Amsterdam Smart City

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Amsterdam Smart City is your innovation platform that brings together proactive citizens, innovative companies, knowledge institutions and public authorities to shape the city of the future.

Amsterdam Smart City consists of a public private partnership and an international community. By sharing knowledge and by collaborating we come up with innovative solutions for metropolitan issues of a social, economic and ecological nature. This way we ensure that the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area remains liveable, now and in the years to come.

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  • Frans-Anton Vermast's picture
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  • Pelle Menke's picture
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Transitiedag Amsterdam Smart City 2024

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Op 7 maart is onze jaarlijkse Transitiedag. Dit is dé dag waarop we gezamenlijk vraagstukken identificeren waarop we als netwerk impact willen en kunnen maken. Vorig jaar hebben we op de Transitiedag voornamelijk gekeken naar de achterliggende barrières van de (toen nog) lopende challenges en initiatieven. Deze challenges, zoals mobiliteitsrechtvaardigheid en mensvaardige digitalisering, zijn nu afgerond of overgedragen. Daarom gaan we op de aankomende Transitiedag aan de slag met nieuwe vraagstukken. We richten ons op juist die transitieopgaven die alleen verder kunnen worden gebracht door met elkaar samen te werken, waar we als netwerk een verschil kunnen maken.

In aanloop naar de Transitiedag bereiden we thema’s voor waar we op ons willen richten in het komende jaar. Momenteel zijn we op zoek naar partners uit ons netwerk die zich willen aansluiten, of eigenaarschap willen nemen op deze thema’s. Op basis van deze gesprekken met partners zullen we tot een selectie van vier vraagstukken komen waarmee we aan de slag gaan op de Transitiedag. Op de Transitiedag zelf stellen we vervolgens aan het netwerk de vraag: “Hoe kunnen we op dit Transitievraagstuk als netwerk een verschil maken?”. We geven jullie graag een sneak peak in de thema’s:

  • De coöperatieve metropool: Steeds vaker zetten burgers zelf initiatieven op voor hun buurt, stad of gemeenschap. Denk aan gezamenlijke energieopwekking, het bouwen van betaalbare woningen, gedeelde mobiliteit of het lokaal produceren van voedsel. Hoewel is gebleken dat deze initiatiefnemers publieke waarde creëren, lopen ze nog steeds tegen allerlei blokkades aan. Hoe komen we als netwerk tot een schaalbare aanpak om coöperaties mainstream en inclusief te maken?

  • Versnellen van de energietransitie: We zien het misschien niet, maar de ondergrond ligt vol met assets en is voortdurend in beweging. De ambities van Nederland voor de energietransitie, snel dataverkeer, mobiliteitsoplossingen, circulaire economie en klimaatadaptie, leggen alleen nog maar meer druk op de schaarse ondergrond. Goed inzicht hebben in wat er precies onder de grond ligt en goede samenwerking tussen de verschillende partijen die de grond in moeten is daarom essentieel. Wat staat ons in de weg voor een goede samenwerking? En wat kunnen we als netwerk doen om deze samenwerking wel van de grond te krijgen?

  • Leefbare wijken van de toekomst: Onze regio kampt met een ruimtegebrek, woningtekort en gevolgen van de klimaatverandering. Drijvende stadswijken met zelfvoorzienende, drijvende woningen zouden een oplossing kunnen bieden. Hoe ziet de metropoolregio Amsterdam er in de toekomst uit? En hoe willen we nieuwe en bestaande wijken vormgeven om zo een fijne sociale en fysieke leefomgeving voor iedereen te creëren?

  • De circulaire metropool: De circulaire ambities voor onze regio zijn hoog, maar toch blijft het vaak een ondergeschoven kindje. Als we als regio echt toekomstbestendig willen zijn, moeten we de circulaire economie prioriteit geven. Hoe kunnen we als regio stappen zetten om een circulaire metropool te worden? Wat zijn de pijnlijke en spannende barrières, en kunnen we die doorbreken? Wat zijn de benodigde stappen om echt in beweging te komen?

  • De bereikbare en toegankelijke metropool: Toekomstbestendige, toegankelijke en duurzame mobiliteit staat hoog op de agenda in onze regio. Inmiddels zijn nieuwe vormen van vervoer zoals e-bikes en deelauto’s en -scooters, een belangrijk onderdeel geworden van ons stedelijk vervoer. Er wordt al veel gedaan aan de aanbodkant om duurzaam reizen te stimuleren. Toch blijven mensen de auto pakken. Hoe kunnen we ook aan de vraagkant mensen bemoedigen om niet met de auto te reizen? Kunnen we mensen nudgen en verleiden om de auto te laten staan?

