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People get more connected and technology becomes part of our daily life. Between 2014 and 2015 there was a 27% growth of internet traffic in Amsterdam. Eleven out of fifteen Trans-Atlantic data cables are connected with or go through Amsterdam and the AMS-IX is the second largest internet exchange point in the world. In 2016 Amsterdam was ranked second in the European Digital City Index. Do you work on a smarter city? Share your technologies here!
In juni is de vijfde programmaperiode van Amsterdam Smart City gestart. 27 Partners hebben commitment gegeven om hun krachten te blijven bundelen. Met elkaar werken we aan de grote en urgente vraagstukken van deze tijd, door de inzet van innovatie en digitalisering. Met oog voor complexiteit, integraliteit en met het doel voor ogen van leefbare en bruisende steden en regio's. Op onze eigen unieke wijze. Waarde gedreven, creatief, open, op elkaar voortbouwend.
Op 7 november zijn we bij elkaar gekomen om in co-creatie een start te maken aan de volgende drie urgente challenges.
Van digivaardige mensen naar mensvaardige digitalisering
Technologische en innovatieve ontwikkelingen volgen elkaar steeds sneller op. Als overheid wil en moet je hierin meegaan. Tegelijk leidt de inzet van digitalisering en data vaak tot ongewenste resultaten, wat de afstand tussen inwoners/ondernemers en de overheid vergroot.
Gemeente Haarlemmermeer verschuift haar focus van ‘het systeem staat centraal, mensen moeten maar digivaardig worden’ naar ‘de mens staat centraal, onze systemen moeten mensvaardig worden’. De onderliggende vraag is hoe zet je de mens écht centraal in digitalisering en het vormgeven van digitale systemen? De gemeente Haarlemmermeer zou graag samen optrekken om deze vragen uit te werken tot een advies dat breder inzetbaar is.
Mobiliteitsarmoede: hoe voorkomen we uitsluiting van mensen in het mobiliteitssysteem?
Stijgende benzine- en elektriciteitsprijzen; de toenemende digitalisering en afname van het openbaar vervoeraanbod zorgen er, onder andere, voor dat steeds meer mensen problemen hebben om zich te verplaatsen. Verduurzaming en deelmobiliteit lijken niet voor iedereen weggelegd en maatregelen om dit te stimuleren werken het probleem mogelijk zelfs in de hand. Het risico op sociale uitsluiting wordt hierdoor groter.
De provincie Noord-Holland en DRIFT maken zich zorgen over mobiliteitsarmoede en vragen zich af wat we eraan kunnen doen om deze mensen mobiel te houden. Er is echter nog weinig bekend over de omvang van het probleem, de exacte doelgroepen en welk instrumentarium werkt (en wat vooral niet). Daarom willen we graag in gesprek met de partners om tot gezamenlijk inzicht en een afgestemde aanpak te komen.
Samenwerking voor ontwikkeling lokale energiesystemen
De milieuproblematiek en de huidige hoge energieprijzen zorgen voor een snelle omschakeling van gas naar elektriciteit. Dat is de afgelopen jaren veel sneller gegaan dan voorzien, met netcongestie als gevolg.
Door samenwerking tussen lokale partijen kan er een zo optimaal mogelijk energiesysteem gecreëerd worden. Dat kan het elektriciteitsnetwerk ontlasten en, bijvoorbeeld, het maximaal gebruik maken van duurzame bronnen stimuleren en de energiekosten drukken.
Dit vraagt een intensieve samenwerking waarbij elke partij wordt uitgedaagd om verder te denken dan de eigen belangen. Er zijn geen bestaande structuren of systemen waar dit binnen past. Alliander doet een oproep voor samenwerking op dit vraagstuk.
In dit soort complexe vraagstukken is het belangrijk om eerst te vertragen; te verkennen en te verdiepen, voordat je snelheid kunt maken. Dit was een eerste van drie verkennende en verdiepende sessies. We hebben in verschillende werkgroepen verkend waar de complexiteit zit in deze vraagstukken en verdiept wat er nodig is om hier stappen in te maken. Vraagstellingen zijn aangescherpt en er is een start gemaakt met het vormen van coalities rondom deze vraagstukken. Op 1 december gaan we hier op onze transitiedag weer mee door. En bewegen we toe naar het opzetten van concrete initiatieven.
Uiteraard kunnen we hier alle hulp en expertise bij gebruiken. Denk jij van toegevoegde waarde te kunnen zijn en wil je je inzetten voor een van de beschreven vraagstukken? Laat het ons weten via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Zeno AI was awarded a Dutch Applied AI Award on Wednesday evening, 5 October. WSK Medical's technology helps ENT doctors detect throat cancer in patients at an early stage. This is done during an endoscopy, with Artificial Intelligence providing instant analysis. A great example of humans and technology working together.
The Dutch Applied AI Award is a jury prize and was presented for the third time during the annual Computable Awards. The award, which rewards AI innovations, is an initiative of Computable (the platform for ICT professionals), De Dataloog (the Dutch podcast on data and AI) and the Centre of Expertise Applied Artificial Intelligence of Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. DEARhealth (2020) and BAM Infra Asset Management (2021) preceded Zeno AI as winners.
IMAGE RECOGNITION ON THROAT CANCER VALUABLE
According to jury president Nanda Piersma, doctors are very happy with the application of WSK Medical. The application of image recognition to throat cancer works and is valuable. ‘The technique has reached a new group of users. ENT doctors have adopted Zeno AI in their daily work. That makes the application unique’, said Piersma, who is scientific director at the Centre of Expertise Applied Artificial Intelligence. ‘In addition, the technology is transparent and user-friendly. We look forward to its further development, so that larger target groups are reached and new AI techniques emerge in this specialism.’
SUPPORT FOR CORRECT DECISIONS
Radboudumc in Nijmegen is the first hospital to use Zeno AI at its outpatient clinic. The AI application immediately starts analysing as soon as an ENT doctor turns on the endoscope. As a result, using Zeno AI can reduce the time to diagnosis from two/three weeks (average waiting time) to the same day. Faster diagnosis of throat cancer enables a faster care plan for patients. Importantly, the technology only makes predictions based on knowledge and thus does not diagnose. Zeno AI supports the ENT doctor in making the right decision, for example when it is not immediately clear what is going on.
Zeno AI is currently going through the process of CE marking (MDR). This assesses not only clinical validation, but in particular the technical architecture and design, as well as traceability and risk management.
ENGINE OF INNOVATION
The Dutch Applied AI Award jury noticed that there is considerable innovation in the techniques behind Artificial Intelligence, creating interesting new applications. Piersma: ‘We see well-developed applications for specialist sectors this year, as well as applications with a broad societal impact.’
The award criteria on which the jury selects focus on the level of application, transparency, and uniqueness of its kind. An AI initiative additionally scores highly if a user is involved in the application. ‘The AI must really add value’, says Piersma. ‘With the Dutch Applied AI Award, we want to actively encourage innovation, so that applications arise that otherwise would not come to fruition.’
The winning 2022 initiative also lands in a nice AI ecosystem - the AI hub Amsterdam - in which Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences participates alongside other knowledge institutions and hospitals in the region.
