Amsterdam Smart City


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The Transition Days - Our instrument for connection and action

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The world in transition. From fossil to sustainable or from waste to raw materials, to name some. Amsterdam Smart City is working on better streets, neighbourhoods and cities for the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area, focusing on four transitions: Mobility, Energy, Circular Economy and Digital City. We don’t do this alone, but together. What is the role of Amsterdam Smart City in these transitions? How do we ensure better streets, neighbourhoods and cities?

A world in transition requires an independent place where changemakers can meet, enter into dialogue and collaborate. A place where companies, knowledge institutions, governments and societal organisations come together to work on the city and region of the future. And that's our place. We are that open and safe space for collaboration and innovation, and we are always trying to encourage this even further. We do this together with our partners and community using a number of instruments. We regularly highlight one of these instruments on our platform: the Demo Days. But there are more, and one of the most important will take place soon: The Transition Days (Dutch: De Transitiedagen).

The Transition Days are annual events that take place in the autumn. The Amsterdam Smart City core team organizes this for and together with the partners. This is the moment for the partners of Amsterdam Smart City to share with each other on which issues and ambitions they will focus in the coming year. Can common ground be found and which coalitions can be made? You cannot work on a transition alone, which is why it is important to find parties with whom you can tackle these issues together. We create the connections between parties to ensure that innovation can take place.

The Transition Days 2021 will take place on 25 and 26 November.
These two days will be all about previous results, ambitions for the future and new connections. Under the guidance of our partner RoyanHaskoningDHV, the Amsterdam Smart City team enriched by masterclasses devised by the network, our partners are provided with enough inspiration and energy to turn their questions into successful collaborations. Which will lead to the improvement of the streets and neighbourhoods in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Due to the pandemic, the Transition Days 2020 took place online. A selection of the questions that were brought in then:

  • How do we keep the more conscious mobility choices post-corona?
  • The maximum reuse of items and materials at circular waste points.
  • Scaling Government as a Platform (GaaP)
  • Zero Emission Mobility in Hubs

You can read exactly what these issues entail in our report.

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Meet the members of Amsterdam Smart City! Manon den Dunnen: ‘New technology fascinates me, but somehow I always end up seeing the dark side’

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Manon den Dunnen is the Dutch police force’s strategic specialist on digital transformation and co-organiser of the IoT Sensemakers Community.

“The IoT Sensemakers Community has over 7,000 members worldwide. Our members share knowledge and experiences about Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and AI. IoT plays an important role in the smart city, as sensors are often used to make the city smarter. We believe you should do this in a responsible manner.”

“In the offline world, we fight discrimination and exclusion, but digital solutions introduce new forms of discrimination and exclusion that undermine our constitutional values. This may be caused by poorly chosen sensors (check out this viral video of the ‘racist soap dispenser’), the algorithms used in ‘smart’ applications or by data being unnecessarily collected and stored.”

“Sensemakers joined forces with Waag, Sensing Clues, Ombudsman Metropool Amsterdam and the City of Amsterdam to use sound sensors to analyse the noise nuisance in the city centre. At Marineterrein, a test area for creating liveable cities, we are now testing a sound sensor that can classify different types of noise. The sensor does not store data, but labels the different types of sound. A few years ago, we also tested sensors for measuring water quality, and we’re still testing indoor air quality.”

Tinkering with technology
“Every first Wednesday evening of the month, we meet at the Amsterdam Public Library (OBA) Makerspace to tinker with technology. People can work on their own projects and discuss their ideas with the likeminded, but they can also start learning with Arduino or 3Dprinting. We also organise lectures, for example with Schiphol Real Estate about smart buildings and with designer Anouk Wipprecht about robotic wearables like her Spider Dress. In January we’ll have interesting speakers making sense of the Metaverse, the latest hype, or isn’t it…?”

“We just celebrated our 10th anniversary and are working on a lot of fun little projects. I really love the diversity and creativity. Recently, someone built an insect recogniser. We had an older volunteer in a care institution who wanted to program games for the elderly on a care robot. That evening, a teenage boy came to learn how to build a robot car. They were helping each other. I love that serendipity.”