  • Hoe stillen we de honger van de Metropool binnen planetaire grenzen? De manier waarop we voedsel produceren, bewerken, verspreiden en consumeren heeft een groot effect op het welzijn van mensen, dieren en klimaat. Hoe kunnen we een gezond, eerlijk, lokaal en duurzaam voedselsysteem creëren voor iedereen? Denk aan het verbinden van regionale productie en stedelijke consumptie, technologische innovatie, het verminderen van voedselverspilling en de eiwittransitie. Kunnen we als netwerk onze tanden zetten in een van de meest urgente en politieke vraagstukken van deze tijd, waar hoogwaardige technologie en diepgevoelde cultuur van eten samenkomen?

De jaarlijkse Transitiedag is op 7 maart, de locatie is in Amsterdam en wordt binnenkort bekend gemaakt. Deze dag organiseren we in nauwe samenwerking met onze kennispartners Royal HaskoningDHV, Flatland, Kennisland, Hieroo, Hogeschool van Amsterdam en Drift.

De Transitiedag is een besloten bijeenkomst voor partners van het Amsterdam Smart City netwerk. Zonder persoonlijke uitnodiging is het helaas niet mogelijk om hierbij aanwezig te zijn. Na de Transitiedag innoveren we op een open manier verder, bijvoorbeeld op onze Demodagen en Data Dilemma’s. Wil je meer weten over Amsterdam Smart City of partner worden? Neem dan contact op met Francien via francien@amsterdamsmartcity.com.

Amsterdam Smart City's picture Transitiedag on Mar 7th
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Today’s Changemakers #2, Marieke van Doorninck: System Change, Co-Creation and Personal Activism

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In Today’s Changemakers, we talk with pioneers in our network who are all, in their own way, shaping the city and region of the future. Our second guest on this series is Marieke van Doorninck, director of Kennisland and activist for a just and sustainable world.

Her commitment to societal issues began early in her career when she contributed to shaping prostitution policies aimed at lifting the brothel ban. During this process, she noticed that there was too little consultation with sex workers themselves, and realized that inclusion is essential for social change. With these ideas she started her political career with GroenLinks. During that time, she also worked for an NGO dedicated to fighting human trafficking and exploitation. It was in this role that she came to recognize the inherently exploitative nature of the system we live in. Occupations, where human exploitation is common, happen to be the very ones sustaining our comfortable lifestyles, which involves the mass production of cheap food and supplies. The urge to create a just and sustainable world, motivated her to work fiercely for system change. As Amsterdam's Deputy Mayor Spatial Planning and Sustainability she was committed, among other things, to introducing the Doughnut Economy principles, and since the beginning of 2023, Marieke has been working as director at Kennisland, one of Amsterdam Smart City’s societal partners.

System Change in Politics

Marieke became involved in politics as an activist, however, decision making in politics didn't always happen as quickly or dramatically as she would have preferred. “What I found challenging when working for the Municipality of Amsterdam was that, despite my belief that the proposals we had were beneficial for the people, it was very difficult to discuss them with the residents of Amsterdam. This highlights the significance of the gap between the “system” world and the “real” world. People are preoccupied with other things or might even have better ideas themselves, because they are more directly in touch with the issue. We underutilize the energy and strength that exists there and therefore we still tend to make too many plans for the people and not enough plans with the people”.

“We should focus more on co-creation than mere participation. I believe there's a misconception that not involving people saves time, I think we are coming to realize that not involving people actually leads to a significant loss of time. Therefore, my guiding principle is to provide direction and space, to clearly state what you believe in but don't prescribe exactly how it should happen, and invite everyone to join in and have a say."

Inclusivity and Kennisland

Marieke saw how the system world of the government does not always align with the real world in the daily life of residents, which creates resistance to much-needed change. “... that is why Kennisland became a very interesting place to work for me, because Kennisland's fundamental approach is to always work with the people it concerns. This ensures that their ideas become part of the solutions and their dilemmas are recognized as important problems. That's something I'm passionate about”.

“How can we take steps towards a new living environment? How can we challenge the existing power structures? How can we question established interests? But more importantly, how can we support the plans and ideas from people who are already demonstrating that a different world is possible? This is something Kennisland is good at, engaging in conversations using various methods that demonstrate how everyone can be heard, how inclusivity can be achieved, and how solutions can be created together”.

Marieke then mentions two projects at Kennisland: the Smartphone-Free School and the ‘Buurtgenoten’ game. "The implementation of the Smartphone-Free School originated from a request of the principal who had decided to make his school smartphone-free, but wanted to develop the policy around it with all stakeholders. We then started a conversation with the school, talking to the parents, the students and the teachers about what a smartphone-free school should look like according to them. What are their concerns and how can those concerns be addressed? By involving the school we co-created towards a Smartphone-Free School. As another example, we developed the 'Buurtgenoten' game, which helps identify what a neighborhood needs by initiating conversations about what the community can and cannot do on its own. When you ask something of the neighborhood, you shouldn't just inquire, 'Will you do this?' You should also ask, 'What do you need to fulfill that role?”.

