeable future we will be able to see the results of the working groups of the City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', together with those of the other 'Deals'.

Follow the link below to find one of the previous episodes or see which episodes are next, and this one for the Dutch version.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Job advert: Institute Director

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Are you passionate about research and open knowledge?

If so, we're looking for a dynamic Director to lead our non-profit research entity, Metabolic Institute. You'd be guiding a fantastic team, shaping the strategy, and building strong partnerships.

Find out more about the vacancy and apply now OR should you know someone who qualifies, please do share it with them.

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Pieter de Jong, Project Manager , posted

Compete in the #WaterChallenge / deadline April 10

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UPDATE: MARCH 17
There is still time to participate in the #Waterchallenge. The current timeline is:
• March 30, 11:00-12:00 (UTC+1): Q&A session 2
• April 10: deadline contributions
• April 19, 14:00-17:00 (UTC+1): The three best scoring contributions will present for the jury
_________

What if you could predict your house being flooded, so you can take measures to prevent this?

Does this seem far-fetched? It is not.

Most of the data to be able to do this is readily available, however most people are not aware and the data is sometimes difficult to understand. Take on the SCOREwater* #WaterChallenge and make this and other important water data accessible for everyone.

Participation in the #WaterChallenge  is open to all: students, researchers, professionals, citizens etc. You can join this challenge as an individual or as a team of maximum 4.

Read more on the challenge website: https://www.scorewater.eu/waterchallenge
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This challenge is connected to the EU-funded (Horizon 2020) research and innovation project SCOREwater. It focusses on enhancing the resilience of cities against climate change and urbanisation by enabling a water smart society. The project develops smart (sensor based) solutions in three different cities, Amersfoort (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain) and Göteborg (Sweden). The overarching vision is to link the physical and digital world for city water management solutions.

Pieter de Jong's picture #Citizens&Living
Jet van Eeghen, Online communication advisor at Amsterdam Economic Board, posted

AMdEX at MozFest 2022

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Should data be accessible to anyone? AMdEX is committed to a fair data economy, where data owners can securely share their data, while remaining in control of those data. At MozFest - a gathering for, by and about people who love the internet - AMdEX stimulates discussions about data commons: the premise that your data are not automatically available, unless you gave your permission.

As individuals and organizations we often give away our data – without even realizing it. Large tech parties collect, process and use data to make a profit.

Who knows of ways to protect data against tech parties? What conditions would you like to set before sharing your personal data? Or competitively sensitive information? Or your research data? We will discuss such questions during this meetup. Join us and make yourself heard!

This event is held in English.

Jet van Eeghen's picture Meet-up on Mar 11th
Cornelia Dinca, International Liaison at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Invitation to co-create European transition pathways for more resilient, greener and digital industrial ecosystems

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One of the key priorities of the European Commission is to support the twin transition to a green and digital economy.  One way the Commission is shaping this transition is by co-creating transition pathways for more resilient, green and digital industrial ecosystems, across different sectors.

Within the scope of the Intelligent Cities Challenge, Amsterdam Region contributed to a stakeholder consultation session on 9 February 2022. Mirko van Vliet, Amsterdam Economic Board  Strategic Advisor shared the region’s experience using future scenarios as a tool for assessing developments in inherently unpredictable and complex systems. In this approach, scenarios are not forecasts but alternative images of how the future can unfold. The approach can be used to stimulate discussion and action around key opportunities, threats, driving forces and no regret measures to achieve a desired vision.

Beyond visions, achieving the digital and green transition requires concrete initiatives. Mirko shared the example of LEAP,  a coalition of the willing that aims to speed up the transition to a sustainable digital infrastructure by deploying and accelerating existing and new technologies.  One of the topics explored within LEAP is the possibility of shifting away from hyper-scale, monolithic data-centers to more flexible, distributed and disaggregated infrastructures.  LEAP exemplifies Amsterdam Economic Board's approach to building a robust ecosystem through multi-stakeholder collaboration in order to transition the data-center and digital infrastructure value chains.

Would you like to help shape the transition pathways for more resilient, greener and digital industrial ecosystems?  The Commission is inviting all interested stakeholders to co-create transition pathways for three sectors / ecosystems:

Based on the results of these consultations, the Commission will organise further meetings with stakeholders to finalise the various pathways in 2022.

For more information visit: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/consultations_en

Cornelia Dinca's picture #Citizens&Living
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

A closer look at Amsterdam's digitization agenda

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A link to a larger reproduction is here.

