Mobility and transport are crucial for a city to function properly. Amsterdam is considered the world capital of cycling; 32% of traffic movement in Amsterdam is by bike and 63% of its inhabitants use their bike on daily basis. The number of registered electrical car owners in the Netherlands increased with 53% to 28.889 in 2016. Since 2008 car sharing increased with 376%. However, this is less than 1% of the total car use. Innovative ideas and concepts can help to improve the city’s accessibility, so share your ideas and concepts here.

Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

10. Health

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Most important causes of death worldwide (Source: The Lancelet, le Monde)
This is the 10th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. In this post, I mainly focus on health problems which are directly related to the quality of the living environment  

Are cities healthy places?

According to the WHO's Global Burden of Diseases Study, 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year are caused by particulate matter. The regional differences are significant. Urban health depends on the part of the world and the part of the city where you are living. More than 26 million people in the United States have asthma and breathing problems as a result. African-American residents in the US die of asthma three times as often as whites. They live in segregated communities with poor housing, close to heavy industry, transportation centers and other sources of air pollution.
Globally, the increasing prosperity of city dwellers is causing more and more lifestyle-related health problems. Heart disease, and violence (often drug-related) has overtaken infectious diseases as the first cause of death in wealthy parts of the world.  

The Netherlands

Very recently, Arcadis published a report on 'the healthy city'. This report compares 20 Dutch cities based on many criteria, divided over five domains. The four major cities score negatively on many aspects. In particular: healthy outdoor space, greenery, air quality, noise nuisance, heat stress and safety. Medium-sized cities such as Groningen, Emmen, Almere, Amersfoort, Nijmegen, and Apeldoorn, on the other hand, are among the healthiest cities.
In Amsterdam, the level of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2018 exceeded World Health Organization standards in many streets. The GGD of Amsterdam estimates that 4.5% of the loss of healthy years is the result of exposure to dirty air.  

Collaborative measuring air quality

In various cities, groups of concerned citizens have started measuring the quality of the air themselves. A professional example is the AiREAS project in Eindhoven. An innovative measuring system has been developed together with knowledge institutions and the government. Sensors are distributed over the area of the city and the system provides real-time information. The AiREAS group regularly discusses the results with other citizens and with the city government. The measurement of the quality of the air is supplemented by medical examination. This research has confirmed that citizens in the vicinity of the main roads and the airport have an increased risk of mortality, reduced lung function and asthma.
The AiREAS project is linked to similar initiatives in other European cities. Occasionally the data is exchanged. That resulted in, among other things, this shocking video.  


Could the future not be that we are busy doing the obvious things for our health, such as walking, cycling, eating good food and having fun and that thanks to wearables, symptoms of diseases are watched early and permanently in the background, without us being aware of it? The local health center will monitor and analyze the data of all patients using artificial intelligence and advise to consult the doctor if necessary. An easily accessible health center in one's own neighborhood remains indispensable.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.  

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

9. Road safety

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This is the 9th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Casualties in traffic are main threats to the quality of the living environment. ‘Vision zero’ might change this.
Any human activity that annually causes 1.35 million deaths worldwide, more than 20 million serious injuries, damage of $1,600 billion and is a major cause of global warming would be banned immediately. Except for the use of the car. This post describes how changes in road design will improve safety.

The more public transport, the safer the traffic

Researchers from various universities in the US, Australia and Europe have studied the relationship between road pattern, other infrastructure features and road safety or its lack. They compared the road pattern in nearly 1,700 cities around the world with data on the number of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Lead researcher Jason Thompsonconcluded: <em>It is quite clear that places with more public transport, especially rail, have fewer accidents</em>. Therefore, on roads too public transport must prioritized.

The growing risk of pedestrians and cyclists

Most accidents occur in developing and emerging countries. Road deaths in developed countries are declining. In the US from 55,000 in 1970 to 40,000 in 2017. The main reason is that cars always better protect their passengers. This decrease in fatalities does not apply to collisions between cars and pedestrians and cyclists, many of which are children. Their numbers are increasing significantly, in the US more than in any other developed country. In this country, the number of bicycle lanes has increased, but adjustments to the layout of the rest of the roads and to the speed of motorized traffic have lagged, exposing cyclists to the proximity of speeding or parking cars. SUVs appear to be 'killers'and their number is growing rapidly.

Safe cycling routes

In many American cities, paint is the primary material for the construction of bike lanes. Due to the proximity of car traffic, this type of cycle routes contributes to the increasing number of road deaths rather than increasing safety. The Canadian city of Vancouver, which doubled the number of bicycle lanes in five years to 11.9% of all downtown streets, has the ambition to upgrade 100% of its cycling infrastructure to an AAA level, which means safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities. Cycle paths must technically safe: at least 3 meters wide for two-way traffic; separated from other traffic, which would otherwise have to reduce speed to less than 30 km/h).  In addition, users also need to feel safe.

Street design

Vision Zero Cities such as Oslo and Helsinki are committed to reducing road fatalities to zero over the next ten years. They are successful already now: There were no fatalities in either city in 2019. These and other cities use the Vision Zero Street Design Standard, a guide to planning, designing, and building streets that save lives.
Accidents are often the result of fast driving but are facilized by roads that allow and encourage fast driving. Therefore, a Vision Zero design meets three conditions:
• Discouraging speed through design.
• Stimulating walking, cycling and use of public transport.
• Ensure accessibility for all, regardless of age and physical ability (AAA).
The image above shows a street that meets these requirements. Here is an explanation of the numbers: (1) accessible sidewalks, (2) opportunity to rest, (3) protected cycle routes, (4) single lane roads, (5) lanes between road halves, (6) wide sidewalks, (7) public transport facilities, (8) protected pedestrian crossings, (9) loading and unloading bays, (10) adaptive traffic lights.


Strict rules regarding speed limits require compliance and law enforcement and neither are obvious. The Netherlands is a forerunner with respect to the infrastructure for bikes and pedestrians, but with respect to enforcement the country is negligent: on average, a driver of a passenger car is fined once every 20,000 kilometers for a speeding offense (2017 data). In addition, drivers use apps that warn of approaching speed traps. Given the risks of speeding and the frequency with which it happens, this remissing law enforcement approach is unacceptable.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.