Data Dilemmas is a collaboration between Amsterdam Smart City and the City of Amsterdam’s Data Lab. During Data Dilemmas, we explore the possibilities for using data and new technologies to address urban and societal challenges, with a focus on responsible digitalization. The goal is to use data to make cities more safe, clean and accessible. But what happens to all the data that is collected? Which dilemmas do we encounter when we collect (personal) data to improve the city? These questions are important for everyone: governments, knowledge institutions, companies, and civil society. In the latest edition of Data Dilemmas, hosted on the 29th of September 2022, we invited Joep Meindertsma, Tom van Arman and Jan van Boesschoeten to take us through the experiences, dilemmas and lessons learned from the Amsterdam Data Exchange (AMdEX) initiative. Marit Hoefsloot from Waag gave a critical reflection on the presented Data Dilemmas.
Joep Meindertsma (Dexes) – Introduction to AMdEX
AMdEX is a collaboration between the Amsterdam Economic Board, AMS-IX, Dexes, the University of Amsterdam and Surf. AMdEX aims to give people more control over their data through a secure, trusted and neutral infrastructure which enables sharing data under specific conditions. AMdEX has two missions: give people more control over their data and make it more attractive to share data. These two missions are a data dilemma in itself.
Data exchange is currently monopolized by a handful of major players and the web is more centralized than ever before. The direct connections between people and organisations have become fewer. This is because we’re increasingly using middle-men, services between the data source and the user. Joep explains: “If you want to see someone’s vacation photos, you have to send a request to Facebook. Facebook owns the data, decides who can access it and dictates what the app looks like”. This problem is not limited to vacation photos or Facebook. It is about all our data. Almost all services are middle-men, with its own closed way of data sharing. This creates data silos – places where data is effectively locked away.
Joep refers to three types of data: “data we want to share, data we don’t want to share, and data we might want to share.” This ‘might share’ category often contains valuable data, but it can be costly or difficult to share. Set conditions makes sharing this data easier. AMdEX makes this possible through a few software projects they’re currently building: eFlint (a new language to describe legal constructs), DexPod (an open source personal data server) and Atomic Data (a specification and open source software to improve data interoperability).
Tom van Arman (Tapp) - AMdEX case study: Marineterrein Sensor Data
Meanwhile, the Marineterrein in Amsterdam is full of sensors, collecting all kinds of data. Think of MicroLAN measuring the water quality, or Public Eye collecting crowd data. Marineterrein is a ‘living lab’, where technologies that contribute to a sustainable and future-proof city can be tested. Together with AMdEX, Tom looked at how the collected data can be made accessible to third parties, such as researchers, journalists, students, artists and entrepreneurs. The Marineterrein and the data collectors, for example Public Eye, set conditions for the data to be used. Tom describes how this works in practice: “If a journalist is interested in using crowd data collected by Public Eye, they must be a member of the Marineterrein community and subscribed to AMdEX. If the journalists meets these requirements, they will receive an AMdEX email with a data download link.”
Jan van Boesschoeten (AMS-IX) - The Future of AMdEX
As Joep and Tom already mentioned, there are many questions around data: who owns the data, what are you allowed to do with it? How do you work together with your competitors to get more value out of your data? A data exchange can be a solution to these questions. This is why AMS-IX, a neutral member-based association that operates multiple interconnection platforms, is connected to AMdEX. Jan shortly describes the future of the AMdEX initiative. The field lab with use cases ends in June 2023, and at that time AMdEX also aims to be a legal entity. Additionally, one of their use cases involving KLM will be presented at AMS-IX’s MORE-IP community event in June. After that, AMdEX will onboard new use cases.
Marit Hoefsloot (Waag) – A critical reflection on the Dilemmas encountered in AMdEX
Last but not least, Marit Hoefsloot from Waag reflects on the dilemma’s presented by Joep, Tom and Jan. Marit describes that the use of data is often seen as an act of notion, whilst privacy is more of a passive notion (not using the data at all). However, it’s possible to use data whilst also protecting ones privacy. A good example of this is IRMA, a privacy-friendly digital wallet which can be used for authentication. As Marit pleads: “Data usage and privacy are not necessarily contradictory, it is about both.” Organisations should see protecting privacy as their own responsibility, instead of giving the illusion of consent with an opt-in or opt-out option.
The second dilemma Marit reflects on is about developer productivity vs. standardisation. Standardisation takes a lot of time, which takes away from innovation and productivity. However, you need standardisation to develop these kind of exchange platforms, as there are many organisations that are involved. Marit describes that the real questions we should talk about are: what is the flexibility of the standard? Do we create the standard together, or more top-down through legislation? Who are we standardizing for? “We should prioritise standardisation, but do it in an open and inclusive way.”
Would you like to join our next Data Dilemmas at Datalab? The upcoming session is scheduled on the 8th of December (topic and speakers to be announced). Keep an eye out on our platform for the programme!
Photography: Myrthe Polman
Join our speed date and engage with 3 great speakers at the first in-person Smart Energy Community meetup on October 11th!
Topics Smart Energy Community October 11:
Home Energy Management Systems in practice
Now that we are installing more and more heat pumps and EV chargers in homes, there is more and more need for energy management. How does this work? How to deal with cyber security and what role do protocols play? ElaadNL developed its own showcase house where this is put into practice. Arjan Wargers of Flexiblepower Alliance Network & ElaadNL discusses the lessons learned.
Power pitch ATEPS: Energy and storage
ATEPS develops, builds and supplies systems based on batteries that store energy. Jos Theuns (ATEPS) explains how they make storage of sustainable energy accessible, safe and attractive through smarter management of electrical energy. Due to the modular construction of ATEPS systems, they are suitable for both small and larger customers.
Power pitch withthegrid: Teleport
How do you connect PV, wind, battery, EV chargers and heat pumps without losing your mind in all protocols and without cloud lock-in? Paul Mignot (Withthegrid) discusses their new innovation Teleport. This gives customers maximum insights and control over their assets in minutes.
Speed dating, networking & visit demonstration house
In the second half, connecting with other professionals is central. During these speed dating sessions, you will get to know fellow innovators, share project ideas and explore opportunities for collaboration. There will be ample opportunity for discussion after the meeting. At the same time, you can take a tour of ElaadNL's new demonstration home for smart energy services, where various smart devices are optimised for home energy management.
Each of the ebooks I've compiled from my blog posts and other publications contains essays on how to make our environment more livable and humane. Anyone can download these ebooks for free. There are also print-friendly versions available and most are available in English and Dutch. Below you will find an overview with links to all of them:
Summer is my favourite season in Amsterdam! There are so many things to do, it’s sometimes hard to choose where to go. To make your lives a bit easier, I curated a list of smart city exhibitions, activities and experiences from our partners and community. Zigzag across the city and experience the future of the energy systems, water management and food in urban areas. Enjoy!
1. Energy Junkies exhibition at Nemo The Studio
Our dependence on fossil fuels and the effects of our energy consumption on climate change are the focus of NEMO’s new exhibition for adults: Energy Junkies. NEMO invites you to explore the decisions that will determine our future. How would you transform our energy addiction into a healthy habit? Create your own carbon diet, choose the right medicines from the climate pharmacy and dream about a world where we are cured of our energy addiction. Visit Energy Junkies at NEMO’s Studio, the off-site location for adults on the Marineterrein in Amsterdam.