Amsterdam Smart City: Addressing more societal issues and a service-oriented role.

Throughout her career, Marieke has gained valuable insights on bringing about change, which she is willing to share with Amsterdam Smart City: "What Amsterdam Smart City could certainly do well is examine what is happening in society and how you can be supportive or service-oriented in response. How can all the knowledge, expertise, and intellectual power within the Amsterdam Smart City network be utilized for the benefit of those trying to make a difference in their own living environment? I believe that Amsterdam Smart City has everything it takes to fulfill and assume that role. The emphasis could move slightly away from the partner's point of view and towards the larger interests of society. Because, if you truly want to make a difference for the city, there are things that must be done entirely based on the importance of the problem you are seeking to address. For example, I work for Kennisland not necessarily because it serves my own interests but because I believe it is for a good cause, and I have something valuable to contribute".

Dream Scenario for the Amsterdam Region: Solidarity

Due to Marieke's involvement within the city of Amsterdam, it's especially valuable to know what her dream scenario would be for the Amsterdam Region. According to her, the region should “... learn to collaborate through cooperation instead of competition. Work in solidarity with each other, both within the region and globally. It would be wonderful to adopt a sort of international solidarity position, meaning that we, as a region, take care of ourselves in a way that also benefits the rest of the world. I believe that such a region forms an ecosystem in itself, creating short chains and focusing on how cities can mutually strengthen each other. One city may have something that can be shared with another city, encouraging an ongoing exploration of how cities might reinforce each other, the natural environment and the ecological systems. Consequently, financial gains should become less of an individual concern, as we strive for a healthier and improved region that, in turn, contributes positively to the global community or, at the very least, causes no damage. Then we would have already achieved a great deal."

Marieke's advice for our readers: Personal Activism.

When you're in conversation with Marieke, it inspires you to take on a more activistic position in both your personal and work life. So to round off this interview we asked her about some advice for our readers and their personal activism ambitions: "First of all, join activist groups, find out what is happening in your neighborhood or field of interest and see how you can contribute. But also, even in more conventional surroundings, it's about finally saying the things that you feel need to be addressed but never felt comfortable to actually say, out loud. Dare to ask questions and see if there are people who share similar thoughts. This way, it won't be as intimidating to ask such questions. I believe that people's willingness to cause discomfort is becoming increasingly crucial. Without discomfort, nothing will change”.

“Moreover, I also believe it's crucial not to underestimate that if you have a good idea, you can simply start working on it without having it completely figured out. At a certain point, you must also dare to say, ‘I believe we should head in this direction, even though I am not exactly sure how we'll get there’. In the end, activism is about fighting for systemic change. So, I think activism, in all its forms, means making sure the world knows that so many of us think we should move in a different direction".


In 2024, we continue our collaboration with Marieke’s Kennisland as one of Amsterdam’s Smart City’s ‘Societal partners’. Kennisland representatives are part of our so called ‘Wicked Problems Team’ and they help our network strengthen its societal impact. Marieke is also part of a new Post-Growth initiative, initiated by Amsterdam Economic Board, Kennisland and other Marineterrein partners.

This series started off in 2023 with a conversation with Romy Dekker, Senior Researcher at Rathenau Instituut. Read about her story and the use of Digital Technologies in The Energy Transition here.

Image by: Kennisland

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Data Dilemma's: Data voor leefbare straten, buurten en steden

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De leefbaarheid van woonwijken in de Amsterdamse Metropoolregio staat steeds meer onder druk. Leefbaarheid in de wijk draait om het creëren van een fijne woon-, werk- en leefomgeving voor inwoners, een essentieel thema voor gemeentes en woningbouwcorporaties in onze regio. De aanwezige stroom aan data biedt kansen voor het verbeteren en behouden van de leefbaarheid op wijkniveau! Gemeenten beschikken over veel data over onze fysieke leefomgeving. Denk aan luchtkwaliteit, verkeer en overlast. Maar ook over sociale factoren, zoals sociale cohesie en voorzieningen. De uitdaging? Het efficiënt en met oog voor de menselijke maat benutten van beschikbare data – van verkeersstromen tot sociale indicatoren. Dit roept vragen op zoals: hoe meten we leefbaarheid? En hoe kunnen we de rijkdom aan beschikbare data inzetten om de leefbaarheid in wijken daadwerkelijk te verhogen?