In the 14th episode of the Better cities - The contribution of digital technology-series, I investigate the digitization policy of the municipality of Amsterdam based on the guidelines and ethical principles formulated earlier.

Digitalization policy

25 years ago, Amsterdam Digital City was a frontrunner in access to public internet. Now the city wants to lead the way as a free, inclusive, and creative digital city. How the municipality wants to do this is described for the first time in the memorandum A digital city for and by everyone (2019). A year later in the Digital City Agenda (2020), the goals have been reformulated into three spearheads: (1) responsible use of data and technology (2) combating digital inequality and (3) the accessibility of services. These three spearheads resulted in a series of concrete activities, of which a first evaluation was submitted to the municipal council in 2021. 'Protecting digital rights' has been added to the three spearheads. The illustration above is mentioning the four spearheads and the 22 activities.

This article is looking closer at Amsterdam’s digitalization policy by examining how it relates to the guidelines and ethical principles for digitization, which I compiled in the 9th edition. Because of the overlap, I have merged these into one list (see HERE), named Principles for socially responsible digitization policy. This list contains eight principles, each accompanied by a non-exhaustive set of guidelines. For each of these principles, I examine what Amsterdam has achieved until now. The numbers after the principles below refer to one or more of the 22 activities mentioned above. I add an example from outside Amsterdam to each principle.

1. Embedding (1, 4)

The digital agenda is part of a democratically established and coherent urban agenda.
• The Municipality of Amsterdam is building a broad knowledge network in the field of responsible use of data and digital technology together with AMS Institute, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Waag Society, and others. This network will conduct research into the impact of technology on the city.

In 2017, the Foresight Lublin 2050 project was launched in the Polish city of Lublin to define opportunities and threats related to socio-economic, environmental, and technological development. Its mission is that decisions about technology should be made based on the real needs of residents and should be involved in the design and implementation of policies. As part of the democratic nature of decision-making in Lublin, residents determine the allocation of budget resources.

2. Equality, inclusiveness, and social impact (16, 17, 19, 20)

Making information and communication technology accessible to everyone
• The Municipality of Amsterdam is making public services accessible, understandable, and usable for everyone, online and offline. Research among low-literate target groups has provided clues to reach these goals.
• The Online Implementation Agenda provides information about current policy (volg.amsterdam.nl). Mijn Amsterdamprovides information about neighborhood-level projects and opportunities to participate in them.
• Vulnerable citizens will find hardware to use the Internet in several places and free Wi-Fi is also available. Several thousand laptops have been distributed.
• The development of digital skills is supported together with social partners. For example, a 'train-the-trainer' program has been carried out with Cybersoek and the Public Library will introduce all visitors in the coming years to the themes of data literacy and digital freedom.
• Through the partnership with TechConnect 50,000 extra people from underrepresented groups are made aware of the technology labor market.
• The municipality considers the roll-out of the 5G network desirable but is following critical research into the health risks of this network. The 5G Field lab is used to study the applications of 5G and their importance for residents.

Barcelona and Madrid are forerunners regarding of digital participation, thanks to their resp. networks Decide and Decide Madrid. Residents use these networks on a large scale as a source of information and to participate in discussions and (advisory) voting. Much of what the city council discusses came up through these forums.

3. Justice (2, 15, 20)

Prevent that the application of digital systems results in concentration and abuse of power.
• The Amsterdam Intelligence Agenda sets conditions for algorithms to prevent discrimination. Partly in this context, several algorithms will be audited annually, and algorithms will be placed in a register.
• The Civic AI Lab will explore the (unintended) implications of algorithms related to unequal treatment and discrimination.
• An exploration of the best way to provide low-threshold access has been launched for the domains of care and education.

With its 116-page Strategy for the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI), New York focuses on using AI to better serve residents, building AI know-how within government, modernizing data infrastructure, city policy on AI, developing partnerships with external organizations and promoting equal opportunities.

4. Human Dignity (20)

Prevent technology from alienating people from their unique qualities and instead ensure that it stimulates their fulfillment.
• The 'Modere overheid’ program investigates how digitization can support different domains of the municipal organization. Examples are better matching of job seekers and work, helping 18-year-olds manage their finances, (early) identification of people with debts, providing information about cleaning and management of the city.