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Xander Bakker, Community Manager at Green Innovation Hub, posted

De stad van de toekomst bouwen ze in Almere in Minecraft

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Met een spetterende kick-off door Justin Edwards, Director of Learning Programmes van Microsoft, zijn 200 studenten van hogeschool Windesheim Flevoland vandaag in teams gestart met het in Minecraft bouwen van het nog te realiseren stadsdeel Pampus. Bijzonder omdat Almere als tweede stad na London start met een Minecraft challenge voor de realisatie van een nieuwbouwopgave. Het winnende studententeam van Windesheim mag haar concept van 7 – 9 november presenteren in het Holland paviljoen tijdens de Smartcity Expo World Congres in Barcelona.

De komende anderhalf jaar biedt Almere honderden jongeren tussen de 8 en 21 jaar op deze unieke manier de kans om zelf op de stoel van de architect te zitten en zo mee te denken over grote maatschappelijke vraagstukken. Basisschoolleerlingen en studenten bouwen op hun eigen niveau aan een virtueel Almere Pampus. Dit als plek waar zij in de toekomst zelf willen wonen. Dit stadsdeel bouwen ze met een speciale versie van Minecraft Education Edition.

Wethouder Maaike Veeningen van Almere (Economische ontwikkeling, hoger onderwijs): ‘we dagen leerlingen tot 21 jaar uit om met oplossingen te komen voor vraagstukken op het gebied van duurzaam, energiezuinig en inclusief bouwen. Op deze manier leren zij bijvoorbeeld over het gebruik van Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR) en robotisering bij het ontwikkelen van een nieuw stadsdeel. Zo betrekken we onze toekomstige inwoners bij het bouwen aan de ideale stad van de toekomst.’

Toekomstige leefomgeving
Het toekomstige Almere Pampus wordt in het zuidwesten van Almere gebouwd, met meer dan 30.000 woningen en 16.000 arbeidsplaatsen. Projectdirecteur Almere Pampus en senior stedenbouwkundige bij de gemeente Almere Paola Huijding over de Minecraft Challenge: “Deze leerlingen zijn misschien de toekomstige bewoners van Pampus. Hiermee bouwen we aan woon- en werkplekken omringd door water en groen. Het is daarom zo mooi dat juist de toekomstige generatie nu meedenkt over hun leefomgeving.”

De speciale editie van Minecraft die de studenteams gebruiken is ontwikkeld door Iamprogrez. Het gebruik ervan moet op een speelse en laagdrempelige manier bijdragen aan een digitaal vaardige samenleving. Scholieren krijgen zo inzicht in de banen van de toekomst. Ook kunnen zij in een buddysysteem ouderen meenemen in hun digitale kennis en vaardigheden.
Fleur van Beem, Executive Director bij VodafoneZiggo: “Het vooruithelpen van twee miljoen mensen in de samenleving willen wij bereiken door initiatieven als Online Masters, een online lesprogramma voor scholen over de digitale wereld. De Minecraft Challenge sluit hierop naadloos aan en het is natuurlijk fantastisch om dankzij gamification jongeren digitaalvaardig te krijgen.”

Bouwen aan innovatieve concepten
De leerlingen kunnen alleen of in teams werken aan de challenge en krijgen hiervoor een digital skills-certificaat. Na de ontwerpfase, kunnen zij hun toekomstige visie op Pampus uploaden op de website van de Green Innovation Hub (GIH). Een groep experts kiest de winnaar. Danny Frietman, Projectdirecteur van de GIH: “De winnende uitkomsten van de Minecraft Challenge vormen de basis voor ons om start-ups en scale-ups uit te dagen om de concepten van de scholieren daadwerkelijk in de praktijk te brengen.”

“Hoe ziet het er dan uit”
Kijk HIER naar de video aankondiging van de eerder gehouden Minecraft-challenge in Londen. Daarin zie je duidelijk hoe de challenge werkt en welke mogelijkheden Minecraft hiervoor biedt.

Fotografie Daan Klunder, Almere City Marketing

Xander Bakker's picture #Citizens&Living
Angèle Rolland, Coordinator of the Mobility Sphere think tank , posted

Forum The Mobility Sphere | October 4, Amsterdam

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The Mobility Sphere Forum is scheduled to take place in Amsterdam on October 4th, 2023 - a gathering of high-level experts across the public and private sectors aimed at rethinking mobility to disrupt the status quo, foster new perspectives, and craft innovative solutions.

Created in 2023, The Mobility Sphere by Transdev is a European think tank aimed at envisioning and providing a comprehensive outlook on the future of mobility. Our approach to mobility is firmly rooted in the concept of transition — whether environmental, social, economic, or territorial. We champion mobility as the cornerstone of inclusive, sustainable, and resilient cities and society.

Centered around the theme ‘Decarbonized mobility, mobility for all: transforming the way we move’, the upcoming Forum will gather approximately 100 mobility stakeholders from various European countries (France, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, etc.) for a half-day in the heart of Amsterdam. The discussion will be moderated in English by François Gemenne, Scientific Advisor of The Mobility Sphere.

Panel 1 - Desirable and decarbonized mobility: How to anticipate and adapt to uses?

  • Karima Delli, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Committee on Transport and Tourism (EU)
  • Katarína Cséfalvayová, Director of the Institute for Central Europe & Executive Lead of the Danube Tech Valley Initiative, Former Member of Parliament (Slovakia)
  • Zeina Nazer, Co-Founder of Cities Forum (United Kingdom)

Panel 2 - Desirable mobility for all: How to foster an inclusive shift towards decarbonization?

  • Charlotte Halpern, Researcher at Sciences Po’s Centre for European Studies and Comparative Politics (France)
  • Madeleine Masse, Architect Urban Planner, Founding President of Atelier SOIL (France)
  • Brian Caulfield, Professor in Transportation & Head of Department at Trinity College Dublin, Expert to the Irish National Transport Authority (Ireland)

Three keynotes:

  • Antoine Grange, CEO Europe of Transdev, Chairman of The Mobility Sphere
  • Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Mobility, Public Works and Road Safety (Belgium)
  • Samah Karaki, Neuroscientist – Transitioning towards Sustainable Mobility: Cognitive Biases and the Impact of Social Environment.

To find out more about the forum and the programme, follow this link.

Places at the forum are limited, you can register by sending an e-mail before 25 September 2023 to

Angèle Rolland's picture Conference on Oct 4th
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

8. Polycentricity

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This is the 8th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. The question is whether a distribution of services over the whole area contributes to the quality of the urban environment.
The central parts of cities like Siena, Amsterdam and Barcelona are overrun by visitors and tourists. Partly because Airbnb has increased its overnight capacity by withdrawing homes from their actual destination. As a result, these cities see their real estate prices rise ans residents leave, making room for expensive apartments, boutique hotels and corporate headquarters. Eventually, old city centers will become amusement parks that offer twenty-four hours of entertainment.