In samenwerking met onze partner Hieroo en hun zusterorganisatie SeederDeBoer, gaan we tijdens deze editie van Data Dilemma’s in gesprek met Sahar Tushuizen en Martijn Veenstra (gemeente Amsterdam), Hebe Verrest (Universiteit van Amsterdam) en Luc Manders (Buurtvolk) over data voor leefbare straten, buurten en steden.

Vanuit gemeente Amsterdam werken Sahar Tushuizen en Martijn Veenstra samen om de relatie van sociale inclusiviteit en de woningbouwprogrammering tot 2040 in beeld te brengen. Deze data is belangrijk voor bijvoorbeeld woningbouwcoöperaties, beleid op publieke voorzieningen en regionale samenwerkingen. Het levert kleurrijke beelden op, die ze delen tijdens Data Dilemma’s!

Hebe Verrest, Associate Professor aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam, geeft een demo van het welzijnsdashboard, dat samen met bewoners in de wijk Venserpolder (Amsterdam Zuid-Oost) is ontwikkeld. Het Dashboard maakt behoeften en prioriteiten van bewoners meetbaar. Op basis van dit Dashboard gaan bewoners, de (lokale) overheid en andere belanghebbenden met elkaar in gesprek over de juiste interventies.

Luc Manders van Buurtvolk schetst een beeld van zijn ervaringen in kwetsbare wijken, de concrete verbinding die je met data kunt maken en de mogelijkheid om op basis van data te voorspellen maar óók te voorkomen.

Agenda

  • 15:30-15:45 Inloop
  • 15:45-15:55 Welkom en introductie door Amsterdam Smart City en Hieroo/SeederDeBoer
  • 16:00-17:00 Inhoudelijk programma met gemeente Amsterdam, Universiteit van Amsterdam en Buurtvolk
  • 17:00-17:30 Q&A en panel discussie
  • 17:30-18:00 Wrap-up en drankjes

Locatie
AHK Culture Club, Kattenburgerstraat 5 1018 JA Amsterdam, gebouw 27E

Over Data Dilemma’s
Deze editie van Data Dilemma’s is een samenwerking tussen Amsterdam Smart City, Hieroo, SeederDeBoer en het Data Lab van gemeente Amsterdam. Vier keer per jaar onderzoeken we de mogelijkheden om data en nieuwe technologieën te gebruiken om stedelijke en maatschappelijke uitdagingen aan te pakken, met de nadruk op verantwoorde digitalisering. Het doel is om data te gebruiken om steden veiliger, schoner en toegankelijker te maken, maar wat gebeurt er met alle data die wordt verzameld? Welke dilemma’s komen we tegen als we (persoonlijke) data verzamelen om de stad te verbeteren? Deze vragen zijn van belang voor iedereen: overheden, kennisinstellingen, bedrijven en het maatschappelijk middenveld. Het Amsterdam Smart City netwerk wilt graag met je verkennen welke beslissingen nodig zijn voor verantwoord gebruik van data.

Amsterdam Smart City's picture Data Dilemma's on Feb 29th
Sophie van der Ploeg, Community Manager & Program Lead Digital at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Demoday #22: Data Commons Collective

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In the big tech-dominated era, data has been commercially exploited for so long that it is now hard to imagine that data sharing might also benefit the community. Yet that is what a collective of businesses, governments, social institutions and residents in Amsterdam aim to do. Sharing more data to better care for the city. On behalf of the Data Commons Collective, Lia Hsu (Strategic Advisor at Amsterdam Economic Board) asked the Amsterdam Smart City network for input and feedback on their Data Commons initiative on the last Demoday of 2023.

What is a (data) common?

Commons are natural resources that are accessible to everyone within a community. Water. Fertile soil. Clean air. Actually everything the earth has given us. We as humanity have increasingly begun to exploit these commons in our pursuit of power and profit maximisation. As a result, we risk exhausting them.

Data is a new, digital resource: a valuable commodity that can be used to improve products and services. Data can thus also be used for the common good. However there are two important differences between a common and a data common: data in commons never runs out, and data in commons is not tied to any geographical location or sociocultural groups.

Four principles for Data Commons

The Data Commons collective is currently working on different applied use cases to understand how data commons can help with concrete solutions to pressing societal problems in the areas of energy, green urban development, mobility, health and culture. Each data commons serves a different purpose and requires a different implementation, but there are four principles that are always the same:

  1. The data common is used to serve a public or community purpose
  2. The data common requires cooperation between different parties, such as individuals, companies or public institutions
  3. The data common is managed according to principles that are acceptable to users and that define who may access the data commons under what conditions, in what ways they may be used, for what purpose, what is meant by data misuse
  4. The data common is embedded to manage data quality, but also to monitor compliance with the principles and ensure that data misuse is also noticed and that an appropriate response (such as a reprimand, penalty or fine) follows.