Energy Junkies is open from Wednesday – Sunday, from 12:00 – 17:30 until July 2023. Costs are € 7,50
2. Interactive installation Senses of Amsterdam at OBA Slotermeer
The municipality of Amsterdam is using more and more new technologies to make the city more liveable and safe. But what do these sensors actually measure? And what happens with the data they collect? What does this mean for the people of Amsterdam? The installation Senses of Amsterdam informs visitors about how sensors make Amsterdam a smarter city, what measurements are taken and how data is collected. The interactive installation by the Responsible Sensing Lab is currently exhibited at the public library (OBA) in Slotermeer.
Visit the interactive installation Senses of Amsterdam daily until 25 September 2022.
3. Study excursion about trends and innovations in Amsterdam’s cycling infrastructure
Yes, the Dutch and their bikes are inseparable! And Amsterdam is often cited as the cycling capital of the world. Are you interested in how Amsterdam is innovating in the areas of cycling and urban mobility? Join the study excursion organised by the Urban Cycling Institute and Bicycle User Experience (BUX). The two-hour excursion (by bicycle, of course!) brings you to key locations exemplifying Amsterdam’s innovative approach to cycling infrastructure and policy. You will meet internationally-oriented cycling experts and become part of a larger network of the Urban Cycling Institute and Bicycle User Experience (BUX).
The study excursions take place on Saturdays, August 13, 20 and 27 from 16:00 – 18:00. Costs are € 50,00 per person.
4. Exhibition Fluid Matter in the Architecture Centre of Amsterdam (ARCAM)
The Amsterdam water system regulates water levels and quality in one of Europe’s most densely populated areas. Due to the urban growth and climate change, the system will be increasingly strained in the future. This means that different design choices have to be made, but this situation also offers opportunities for new ways of dealing with water. What choices do we have? How can we design with the water? In the interactive exhibition Fluid Matter, you will discover this complex water system through scale models of four urban districts of Amsterdam: Houthavens/Haven-Stad, North/Schoonschip, City Centre/Kattenburg and IJburg/IJmeer.
Visit the Exhibition Fluid Matter from Tuesday – Sunday (13:00-17:00) until November 2022. Costs are € 4,00.
5. Johan Cruijff ArenA Innovation Tour
Take a tour into the world of innovations at the Johan Cruijff ArenA! With thousands of visitors during large events, the home of Ajax becomes a small smart city. Already recognized as one of the most sustainable stadiums in the world, the Johan Cruijff ArenA is also one of Amsterdam’s premier living labs for energy, mobility, security, and visitor experience innovations. The Johan Cruijff ArenA offers private tours showcasing innovative approaches and solutions for the stadium of tomorrow, ideal for team building events and (inter)national delegation visits.
The Johan Cruijff ArenA’s Innovation Tours last ~45minutes and can be booked by sending a request to email@example.com with “Innovation Tour” in the subject line. Costs are €24,38 excl. VAT per person, with minimum of 20 persons per group.
6. Floriade Expo 2022, Almere
Once every ten years, all the horticultural greats gather during the Floriade. Experts from all over the world come together to present green solutions that make our cities more enjoyable, beautiful and sustainable. With the theme of ‘Growing Green Cities’, more than 400 national and international participants showcase their latest green innovations, solutions and applications. From state-of-the-art solar roof tiles to amazing vertical façade gardens and from the best ways to grow tomatoes to the latest pruning techniques. You can see, taste and experience it all at Floriade in Almere.
The Floriade ) is open daily until 9 October 2022 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit their website. Costs are € 29,00.
7. Exhibition Makers of Noord by Waag
From large goods to small workshops, makers have always been an important part of Amsterdam Noord. Scattered throughout the district you will find individual makers and collectives, craftsmen and creative entrepreneurs. Their future in the city is under pressure, partly due to gentrification. On the other hand, the city heavily depends on these makers to cope with the energy transition and the enormous demand for housing. The good news is that many makers are still located in Amsterdam, and in particular in Noord. Who are these makers of Noord, what do they make, and how does this contribute to the city, the neighbourhood, and our lives? Get to know different makers from Noord and listen to their inspiring stories about re-use, sustainability and traditional craftsmanship.
The Makers of Noord exhibition can be visited in Museum Amsterdam Noord from Thursday – Sunday from 13:00 – 17:00 until August 27. Costs are €4,00.
Looking for more inspiring smart city events and experiences in and around Amsterdam? You can find them on the events and experiences pages on our platform! So do you have other tips for inspiring smart city activities not to be missed this summer? Share them with the community in the comments!
For the sixteenth edition of our Demo Days, we were finally able to meet offline again since the start of the pandemic. This meant: old-school post-its instead of filling online Miro boards. The Circular & Digital Demo Day was hosted at one of our partners’ locations, the Digital Society School at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. From reducing illegal drones in the city to reusing materials through a digital material database, in this article you’ll read all about circular & digital projects our partners are working on.
About our Demo Days
The Demo Days are one of the tools we use to stimulate innovation and encourage connection between our partners and community. The purpose of the Demo Days is to present the progress of various innovation projects, ask for help, share dilemmas and involve more partners to take these projects to the next level. More information about the Demo Days can be found here.
Demo Day: Circular & Digital
Reducing (illegal) drones in the city - Daan Groenink (municipality of Amsterdam)
In Amsterdam, and in many other places in the Netherlands, is not allowed to fly drones. But despite the regulations, many drones are still flown illegally over Amsterdam. Daan Groenink from the municipality of Amsterdam invited the participants to reflect on how the city of Amsterdam can reduce (illegal) drone usage with as little enforcement as possible. Many creative interventions were discussed, such as awareness campaigns, making beautiful drone images public, and renting out drones as an experience.
Subsidy scheme for circular chain cooperation - Suzanne van den Noort en Maartje Molenaar (province of Noord-Holland)
The province of North Holland wants to be 100% circular by 2050. To achieve this, an action agenda has been drawn up for 2021-2025 with strategic and operational goals. The province of North Holland initiated the ‘Circular Economy Subsidy Scheme’ to accelerate the circular transition. The province of North Holland already thought about how this subsidy scheme should work. In this session, the participants gave their feedback. One of the key take outs from the working session was: keep it simple. You want to know that the money is well spent and therefore the conditions of the subsidy scheme should be clear.
Digital material database – Mark van der Putten (municipality of Amsterdam)
The City of Amsterdam is developing a digital material database for the necessary exchange of information to enable the reuse of materials from projects. Projects can use this database to report their available materials or to reserve materials. In this way, a street can be paved with tiles from an old project. The municipality of Amsterdam asked for input from the Amsterdam Smart City network on what to keep in mind while developing a digital material database. During the session, the participants discussed topics such as data governance, data ownership and the advantages of a SAAS solution compared to a self-built database. The municipality of Amsterdam will continue to research how the material database could be used and what the stakeholders think of it during 6 pilot projects.
Want to join the next Demo Day?