The need for distributed centers

There are no objections against visiting nice cities. The underlying problem is that many of these cities have few other places of interest left, partly due to destruction in the Second World War and their rapid expansion afterwards. Therefore, some cities are in urgent need to create additional attractive places and become polycentric. This aligns with the intention of cities to become a 15-minute city. The figure above is a model developed for this purpose by the council of Portland (USA).
Because of this policy, the prospect is that residents can buy their daily necessities close to home. At the other hand, tourists will be spread. What attractive neighborhood centers look like will be discussed in a subsequent post.

Ancillary centers

Cities without an inordinate number of tourists and visitors also observe a steady grow in the number of events, all competing for the same locations. For this reason, it is advisable that cities have a few ancillary centers each with one or two crowd pullers that divide the stream of visitors. An example is the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and its newly developed public space around. In world cities such as London and New York, such centers have existed for years, but they are sometimes difficult to find because they are spread over a large area.
Amsterdam too urgently needs one or more ancillary centers. The area between Leidseplein and the Rijksmuseum has potential but lacks unity due to the chaotic intersections of roads and tram lines. The presence of a train or metro station is an advantage, that is why the area near Station Zuid also has potential.

Peripheral centers

Next decade, many visitors will still arrive by car and the best policy is to seduce them to leave their cars at safe transfer points to continue their journey by public transport. For visitors who intend to stay longer, this solution is not optimal. Many will dismiss the perspective of carrying their luggage to the hotel by public transport, although taking a cab is an alternative, albeit expensive. The alternative is the presence of a couple of affordable hotels next to the car park and the development of these areas into attractive public space, with shops, cafes, and restaurants, as a starting point to visit places of interest in the city. These centers can also accommodate major events, such as a football stadium, a music hall, cinemas and open-air festivities, because of the presence of large scale parking facilities. The Amsterdam Arena district is developing in this direction. It used to be a desolate place, but it's getting better. There are excellent train and metro links.

And what about the old 'old' city center?

The public spaces in the old city centers must meet the same requirements as the whole city to prevent becoming an amusement park for tourists. Aside from its carefully maintained and functionally integrated cultural legacy, centers should provide a mix of functions, including housing, offices, spaces for craft and light industry and plenty of greenery dedicated to its inhabitants. The number of hotels should be limited and renting out by Airbnb prohibited. There will be shops for both residents and tourists, rents must be frozen, and the speculative sale of houses curbed. Space over shops must be repurposed for apartments.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.

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Christiaan Elings, Strategy & Collaboration for Sustainable Transitions at Royal Haskoning, posted

Hoe creëer je Levende Lerende Netwerken die impact hebben?

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Hoe maak je de stap van gezamenlijk leren, naar samen echt dingen doen? Er is al veel over gezegd en geschreven... Communities of practice, smeden van allianties, enz enz... Vaak blijft het dan een beetje hangen bij het organiseren van een toffe sessie, vast met veel energie. En daarna gaat iedereen - als het goed is met nieuwe ideeën en inspiratie - weer verder met waar 'ie al mee bezig was. Vaak is dat al genoeg, maar zeker in transities wil je eigenlijk een stapje verder komen.

Is eigenlijk al wel voldaan aan een aantal belangrijke condities om het netwerk levend te maken en te houden?

Reflecterend op onze eigen praktijk, ontdekten we een aantal kenmerken die belangrijk en beïnvloedbaar zijn bij het bouwen van impactvolle levende lerende netwerken. Amsterdam Smart City zelf is zo'n voorbeeld, waarin we voortdurend met elkaar op zoek zijn naar hoe we onze samenwerking van betekenis kunnen laten zijn voor de duurzame transities in onze regio. De Green Deal Circular Festivals, het MRA Platform Smart Mobility, Sail Amsterdam, en het Initiatief Bewust Bodemgebruik zijn enkele andere voorbeelden van levende lerende netwerken. Ook hier zagen we telkens dat de volgende kenmerken van belang zijn om verder te komen, en om de stap te maken van samen leren, naar samen doen:

(1) Wederzijdse afhankelijkheid tussen deelnemers
(2) Beweging door gedeelde energie
(3) Diversiteit daagt uit
(4) Persoonlijke ontwikkeling, empathie, ego overstijgend
(5) Veilige ruimte om te leren en ontwikkelen

Op basis van onze ervaringen in de praktijk, hebben we onze kijk op het ontstaan, de kenmerken en het begeleiden van Levende Lerende Netwerken opgeschreven in een whitepaper. Wil je meer weten, dan kun je die downloaden via onderstaande link (naar beneden scrollen naar de download knop van de Levende Lerende Netwerken Whitepaper).

Tijdens het PGM Open Congres op 26 september organiseren we hierover een workshop voor programmamanagers ( En, je kunt me natuurlijk altijd een berichtje sturen als je meer wilt weten!

Christiaan Elings's picture #CircularCity
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

7. Accessibility

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This is the 7th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. The question is whether motorized traffic must be banned from central parts of the city to improve the quality of the urban environment.
Most cities face a choice when it comes to accessibility of their central parts: Whether they renovate the road infrastructure or they face a growing and lasting conflict between car traffic and visitors, whose numbers will decrease further as a result of prioritizing cars. This post deals with the first option.

Changing priorities in the use of road space

The starting point for this renovation is choosing the best experience for both residents and visitors. Therefore, the use of road space in all parts of cities must be under scrutiny. This also applies the connecting roads between centers and the other parts of the city. The distribution of space between pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and public transport has to be reconsidered. A good example is the Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam. Cars have been banned, the sidewalks are widened, cyclists have their own lanes and the tram uses a switch track (photo below left), just as in Leidsestraat (photo above left).


The rule of thumb is that the larger a city and the better public transport is functioning, the more the accessibility by car of the central parts and the residential areas as well can be reduced. Visitors who rely on the use of a car then store their vehicle in a parking on the edge of the center, preferably near supermarkets or other places where voluminous purchases can be made. From these parking spaces they enter the central area on foot. Incidentally, it is worth considering opening the entire center to cars until 11 a.m. to pick up orders.
Cyclists can be allowed deeper penetration in the central urban area, but not unlimited. They leave their bicycles in (guarded) parking facilities too.
Public transport never stops more than 300 meters from the middle of the center, where comfortable waiting areas are offered, and information is available.