The Data Commons Collective is now in the process of developing a framework, which provides a self-assessment tool to guide the formation of Data Commons initiatives by triggering consideration of relevant aspects for creating a data commons. It is a means of reflection, rather than prescription, to encourage sustainable and responsible data initiatives.

Energy Data Commons case and Value Workshop by Waag

After the introduction to the Data Commons Collective and Framework by Simone van der Burg (Waag) and Roos de Jong (Deloitte), the participants engaged in a value workshop led by Simone. The case we worked with: we’re dealing with a shortage of affordable and clean energy. Congestion issues are only expected to get worse, due to increased energy use by households en businesses. An energy Data Commons in neighbourhoods can have certain benefits. Such as preventing congestion issues, using clean energy sources more effectively, becoming self-sufficient as a neighbourhood and reducing costs. But under what circumstances would we want to share our energy data with our neighbours? What are the values that we find important when it comes to sharing our energy data?

Card Deck

Results: Which values are important when sharing our energy data?

In smaller groups, the participants discussed which values they found important for an energy data common using a value card deck from Waag. Some values that were mentioned were:

  • Trustworthiness: It is important to trust one another when sharing our energy data. It helps when we assume that everyone that is part of the common has the right intentions.
  • Fun: The energy Data Commons should be fun and positive! The participants discussed gamification and rewards as part of the common.
  • Knowledge: One of the goals of sharing data with each other is to gain more knowledge about energy consumption and saving.
  • Justice and solidarity: If everyone in the common feels safe and acknowledged, it will benefit the outcome. Everyone in the common should be treated equally.
  • Inclusion and Community-feeling: It is important that people feel involved in the project. The Data Commons should improve our lives, make it more sustainable but also progress our social relations.

During this Demoday, we got to know the Data Commons collective and experienced which values we find important when sharing our data with others. Amsterdam Economic Board will remain involved in the Data Commons Collective in a coordinating role and work on use cases to understand how data commons can work for society.

Would you like to know more about the Data Commons Collective or do you have any input for them? Please feel free to reach out to me via sophie@amsterdamsmartcity.com or leave a comment below.

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Recap of Demoday #22

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On Thursday December 14th, Amsterdam Smart City partners concluded 2023 with an afternoon full of inspiration, exchange and connections at our 22nd Demoday! Our partner Deloitte welcomed our network in The Garage, where their ‘Deloitte Studios’ department is located. In this article, we’ll give you a quick overview of the Knowledge Session, Work Sessions and Pitches. Interesting in learning more? Read the full reports by our Programme Managers Noor, Pelle and Sophie (linked below).

About our Demodays

The Demodays are one of the tools we use to stimulate innovation and encourage connection between our partners and community. The purpose of the Demodays is to present the progress of various innovation projects, ask for help, share dilemmas and involve more partners to take these projects to the next level. More information about the Demodays can be found here.

Knowledge Session: Change in the here and now, with Theory U

To kick-off our final Demoday of 2023, our brand-new partner Hieroo led an inspiring knowledge session about the change method they use for social innovation in the city: Theory U. Dorien Schneider and Maartje Krijnen taught us more about this methodology and how it can help us solve complex problems by shifting from ego to eco-thinking. Read the full report here.

Work sessions

After the plenary Knowledge Session we split up in different worksessions, each exploring regional innovation challenges. As always, we had set up the sessions’ topics and moderation in collaboration with our partners.

Mobility | Decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity – Jurhan Kwee (Municipality of Amsterdam)
In The Netherlands, the concept of ‘Inclusive Prosperity’ is on the rise. Policy makers are busy defining this concept, figuring out how to put this concept into practice and what it means for their decision-making process. Together with his colleagues at the Municipality of Amsterdam, Yurhan Kwee hosts sessions on decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity. With the input he gathers, he hopes to make the decisions needed for our Inclusive Prosperity ambitions more understandable and transparent, both for Amsterdam’s administrators and councillors as well as its citizens. Read Pelle’s recap article here.

Digital | Data Commons Collective: Using data for a liveable city – Lia Hsu (Amsterdam Economic Board) and Simone van der Burg (Waag)
In the big tech-dominated era, data has been commercially exploited for so long that it is now hard to imagine that data sharing might also benefit the community. Yet that is what a collective of businesses, governments, social institutions and residents in Amsterdam aim to do. Sharing more data to better care for the city. On behalf of the Data Commons Collective, Lia Hsu (Strategic Advisor at Amsterdam Economic Board) asked the Amsterdam Smart City network for input and feedback on their Data Commons initiative. Read Sophie's recap article here.

