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Want to test your innovation during an open event such as Amsterdam Pride or the Amsterdam marathon? And looking for the opportunity to cooperate with the city in the long run?
The In Residence Open Events programme might be something for you. We have 8 broad defined challenges, ranging from circular economy to safety, from mobility to extreme whether. Basically we're looking for all innovations that can have an positive impact on the city and the event of the future!
During the programme you get:
- The opportunity to pilot your solution at an open event in Amsterdam, such as Amsterdam Pride or the Amsterdam Marathon
- 15K test budget to execute this pilot
- Guidance by an experienced mentor
- Access to the large municipality network
- The opportunity for long term cooperation in case of a succesfull pilot
- Large exposure and feedback opportunities
Interested to see our programme, the challenges and opportunity this brings for you?
See our website, www.innovatiepartners.nl, or see most recent LinkedIn post: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/gemeente-amsterdam-innovatie_inresidence-amsterdam-innovatie-activity-7163881081757253632-6soh?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_desktop
For questions or thoughts, you can reach out to Mark Stoevelaar, project manager of the In Residence programme.
The air space above our city is about change. Drones will soon have a profound impact on our collective future - Last year alone, the city of Amsterdam detected over 43,000 low-altitude flights over our parks, squares, and waterfronts. As this trend continues to grow year-after-year, how can we repurpose drones to create a more sustainable and livable city?
This Thursday & Friday (15-16 Feb.) we are hosting the Urban Sky Lab together with Arcam and the Amsterdam Drone Lab. For this unique event we have invited Studio To Create, INBO, and FABRICations into a two-day sprint to design a future with drones for the Western Docklands, Amsterdam Zuidoost (Amsterdamse Poort area) and RAI Amsterdam.
You are welcome to attend the presentations of the preliminary results at Hotel Casa Amsterdam on Friday afternoon 16 February.
Op 21 en 22 maart reizen we af naar het Zuiden om daar van Sittard-Geleen en Heerlen te leren wat zij doen rondom het thema ‘ontmoeten’. Deze excursie wordt georganiseerd door de City Deals 'Slimme stad zo doe je dat' en 'Slim Maatwerk'.
Sittard-Geleen laat zien hoe zij in hun proeftuin Zeeheldenbuurt in gesprek gaan met de inwoner over activiteiten en bewegen. In Heerlen-Noord zien we in een van de gebieden van het Nationaal Programma Leefbaarheid en Veiligheid de stappen die worden gezet op gebied van kansengelijkheid. En bij de Brightlands Smart Services Campus in Heerlen staat digitalisering centraal. De gebundelde kennis van data science en mensgerichte Artificial Intelligence (AI) leidt tot nieuwe slimme digitale ontwikkelingen en diensten, die de kwaliteit van leven verbeteren.
Datum: 21 en 22 maart (Let op, overnachting op eigen kosten)
Tijd: 10.00 – 17.00 uur
Meld je hieronder aan:
A certain degree of compactness is essential for the viability of 15-minute cities. This is due to the need for an economic threshold for facilities accessible by walking or cycling. A summary of 300 research projects by the OECD shows that compactness increases the efficiency of public services in all respects. But it also reveals disadvantages in terms of health and well-being due to pollution, traffic, and noise. The assumption is that there is an optimal density at which both pleasant living and the presence of everyday facilities - including schools - can be realised. At this point, 'densification' is not at the expense of quality of life but contributes to it. A lower density results in more car use and a higher density will reduce living and green space and the opportunity to create jobs.
The image above is a sketch of the 'Plan Papenvest' in Brussels. The density, 300 dwellings on an area of 1.13 hectares, is ten times that of an average neighbourhood. Urban planners often mention that the density of Dutch cities is much lower than in Paris and Barcelona, for example. Yet it is precisely in these cities that traffic is one of the main causes of air pollution, stress, and health problems. The benefits of compactness combined with a high quality of life can only be realised if the nuisances associated with increasing density are limited. This uncompromisingly means limiting car ownership and use.
Urban planners often seem to argue the other way round. They argue that building in the green areas around cities must be prevented at all costs to protect nature and that there is still enough space for building in the cities. The validity of this view is limited. In the first place, the scarce open space within cities can be better used for clean workshops and nature development in combination with water control. Secondly, much of the 'green' space outside cities is not valuable nature at all. Most of it is used to produce feed for livestock, especially cows. Using a few per cent of this space for housing does not harm nature at all. This housing must be concentrated near public transport. The worst idea is to add a road to the outskirts of every town and village. This will undoubtedly increase the use of cars.
Below you can link to my free downloadable e-book: 25 Building blocks to create better streets, neighborhoods and cities
Carlos Moreno, a professor at the Sorbonne University, helped Mayor Anne Hidalgo develop the idea of the 15-minute city. He said that six things made people happy: living, working, amenities, education, wellbeing, and recreation. The quality of the urban environment is enhanced when these functions are realized near each other. The monofunctional expansion of cities in the US, but also in the bidonvilles of Paris, is a thorn in his side, partly because this justifies owning a car.