Separation of traffic flows

A separation of traffic flows is required for the entire urban area. The most central streets will be exclusively intended for pedestrians, emergency services and occasionally the tram. Bicycles are allowed in streets in the center, depending on their wideness.
Public transport has always priority at traffic lights. It ensures not only transfer-free accessibility of the urban center, but also connects the most important residential and work areas with a minimum number of transfer. The possible arrival of autonomous minibuses will radically improve the flexibility of public transport (photo above right).
Intra-urban walking and cycling routes
Pedestrians’ and cyclists’ safety and amenity are improved if the connections between the central and outlying parts of the city are accessible by separate routes too. In a city whose green space penetrates deep into the central area, these routes can partly run through nature. A good example is the cycle route from the center of Utrecht to Leidsche Rijn (photo bottom right). Pedestrians need an attractive route through the built-up area for reasons of social safety.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

6. Appropriate density

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This article is part of the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Read whether Increasing density of cities complies with the quality of the urban environment.

There is widespread agreement to use the available space more thoughtful than during the last decades. In the Nationale Omgevingsvisie (NOVI), the Dutch government has unambiguously expressed its preference for housing locations within existing built-up areas or in the vicinity of stations.

The need for density

Frequently, references are made to ‘urban sprawl' in the USA to illustrate the disadvantages of low density. However, but The Netherlands is also familiar with extensive growth of the urban area. The maps above show the growth of the Amsterdam area. Between 1900 and 2000, the population of Amsterdam grew from 317,000 to 727,000 inhabitants. Its surface from 560 to 11,500 hectares.
The spread of urban activities over an ever-increasing surface and the associated traffic movements have led to vast monotonous areas, car dependence, expansion of the road network, increasing congestion, impoverishment of social life, air pollution, emissions of greenhouse gases and decline of nature.
A summary of 300 OECD research projects shows that compactness results in more efficient use of facilities, but that there are also disadvantages in terms of health and well-being, usually as results of air pollution and traffic.

Advantages of density

Denser development is generally associated with the availability of amenities within walking distance, creating support for better public transport accessibility, and leading to more efficient use of utilities. Moreover - corrected for the composition of the population - CO2 emissions in urban areas are at least 30% lower than in the suburbs. An advantage that disappears in case of high-rises.

No necessity to expand building outside urban areas

According to many urban planners, there is no reason to divert to locations outside the existing built-up area. They claim that there is sufficient space in every city for new residential locations, for instance disused office buildings and factory locations. Many new homes can also come available through the division of oversized single-family homes and the renovation and raising of older (porch) homes.
These arguments only hold if at the same time the nuisance by densification is limited. For example, by reducing car useto prevent the roads from becoming even more crowded and the streets even more filled with parked cars. I don't see that happening yet.

Competing claims on urban land use

There is another important objection to further densification and that is the fact that other forms of land use also appeal to available land within the urban space. For example, the expansion of industry, trade, research etcetera. preferably in the vicinity of living areas to reduce the length of trips.
The most important claim on the available space is the need to expand the city’s greenery. Research into the development of 'green' in Amsterdam and Brussels since 2010 shows that the open space ratio (OSR) in both cities has decreased. In Amsterdam this was 3.68 km2 (4.7%) and in Brussels 9.17 km2 (11.9%). This is in line with a recent study by Arcadis, which shows that the four major cities in the Netherlands score very poorly on healthy outdoor space, greenery, air quality, noise nuisance, heat stress and safety.

Inner- and outer-urban development revisited

The report therefore concludes that extension of the use of urban space for housing must be weighed up against other claims for the use of space, such as urban greening, urban agriculture, and the maintenance and expansion of business activities. At the same time, the objections to ecologically responsive building activities outside the already urbanized areas must be reconsidered. Three-quarters of the agricultural land is used for intensive livestock farming, not exactly creating valuable nature. I will come back to it later.
In the 'Dossier leefbaar wonen' (in Dutch)' I wrote extensively about the subject of providing affordable housing. You can download this e-book using the link below:

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

5. Integration of high-rises

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This article is part of the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Read how the design of high-rises might comply with the quality of the urban environment.
High-rises are under scrutiny in two respects. First, its necessity or desirability. Secondly, their integration in the urban fabric. This post is about the latter.

Options for high-rises

Suppose you want to achieve a density of 200 housing equivalents in a newly to build area of one hectare. A first option is the way in which Paris and Barcelona have been built: Contiguous buildings from five to eight floors along the streets, with attractive plinths. In addition, or as an addition, others prefer high-rises because of their capacity of enhancing the metropolitan appearance of the area. Not to increase the density in the first place.

Integrative solution

Almost all urban planners who opt for the latter option take as starting point rectangular blocks, which height along the streets is limited to 4-6 storeys, including attractive plinths. The high-rise will then be realized backwards, to keep its massiveness out of sight. The image at top left gives an impression of the reduced visibility of high-rises at street level on Amsterdam's Sluisbuurt. According to many, this is a successful example of the integration of high-rises, just like the Schinkelkwartier under development, also in Amsterdam(picture top right).

Separate towers

The last option is also recognisable in all urban plans with a metropolitan character in Utrecht and Rotterdamand more or less in The Hague too. This represents a turnaround from the past. Research by Marlies de Nijsshowed that only 20% of all high-rises built before 2015 met this condition. These buildings consist of separate towers without an attractive plinth. What you see at ground floor-level are blank walls hiding technical, storage or parking areas. The Zalmtoren in Rotterdam, the tallest building in the Netherlands, exemplifies this (picture below right). This kind of edifices is mostly surrounded by a relatively large space of limited use. Other disadvantages of detached high-rises are the contrast with adjacent buildings, their windy environment, the intense shadows, its ecological footprint, and the costs.


Two extreme examples of disproportionate high-rises can be found in Paris. Paris has always applied a limitation of the building height to 37 meters within the zone of the Périférique. The exception is the Eiffel Tower, but it was only meant to be temporary. In the two short periods that this provision was cancelled, two buildings have risen: The first is the 210-meter-high Tour Montparnasse, which most Parisians would like to demolish immediately. Instead, the building will be renovated at a cost of €300 million in preparation for the Olympic Games. After 10 years of struggle, construction of the second has started in 2021. It is the 180-meter-high Tour Triangle, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, so-called star architects. The photos at the bottom left and centre show the consequences for the cityscape.

Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.  

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

3. Attractive streetscape

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This article is part of the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Read how design, starting from the physical aspects of the streetscape en -pattern contributes to the quality of the urban environment. Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
Streets and squares are appreciated best if there is cohesion between several elements, such as the block height, the number of floors, the type of houses, the building line and the colour. When some elements work together, others can vary. Uniformity without variation results in people avoiding a street.