Energy | How can we continue to facilitate the homeowner in driving the energy transition? | Wouter van Rooijen (Alliander)
Wouter van Rooijen (Alliander) discussed the challenges related to grid congestion. From 2030 onwards, it is expected that a significant portion of the low-voltage network will experience both over- and under-voltage. While the network will be reinforced as quickly as possible, the lack of labour capacity is also prompting the consideration of alternative solutions.

The solution that emerged from Wouter's co-creation process was WijkWise. In this work session, Wouter aimed to validate the WijkWise concept and find parties that could contribute to its development and market implementation. Dave van Loon from Kennisland moderated the session. Read Noor’s recap article here.

Circular | Navigating eco-emotions: The impact of working in sustainability on your mental wellbeing| Marian Zandbergen (Hogeschool van Amsterdam)
This work session, led by Marian Zandbergen (CIRCOLLAB, HvA) and moderated by Mareille de Bloois (Royal HaskoningDHV), explored the challenges and opportunities associated with eco-emotions, both personally and within organizations. The key question addressed was: How can individuals and organisations constructively manage eco-emotions, and what implications does this have for organisations? Read Noor’s recap article here.

Pitches

To end this festive afternoon and the year 2023 as a whole, we invited project owners and -members to present their progress and next steps on topics brought in during our events and deep-dives throughout 2023. The following projects were presented. You can read more about these topics on their dedicated articles and project pages, linked below.

Local Energy Systems: Where we started, what we have achieved, and what are the next steps – Omar Shafqat (University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam)

Connecting the resource- and energy transition – Edwin Oskam (MRA)

ChatGPT and the government: Possibilities and impact on our work – Jeroen Silvis (Province of North Holland)

Floating urban districts: Future-proof living in the Metropolitan Region – Joke Dufourmont (AMS Institute)

Mobility Justice: Raising the topic of Mobility Poverty and the working group’s progress – Bas Gerbrandy (Province of North Holland)

Our next Demoday will take place in April. Do you have an inspiring story or project you want to pitch to the Amsterdam Smart City network? Let us know via sophie@amsterdamsmartcity.com

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Demoday #22: Inclusive Prosperity & The Case Of Experiments In Public Space

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*This article makes use of the term Inclusive Prosperity as the English translation for the Dutch word; ‘Brede Welvaart’

In The Netherlands, the concept of Inclusive Prosperity* is on the rise. Policy makers are busy defining this concept, figuring out how to put this concept into practice and what it means for their decision-making process. Together with his colleagues at the Municipality of Amsterdam, Yurhan Kwee hosts sessions on decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity. With the input he gathers, he hopes to make the decisions needed for our Inclusive Prosperity ambitions more understandable and transparent, both for Amsterdam’s administrators and councillors as well as its citizens.

Inclusive Prosperity

Inclusive Prosperity is about more than just money. It involves everything that people consider valuable, such as health, the quality of education, the environment, a safe living environment, and equal opportunities for everyone. It's about the quality of life in the present, and the extent to which this affects the prosperity of future generations or those of people elsewhere in the world.

According to the definition, used by the Municipality, there are 8 themes to consider:

1. Subjective Well-being

Subjective well-being refers to the evaluation people make of their lives. Consider the question, "How satisfied are you with life in general?"

2. Health

The theme of Health encompasses physical illnesses and conditions, as well as mental health, living with limitations, perceived health, and self-regulation and resilience.

3. Consumption and Income

The theme of Consumption and Income refers to how income provides people with the freedom and opportunities to consume, including purchasing services and goods, maintaining a financial buffer, and shaping one's lifestyle.

4. Education and Training

Thinking about the theme of Education and Training involves the transfer of knowledge and skills, socialization, and considering the education or training experiences of individuals.

5. Spatial Quality and Cohesion

Regarding the theme of Spatial Cohesion and Quality, consider the following: a qualitatively well-designed space is a crucial precondition for the perceived broad prosperity. This includes spatial design on a functional level and with a focus on the future.

6. Economic Capital

Depending on the case, consider how it relates to:

  • Human capital: the combination of competencies, knowledge, and skills;
  • Physical capital: material possessions, such as machinery, buildings, and infrastructure;
  • Knowledge capital: intangible assets, such as research and development, data, and patents;
  • Financial capital: the financial resources of households and the government (purchasing power).

7. Natural Capital

Natural Capital refers to the stock of natural resources. Consider items such as (drinking) water, food, minerals, wind-sun-water energy, biodiversity, etc. Assess whether they are sufficiently available, in shortage, or if there is damage to these resources.