The Database of ‘Affordable Housing Listings, Information, and Applications’ allows San Francisco residents to search the entire range of affordable housing and express their interest through a simple, multi-lingual form. A candidate resident is selected from the submitted applications by drawing lots, who then submits a more detailed application. The procedure has been developed entirely in open-source software and other cities are joining this initiative.

5. Autonomy and privacy (3, 5, 6, 14, 15)

Recognition of human autonomy and the right to reside and move in public space without being observed digitally
• The municipality has established a data strategy that gives residents more control over their own data.
• The municipality works with other municipalities on data minimization via the IRMA app. Via this app residents can pass on damage reports. In the future, this app can form the basis for making available a digital identity to all citizens.
• The Responsible Sensing Lab investigates privacy-friendly methods to collect data in a responsible way using sensing. The mmWave sensor, for example, measures crowds without collecting personal data.
• A register maps installed sensors. A sensor regulation will make it mandatory to register sensors in the public space.

To protect residents' privacy, Seattle's government has taken a series of steps that make the city an undisputed frontrunner in this regard. The city has appointed a chief privacy officer, established a set of guiding privacy principles, and established a privacy advisory committee composed of both citizens and government officials. An important part is the implementation of a privacy impact assessment every time the municipality develops a new project in which personal data is collected.

6. Open data, open software, and interoperability (9, 13, 18)

Data architecture, including standards, agreements and norms aimed at reusing data, programs and technology and preventing lock-in.
• The municipal policy regarding open data is 'open, unless. The urban platform data.amsterdam.nl attracts 2500 unique visitors per day.
• The municipality's sourcing and open-source strategy establishes the reuse of existing resources, the use of standards and the availability of software developed by the municipality.
• Together with knowledge institutions and companies, the municipality is developing the Amsterdam Data Exchange, in which the parties involved regulate which data they exchange. Agreements have been made with the Central Dutch Statistics Office (CBS) about making data available.
• The Tada principles are the starting points for responsible data use. They regulate the authority of the users and determine the use of data and that it is open and transparent. It is envisaged that other Amsterdam institutions and companies will also adopt these principles.
• Residents can view their personal data via My Amsterdam. This also applies to entrepreneurs.

To support startups, the Seoul City Council has developed My Neighborhood Analysis, a tool that contains an unprecedented amount of commercial information. This includes datasets from Seoul's entire business ecosystem, such as business licenses, ownership information, rental rates, and transportation ticket data. When users enter information about the proposed business type, they get an overview of business performance in the neighborhood to be explored and an indication of the expected level of risk for a new business. Users can select peer companies to understand their historical performance.

7. Safety (7, 9)

Preventing and combating internet crime and limiting its consequences.
• The municipality has drawn up a Digital Safety Agenda, partly aimed at keeping vital infrastructure in operation.

The municipality of The Hague has developed an IoT security monitor together with Cybersprint. It provides a real-time overview of all connected IoT devices within the city limits with detailed information such as their whereabouts and level of risk. The monitor has so far identified 3100 unsafe devices in The Hague. Usually, insecure devices don't use password or default passwords or outdated software.

8. Operational and Financial Sustainability (12, 20, 21)

Guaranteeing a reliable, robust Internet
• The municipality is in permanent consultation with the Internet and telephone providers to guarantee the stability of the networks.

Rolling out the fiber digital infrastructure accounts for 90% of the total cost. A "Dig Once" policy aims to reduce these costs through collaboration with stakeholders. In the case of new construction, the aim is to carry out all cable and pipeline work in one go, preferably by constructing a small, easily accessible tunnel under the sidewalk or street. This considerably increases the operational reliability of all (digital) facilities. With existing buildings, all maintenance and replacement work should be carried out in one go too.

Challenges

As can be expected, various bottlenecks arise in the implementation of the digital policy in Amsterdam. After all, this is a fast process involving many parties and interests, while technological developments are rapid. A lot of work still must be done in several areas gain support, both within the municipal apparatus, and with companies, organizations and inhabitants. This includes the Tada principles, compliance with the municipal sourcing strategy, the 'open unless' policy and the data minimization policy. There is also work to be done to develop a reliable digital infrastructure and to counteract (unintended) effects when using artificial intelligence. Increasing digital self-reliance and creating the preconditions for all residents to participate digitally requires structural embedding and financing.