Coherence and variation in balance

Variation creates liveliness and will extend the time visitors spend on a street. This principle is applied almost everywhere in the world. Walls are fitted with arches, pillars, porches, porches, pitched roofs, windowsills, canopies, balustrades, cornices, dormer windows, linear and vertical elements, see the bottom-centre image of a Paris’ building. At the same time, the attributes of separate buildings that provide variety are most effective against a coherent background. The Parisian avenues illustrate this too, because most edifices are built according to the same principles while the ornamentation of each facade differs. The attractive streetscape in Sicily (top right) and in the Alsace (bottom right) demonstrate an almost perfect balance between similarity and difference.

Use of colour

A good example are the painted houses in the Canadian settlement of Lunenburg, which was founded in the 18th century by German woodworkers and is a UNESCO world heritage site today (top centre). The nature of the construction and the type of buildings ensure cohesion; the colour provides the variation.

Street pattern

A manageable pattern of similarly important streets contributes to the spread of visitors and provides a level playing field for shops and restaurants. A mesh, which does not necessarily have to be rectangular, facilitates orientation. A rectangular street pattern is at the expense of the element of surprise and detracts from the feeling that there is something to discover. Squares will often be found at street intersections.


Understanding of the pattern of the streets is reinforced by providing intersections with landmarks, such as statues, fountains, or distinguishing buildings (photo, top right). These elements help visitors developing a mental map. Maps every here and there are more helpful than signposts. The fewer poles in the ground, the better.

Canals and moats

Canals and moats also contribute to the attractivity of the streetscape. They restore the human dimension in too wide streets, also in new parts of the city. The images on the left show a central street in Zaandam (top) and a 'waterway' in the Amsterdam Houthavens quarter (bottom). The edges of waterways should never be used as parking spaces. Definitely not in Amsterdam, because its unique streetscape.  

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

2. Human density

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This article is part of the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Read how design, departing from the human dimension contributes to the quality of the urban environment. Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
Human dimension means that residents nor visitors feel overwhelmed by the environment. An urban planner must avoid them thinking that it is all about other things, such as commerce, traffic, or the buildings themselves, which unfortunately often is the case indeed. Constructions by 'star architects' can be crowd pullers but usually also result into a disproportionate use of space. Cities therefore better tolerate only a limited number of such edifices. Alexander Herrebout (OTO Landscape) believes that space has a human dimension if you experience attention for you as a human being and that there are objects you can connect with. For many, this will be more often a historic building (church, town hall) than a modernist one.

Compactness (‘enclosure’)

Compact streets and squares give a sense of security. They encourage people to linger there, increasing the chance of unforeseen encounters. Sjoerd Soeters considers squares in the first place as a widening in the street pattern and therefore they are preferably no larger than 24 by 40 meters. A round or oval shape enhances the feeling of security. If the height of the surrounding buildings is also in line with this, there may be contact between residents and people on the street. Good examples are the square he designed in the Oostpoort shopping center in Amsterdam, but also a square in <em>The Point</em>, a new shopping center in Utah (US), resp. bottom left and bottom center and of course the Piazza der Campo in Siena.

If streets are too wide or narrow or buildings are too high?

Trees, for example a double row all around, will help if a street is too wide or a square is too big. Trees are also a source of reducing urban heat. The extent to which trees contribute to the sense of intimacy is expressed by comparing the images at the top left (Herring Cove Road, Halifax, Canada) and the top right (Course Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence). A square or a street that is too wide can be further visually reduced by the construction of terraces, the placement of a pavilion or the presence of water features, such as on the Brusselplein, Leidsche Rijn (bottom right). Sometimes also by allowing destination traffic and public transport.
A street that is too narrow can be widened psychologically by designing sidewalks and a carriageway in the same level and shades, possibly separated by a narrow band, as illustrated in the image of the Sluisbuurt in Amsterdam (top center).
If case of high-rises, the human dimension can be respected by planting trees and by placing taller buildings back from the plinth to limit their visibility from the street.  This is also illustrated by the image of the Sluisbuurt (top center).


Compactness presupposes a certain density. In a very dense city center is only room for pedestrians and not for traffic, in some cases except for the tram. Though, these areas must be always accessible to emergency services. Waste removal, deliveries and parking must be solved differently, for example on the inner space of blocks or by introducing strict time slots. Every city also needs space for events such as concerts, fairs, etcetera. Accessibility is more important than a central location.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #Citizens&Living
Anoop Kumar Jha, Architect Planner, MSc. (Infrastructure & Smart Cities) , posted

Request: Seeking guidance and possible work opportunities in the smart city domain.

I am a mid-career Architect and, Urban and Regional Planner. I recently graduated with a second master's (MSc.) from IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam, with a Specialization in "Infrastructure and Smart Cities". My MSc. thesis research topic was based on Circular Economy concepts including the Circular Business Model and High-value reuse of material and components.

I am very passionate about smart cities and sustainability, and I am highly inspired by all the work in the smart city area that is being done in the Netherlands, where I hope to contribute and make a positive impact.

Previously, in addition to planning and project management roles, I have worked in relevant areas of smart mobility, ICT Infrastructure, renewable energy, and waste to energy, among others as part of consulting firms.

I am looking for possible work opportunities in the Smart City area in the Netherlands. I will appreciate any reference, resource, and mentorship that could be offered to me.

Anoop Jha

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

1. Lively streets and squares

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This article is the first in the series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities.Read how lively places contribute to the quality of streets and squares. Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
The public space is like a stage. The Dutch architect and urban planner Sjoerd Soeters, known for the Amsterdam Houthavens, likes to say that. He meant that it is the inhabitants and visitors of cities who provide the liveliness, but that streets and squares must ensure that they come. This apparently worked out well on the Rue Sainte-Catherine in Bordeaux (photo above right).

Shopping facilities and catering

Research shows that the quality of the shopping facilities, also for 'fun shoppers', is still the main driver to visit the center of cities. A varied catering offer follows in second place (photo bottom left). A welcome addition are spaces with a non-commercial purpose, such as museums, galleries, art lending, information centers of municipalities or companies, etcetera.


Sidewalks use to be too narrow, due to the perceived need to accommodate motorized traffic. A sidewalk in central parts of the city must be at least 20 feet wide, such as that of Fillmore Street, San Francisco (top left photo). In that case, sufficient space is offered for greenery, free passage for passers-by and tables or chairs, billboards, and street vendors, who make a welcome contribution to the liveliness of the street.

