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AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Space for Food: Space technology for sustainable food systems on Earth

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A big part of innovation in space technology revolves around finding smart, efficient and circular ways to establish a life support system for the astronauts going on the trip. Since it’s simply impossible to bring an end-less amount of resources on board, how do you make sure the astronauts can eat, drink and breath?

What if we view “cities as spaceships”; in terms of urban environments being ‘closed-loop systems’? This gives way to the idea that the same space technology developed by ESA could be applied to increase circularity in a city like Amsterdam.

Towards circular resource streams
Municipal wastewater is a great resource for nutrients and water reuse. The Space for Food project aims to use space technology in recovering nutrients and cleaning wastewater that can be used in food production using vertical farming. Closing the loops from waste to resource will help improving the impact in the environment, while creating resilience for the cities.

For this reason, the project will test a proof of concept using a raceway reactor for purple bacteria cultivation on brewery and municipal yellow wastewater at Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab. The biomass will be used as slow release fertilizer and bio-stimulant for cultivation of vegetables.

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AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Accelerating circularity: monitoring tool geoFluxus helps cities turn company waste into value

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Amsterdam 100% circular by 2050
The City of Amsterdam wants to be fully circular by 2050. That means that everything we use on a daily basis – from coffee cups to building materials – must consist of materials that have already had a previous life.

When it comes to household waste – this consists of, among others, vegetable, fruit and garden waste, paper, glass and textiles – the City has a duty to collect and process this. To give you an impression, the total household waste came down to about 380kg per year per person.

When comparing the amount of household versus company waste produced in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (AMA), still only 11% is household related, whereas 89% is company waste – such as sludge, scrap metals, wood and scrap lumber and very dedicated to the company processes related waste flows.

These company waste materials, as compared to consumer waste flows, often enter the waste flow in relatively good condition. This holds for instance for glass and wood, which are suitable for making window frames. If managed differently, these used materials in company 'waste' flows could be directly integrated at the start of the design process of new products.

So… How to boost the efficient re-use of company waste materials within the AMA?

geoFluxus: Turning data into comprehensible maps and graphs
With geoFluxus, incomprehensible waste data tables – including a.o. import and export and treatment methods – are converted into comprehensible maps and graphs. This is extremely valuable for spatial strategies in many other cities world-wide, and therefore TU Delft researchers Rusne Sileryte and Arnout Sabbe have founded the like-named spin off company geoFluxus, which has recently gone through a Arcadis City of 2030 Accelerator powered by Techstars.

Next to mapping waste, the geoFluxus team has connected open EU data on GHG emissions to the mapped waste flows by using transport, economic sector and waste treatment statistics. The resulting tool can provide governments with data evidence on what economic sectors, materials and locations hold the highest potential not only for waste reduction but also reductions of carbon emissions. Governments can use the tool to monitor progress towards circularity.

One company’s waste could be another one’s gain
The insights on the waste data generated by geoFluxus enable users to develop and test the impact of spatial strategies, for very specific locations, before actually implementing them. In addition, geoFluxus takes on a “match making” role: to have companies select company materials from other actors close by to re-use these instead of transporting the materials for waste treatment outside the AMA... Click on the link to read the full article >>

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AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Launch Responsible Sensing Lab & Opening of Exhibit 'Senses of Amsterdam'

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On January 28, we will officially launch the Responsible Sensing Lab during an interactive online event. This event also marks the opening of ‘Senses of Amsterdam’ at NEMO Studio: an exhibit about the sensors in the city.

To celebrate this, we would like to invite you to join the interactive Livestream of this event. In several online workshops we will talk about what responsible sensing means, and discuss what should be done to design a better, more democratic, and more responsible digital future city.

Our keynote speaker Anthony Townsend will discuss the current state of Smart Cities through a Livestream from the US. Deputy Mayor Touria Meliani will close the program with the official (virtual) opening of the exhibit.

Anthony Townsend is a writer and researcher whose work lies at the intersection of urbanization and digital technology. Anthony will give a keynote called From Parasite to Symbiant: Redesigning Our Relationship With Urban Sensors.

Deputy Mayor Touria Meliani is responsible for  Arts and Culture, and Digital City, for the City of Amsterdam. Meliani will officially open the Exhibition 'Senses of Amsterdam' on display at the NEMO de Studio.


14:50 Virtual walk-in workshop groups

A. Designing Citizen Interactions for Urban Sensing Systems
| Kars Alfrink | TU Delft, Researcher, Designer and PhD candidate Industrial Design
| Marcel Schouwenaar | The Incredible Machine, Designer and Creative director

B. Designing Checks and Balances for Urban Surveillance
| Aafke Fraaije | VU Amsterdam, Researcher and PhD Candidate
| Surbhi Agrawal | AMS Institute & RSL, Urbanist and Research Assistant

C. Sensor data
| Anne-Maartje Douqué | City of Amsterdam, CIO Office, Advisor Personal Data
| Beryl Dreijer | City of Amsterdam, CTO Office, Privacy Officer

D. Responsible Crowd Sensing Toolkit
| Tom van Arman | CITIXL, Urban Innovator
| Paul Manwaring | CITIXL, Urban Innovator

15:50 Closing workshops

| Moderator | Derisee Hoving

From Parasite to Symbiant: Redesigning Our Relationship With Urban Sensors
| Anthony M. Townsend | Writer and Researcher

Responsible Sensing Lab
| Thijs Turel | AMS Institute, Program Manager Responsible Digitization
| Coen Bergman | City of Amsterdam, CTO, Innovation Developer Public Tech

Influence of Corona on surveillance in Amsterdam
| Beryl Dreijer | City of Amsterdam, CTO Office, Privacy Officer
| Judith Veenkamp | Waag, Head of Smart Citizens Lab
| Prof dr. Gerd Kortuem | TU Delft & AMS Institute, Professor of Internet of Things

Responsible Sensing Lab & Smart Cities
| Deputy Mayor Meliani | Responsible for Arts and Culture, and Digital City

'Senses of Amsterdam' with a virtual tour
| Deputy Mayor Meliani | Responsible for Arts and Culture, and Digital City

17:30 Closing

Register here

It is both possible to join the program at 15.00h for the workshops, or at 16.00h for the rest of the program. Please let us know which part(s) of the program you will be joining by clicking here.