8. Social Capital

The concept of Social Capital often refers to the benefits of social networks, such as access to information and resources. This involves connections within and between groups. Positive effects can lead to trust, while negative effects can lead to loneliness.

Experimenting (with Mobility related policies) in public space

The case we used during this session is the use of experiments in public space, altering mobility or travel infrastructure. The months leading up to this afternoon, Amsterdam had put different experiments into practice (e.g. de ‘knip’ and de ‘paaltjesproef’) resulting in heated discussions, about both the success and desirability of using this method.

In a more objective manner, we used the Broad Prosperity principles to argue why its either desirable or undesirable to put such methods into practice.

Results

The group agreed that these Amsterdam experiments, concerned with creating calmer, more liveable urban areas, score well within themes like; Health (less air & noise pollution), Nature (more space for green and biodiversity), Social capital (more space and opportunity to meet and interact), Spacial quality (less dangerous and more moving space) and education (experimenting, learning by doing, viewing urban planning as experimenting and an ongoing learning process). However, as this year’s backlash on the experiments showed, there are some negative aspects to consider. Examples of domains in which we found some negative aspects, were; Economy (decreased speed and efficiency), Consumption & Income (local shop- and restaurant-owners need to be flexible and could be victims of changing infrastructure) and Subjective Well-being (citizens feel used, disadvantaged, and there is ambiguity about the purpose).

We found it difficult to arrive at a common answer because advantages and disadvantages exist on each theme separately. However, there was a common notion that the success of this method is rooted in clear and transparent communication on the effects and goals of such experiment. Frustration should be minimized and the opposing arguments should be taken seriously. Furthermore, we discussed the difference between a ‘real’ experiment in which every outcome is a success, and a trial, which is used to test a policy that’s envisioned for future years. The one who initiates the experiment should have this very clear for itself.

While one of the strengths of this method is the need to value these different domains in a more equal and objective manner, it proved to be difficult in practice. We all had the tendency to give some aspects more weight than others. While we were supposed to set up an advice and practice with decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity, it turned out to be challenging to let go of our prior experience, prejudices and opinions on this subject. We weren’t sure whether this is always a negative thing, but it’s one of the considerations Yurhan took home in the Municipality’s exploration of this approach.

Together, we experienced the challenge of working together with a new concept and approach. It should be an ongoing practice and discussion, a collective effort. Sessions like these serve that purpose perfectly.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you want to know more about the municipality’s and Amsterdam Economic Board’s efforts on the topic of Inclusive Prosperity.

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

Demoday #22: Knowledge Session: Change in the here and now with Theory U

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We live in a time characterized by significant challenges. We see a world around us facing a climate crisis with global issues such as global warming and loss of biodiversity. A world marked by social inequality and increasing individualization. Change is urgently needed, but it doesn't happen automatically. How can we change the world around us with a holistic view?

To kick-off our final Demoday of 2023, our brand-new partner Hieroo led an inspiring knowledge session about the change method they use for social innovation in the city: Theory U. Dorien Schneider and Maartje Krijnen taught us more about this methodology and how it can help us solve complex problems by shifting from ego to eco-thinking.

What is Theory U?

Theory U is a change management method coined by Otto Scharmer from the Presencing Institute. Scharmer describes Theory U as a “way of being, a framework, a common language and a methodology”. Theory U can help us solve a problem, in a different way than we normally do. In our day-to-day lives, we make limited observations and quickly draw our conclusions – a phenomenon Scharmer terms “Downloading”. We then rush to solutions, because our brains don’t like uncertainty and want to be in control. Theory U is a way to fundamentally change when more of the same doesn’t work. The journey through the “U” consists of 7 stages:

  1. Downloading past patterns
  2. Seeing with fresh eyes
  3. Co-sensing into the field
  4. Presencing: connecting to the source
  5. Crystallizing: vision & intention
  6. Prototyping: linking head, heart and hand
  7. Performing: by operating from the whole

Theory U

Why Theory U?

Otto Scharmer describes three divides that require a drastic shift from an “ego-system” to an eco-system that emphasises collective well-being. These divides can be illustrated with three numbers that represent the divides.

  • The ecological divide: we’re experiencing an unprecedented loss of nature. The number 1.6 represents this divide: our world economy consumes the resources of 1.5 planets. The ecological divide exists because of a disconnect between self and nature.
  • The social divide: we’re experiencing immense polarisation, individualisation and inequity. The number 8 represents this divide: eight billionaires own as much as half of mankind combined. The social divide exists because of a disconnect between self and others.
  • The spiritual divide: we’re experiencing an absence of deeper meaning, purpose and value in our lives. The number 2010 represents this divide: in this year, more people died from suicide then from accidents, wars and natural disasters together. The spiritual divide exists because of a disconnect between self and Self – that is, between a current “self” and the emerging future “Self” that represents one’s greatest potential.