Opportunity to rest

Places that invite you to linger increase the attractiveness of the area and the chance of unforeseen encounters (collision spaces). These can be terraces, but also non-commercial places such as tree-lined squares with benches, games, buskers (acoustic), an ice cream cart etcetera. One of the most famous examples is the Spanish Steps in Rome. Such spaces usually arise 'by themselves', but they can also be designed as such, for instance, squares in Barcelona and Shanghai (photos bottom center and bottom right). By no means it is certain that they will also be used as such.

Minimize traffic noise

In the more centrally located parts of a city, a certain level of sound is part of the experience, but traffic noise is a source of nuisance and drives away visitors. Through traffic is not compatible with all other (inner) urban functions; destination traffic must be reduced, channeled and its speed limited. Noise at events must also be reduced to an acceptable level for visitors, residents, and passers-by, knowing that events attract many people, but can also repel others as well.

Places with a different character

In an atmospheric city center you will find quiet places and others where it is bustling at the same time. Those quiet places can be small parks with playgrounds and benches to rest, but also publicly accessible courtyards of residential blocks.

Exploiting iconic places

Most cities have places with special characteristics. These are often historic or modern buildings, monuments, fountains etcetera. Sometimes it is a well-known square, such as the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Sometimes it is also the boulevard along a river or special viewpoints (photo top middle) that both city dwellers and visitors like to include in their route and where they linger for a while.


All parts of a city with a central function should be amply supplied with art. For this purpose, also (temporarily) empty shops can be used, which also serve as an information center. Think of art objects on the street (possibly replica’s) and fascinating paintings on blind walls, which number must be limited by the way. In the evening, light art can be imagined on the facades of buildings surrounding streets and squares.

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

New series: 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities

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This article is the introduction to the series 25 building blocks for better streets, neighbourhoods and cities, which you can read every Tuesday and Friday starting next week. The link below refers to an overview of all upcoming posts.

It often strikes me how much people agree about the quality of the living environment. Many, especially younger ones, prefer a house built in the '30s. Older neighbourhoods almost always score higher than modern ones, due to the alleged lack of atmosphere, sociability, and intimacy in the latter. Urban planners, architects and politicians would like to change this, and they are doing so. Slowly.

In urban planning a breeze of fresh air comes in.

How cities in Europe currently look stems largely from the ideas of Le Corbusier through his role in the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). The Dutch architect and urban planner Cornelis van Eesteren was also a prominent representative. The influence of the Congress is visible in the spacious post-war residential areas with their long rows of single-family houses and medium-rise buildings. The underlying idea was to design a functional city in which living, working, shopping and recreation all have their own separated places.

Slowly, the voice of a new generation of urban planners in which Jane Jacobs and Jan Gehl (pictures above) play a prominent role became louder. They detest post-war urban expansion and advocate mixing urban functions.  70 years after the publication of her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Planetizen magazine predicated urban activist Jane Jacobs as the most influential urban planner ever, even though she never studied this field. Jan Gehl, who did, follows in second place. By the way, Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, is in 7th place; not because of what she studied but of what she put into practice.

Many others, including representatives of New Urbanism, play an important role in further developing the ideas of Jacobs and Gehl. For instance, they put back on the agenda the return to the 15-minute city. ‘New urbanists’ also top the list: Andres Duany, the author of Suburban Nation at four and Jeff Speck, who authored Walkable City, at ten.

The concept of high-quality living environment

Many contemporary ideas about urban development come together in the concept of high-quality living environment. A compact definition of this concept is improving human well-being in a condensing city. I have collected and clustered references to characteristics of high-quality living environments in many recent publications into 25 building blocks. Each block deals with one aspect of the quality of the living environment, or in other words the creation of better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Consider this a tribute to the mission of the Amsterdam Smart City community, of which I was a curator for several years.

I hope you get inspired and support the use of these building blocks.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #Citizens&Living
pablo Decelis, Zero-Emission Mobility Specialist at Cenex NL, posted

GEMINI: Greening European Mobility through cascading innovation INItiatives

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At the heart of the GEMINI Project lies a commitment to fostering innovation and to accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality in mobility solutions.
Goal 11 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals advocates for access to safe, affordable, and sustainable transport systems. Nowadays, transport plays a significant role on air pollution and is one of the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and is the only sector in the EU with increased Green House Gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990.
The promotion of sustainable and innovative mobility solutions can help towards reducing GHG and carbon footprints, improving air quality, and achieving climate goals.

Project brief
The GEMINI Project (2023-2026 “Greening European Mobility through cascading innovation Initiatives” is a Horizon Europe funded project with 43 partners led by the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI).

To accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality, GEMINI aims to foster widespread adoption of sustainable shared mobility solutions. To achieve this, the project will develop and test innovative business models for New Mobility Services (NMS) such as shared connected automated vehicles and shared mobility public transport through public-private partnerships. The NMS business models will be demonstrated in ten European Cities (Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Munich, Leuven, Ljubljana, Paris-Saclay, Porto and Turin).

Additionally, GEMINI will create digital tools and platforms that accommodate various mobility services, promoting collaboration and integration within the mobility sector. The project will actively engage stakeholders in the co-creation process, introducing Mobility as a Commons (MaaC) and incentivizing behavioural shifts and user acceptance of these new mobility options.

Furthermore, GEMINI will formulate policy recommendations to enable the scaling up and replication of successful mobility solutions. By aligning with Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs) and urban mobility planning frameworks, the project aims to contribute to a comprehensive policy package that guides and incentivizes future mobility innovations. The GEMINI project envisions fostering sustainable, accessible, and affordable shared mobility solutions that contribute to a safer and more environmentally friendly urban mobility landscape.


  1. Develop and test sustainable business models for New Mobility Services (NMS) to increase shared mobility solutions (MaaS and MaaC) for various user groups, including enterprises, families, and tourists.
  2. Create digital enablers, including collaboration platforms and multimodal MaaS solutions, to integrate and facilitate a wide range of mobility services.
  3. Actively involve stakeholders in the co-creation of new mobility options and integrate Social Innovation practices to incentivize behavioural changes and user acceptance.
  4. Formulate policy recommendations to support the scaling up and replicability of successful mobility solutions, contributing to the development and implementation of SUMPs and urban mobility planning frameworks.