Are you working on an innovative project that could use some input? Or are you preparing for an inspiring event that needs a spotlight? Our next Demo Day takes place on the 11th of October. If it fits within our themes (circular, mobility, energy and digital), sent a message to Sophie via firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know in the comments. We are happy to talk with you to find out if it's a match!
Would you like to participate in the next Demo Day and share your thoughts on our partners’ innovative projects? As soon as the program for the next Demo Day is determined, we will share it on the platform and give you the opportunity to join as participant.
Curious to mobility & energy projects? Read more about it in the recap of Demo Day Mobility & Energy.
Photo: Myrthe Polman
Samen slimmer investeren: daaraan werken Amsterdam Economic Board en Metropoolregio Amsterdam in de ‘Transitieversneller voor de Metropool Amsterdam’. Met dit inspiratiedocument versnellen zij de transities die nodig zijn voor de slimme, groene en gezonde metropool van morgen.
Er zijn acht investeringsthema’s geselecteerd: gezondheidsbevordering en preventie, waterstof, slimme elektriciteit, circulaire bouw, slimme mobiliteit, veilig data delen, artificial intelligence (AI) en een duurzame digitale infrastructuur. Deze thema’s bouwen voort op de kracht van onze regio en zijn in lijn met de financiële mogelijkheden en doelen vanuit Den Haag en Brussel.
Lees het artikel voor meer informatie.
We zijn trots bij de Hogeschool van Amsterdam met de benoeming van lector Nanda Piersma tot kroonlid van de Sociaal-Economische Raad (SER). De ministerraad stemde vrijdag in met haar benoeming. Het is de eerste keer dat een lector kroonlid wordt van de SER.
Piersma is benaderd vanwege haar expertise op het gebied van digitalisering. Volgens de SER is digitalisering in steeds meer kwesties actueel. Piersma is lector Responsible IT bij de HvA. Ook is zij wetenschappelijk directeur van het HvA Centre of Expertise Applied Artificial Intelligence. Daarnaast is Piersma betrokken bij verschillende landelijke netwerken rondom datawetenschap zoals het platform Praktijkgericht ICT-onderzoek (Prio) en de Nederlandse AI coalitie (NLAIC). Lees meer.
De Britse innovatiestichting Nesta lanceert vandaag een rapport met aanbevelingen voor het beschermen van de privacy van burgers in de digitale openbare ruimte. Nesta roept steden en lokale overheden op om lokale bevoegdheden slim in te zetten om het gat te vullen tussen de technologische ontwikkelingen en regulering op nationaal en Europees niveau.
In opdracht van de Cities Coalition for Digital Rights (CC4DR), waar Amsterdam deel van uitmaakt, heeft innovatiestichting Nesta onderzocht hoe Europese steden en regio's de privacy van hun inwoners beter kunnen beschermen, vooral als het gaat om gegevens die door de private sector worden ingewonnen. Denk aan eye-tracking-camera's die in billboards zijn ingebouwd, of incassobedrijven die gebruik maken van nummerplaatherkenning (ANPR-camera’s), of het gebruik van wifitracking door ondernemers.
Uit de praktijkvoorbeelden die het in rapport When Billboards Stare Back. How Cities Can Reclaim The Digital Public Space zijn verzameld, blijken gemeenten voorop te lopen met innovatief beleid voor sensoren in de openbare of semi-private ruimtes, dat de inzet van onder meer camera’s of geluidssensoren beperkt en ervoor zorgt dat het recht op privacy niet wordt ondermijnd. De gemeente Amsterdam heeft bijvoorbeeld om deze reden een meldingsplicht voor sensoren opgenomen in de Algemene Plaatselijke Verordening.
Het rapport laat zien dat nationale overheden de technologische ontwikkelingen in de publieke ruimte niet altijd goed kunnen bijbenen. Ook blijkt dat er onvoldoende Europese of nationale wetgeving is om technologische ontwikkelingen altijd goed te reguleren. Als er wetgeving is dan zijn de regels veelal abstract, waardoor ze in de praktijk niet altijd goed zijn toe te passen.
Daarom roept Nesta steden en lokale overheden op om het gat tussen de technologische ontwikkelingen en regulering op nationaal en Europees niveau op te vullen door slim gebruik te maken van bevoegdheden. Daarbij is het belangrijk dat steden privacy en grondrechten van hun burgers vooropstellen en tegelijkertijd verantwoorde nieuwe manieren van dienstverlening en innovatie van de private sector stimuleren. Zo wordt de persoonlijke levenssfeer van burgers ook beschermd in de publieke ruimte.
Aanbevelingen voor steden en lokale overheden
Het rapport bevat een aantal concrete acties die steden kunnen ondernemen om hun invloed en effectiviteit te vergroten bij het beschermen van de gegevens van hun inwoners en bezoekers.
• Maak effectief en slim gebruik van de bevoegdheden en instrumenten die steden al hebben zoals vergunningverlening en inkoop, zodat private partijen verantwoord omgaan met de inzet van sensoren in de publieke ruimte.
• Betrek private partijen, burgers en het maatschappelijk middenveld op een ‘bottom-up’ manier. Pak daarbij een communicatieve en bemiddelende rol.
• Zorg dat gegevensbescherming standaard onderdeel uitmaakt van het werk en integreer privacy expertise in de organisatie.
• Pas de Algemene verordening gegevensbescherming aan door het introduceren van een plicht om Data Protection Impact Assessments vooraf aan datacollectie in de publieke ruimte te melden bij lokale overheden en de toezichthouders.
• Zorg voor bewustwording over de positie van steden bij datacollectie door private partijen en lobby voor effectiever toezicht op sensoren in de fysieke publieke ruimte, en specifiek voor publieke ruimten die beheerd worden door private partijen.
De Cities Coalition for Digital Rights (CC4DR) is een internationaal netwerk van steden die samen optrekken op het gebied van digitale rechten en beleidsvorming. De coalitie is in november 2018 gelanceerd door Amsterdam, Barcelona en New York en inmiddels zijn zo’n 50 steden wereldwijd lid van de coalitie.
De coalitie zet zich in voor het bevorderen en verdedigen van digitale rechten in de stedelijke context door middel van juridische, ethische en operationele kaders om mensenrechten in digitale omgevingen te bevorderen. Gezamenlijke acties in netwerken zoals de CC4DR zijn essentieel om als gemeenten samen de uitdagingen aan te gaan die digitale technologieën met zich meebrengen. Gemeente Amsterdam is een van de oprichters van de coalitie en de uitdaging die aanleiding was voor het onderzoeksrapport van Nesta speelt ook in Amsterdam: sensoren en apparaten in de fysieke openbare en semi-private ruimte waarmee bedrijven persoonlijke gegevens verzamelen en waarmee het recht op privacy wordt ondermijnd. In samenwerking met andere steden en organisaties wordt samengewerkt om hier een antwoord op te vinden.
Lees het volledige rapport hier
Fotocredit: Sandro Gonzalez
Vorige week heb ik de community geattendeerd op de publicatie van mijn e-book Better cities and digitization. Dat is een compilatie van de 23 posts op deze website het afgelopen half jaar.