Without doubt, the municipality of Amsterdam is energetically digitizing in a responsible manner. The city has a clear picture of the problems it faces and the direction of their solution. For me, as an outside-observer, it is less clear when, in the opinion of the municipality, the policy has been successfully implemented. Actions are taking place regarding each of the eight principles that I have drawn up, but they are not yet a coherent whole. This also applies to other cities too, but some of them are more advanced in certain areas, such as the digital participation of residents of Barcelona, Madrid, Lublin, the privacy policy of Seattle, the provision of information in Seoul and the ethically responsible use of AI in New York. Milou Jansen coordinator of the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights says about this strategy: New York's AI Strategy is a bold and inspiring example of how digital rights can find its way into the operationalization of AI policies. It shows the way forward to many other cities around the globe who likewise support an approach grounded in digital rights.

In my opinion, the municipality of Amsterdam has made great strides in the field of privacy (5) and open data (6). The biggest challenges are in the following areas (the numbers refer to the principles formulated by me):
• Embedding of the digitization policy in the other policy areas (1).
• Availability of Internet, computers, and digital skills for vulnerable groups (2).
• Use of digital means to increase the participation of the population in policy development and formulation (2).
• Conditions of workers in the gig economy (3).
• Oversight of the AI systems that make autonomous judgments about people (4).
• Fight against cybercrime (7).
• Future-proof infrastructure (8).

In the next episode I will shift the focus to digitizing activities of other Dutch municipalities.

The link below opens a preliminary overview of the already published and upcoming articles in the series Better cities: the contribution of digital technology. Click HERE for the Dutch version.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Zéger Nieuweboer, Founder / Teacher at Learning is growing.nl, posted

YIMBY empowers green citizen

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YIMBY Arnhem! is a bottom-up movement aiming at small scale food growing in the city of Arnhem (NL). The 10 ten years of green YIMBY Arnhem! experience shows the fun and cooperation of growing food in the city. The YIMBY experience also shows that in time small initiatives grow to major results in empowering green people in the city. Contact zeger.nieuweboer@gmail.com for additional information.

Zéger Nieuweboer's picture #Citizens&Living
Zoë Spaaij, Project manager , posted

Talkshow: 50 jaar ‘Grenzen aan de groei’ – Wat gaan we de komende 50 jaar doen?

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Op 2 maart is het 50 jaar geleden dat het rapport ‘Grenzen aan de groei’ van de club van Rome verscheen. Het rapport schetste het scenario dat als de westerse maatschappij doorging met de consumptiemaatschappij, een immense catastrofe het gevolg zou zijn. Het rapport werd de aanjager van de milieubeweging van de jaren tachtig en lijkt met de huidige klimaatverandering en biodiversiteitscrisishelaas relevanter dan ooit.

Wat kunnen we, anno 2022, leren van het rapport? Wat is er de afgelopen jaren al wel gedaan en wat moeten we nog doen? Hoe kunnen we vergroening, digitalisering en een circulaire economie inzetten om het tij te keren?
Om deze vragen te beantwoorden en een blik in het verleden en heden te werpen slaan Future City Foundation, Stichting Steenbreek en de SKBN de handen ineen tijdens een online talkshow op 2 maart van 10.00 – 11.00 uur. Mediapartner van dit Webinar is Stadszaken.nl.

Datum: 2 maart, van 10.00 – 11.00 uur
Locatie: Online talkshow onder leiding van Jan-Willem Wesselink
Kosten: Gratis

In het rapport lees je de alarmerende boodschap: “De mensheid kan niet blijven doorgaan zich met toenemende snelheid te vermenigvuldigen en materiële vooruitgang als hoofddoel te beschouwen, zonder daarbij in moeilijkheden te komen. (…) Dat betekent dat we de keuze hebben tussen nieuwe doelstellingen zoeken teneinde onze toekomst in eigen handen te nemen, of ons onderwerpen aan de onvermijdelijk wredere gevolgen van ongecontroleerde groei.”

Welke nieuwe doelstellingen kunnen we nu zoeken om ervoor te zorgen dat we onze toekomst en die van onze kinderen in eigen hand nemen? Daarover gaan we met drie experts (namen volgen z.s.m.) in gesprek.

Wilt u meer weten en meepraten?

Meld u aan

Over de Future City Foundation
De Future City Foundation is een ‘movement of communities’ die zich bezighouden met digitalisering en technologisering van regio’s, steden en dorpen. Wij verbinden professionals bij gemeenten, bedrijven en andere organisaties met elkaar om samen van die regio’s, steden en dorpen slimme gemeenschappen te maken met een gezonder leefomgeving, zoals bedoeld in Sustainable Development Goals van de Verenigde Naties en conform onze Europese democratische waarden.