Cenex NL key contributions
The team plays a vital role in developing policy recommendations and technology roadmaps to accelerate the deployment of innovative mobility services. Through collaboration with local authorities in twinning cities, these roadmaps will align with the fast-track deployment of shared mobility trends in the short and medium term. Additionally, Cenex NL will contribute to the development of the Handbook consolidating the project’s learnings and offering practical guidance to cities and citizens across Europe.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101103801.

pablo Decelis's picture #Mobility
Jorden van der Hoogt, Strategy and Innovation Lead at Cenex NL, posted

SESA project – Smart Energy Solutions for Africa to accelerate the green transition and energy access

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Africa is the fasted growing continent on the planet, measured both in GDP as in population, which historically is accompanied with a growth in energy consumption. With an eye on the Paris Agreement and COP26 it is clear the energy should be Low or even Zero Emission. However, it is important this does not stifle the economic growth allowing millions to climb out of poverty. With this in mind the EU funded the SESA project that aims at mitigating climate change while improving access to sustainable energy under affordable, reliable conditions.

Project brief
SESA is a four-year (2021-2025) EU H2020 funded R&D project designed to combine innovative energy access solutions for a range of applications in both urbanised and rural contexts in Africa. These solutions will include decentralised renewables (solar photovoltaics), innovative energy storage systems (including second life batteries), waste-to-energy systems (biomass to biogas), smart microgrids, (micro) mobility solutions, climate-proofing, resilience and adaptation, and rural internet access.
SESA focusses on testing, validating and replicating those energy innovations through co-developed demonstration actions in 9 sites across the continent (1 Living Lab for testing, 4 for validation and 4 for replication).
The collaborative project is the result of a strong partnership between leading European and African universities, research centres, industry actors, local governments, knowledge and implementation organizations and networks.

The main goal of SESA is to support a diversity of affordable solutions that help provide access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy services for all, creating new business opportunities and developing concepts that can directly contribute to a low-carbon development. It further provides policy makers with recommendations aiming at creating a favourable regulatory environment to ensure long-term impacts of the solutions developed. In addition, a key deliverable for the project is the SESA Toolbox, which will contain materials relating to the following main building blocks:

  • Impact assessment
  • Capacity building
  • Business plans and models
  • Innovations tested in demonstration actions
  • Design, operations and management for different solutions
  • Financing & funding options
  • Policy support

Cenex NL’s key contributions
Cenex NL leads the work package responsible for the development of the key repository of the project, the so called “SESA Toolbox”, and the evaluation of the project results available in the toolbox. Our team will be involved in three tasks:

  1. Build a scalable and harmonised toolbox for advanced implementation, management and operation strategies of efficient sustainable energy solutions.
  2. Develop an evaluation framework based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology to quantify and compare the environmental impacts of the proposed solutions.
  3. Assess the impact of the solutions developed in at least five the demonstration and validation projects using the framework developed in the previous task.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation progamme under grant agreement No 101037141

Jorden van der Hoogt's picture #Citizens&Living
NEMO Science Museum, posted

Evenement: Unesco Werelderfgoed & Klimaat

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Werelderfgoed & Klimaat

Ook wel eens gedroomd van zwemmen met schildpadden op de Galápagoseilanden? Of van een tripje naar Yellowstone? Overal in de wereld is prachtig Werelderfgoed te zien, maar reizen daarnaartoe heeft een keerzijde. De klimaatcrisis zorgt ervoor dat ook Werelderfgoed het steeds lastiger te verduren krijgt. Kijk bijvoorbeeld naar het unieke en onvervangbare Great Barrier Reef in Australië waarvan de toekomst onzeker is. En het is maar de vraag of je over dertig jaar nog droge voeten houdt tijdens een vakantie in Venetië.

Praat mee op 28 september 2023 met onder andere klimaatambassadeur Kiki Boreel en spoken word-artiest Zaïre Krieger over het klimaat en Unesco Werelderfgoed. We gaan het hebben over hoe we bijzondere plekken in de wereld kunnen beschermen tegen klimaatverandering en hoe jij zelf in actie kunt komen. Zo hopen we samen tot een oplossing te komen zodat we door middel van duurzaam reizen nog steeds de mooiste plekken van de wereld kunnen bezoeken.

Over Unesco Werelderfgoed

NEMO organiseert deze bijeenkomst in samenwerking met de Unesco Jongerencommissie, de Nederlandse Unesco Commissie en Stichting Werelderfgoed. De organisaties zetten zich onder meer gezamenlijk in om Werelderfgoed te beschermen en te behouden.


  • Korte pitches door Ginger Weerheim (Nederlands Bureau voor Toerisme en Congressen) en Tom van Nouhuys (Forteiland Pampus).
  • Spoken word door Zaïre Krieger.
  • Panelgesprek door Ginger, Tom, Emmeline van der Leen (Jonge Klimaatbeweging) en Annemieke Visser (Tienskip).
  • Tips voor duurzaam toerisme door de Unesco Jongerencommissie, over wat jij zelf kan doen.


Voor een bezoek aan dit evenement in De Studio reserveer je een apart ticket.

  • Toegangsprijs regulier: € 7,50
  • Toegangsprijs met CJP pas, college- of studentenkaart: € 3,75

Tickets zijn inclusief een bezoek aan de tentoonstelling Energy Junkies én een gratis drankje. 

*De Studio van NEMO is een extra locatie van NEMO Science Museum op het Marineterrein in Amsterdam. De programmering is speciaal voor volwassenen.

foto: Belle Co op Pexels⁠

NEMO Science Museum's picture Meet-up on Sep 28th
Beth Massa, Ozarka B.V. , posted

We urgently need to rent your "wasstraat" and commercial dishwashers or sublease your space to build our own!

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Hi All,
Since 2018, Ozarka works every variety of vendor or restaurant replacing disposable food containers with reusables, big or small, doesn't matter. As you can imagine, we are growing like crazy.

Our wash and sanitation model is decentralized. We have one main wash and sanitation facility called the "Sparkle Jar." We install "outposts" or mini-sparkle jars for wash and sanitation rather than build out more huge facilities. There are a variety of reasons for this (all good, more sustainable, and more affordable for our clients).

We need a lot more of these mini centers. SJ3, SJ4, get the idea. We are looking for partners that have the same commercial dishwashers we have that are not used very often Think office canteens, corporate food courts, hotels. Or, do you have water hookups and extra space that is not being used that we can rent out from you?

The most ideal locations are sort of on the outskirts of the centrum but still inside the A10. Hemshaven or Veemkade area...Oost, West, Noord are ideal locations.