More information on the workshops can be found in the registration link.
You will receive a link to the Livestream a day in advance.

Senses of Amsterdam

In 'Sense of Amsterdam' you can discover how sensors make Amsterdam a Smarter city. This interactive installation at NEMO Studio is about the sensors we use in our city. What measurements are taken and how is data collected? The installation informs about the sensors in Amsterdam and how these sensors make the city smarter. You will be challenged to think along with them, and how we can make their use more 'responsible'.

The installation is a collaboration of AMS Institute, City of Amsterdam and NEMO, and is part of the program Responsible Sensing Lab.

Responsible Sensing Lab

This lab explores how to integrate social values in the design of sensing systems in public space. It is a testbed for conducting rigorous, transparent, and replicable research on how smart technologies placed in public space can be designed in a way that makes the digital city ‘responsible’. The Responsible Sensing Lab (RSL) is a collaboration of AMS Institute and the Digital City program of the City of Amsterdam. More information here.

AMS Institute's picture Online event on Jan 28th
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

The Hungry City #58: Growing new flavors

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Join us during this event about food cultures and growing food in a super diverse city on Dec 9 | 20:30h at Pakhuis de Zwijger.

More than 180 nationalities have settled in the super diverse city of Amsterdam. All these cultures and culinary traditions can be found in the many eateries, living rooms and markets. They are an important part of a neighborhood's urban culture. In this program we go on a tasty journey through Amsterdam Southeast. We talk about the rich variation in culinary traditions and eating habits and how these can disappear or change with the transformation of the district.

This event takes place at Pakhuis de Zwijger and is organized in collaboration with AMS Institute. Register for this event here.

This event will be in Dutch.

AMS Institute's picture Online event on Dec 9th
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Webinar Innovation Atelier Buiksloterham

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On Monday the 7th of December (15:30 - 17:00h) the Amsterdam ‘Innovation Atelier Buiksloterham’ will be launched! The Innovation Atelier aims to help implement innovation measures to realize a Positive Energy District in Buiksloterham.

What does it mean as a neighborhood to become Energy Positive? What issues are to be considered? That is what we're currently investigating in Buiksloterham in the European project ATELIER.


  • Deputy Mayor Marieke van Doorninck in the relevance of such projects and the sustainability ambitions of Amsterdam
  • Representatives of Gemeente Amsterdam, Schoonschip, TNO, Spectral, Waag
  • Moderator: Waldemar Torenstra

Do you want to think along? Be inspired and informed in this Innovation Atelier webinar!

This event is in Dutch. More info can be found here.

Register here.

AMS Institute's picture Online event on Dec 7th
AMS Institute, Re-inventing the city (urban innovation) at AMS Institute, posted

Roboat introduces full-scale boat ready for autonomous tests on the Amsterdam canals

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What if autonomous boats could relieve Amsterdam's city center of heavy traffic over its vulnerable quays and bridges while making the canals a testbed for innovation?

Roboat – a research project by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) – will provide self-driving solutions on water for different use cases. After successfully implementing full autonomy on the 1:4 and 1:2 scale boats, Roboat now introduces the first full-scale prototype – ready to start piloting real-life use cases.

Can't wait to see what the full-scale design looks like? Check out the video here.

The new 1:1 scale model
Roboat has a unique modular design. The vessel consists of a hull, that forms the technical basis of the boat, designed with different top-decks that can be applied for multiple use cases: transportation of people and garbage collection, as well as stages and bridges when latched together. The full-scale boat measures 2 by 4 meters. “These relatively small dimensions make the boat well suited for the urban environment,” says Carlo Ratti, Director of MIT Senseable City Lab and Principal Investigator in the project.

With four thrusters, the boat can move in all directions, making it agile and responsive to other traffic on the water, but also facilitating precise maneuvering for docking and latching.

“When individual Roboat units are latched, different combinations of floating platforms can be created. In their new configuration they form floating pixels and respond as new autonomous organisms” - Carlo Ratti | Professor at MIT Senseable City Lab & AMS PI

The full-scale Roboat is equipped with an improved perception sensor kit that combines LIDAR (Laser Image Detection and Ranging), GPS, DVL (Doppler Velocity Log) and camera-based object detection which enables the vessel to observe and scan the canals for path-finding and obstacle avoidance. When Roboat encounters an object in the water, the boat determines whether it is stationary or moving and measures the proximity and directionality of the object. The vessel then calculates the best maneuver to avoid the obstacle. After passing the obstacle, Roboat resumes its optimal route.

Pilots and experiments to develop use cases
In the coming months, the full-scale boat will be tested in the waters of Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab – a testbed for innovations and AMS Institute’s home base... Continue the full article here >>

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