Over Stichting Steenbreek
Stichting Steenbreek is een kennis- en netwerkorganisatie en biedt ondersteuning bij het duurzaam vergroenen van onze leefomgeving. De Steenbreekvisie is dat het besef dat groen goed is voor biodiversiteit, klimaatadaptatie en een fijne, aantrekkelijke leefomgeving gemeengoed wordt. En dat iedereen in Nederland, van bewoner tot bestuurder, hiernaar handelt. Bekijk de website

Over SKBN
De Stichting Kennisalliantie Bedrijventerreinen Nederland (SKBN) is al tien jaar de landelijke kennisalliantie voor de (her)ontwikkeling van toekomstbestendige bedrijventerreinen en andere werklocaties. Bekijk de website

Over Stadszaken.nl
Stadszaken.nl informeert stedelijk professionals en RO-ers over ontwikkelingen in het vakgebied met dagelijks nieuws, achtergronden, tools, inspiratie en events. Dat doen we binnen de thema’s die er nu toe doen, namelijk economie, ruimte, circulaire economie, mensen en smart cities. Stadszaken.nl publiceert iedere werkdag actuele content en daarnaast minimaal drie keer per week achtergrond-, opinie- en/ of how-to-verhalen. Dat doen we samen met een netwerk van partners en een professionele redactie, ieder met zijn eigen specialiteit. Bekijk de website

Meld u aan

Online event on Mar 2nd
Zoë Spaaij, Project manager , posted

Waarom de slimme stad een must have is?

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Daarover gaan we in gesprek met de opdrachtgevers en onderzoekers van het Ecorys rapport: Maatschappelijke impact van Slimme en Duurzame verstedelijking.

Het afgelopen jaar verschenen er tal van rapporten over digitalisering en technologisering. Maar wat zijn de vervolgstappen? Welke lessen kunnen we trekken voor de slimme stad? Welke ideeën kunnen ons gaan inspireren in dit nieuwe smartcityjaar?

Dit soort gesprekken voer je normaal gesproken als je elkaar tegenkomt tijdens een nieuwjaarsborrel, een congres of een andere netwerkbijeenkomst. Helaas kan dit nu even niet fysiek, maar gelukkig laat het digitale ons niet in de steek. Zo kunnen we toch met elkaar nieuwe kennis delen en verspreiden.

Daarom is de Future City Foundation op zoek gegaan naar de makers en bedenkers dit rapport. We vragen aan Jessica Dirks, Walter Hulsker (onderzoekers van Ecorys), Noor van den Brink en Caspar de Jonge (ministerie van IenW) wat er volgens hen zwaar ingezet moet worden op slimme en duurzame verstedelijking.

Datum: 24 februari, 16.00 – 17.00 uur.
Kosten: Gratis

MELD U NU AAN
Uit het rapport van Ecorys in opdracht van het ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat blijkt dat het effectief combineren en inzetten van smartcityprojecten noodzakelijke oplossingen zijn voor het ruimtegebrek in Nederland. En dat slim en binnenstedelijk bouwen niet alleen leidt tot meer leefbare steden, maar ook tot andere positieve effecten leiden, die financieel en maatschappelijk meer opleveren dan traditioneel bouwen aan de randen van steden.

Daarover gaan op donderdag 24 februari in gesprek met de onderzoekers van Ecorys:
Wilt u weten wat de meerwaarde van smartcityprojecten is? En waarom ze niet langer ‘leuk om te hebben’, maar ‘noodzakelijk’ zijn? Meld u dan nu aan!

MELD U NU AAN
Meer weten?
Wilt u zich alvast inlezen? Lees dan hier het Ecorys rapport.

Online event on Feb 24th
Beth Njeri, Digital Communications Manager at Metabolic, posted

Living Labs

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Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live in a fully circular and sustainable city?

Around the world, cities are testing out real-life solutions to urban challenges in small open innovation ecosystems that allow them to demonstrate circular principles in action.

Learn more about how cities are embracing experimentation.

#myfuturecity #sustainablecities #rethinkingcities

Beth Njeri's picture #CircularCity
Ioannis Ioannidis, Entrepreneurship Program Associate at AMS Institute, posted

AMS Startup Booster 2022 - Open call for applications

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The AMS Startup Booster is a business idea development and validation program hosted by AMS Institute, aiming to help aspiring entrepreneurs turn their gut feeling into a business. The entrepreneurs are expected to pursue an impact-driven startup in the field of urban tech.