Inmiddels is ook de Nederlandstalige versie Steden en digitalisering beschikbaar. Ik sta daarin eerst stil bij de technocentrische en de mensgerichte benadering van smart cities. Daarna problematiseer ik de roep om 'datagestuurd beleid'. Ik ga vervolgens uitvoerig in op ethische principes bij de beoordeling van technologieën. Vervolgens beschrijf ik een procedure hoe steden met digitalisering zouden kunnen omgaan, te beginnen met Kate Raworth. Ook het digitaliseringsbeleid van Amsterdam krijgt aandacht. Daarna komen vier toepassingen aan de orde: bestuur, energie, mobiliteit en gezondheidszorg. Wie doorleest tot op de laatste bladzijde ziet dat Amsterdam Smart City het laatste woord krijgt;-)
Via de link hieronder kun je dit boek gratis downloaden.
On June 14 and 21 the 16th edition of our Demo Days will take place. This will be the first Demo Days on location (will be announced soon) since COVID-19. Our themes for these upcoming Demo Days are:
14 June: Energy & Mobility
21 June: Circular & Digital
What are the Amsterdam Smart City Demo Days?
The Demo Days are one of the tools we use to stimulate innovation and encourage connection between our partners and community. The purpose of the Demo Days is to present the progress of various innovation projects to each other, ask for help, share dilemmas and involve more partners in a project to take these projects to the next level. In small groups we work on concrete questions.
We have created the Demo Days as a safe place for asking input from the network. A fresh perspective from another professional can be exactly what you need to move forward. You cannot work on a transition alone, which is why it’s important to involve others in your process. During these days, we also give the stage to community members to pitch projects and ask for input from our network.
That’s where you come in!
Not only are the Demo Days open for our community, but we offer you the opportunity to pitch your innovative initiative during the event. We want to involve our community more in the activities that we regularly organise, as you are an important part of the Amsterdam Smart City innovation ecosystem.
Are you working on an innovative project that could use some input? Or are you preparing for an inspiring event that needs a spotlight?
If it fits within our themes, sent a message to email@example.com or let us know in the comments. We would be happy to discuss if it's a match!
For 23 weeks I have published weekly episodes of the series Better Cities. The role of digital technology on this site. I have edited and compiled these episodes in an e-book (88 pages). You can download this for free via the link below. The book has 17 chapters that are grouped into six parts:
1. Hardcore: Technology-centered approaches
2. Towards a humancentric approach
3. Misunderstanding the use of data
4. Ethical considerations
5. Embedding digitization in urban policy
6. Applications (government, mobility, energy and healthcare)
7. Wrapping up: Better cities and technology
KNX and FLEXCON2022 are hosting a free KNX Smart Energy & IoT development workshop on June 28, for 15 developers max.
Are you a developer who wants to build Smart Energy applications? Bring your RPi’s and other Linux devices and come to Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam on June 28th !
In this 'mini-hackathon’, you will get to understand the KNX IoT development approach. You will utilize a free client-development solution to interact with the KNX installation to build Energy Management solutions for a cleaner, smarter world. Connect heatpumps, EV's, batteries and solar panels to the smart grid!
The workshop is free of charge. We have only 15 spots available, so apply now! For more information and subscription to the KNX IoT workshop on June 28, check the link:
While it’s easy to find Gorillas, Getir, Flink, and Zapp flash delivery services in iTunes or Google Play app stores, It’s not so easy to locate these many grocery depots in Amsterdam.
In this interactive map we located the many physical locations of these dark stores to see the saturated landscape of flitsbezorging (flash delivery) infrastructure in Amsterdam. The goal of the map is to help consumers choose delivery services based on proximity to homes / businesses and help calm some inner city bike routes!
Curious to see the 10minute cycle zones or the locations of the many dark stores in Amsterdam? Check out this map and more information about dark stores here.
Het rijk geïllustreerde Kennisdossier Duurzame energie (150 pagina’s) is een compilatie van 75 artikelen en blogposts over de energietransitie. Je kunt het via onderstaande link gratis downloaden.
Het bevat de volgende hoofdstukken:
1. Feiten om te onthouden
2. Bronnen van duurzame energie in Nederland
3. Openstaande keuzen: Vier scenario’s
4. Hoeveel zonnepanelen passen in Nederland
5. Energietransitie mogelijk dankzij de zonnecel
6. Van zonnepaneel naar zonnedak en zonnepan
7. Zonnepanelen kunnen (bijna) overal liggen
8. Recycling zonnepanelen: naar de maan en terug
9. Manieren om netwerkverzwaring te voorkomen
10. Smart grids: Waar techniek, digitale en sociale innovatie samenkomen
11. Samenwerken in een energiecoöperatie
12. Duurzaam maken van je woning: Voor jezelf en de aarde
13. Naar een rechtvaardige energietransitie
14. Zonder energieopslag geen energietransitie
17. Verwijderen, opvangen en opslaan van CO2
18. Kernsplitsing en kernfusie
20. Onze toekomstige energievoorziening
In de afgelopen maanden is de maatschappelijke en politieke discussie over de vestiging van datacentra in een stroomversnelling geraakt. Naar aanleiding van de plannen voor de bouw van een groot datacentrum bij Zeewolde is veel gesproken over nut, noodzaak en wenselijkheid van vestiging van dit soort faciliteiten in Nederland. Daarbij kwamen zorgen naar boven over de verhouding tussen het energie- en grondstoffengebruik van datacentra en hun maatschappelijke en economische meerwaarde. Ook was er kritiek op hoe de besluitvorming over de vestiging van datacentra bestuurlijk is ingericht.
Het rapport 'Beter beslissen over datacentra' van het Rathenau Instituut onderzoekt de maatschappelijke betekenis van datacentra en de besluitvorming over hun vestiging. Het maakt inzichtelijk wat datacentra zijn, hoe ze werken en hoe ze onderling van elkaar verschillen, welke kwesties er spelen en hoe deze kwesties op dit moment bestuurd worden op lokaal, regionaal en nationaal niveau. De analyse mondt uit in vijf aanbevelingen voor een goede publieke governance van de digitale infrastructuur.
Het Rathenau Instituut pleit ervoor om bij de ontwikkeling van beleid, niet te focussen op de (grote) datacentra die nu volop in de belangstelling staan, maar te kijken naar de hele infrastructuur die de digitalisering van onze samenleving mogelijk maakt. Daarbij gaat het ook om kabels, zendmasten, ontvangers, schakelaars en routers, plus de functies die zij in samenhang vervullen. Wat willen we in Nederland met deze infrastructuur? Die vraag zou het voorwerp moeten zijn van een maatschappelijk debat. Naast bestuurders en deskundigen, moeten ook burgers daarbij betrokken zijn. Om het debat te voeden, is ook meer kennis nodig, bijvoorbeeld over de financieel-economische voordelen van datacentra.
De digitale infrastructuur is inmiddels zo belangrijk geworden voor de samenleving dat ze kenmerken heeft van een nutsvoorziening: een essentiële voorziening van algemeen belang. Dit betekent dat publieke waarden leidend moeten zijn bij de governance van deze infrastructuur. Het bestaande energiebeleid kan daartoe als model dienen. Het onderzoek laat zien dat relevante publieke waarden voor de digitale infrastructuur, veel gelijkenis vertonen met de waarden die ten grondslag liggen aan het Nederlandse energiebeleid. Ook hier immers gaat het om betrouwbaarheid, veiligheid, betaalbaarheid, duurzaamheid en goede ruimtelijke inpassing.