“A lot of technology is supplier-driven. But as a society—as buyers of these solutions—we are insufficiently trained to ask the right questions to truly assess this new technology and its long-term risks. We sometimes even forget to critically analyse the problem we’re dealing with, overlooking obvious low-tech or no-tech solutions. With my work for Sensemakers, I hope that we all become more critical and have a network we can consult.”

If you’d like to get in touch with Manon, you can find her on this platform.

This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like to show up in the series? Drop us a message!

Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

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Meet the members of Amsterdam Smart City! Boaz Bar-Adon: ‘Learn children about the circular economy’

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Boaz Bar-Adon is the founder of Ecodam, a startup that wants to create a place where children can actively learn about sustainability and the circular economy.

“Our big dream is a physical place where children can come to get acquainted with all aspects of sustainability—a kind of science museum, but with more focus on the concept of circularity and the role young people can play in the new economy.
It’s almost a cliche, but our children are the future. If we make them realise that we need to use resources in a different way, they will take that with them for the rest of their adult lives — no matter what profession they enter later. As a museum and exhibition designer, I see there is too little awareness among clients, designers and builders about the scarcity of materials. That should really change for future generations.''

''Recently, my associate, Pieter de Stefano, and I decided that we want to start making an impact as soon as possible. We designed a plastic-themed mobile pop-up lab. We recently gave our first successful workshop, and we plan to do it more often. In our school workshops, we give a brief explanation about circularity and the impact we have on the environment. But the most important part is when the children work on the concept of circularity. Together, we invent solutions and build prototypes. We let the children think about the problem and then let them come up with solutions themselves.”

“Once it got going, the group we gave the workshop to was unstoppable. A few girls designed an entire landscape from old waste, which was a prototype of an environment where children do not throw away their old toys but collect them. Another group built a submarine to remove plastic from the sea, inspired by the Dutch nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup. The workshop ended with children creating, with specialised machines, new products from plastic waste. In the future, Ecodam could be a place where schools and universities test or show new materials or techniques. Local authorities that want to promote new policies around waste or the circular economy can also work with us. In Ecodam, they can see how children react to their policies. Maybe they will come up with new ideas.''

Permanent space
''We would like a permanent space so we can work with large machines: a shredder, for example, that cuts plastic parts into small pieces or a machine that melts them and can then press the liquid plastic into a mould. Children can create new building materials with these machines, making technology something very tangible and rewarding.

I'd love to hear of any tips people may have for a permanent space. We are a social enterprise, still investigating which business model works best for us. We will probably be partly supported by subsidies, but we are also looking for fresh ideas for smart new financing methods. How can social value be translated into financial value? Our final goal is being able to facilitate as many visitors as possible and provide them with a meaningful and high-quality experience.”

If you’d like to get in touch with Boaz, you can find him on this platform.
This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like show up in the series? Drop us a message!
Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

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Event: Innovatie in Amsterdam @ Pakhuis de Zwijger

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Hoe versterken we innovatie in de metropoolregio Amsterdam?
De uitdagingen waar we voor staan, zijn immens. We kunnen het alleen oplossen door dingen fundamenteel anders te doen, innovatie dus. Niet alleen door bestaande partijen, maar ook door startups en andere nieuwkomers. Nieuwe technieken zijn daarin essentieel. Daarmee kunnen we zorgen dat mensen anders met energie omgaan en veel beter onze grondstofstromen plannen. In de afgelopen tijd zijn deze verandering erg snel gegaan. Wat willen we hiervan behouden? En hoe zorgen we dat innovatie echt waarde toevoegt en bijdraagt aan een leefbare bruisende stad voor iedereen? Hoe zorgen we dat we tijdig de goede nieuwe ideeën spotten en groot maken?

Leonie van den Beuken Amsterdam Smart City
Zita Pels Provincie Noord-Holland

De overige sprekers en meer informatie volgen snel. Aanmelden kan via de website van Pakhuis de Zwijger.