When:
| Applications should be submitted no later than March 20th |

The program will then start in April and run until June, lasting over 3-months. The format will be hybrid, mainly digital, and where possible live at the AMS Institute (Marineterrein, Amsterdam). The program is most effective when all teams are fully committed so during the aforementioned time period there is a minimum requirement of 16 hours per week for each member.

Program:
AMS Startup Booster's core consists of 6 workshops focusing on customer discovery and problem-solution fit. During these workshops, the following topics will be addressed:

  • Team fit
  • Market segmentation & Customer personas
  • Value Proposition & Business Model Canvas
  • Hypotheses testing & Experiment design
  • Pitching

In addition, a series of complementary masterclasses, peer-to-peer discussions and coaching sessions will be provided to the selected startups. We will close off with a DEMO DAY where the teams will get to showcase their business ideas and MVPs to a panel of experts and entrepreneurs.

Prizes:
For the 2 winning teams, AMS Startup Booster will offer in-kind prizes of 3K euros worth, which will include the following elements:

  • Ongoing mentoring by business development experts
  • A dedicated office/working space for the next 5 months
  • Business promotion & exposure
  • Access to a makerspace and prototyping experts
  • Designing a real-life experiment in a living lab to further test the business idea
  • Access to a large ecosystem of academics, city officials, private and public organizations.

In addition, connections with other programs and potential investors will be made.

For whom?
We are looking for ambitious students, researchers, and young professionals who have an awesome business idea that could impact city live and solve metropolitan challenges. Please note we are looking for teams not a single founder.

Registration:
apply for the AMS Startup Booster via this form. Applications should be submitted no later than March 20th.

Ioannis Ioannidis's picture #SmartCityAcademy
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

13. Ethical Principles and Applications of Digital Technology: Immersive Technology, Blockchain and Platforms

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In the 13th episode of the Better cities -The contribution of digital technology-series I will continue the description of applications of digital technology and their evaluation based on relevant ethical principles treated in episode 9. Episode 12 discussed: (1) Internet of Things, (2) robotics, and (3) biometrics. Below, I will cover (4) Immersive technology (augmented and virtual reality), (5) blockchain and (6) platforms. By way of conclusion, I return to the implications of all these applications for governance.
The ethical principles mentioned in chapter 9 are: privacy, autonomy, security, control, human dignity, justice, and power relations.

4. Immersive technology (augmented and virtual reality)

Augmented reality adds information to our perception. The oldest examples are messages that pilots of super-fast fighter planes could read on their glasses, so that they eyes without interruption could follow their "target". Its most popular application is the game Pokémon Go. Additional information via the smartphone screen is also often available when visiting 'places of interest'. The infamous Google Glasses were an excellent tool for this purpose but due to the obvious risk of privacy violations their application soon came to an end. This is unfortunate for certain groups, for example the hearing impaired.
Virtual reality goes much further by replacing our sensory perception by images of an artificial world. This requires a special helmet, such as the oculus rift. Applications mainly find their way through gaming. But it is also possible to show the interior of a house in three dimensions or to take a virtual walk through a neighborhood that is yet to be built.

A primitive form of virtual reality was Second live, in which the screen gave access to an alternative reality, in which your avatar communicates with others’. That could go a long way, like someone who reported being raped by a fellow avatar. Nowadays, the capabilities of augmented reality are expanding rapidly. Think of a virtual space where the user meets others to converse, listen, or to do whatever.

Metaverse
Augmented reality takes you to the metaverse, which was first described by Neil Stephenson in his dystopian book Snow Crash in 1992. As the power of computers grew, the idea of the metaverse gained new impetus and recently Marc Zuckerberg announced that his new company Meta Platforms will gradually turn Facebook into a fully digital world. This immerses the users in the most diverse experiences, which they partly evoke themselves, such as communicating with other avatars, attending a concert, going to the disco, and getting acquainted with strangers and of course going to shops, because it remains a medium to make money.
Only recently, Microsoft has also announced that it would bring its operating system (Windows), web servers (Azure), communication networks (Teams and Linkedin) hardware (HoloLens), entertainment (Xbox) and IP (Minecraft) together in a virtual reality. The recent €60 billion-acquisition of game producer Activision Blizzard, producer of the Call of Duty video games, fits in with this policy and indicates that the company expects to make a lot of money with its version of the metaverse.
In the expected struggle between the titans, Amazon will probably join in and build the virtual mall of and for everyone's dreams.