The reuse revolution is really starting to take off! Our growth is going straight up and we need the Amsterdam Smart City community to help us expand our logistics by tapping into infrastructure that already exists.

Beth Massa's picture #CircularCity
Pelle Menke, Communications and Programme officer Mobility at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Demoday #20: Urban Air Mobility: Use-cases and equity considerations

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When considering the future of (urban) mobility we often limit ourselves to urban mobility options we’re used to, like our road- water- and railway networks. But what if we think outside of the box. What if we extended our urban transportation system with sustainable aviation options?

Introducing Electric Vertical Take Off & Landing (eVTOL) options into our transportation system could be a promising move in achieving our urban and provincial goals. Examples of its benefits are; reduced greenhouse gas emissions by electrification, serving rural communities, more efficient emergency response, and decreased surface congestion and crash rates.

And what about some critical issues regarding this development? Think; dependence on battery technology and lithium scarcity, the immense pressure on the energy grid and complications when implementing in cities with old infrastructure cities like Amsterdam.

Case & Set-up of the Session

During our 20th Demoday we had an international guest; Kerry Rohrmeier. During her work as a researcher at San Jose State University, she was finalizing a paper on Urban Air Mobility (UAM). She was visiting The Netherlands to gather input on possible use-cases and considerations from Dutch experts and aviation related networks. As part of her visit, Chris de Veer invited her to join our Demoday and gather input from the Amsterdam Smart City network. It turned out to be a win-win situation. Kerry introduced this sci-fi-esque subject -and its progress in the US- to the network, and a diverse set of participants discussed her research questions in a focus-group setting.

The following paragraphs describe Kerry’s research topics and the answers we came up with as a group.


Appropriate UAM use cases in broader sustainable systems
The group saw eVTOL modes of transport as;

  • A promising alternative to our costly regional transport system, due to its small form, autonomous driving and on-demand possibilities.
  • An alternative to ferry transportation to (nearby) national islands like Texel and Terschelling.
  • A sustainable mode of transportation for sports teams traveling to- and from national opponents.
  • A sustainable and efficient mode of transportation for emergency teams like the ambulance, police and firefighters. Its use would cut response- and travel times.
  • A luxurious alternative to private jets and polluting travel behaviour by the rich.

Equity implications of new UAM and vertiports networks
When it comes to affordability of UAM services the question arises; who should take the lead in its implementation? Public authorities or the market? Subsidies and investments from the government would be needed but to what extent? Private parties could push down pricing create more value with air travel by collecting and selling data from the air (e.g. air-quality and weather predictions) but how desirable is this?

There are also questions regarding safety, because; how to preserve safety in and outside unmanned aircrafts? This led to discussions regarding the use of cabin ‘hosts’ and on ground safety persons monitoring in-cabin safety. Furthermore, someone pointed out how this was also one of the main concerns when elevators where introduced for the first time. This idea of using a closed space with strangers brought up the need for an elevator ‘operator/host’. Later on, this necessity slowly decreased. This could be an interesting case to study when addressing this ‘trust’ and safety topic.

Conclusions and nest steps

Kerry was very content with the discussions that were initiated and the insights she gathered from our perspectives on the case of Urban Air Mobility. It’s important to consider and play into this topic when designing our sustainable transportation system for the future. There are a lot of opportunities, mentioned in the paragraphs above. However, how this development could make a transportation system more ‘just’ and equal remains the question. While we see a rise in innovation and private parties willing to bring eVTOL to the next level, the discussions regarding affordability (for the masses), safety, and its reliance on batteries and a congested energy grid will require special attention.

For now, Kerry Rohrmeier will finish her research paper on this topic and we hope to update you soon with its publication and conclusions! Would you like to know more about this topic or get in contact with Kerry? Let me know via

Pelle Menke's picture #Mobility
Sophie van der Ploeg, Community Manager & Program Lead Digital at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Demoday #20: Knowledge session ‘Power in Transitions’

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When working together on transitions, it is important to be aware of and sensitive to the impact of power and systemic oppression in participatory processes. Within the Amsterdam Smart City network, the question of inclusion and civic participation, is often brought up in worksessions and discussions. However, we often lack the tools to find the bottlenecks and really include all important beneficiaries.

Therefore, we asked our valued partners Kennisland and DRIFT to lead a workshop about Power in Transitions at Demoday #20 on May 16. Dave van Loon and Faduma Mukhtar (Kennisland) together with Aron Teunissen (DRIFT) taught the participants more about power in transitions, based on the Power Literacy Framework and Field Guide from Kennisland. This guide describes five different forms of power and offers a set of tools for professionals to become more aware of power dynamics in their work.

The five forms of power

According to the Power Literacy Guide by Kennisland, there are five forms of power in design process. If you want to learn more about this, you can download the Power Literacy guide here. The five forms of power are:

Privilege: The type of power you get from a social relation whereby you benefit due to the social group you belong to, at the expense of another social group. It is an unearned advantage and often invisible to those who have it.

Access power: The ability to influence who is included in and excluded from the design project and process.

Goal power: The ability to initiate the design project to begin with, as well as the ability to influence decisions related to framing the problem, goals, and structure of the design process.

Role power: The ability to influence the roles that different stakeholders take on. This includes the ability to assign any roles or titles in the design process, as well as influencing the role each stakeholder plays in making decisions.

Rule power: The ability to influence the way that those in the design process will work together. It includes the ability to influence what is considered normal, what is allowed and what isn’t, how actors will communicate with each other, what language is used, and beliefs about what types of knowledge are valid.

Power check

After a theoretical introduction of the five forms of power, we split into smaller groups to perform a so-called power check for different Amsterdam Smart City projects, such as the Mobility Challenge and “Wat mensen beweegt”. Using this power check, the participants looked at access power and goal power. We identified all actors affected by the project and indicated which actors were not involved. The different actors were then assigned a role in different stages of the process: listener, co-creator, advisor, partner or director.

Most important take-aways

The goal of this exercise was to create more awareness about involving target groups in different stages of the project. The main take-aways were:

  • The role for the for the ‘benefit group’, the people that are impacted by the project, is often too small. If beneficiaries are involved, this often happens in the last stages of the project. In this phase in the project, it is often more difficult or not possible at all to influence decision-making;

  • To create equal power, some parties have to ‘give away’ (some of) their power;

  • Truly inclusive work takes time, effort and money. It is not something takes place overnight;

  • Awareness is half of the battle: make the topic of systemic oppression in participatory process a structural part of your (work)process).

Want to learn more about power in transitions? Read more.

Sophie van der Ploeg's picture #Citizens&Living