Meer hierover kunt u lezen op https://www.rathenau.nl/nl/digitale-samenleving/beter-beslissen-over-datacentra.
Foto bij bericht: Shutterstock
In the last episode of the Better cities: The contribution of digital technology-series, I will answer the question that is implied in the title of the series, namely how do we ensure that technology contributes to socially and environmentally sustainable cities. But first a quick update.
Smart city, what was it like again?
In 2009, IMB launched a global marketing campaign around the previously little-known concept of 'smart city' with the aim of making city governments receptive to ICT applications in the public sector. The initial emphasis was on process control (see episode 3). Especially emerging countries were interested. Many made plans to build smart cities 'from scratch', also meant to attract foreign investors. The Korean city of Songdo, developed by Cisco and Gale International, is a well-known example. The construction of smart cities has also started in Africa, such as Eko-Atlantic City (Nigeria), Konzo Technology City and Appolonia City (Ghana). So far, these cities have not been a great success.
The emphasis soon shifted from process control to using data from the residents themselves. Google wanted to supplement its already rich collection of data with data that city dwellers provided with their mobile phones to create a range of new commercial applications. Its sister company Sidewalk Labs, which was set up for that purpose, started developing a pilot project in Toronto. That failed, partly due to the growing resistance to the violation of privacy. This opposition has had global repercussions and led in many countries to legislation to better protect privacy. China and cities in Southeast Asia - where Singapore is leading the way - ignored this criticism.
The rapid development of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, gave further impetus to discussion about the ethical implications of technology (episodes 9-13). Especially in the US, applications in facial recognition and predictive police were heavily criticized (episode 16). Artificial intelligence had meanwhile become widespread, for example to automate decision-making (think of the infamous Dutch allowance affair) or to simulate urban processes with, for example, digital twins (episode 5).
This current situation - particularly in the Netherlands - can be characterized on the one hand by the development of regulations to safeguard ethical principles (episode 14) and on the other by the search for responsible applications of digital technology (episode 15). The use of the term 'smart city' seems to be subject to some erosion. Here we are picking up the thread.
The dozens of descriptions of the term 'smart city' not only vary widely but they also evoke conflicting feelings. Some see (digital) technology as an effective means of urban growth; others see it as a threat. The question is therefore how useful the term 'smart city' is still. Touria Meliani, alderman of Amsterdam, prefers to speak of 'wise city' than of 'smart city' to emphasize that she is serious about putting people first. According to her, the term 'smart city' mainly emphasizes the technical approach to things. She is not the first. Previously, Daniel Latorre, place making specialist in New York and Francesco Schianchi, professor of urban design in Milan also argued for replacing 'smart' with 'wise'. Both use this term to express that urban policy should be based profoundly on the wishes and needs of citizens.
Whatever term you use, it is primarily about answering the question of how you ensure that people - residents and other stakeholders of a city - are put in the center. You can think of three criteria here:
1. An eye for the impact on the poorest part of the population
There is a striking shift in the literature on smart cities. Until recently, most articles focused on the significance of 'urban tech' for mobility, reduction of energy use and public safety. In a short time, much more attention has been paid to subjects such as the accessibility of the Internet, the (digital) accessibility of urban services and health care, energy and transport poverty and the consequences of gentrification. In other words, a shift took place from efficiency to equality and from physical interventions to social change. The reason is that many measures that are intended to improve the living environment led to an increase in the (rental) price and thus reduce the availability of homes.
2. Substantial share of co-creation
Boyd Cohen distinguishes three types of smart city projects. The first type (smart city 1.0) is technology- or corporate-driven. In this case, companies deliver instruments or software 'off the shelf'. For example, the provision of a residential area with adaptive street lighting. The second type (smart city 2.0) is technology enabled, also known as government-driven. In this case, a municipality develops a plan and then issues a tender. For example, connecting and programming traffic light installations, so that emergency services and public transport always receive the green light. The third type (smart city 3.0) is community-driven and based on citizen co-creation, for example an energy cooperative. In the latter case, there is the greatest chance that the wishes of the citizens concerned will come first.
A good example of co-creation between different stakeholders is the development of the Brain port Smart District in Helmond, a mixed neighborhood where living, working, generating energy, producing food, and regulating a circular neighborhood will go hand in hand. The future residents and entrepreneurs, together with experts, are investigating which state-of-the-art technology can help them with this.
Bias among developers plays a major role in the use of artificial intelligence. The best way to combat bias (and for a variety of other reasons, too) is to use diversity as a criterion when building development teams. But also (ethical) committees that monitor the responsible purchasing and use of (digital) technologies are better equipped for their task the more diverse they are.
Respecting urban complexity
In his essay The porous city, Gavin Starks describes how smart cities, with their technical utopianism and marketing jargon, ignore the plurality of the drivers of human behavior and instead see people primarily as homo economicus, driven by material gain and self-interest.
The best example is Singapore – the number 1 on the Smart City list, where techno-utopianism reigns supreme. This one-party state provides prosperity, convenience, and luxury using the most diverse digital aids to everyone who exhibits desirable behavior. There is little room for a differing opinion. A rapidly growing number of CCTV cameras – soon to be 200,000 – ensures that everyone literally stays within the lines. If not, the culprit can be quickly located with automatic facial recognition and crowd analytics.
Anyone who wants to understand human life in the city and does not want to start from simplistic assumptions such as homo economicus must respect the complexity of the city, try to understand it, and know that careless intervention might have huge unintended consequences.
The complexity of the city is the main argument against the use of reductionist adjectives such as 'smart', but also 'sharing', circular, climate-neutral', ‘resilient' and more. In addition, the term smart refers to a means that is rarely seen as an aim as such. If an adjective were desirable, I prefer the term 'humane city'.
But whatever you name a city, it is necessary to emphasize that it is a complex organism with many facets, the coherence of which must be well understood by all stakeholders for the city to prosper and its inhabitants to be happy.
Digitization. Two tracks
City authorities that are aware of the complexity of their city can best approach digitization along two tracks. The first aims to translate the city's problems and ambitions into policy and consider digital instruments a part of the whole array of other instruments. The second track is the application of ethical principles in the search for and development of digital tools. Both tracks influence each other.
Track 1: The contribution of digital technology
Digital technology is no more or less than one of the instruments with which a city works towards an ecologically and socially sustainable future. To articulate what such a future is meaning, I introduced Kate Raworth's ideas about the donut economy (episode 9). Designing a vision for the future must be a broadly supported democratic process. In this process, citizens also check the solution of their own problems against the prosperity of future generations and of people elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, policy makers must seamlessly integrate digital and other policy instruments, such as legislation, funding, and information provision (episode 8).
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.
Track 2: The ethical use of technology
In the world in which we realize the sustainable city of the future, digital technology is developing rapidly. Cities are confronted with these technologies through powerful smart city technology marketing. The most important question that cities should ask themselves in this regard is How do we evaluate the technology offered and that we want to develop from an ethical perspective. The first to be confronted with this question—besides hopefully the industry itself—is the department of the Chief Information or Technology officer. He or she naturally participates in the first track-process and can advise policymakers at an early stage. I previously inventoried (ethical) criteria that play a role in the assessment of technological instrument.