In essence, we’re collectively creating results that nobody wants: a loss of nature, a loss of society and a loss of self. Theory U can help overcome these divides by shifting to a mindset where we care about the wellbeing of others instead of just looking out for ourselves.

Theory U in practice

So how does Theory U work in practice? Maartje and Dorien explained how Theory U is applied in projects at Hieroo. One example is the BROODerhood (pun on the word "brood” which means bread in Dutch) project in Bospolder-Tussendijken. This neighbourhood was struggling to control a rat plague. Hieroo used Theory U to come to a solution, together with the residents of the neighbourhood. An important observation (“downloading”) was that there was a lot of bread on the streets in the area. An easy quick fix would be to street signs that would warn against feeding ducks bread, for example. In the “sensing” stage, local residents were interviewed about the issue. It turned out that most people did not want to waste the bread and therefore left it for others, based on their cultural values. The project BROODerhood, aims to celebrate the value of bread through the process of breadmaking. The bread that residents would normally be left on the streets is now used for making the base for sourdough. In this way, Theory U helped the neighbourhood to find the underlying issues, and connect more with each other and with their surroundings.

We ended the Knowledge Session with a typical Theory U approach: an “accompanied writing assignment” with the aim of reflection. In this assignment, Dorien and Maartje asked the participants a set of questions about our work and impact. Think of: “What in your current work gives you most energy?” and “What can we create as a collective in the next 3-5 years? “. This inspiring knowledge session by Hieroo taught us more about how to not immediately jump to conclusions and using a quick fix. We learned how to really take a step back and get to the root of the problem with specific tools to achieve that.

Do you want to learn more about Theory U or get in contact with Hieroo? Leave a comment below and I will bring you in contact with Maartje and Dorien!

Sophie van der Ploeg's picture News
Noor Veenhoven, Program manager energy & circularity at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Demoday #22: Navigating eco-emotions: The impact of working in sustainability on your mental wellbeing

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Professionals in the field of circularity and sustainability may experience "eco-emotions," a spectrum of feelings which can have both negative and positive effects on mental health. Eco-emotions arise from ecological crises, such as climate change, and can lead to stress, fatigue, and a sense of powerlessness, but also heightened motivation for professionals.

This work session, led by Marian Zandbergen (CIRCOLLAB, HvA) and moderated by Mareille de Bloois (Royal HaskoningDHV) on the 14th of December, explored the challenges and opportunities associated with eco-emotions, both personally and within organizations. The key question addressed was: How can individuals and organisations constructively manage eco-emotions, and what implications does this have for organisations?

Defining eco-emotions

Eco-emotions are feelings resulting from ecological crises, which can be categorized into backward-looking and forward-looking emotions.

  • Backward-looking eco-emotions: include eco-guilt, eco-grief, and eco-anger about past events, such as feeling guilty about the carbon footprint of a vacation flight.
  • Forward-looking eco-emotions: encompass eco-anxiety, and focus on current and anticipated future decisions. While eco-anxiety can drive proactive engagement with ecological issues, excessive amounts may lead to feelings of helplessness.

Negative eco-emotions can thus harm your mental health and can even lead to burnout. Therefore, it is important to use strategies to counter the negative effects of eco-anxiety.

Changing attitudes - taking action
Attitudes shape behaviour, and self-efficacy—the belief in one's ability to contribute to problem-solving—is crucial. Concrete action perspectives empower individuals, fostering a sense of control over problems and mitigating feelings of helplessness of eco-anxiety.

Social support - acting as a group
Collaborative efforts within a group can positively impact perceived self-efficacy. Strong collaboration can turn negative effects of eco-anxiety into positive outcomes. Trust and shared motivation play vital roles in effective collaborations, fostering understanding across personal and organisational perspectives.

In the group - recognition and solutions

The participants of the workshop shared personal experiences of eco-emotions and brainstormed constructive ways to incorporate these emotions into circular transition collaborations. Ideas included conducting organizational research to understand the extent of eco-emotions and gain insight into personal motivations in businesses and collaboration, and demonstrating how intrinsic beliefs contribute to shared goals.

Proposed solutions
To address eco-emotions within organizations, various methods were proposed, including workshops with inspiration and practical applications, an HR framework, 'meet & share' sessions featuring talks with industry leaders, and personal purpose hours.

Marian expressed a desire to continue researching this topic, inviting contributions through qualitative interviews within organizations. Are you interested in contributing to this research, please let me know in the comments, or email me at noor@amsterdamsmartcity.com.

Noor Veenhoven's picture #CircularCity