It remains to be seen whether a younger generation, less consumer-addicted and more concerned about nature, is waiting for a completely artificial world. I hope not.

Privacy
The risks of augmented reality have been widely mentioned from the start. For example, for research purposes, Google had been given the right to remotely track the movements of the eyes of people wearing Google glasses. For the rest, it is not only governments and companies that will spy on people, but above all people will spy on each other.

Safety
After a short time, those who move through the metaverse develop balance problems. Worse is that the risk of addiction is high.

Human dignity
There is a danger that people who frequently dwell in imaginary worlds can no longer distinguish fake and real and alienate from themselves in the 'real' world and lose the social skills that are necessary in it.

Power relations
Big Tech is getting even more tools to analyze our preferences and influence us, including through deep fakes, which can imitate existing people in real life. This raises questions about the risks that citizens run, and about the even greater role of companies that offer immersive technology.

5. Blockchain

Blockchain makes it possible to record transactions (of money, securities, contracts, and objects) without the mediation of an authorized body (government, employer, bank, notary). The first version of blockchain was bitcoin, initially only intended for financial transactions. Today, there are hundreds of variants, of which Ethereum is the most widely used.
The essence of blockchain is that the database of all transactions, the ledger, is stored on everyone's computer and is therefore accessible to every user. Miners ensure that a cryptocurrency is only used for one transaction or that a contract is not changed afterwards by one of the parties involved. Once most miners have approved a series of transactions, these transactions together form an unchangeable block.
Miners are eager to approve blocks, because whoever turns out to have done so first will receive a significant fee in cryptocurrency. Mining takes time and, above all, requires a huge amount of computing power and therefore energy. Alternative methods are diligently sought, such as a method that mainly concerns the reputation of the miner.

Blockchain stems from a drive for radical decentralization and reduction of the power of states, banks, and companies. That has worked out differently in practice. It is mainly governments and large companies in the US, Russia, China, South Korea, and the Netherlands, for example Albert Heijn, that are ensuring a steady increase.

As a means of securely storing transactions and recording mutual obligations, as in the case of digital autonomous organizations and smart contacts, blockchain has more potential than as a cryptocurrency. An absolute precondition is finding an alternative for the high consumption of energy.

Privacy
Blockchain grew out of the pursuit of escaping the ubiquitous eavesdropping enterprises and state. That is why dubious transactions are preferably handled with cryptocurrency. There is no complete anonymity, because cryptocurrency must be regularly exchanged for official money,

Autonomy
Perhaps more human autonomy comes into its own in blockchain than in any other system. For this it is necessary to know how it works well. This is all the truer in the case of non-financial transactions.

Safety
There are certain risks: The moment a miner has more than 50% of the computer capacity, it can completely corrupt the system. This situation is not imaginary. In 2019, there were two Chinese miners who together owned more than the half of computer capacity.

Power relations
Not much is known about the position of miners. There is a tendency towards ever-increasing concentration, which carries dangers about the sustainability of the system. As concentration increases, cryptocurrency holdings will also become increasingly skewed. After all, it is the miners who ensure the expansion of the available amount of money.

6. Digital platforms

Companies such as Amazon, Uber and Airbnb represent a new form of economic activity that has far-reaching consequences for other companies and urban life. They essentially consist of digital platforms that bring providers and consumers together.

Imagine you are in Amazon's virtual fitting room. You sit on a chair and a series of models pass by all of which exactly have your figure and size and maybe also your appearance. You can vary endlessly what they are wearing, until you have found or put together the outfit of your dreams. This can apply to all conceivable purchases, up to cars, including a driving simulator. With the push of a button, it is ordered and a few hours later the drone drops your order at your doorstep.
Digital platforms bring together a range of digital technology applications, such as Internet of Things, robotics, immersive technology, artificial intelligence and blockchain, to monitor the immense flows of goods and services.

Privacy
In the world of platforms, privacy is of little or no importance. Companies want to earn as much as possible from you and therefore collect masses of information about your behavior, preferences, and expenses. This in exchange for convenience and free gadgets such as navigation, search engines and email.

Autonomy
Some platforms are part of the sharing economy. They enable direct transactions between people and, as in the case of Airbnb, provide an unprecedented range of accommodations from which to choose.