In the management of cities, both tracks come together, resulting in one central question: Which (digital) technologies are eligible to support us towards a sustainable future in a responsible way. This series has not provided a ready-made answer; this depends on the policy content and context. However, the successive editions of this series will have provided necessary constituents of the answer.
In my e-book Cities of the Future. Always humane, smart if helpful, I have carried out the policy process as described above, based on current knowledge about urban policy and urban developments. This has led to the identification of 13 themes and 75 actions, with references to potentially useful technology. You can download the e-book here:
The 22nd and penultimate episode in the *Better cities: The contribution of digital technology-*series will discuss two ambitious ‘smart city’plans of two governments and the associated risks.
Recently, the European Commission launched a 100-city plan, the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. One hundred European cities that aspire to be climate neutral by 2030 (you read that correctly) can register and count on supplemental funding. I immediately thought of another 100-city plan, India's Smart City Mission. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced that in six years 100 Indian cities would become 'smart'. The official term of the project has now ended, and I will examine below whether this goal has been achieved, I discuss the two plans and then explain why I call both of them a leap forward. At the end I will make a few suggestions for how the European mission can still learn from the Indian one.
India's Smart City Mission
In India, 377 million people live in cities. In 15 years, 200 million will have been added. Already, traffic in Indian cities has come to a complete standstill, each year more than 600,000 people die from air pollution, half of the urban areas have no drinking water connection, waste collection is poor and only 3% of sewage is treated. The rest is discharged into surface water, which is also the main source of drinking water.
The Smart City Mission was intended to implement substantial improvements on all these problems in 100 cities, which together comprise 30% of the population. In the improvements digital technology had to play an important role.
The 100 cities were selected because of favorable prospects and the quality of the plans, which usually consisted of a long series of projects.
The regular city governing bodies were deemed incompetent to lead the projects. That is why management boards (‘special purpose vehicles’) have been appointed, operating under company law and led by a CEO, supported by international consultancy firms. All rights and duties of the City Council regarding the execution of the mission were delegated to the appointed boards, including the power to collect taxes! Not surprisingly, this decision has been challenged in many places. Several cities have withdrawn from 'the mission' for this reason.
To implement their projects, each city would receive $150 million over five consecutive years. This money should be seen as seed capital to be supplemented from additional sources such as public-private partnerships, commercial bank lending, external financing, loans, and foreign investment.
Area-oriented and pan-urban approach
The plans contain two components: an area-oriented and a pan-urban approach. The first aims at adapting, retrofitting or new construction and should relate to a wide range of 'smart services'. For example high-speed internet, waste facilities, parking facilities, energy-efficient buildings, but also replacement of slums by high-rise buildings. The slick 'architectural impressions' that circulated at the beginning of the planning period (see above) mainly concern the area-oriented approach.
The pan-urban approach includes at least one 'smart' facility for a larger part of the city. The choice is often made to improve the transport infrastructure, for example the construction of new roads and highways and the purchase of electric buses. No fewer than 70 cities have built a 'smart' control center based on the example of Rio de Janeiro, which I believe was rather premature.
Now that the official term of 'the mission' has ended, a first inventory can be made, although observers complain about a lack of transparency about the results. About half of all the 5000 projects that have been started have not (yet) been completed and a significant part of the government funds have not yet been disbursed. This could still happen in the coming years. This is also because attracting external resources has lagged behind expectations. These funds came mainly from governments, and large technology companies. This has had an impact on the implementation of the plans.
The slow progress of most projects is partly because most of the population was barely aware of the mission and that city councils were not always cooperative either.
It was foreseen that half of the available resources would go to area-oriented projects; this eventually became 75-80%. As a result, on average only 4% of the inhabitants of the cities involved have benefited from 'the mission' and even then it is not clear what the benefits exactly entail. The city of New Delhi covers an area of almost 1500 km2, while the area concerned is only 2.2 km2: So you're not even going to have 100 smart cities. You're going to have 100 smart enclaves within cities around the country, said Shivani Chaudhry, director of the Housing and Land Rights Network.
It soon became clear that the mission would be no more than a drop in the ocean. Instead of $150 million, it would take $10 billion per city, $1000 billion in total, to address all ambitions, according to an official calculation. Deloitte was a little more modest, calculating the need for $150 billion in public money and $120 billion from private sources.
Type of projects
The many topics eligible for funding have resulted in a wide variety of projects. Only one city has put the quality of the environment first. Most cities have initiated projects in the areas of clean energy, improving electricity supply, reducing air pollution, construction of new roads, purchasing electric buses, waste disposal and sanitation. What is also lacking, is a focus on human rights, gender, and the interests of the poorest population groups.
In some places, it has been decided to clear slums and relocate residents to high-rise buildings on the outskirts of the city. Indian master architect Doshi warns that the urban vision behind the smart city plans will destroy the informality and diversity that is the cornerstone of the country's rural and urban society. He challenges planners to shift the emphasis to rural areas and to create sufficient choices and opportunities there.
The European Mission on Climate-neutral and Smart Cities
Cities produce more than 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and use more than 65% of total energy. In addition, cities in Europe only cover 4% of the total surface area and accommodate 75% of the population. The ecological footprint of the urban population is more than twice what it is entitled to, assuming a proportional distribution of the earth's resources.
On November 25, 2021, the European Commission called on European cities to express their interest in a new European mission on Climate-neutral and smart cities. The mission aims to have 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, which will act as a model for all other European cities.
The sectors involved in this transformation process are the built environment, energy production and distribution, transport, waste management, industrial processes and product use, agriculture, forestry, and other land uses and large-scale deployment of digital technology. That is why the European Commission talks of a green and digital twin, or a simultaneous green and digital transformation.
Reaching the stated goal requires a new way of working and the participation of the urban population, hence the motto 100 climate neutral cities by 2030 - by and for the citizens.
According to the plan's authors, the main obstacle to climate transition is not a lack of climate-friendly and smart technology, but the inability to implement it. The current fragmented form of governance cannot bring about an ambitious climate transition. Crucial to the success of the mission is the involvement of citizens in their various roles as political actors, users, producers, consumers, or owners of buildings and means of transport.
The additional investment to achieve the mission is estimated at €96 billion for 100 European cities by 2030, with a net positive economic benefit to society of €25 billion that will increase further in the period thereafter. The European Commission will provide €360 million in seed funding.
The overwhelming amount of funding will have to come from banks, private equity, institutional investors, and from the public sector at the local, regional and national level.
What went wrong with the Indian Mission and its follow-up
The gap between ambitions and reality
Almost all comments on 'the mission' emphasize that three necessary conditions were not met from the start, namely a widely accepted governance model, adequate funding, and involvement of the population and local government. There was an unbridgeable gap between ambitions and available resources, with the contribution of external capital being grossly overestimated.