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Recap of our event ‘Data Centres: Taking the Bitter with the Sweet’ from 28th of October

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On the 28th of October 2021 Amsterdam Smart City and Datalab hosted an international event on the costs and benefits of accommodating data centres. Together with partners we discussed the complexity of the weighing of these aspects and the management by future policies.

The digitization of our society produces an exponentially increasing amount of data, which causes an increased need for data centres and connectivity. In 2030, there is expected to see a twenty-fold increase in data traffic, consuming 5% of worldwide electricity at that point. A recent report in the Netherlands has shown quite some hesitance on whether or not the foreseen rise in data centres in The Netherlands is the right way to go.

Lots of reasons to shed some international perspectives on these issues. What are current datacentre strategies? How are datacenters driving economic value? And how can the digital economy become more sustainable? Check out the presentations and discussions in the video!

• Wout Rensink (Policy advisor Economic Affairs at Province of Noord-Holland)
• Thomas Moran (Technology and Sustainability Strategist at Lumen & techUK)
• Daan Terpstra (Director of Policy & Regulatory Affairs · Sustainable Digital Infrastructure Alliance (SDIA))

- Jeroen Sipman, liaison at Amsterdam Smart City

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Meet the members of Amsterdam Smart City! Anne-Ro Klevant Groen: ‘It’s very rewarding to work on a solution with Fashion for Good’

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Anne-Ro Klevant Groen is Marketing and Communications Director at Fashion for Good, a platform that connects established fashion brands with startups.

“Ever since I was a little girl, fashion has been my passion. But I also know that the fashion industry has a large, negative impact on people and our environment. We need to transform our current take-make-waste model into a circular fashion system. For me, it is very rewarding to work on solutions via Fashion for Good.

We connect sustainable and innovative startups to corporate fashion companies and manufacturers such as Adidas and C&A. Many startups have fantastic ideas for more sustainable fashion, but they don’t yet have the network or financial resources to connect with large companies. Others want to know more about intellectual property or marketing. Our mentors help these startups with tailor-made programs based on their maturity.

Corporations invest in us to help us do our jobs, but they also dedicate teams and time to our programmes. We help them with impact assessments so they can see where they will be most effective, and then we connect them to the startups that fit their goals. C&A, for example, was part of a pilot that used blockchain technology to improve transparency in the organic cotton industry. The technology helps trace the origin of organic cotton, similar to what is already being done with coffee and cocoa. Tommy Hilfiger has collaborated with a startup that makes vegan leather from the pectin in apples. We are also starting our own foundational pilot projects, including one with chemical recycling and another that’s working on developing circular polybags for clothes, such as the bags that are wrapped around our clothing when we order from webshops.”

The Amsterdam ecosystem
“Amsterdam offers us plenty of opportunities. It is a very creative city and home to many of the large fashion house’s headquarters. There’s also a good startup and investment climate. We have a co-working space in the heart of Amsterdam for innovative, sustainable fashion startups and freelancers. It’s a large open space where individuals or companies can rent desks and connect to other members of the Dutch circular fashion ecosystem. We always have some space available, so feel free to contact us if you want to be part of our network.

We are also working on an education program for MBO schools to ensure that the fashion industry’s future workforce understands the need to get rid of that take-make-waste model.

For consumers, we have the Fashion for Good Museum on the Rokin in Amsterdam, where we want to educate visitors so they can make better fashion choices. The museum industry is still fairly new to us, and we would like to get in touch with parties that can help us reach more people. Ultimately, it is consumers who either have to buy less or get to know more about the sustainable apparel our partners are developing, make better decisions and demand a better product.

We publish what we learn about sustainable clothing and textiles in our website’s Resource Library. It’s accessible to everyone—free of charge—so startups don’t have to waste valuable time reinventing the wheel. By working together better, we work more efficiently and can accelerate our transformation to a circular fashion system.”

If you’d like to get in touch with Anne-Ro, you can find her on this platform.

This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like show up in the series? Drop us a message!

Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

Amsterdam Smart City's picture #CircularCity