Justice
Employees in platform companies often have poor labor conditions. For example, Uber drivers are followed, checked, and assessed all day long. In distribution centers, all remaining human actions are prescribed down to the minute.
In these companies, a large gap arises between the small inner circle of managers and technicians and the large outer circle of "contractors" that the company has nothing to do with and who have nothing to do with the company.

Power relations
These companies also contribute to widening the gap between rich and poor; the unprecedentedly large earnings go to top management and shareholders and, where possible, tax is avoided.
Platforms like Airbnb make it possible to distort competition on a large scale; the accommodations they rent out do not comply with the safety and tax rules that apply to regular companies.
The growth of platforms that have taken on monopolistic forms is the major cause of urban disruption without contributing to the costs it entails for the community.

Back to governance

In the previous articles, I have elaborated a framework for dealing with digitization in a socially responsible manner. Two lines of thought developed in this, that of the value of digital technology and that of its ethical use.

The value of digital technology
Digital technology must be given shape and content as one of the tools with which a city works towards an ecologically and socially sustainable future. To help articulate what such a future means, I introduced Kate Raworth's ideas about the donut economy. The design of a vision of the future must be a broadly supported democratic process, in which citizens also test the solution of their inclining problems against the sustainable prosperity of future generations and that of people elsewhere in the world.
The most important question when it comes to (digital) technology is therefore which (digital) technological tools contribute to the realization of a socially and ecologically sustainable city?

The ethical use of technology
In the world in which we try to realize the sustainable city of the future, digital technology is developing rapidly, in the fort place under the influence of commercial and political interests. Cities are confronted with these technologies through powerful smart city technology marketing.
The most important question for cities to ask is How do we assess available technologies from an ethical perspective.

In the government of cities, both trains of thought come together: Together, the answers to these questions can lead to the choice, design, and application of digital techniques as part of the realization of a vision for an ecologically and socially sustainable future of the city.

In the next two articles I examine how ethical principles are dealt with in practice. In the first article I will put Amsterdam in the spotlight and next, I look at how several municipalities are digitizing responsibly in the context of the Agenda stad.

The link below opens an overview of all published and future articles in this series.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Christiaan Elings, Strategy & Collaboration for Sustainable Transitions at Royal Haskoning, posted

HOW CIRCULAR FESTIVALS CONTRIBUTE TO CLIMATE GOALS

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On 10 February during the CE Week there is an opportunity to help the community of the International Green Deal Circular Festivals! Beside the facilitating Dutch Ministries of IenW and EZK now consisting of 20 large international festivals. Lowlands/MOJO, Body & Soul, Awakenings, Roskilde, Milkshake, ID&T, Zwarte Cross, DGTL, Pukkelpop, Vierdaagsfeesten… just a few examples of large European festivals participating.

The focus of the workshop will be on how to become climate neutral as festival, through their efforts to become circular: two sides of the same coin. Why is action needed now, what can festivals do and how to set concrete targets? Together these international front runners join forces to give direction to a sustainable and resilient future for the live sector. Moreover as perfect living labs, festivals can inspire visitors, cities and other events to join this green movement!

If you feel you can add to this discussion and help making the festivals enthusiastic to take action, then please join our meeting. Also if you see other relevant connections and opportunities; please register via the website below!

For the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water management and together with partners, the Strategy and Management Consultants of RHDHV execute the program management of this Green Deal from 2019-2025.

Christiaan Elings's picture Online event on Feb 10th
Jasmyn Mazloum, Communicatie at Gemeente Almere, posted

Co-creatie sessie Circuloco | Week van de circuliare economie

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Praat je met ons mee over Circuloco?

Speciaal voor de Week van de Circulaire Economie organiseren we een Co-Creatiesessie, waarin we alvast een voorproef geven op alles wat er straks op ons paviljoen op Floriade Expo 2022 te zien en te doen zal zijn.

Tijdens de Co-Creatiesessie kom je meer te weten over het ontwerp-, denk- en maakproces rondom Circuloco. Ons circulaire gebouw zal na Floriade Expo 2022 gedemonteerd worden en op de Steiger 66 heropgebouwd worden. Het ontwerp, de bouw, de invulling, de afbouw en de heropbouw: alles wordt gedaan door en met lokale makers.

Je bent (online) welkom op donderdag 10 februari, van 12:00-13:00 Doe je ook mee?

Volg ons ook op social media via Linked In en instagram om een kijkje te krijgen bij wat we allemaal organiseren!

Jasmyn Mazloum's picture Online event on Feb 10th