The biggest problem, however, is the gap between the mission's ambitions and the nature of the problems that India it faces: Cities are bursting at the seams because of the millions of poor people who flock to cities every year in search of work and a place to live that find them only in the growing slums. The priorities for which the country must find a solution are therefore: improving life in rural areas, improving housing in the cities, ensuring safe drinking water, waste disposal, sanitation, and purification of wastewater, good (bus) transport and less polluting car traffic. Urgently needed is a sustainable development model that addresses ecological problems, makes urbanization manageable, controls pollution and will use resources efficiently.
The 'Mission' is a leap forward, which does not tackle these problems at the root, but instead seeks a solution in 'smartification'. Policymakers were captivated by the promises made by IBM and other technology companies that ICT is the basis for solving most urban problems. A view that I objected in the third episode of this series. IC solutions have been concentrated in enclaves where businesses and prosperous citizens are welcomed. The Government of India Special Rapporteur on Housing therefore notes that the proposals submitted had a predominant focus on technology rather than prioritizing affordable housing and doubts the correctness of this choice.
Instead of emphasizing the role of digital technology, the focus should have been on equitable, inclusive, and sustainable living areas for all. Not the area-oriented but the pan-urban approach should have prevailed.
Several authors suggest future actions consistent with the above comments:
• Setting a longer time horizon, which is much more in line with the problems as they are felt locally.
• Decentralization, coupled with strengthening local government in combination with citizen participation.
• A more limited number of large-scale pan-urban projects. These projects should have an immediate impact on all 4000 Indian cities and the surrounding countryside.
• More attention for nature and the environment instead of cutting down trees to widen motorways.
• Training programs in the field of urbanization, partly to align urban development with Indian culture.
The European mission revisited
Europe and India are incomparable in many ways, but I do see similarities between the two missions.
With the proclamation of the 'mission', the Indian government wanted to show the ultimate – perhaps desperate – act of determination to confront the country's overwhelming problems. I therefore called this mission a flight forward in which the image of the 'smart city' was used as a catalyst. However, the country’s problems are out of proportion to this, and the other means employed.
It is plausible that the European Union Commission also wanted to take an ultimate act. After the publication of the ambitious European Green Deal, each national governments seems to be drawing its own plan. The ‘100 cities mission’ is perhaps intended as a 'booster', but here too the feasibility of this strategy is doubtful.
Smart and green
The European Union cherishes the image of a 'green and digital twin', a simultaneous green and digital transformation. Both the Government of India and the European Commission consider digital technology an integral part of developing climate neutral cities. I hope to have made it clear in the previous 21 episodes of this series that digital technology will certainly contribute. However, the reduction of greenhouse gases and digitization should not be seen as an extension of each other. Making a city climate neutral requires way more than (digital) technology. Moreover, suitable technology is still partly under development. It is often forgotten that technology is one of the causes of global warming. Using the image of green and smart twins will fuel the tension between the two, just like it happened in India. In that case, it remains to be seen where the priority will lie. In India it was 'smart'.
Funding of the Indian mission fell short; much is still unclear about funding of the European mission. It is highly questionable whether European states, already faced with strong opposition to the costs of 'climate', will be willing to channel extra resources to cities.
The European mission wants to be by and for the citizens. But the goal has already been established, namely becoming climate neutral by 2030. A new 'bottom-up' governmental approach would have been to investigate whether there are cities where a sufficiently large part of the population agrees with becoming climate neutral earlier than in 2050 and how much sooner that could be and next, leave it to these cities themselves to figure-out how to do this.
Can Europe still prevent its mission from failing like India's? I propose to look for in the same direction as India seems to be doing now:
• Opt for one unambiguous goal: Reducing greenhouse gases significantly earlier than 2050.
• Challenge a limited number of cities each to form a broad coalition of local stakeholders that share this ambition.
• Make extra resources available, but also ask the cities themselves to make part of the necessary investments.
• Stimulate universities and industry to provide a European response to Big Tech and to make connections with the 'European Green Deal'.
My e-book Smart City Tales contains several descriptions of intended and alleged smart cities, including the much-discussed Saudi Arabian Neom. The Dutch version is here.
The first Demo Days of 2022 were a success! On March 10 and 17, we gathered online to connect and inspire our partners and community on the topics Circular & Energy and Digital & Mobility. In this article, we share a recap of the topics and projects discussed during the 15th edition of our Demo Days.
About our Demo Days
The Demo Days are one of the tools we use to stimulate innovation and encourage connection between our partners and community. The purpose of the Demo Days is to present the progress of various innovation projects, ask for help, share dilemmas and involve more partners to take these projects to the next level. More information about the Demo Days can be found here.
Demo Day: Circular & Energy
Circular energy transition
With the changing global economy and shortages of raw materials, it is important to look at materials needed for the energy transition. How can we reduce the negative impact of products that have a positive impact on the energy transition? In this session, participants identified common challenges: think of regulations and logistics, but also behaviour. In addition, one of the conclusions is that education must join the transition. Now that the obstacles are clear, we must reach a joint approach. Do you want to be involved in our next steps? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The social side of smart grids – Mark van der Wees (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) and Lennart Zwols (municipality of Amsterdam)
During the session led by Mark van der Wees and Lennart Zwols, participants discussed the social side of smart grids. Where does the ownership of a smart grid lie? And how can we involve citizens? The main take-out is that we need more knowledge about the broader societal costs, benefits and risks. Questions and input on the societal input of smart grids can be sent to Mark at: email@example.com.
Power in the energy transition – Gijs Diercks (DRIFT)
Gijs Diercks facilitated a session in which we discussed a socio-political aspect of energy transition: namely, how unequal power limits change and reform. Gijs invited participants to discuss their experiences with power relations in energy projects. We often talk about a decentralization of power, but, power often ends up somewhere else. An interesting insight was that it would be good to talk more explicitly about power within concrete projects in the future.
Demo Day: Digital & Mobility
Webinar data management in practice - Arjan Koning (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences) and Huib Pasman (Johan Cruijff ArenA)
Prior to the sessions, Arjan Koning and Huib Pasman gave a webinar on data management in practice. What do you need to consider when working with data? And what do you need to arrange in order to properly deal with ownership and authorization of access?
The ownership and responsibility of data – Noor Bouwens (Province of North Holland)
Following the webinar, Noor Bouwens led a working session in which the participants were introduced to the developments, tasks and challenges that the Province of North Holland sees in this area. It turned out that challenges in the field of data governance are recognizable to the businesses, knowledge institutions and governments alike. The biggest challenge is the substantive management of project data and deciding who is responsible for this.
The smart charging square – Peter van Dam (SlimLaden)
In this session, the participants reflected on what the future of parking will look like based on the smart charging square case in Haarlemmermeer. The main take-out from the session is that a broader framework is needed around electric parking solutions. It is difficult for municipalities to predict the future when it comes to EV charging. Therefore municipalities are hesitant to formulate concrete plans. Hopefully soon, more pilots will be set up to take smart charging solution to the next phase.
Are you joining us?
Our next Demo Days take place on June 14 (Mobility & Energy) and June 21 (Circular & Digital).
Are you working on an innovative project that could use some input? Or are you preparing for an inspiring event that needs a spotlight?
If it fits within our themes, sent a message via firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know in the comments. We are happy to talk with you to find out if it's a match! As soon as the program is determined, we will share it on the platform and give you the opportunity to join as participant.
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