A more precise definition of the concept of the 15-minute city is needed before it can be implemented on a large scale. It is important to clarify which means of transport must be available to reach certain facilities in a given number of minutes. The list of facilities is usually very comprehensive, while the list of means of transport is usually only vaguely defined. But the distance you can travel in 15 minutes depends on the availability of certain modes of transport (see figure above).
Advocates of "new urbanism" have developed the tools to design 15-minute cities. They are based on three zones: the 5-minute walking zone, the 15-minute walking zone, which coincides with the 5-minute cycling zone, and finally the 15-minute cycling zone. These are not static concepts: In practice, the zones overlap and complement each other.
The 5-minute walking zone
This zone corresponds to the way in which most residential neighbourhoods functioned up until the 1960s, wherever you are in the world. Imagine a space with an average distance from the center to the edge of about 400 meters. In the center you will find a limited number of shops, a (small) supermarket, one or more cafes and a restaurant. The number of residents will vary between two and three thousand. Density will decrease from the centre and the main streets outwards. Green spaces, including a small neighbourhood park, will be distributed throughout the neighbourhood, as will workshops and offices.
In the case of new construction, it is essential that pedestrian areas have a dense network of paths without crossings at ground level with streets where car traffic is allowed. Some paths are wider and allow cycling within the 5- and 15-minute cycle zones. The streets provide access to concentrated parking facilities.
The 5-minute cycle zone and the 15-minute walking zone.
Here the distance from the center to the edge is about one kilometer. In this area, most of the facilities that residents need is available and can be distributed around the centers of the 5-minute walking zones. For example, a slightly larger supermarket may be located between two 5-minute walking zones. This zone will also contain one or more larger parks and some larger concentrations of employment.
This zone can be a large district of a city, but it can also be a small municipality or district of around 15 to 25,000 inhabitants. With such a population there will be little room for dogmatic design, especially when it comes to existing buildings. But even then, it is possible to separate traffic types by keeping cars off many streets and clustering car parks. The bottom line is that all destinations in this zone can be reached quickly by walking and cycling, and that car routes can be crossed safely.
The car will be used (occasionally) for several destinations. For example, for large shopping trips to the supermarket.
The 15-minute cycle zone.
This zone will be home to 100.00 or more residents. The large variation is due to the (accidental) presence of facilities for a larger catchment area, such as an industrial estate, a furniture boulevard or an IKEA, a university or a (regional) hospital. It is certainly not a sum of comparable 5-minute cycle zones. Nevertheless, the aim is to distribute functions over the whole area on as small a scale as possible. In practice, this zone is also crossed by several roads for car traffic. The network of cycle paths provides the most direct links between the 5-minute cycle zones and the wider area.
The main urban development objectives for this zone are good accessibility to urban facilities by public transport from all neighbourhoods, the prohibition of hypermarkets and a certain distribution of central functions throughout the area: Residents should be able to go out and have fun in a few places and not just in a central part of the city.
Below you can link to my free downloadable e-book: 25 Building blocks to create better streets, neighborhoods and cities.
Until recently, optimists would say "in a few years." Nobody believes that anymore, except for Egon Musk. The number of - so far small - incidents involving robot taxis is increasing to such an extent that the cities where these taxis operate on a modest scale, San Francisco in particular, want to take action.
Europe vs USA
In any case, it will take a long time before robotaxis are commonplace in Europe. There are two major differences between the US and Europe when it comes to transportation policy.
In the US, each state can individually determine when autonomous vehicles can hit the road. In Europe, on the other hand, a General Safety Regulation has been in force since June 2022 that applies to all countries. This states, among other things, that a driver must maintain control of the vehicle at all times. Strict conditions apply to vehicles without a driver: separate lanes, short routes on traffic-calmed parts of the public road and always with a 'safety driver' on board.
The second difference is that in the US 45% of all residents do not have public transport available. In Europe you can get almost anywhere by public transport, although the frequency is low in remote areas. Governments say they want to further increase accessibility by public transport, even if this is at the expense of car traffic. To this end, they want an integrated transport policy, a word that is virtually unknown in the US.
Integrated transport policy
In essence, integrated transport policy is the offering of a series of transport options that together result in (1) the most efficient, safe and convenient satisfaction of transport needs, (2) reduction of the need to travel over long distances (including via the '15- minutes city') and (3) minimal adverse effects on the environment and the quality of life, especially in the large cities. In other words, transport is part of policy aimed at improving the quality of the living environment.
Integrated transport policy assesses the role of vehicle automation in terms of their contribution to these objectives. A distinction can be made between the automation of passenger cars (SAE level 1-3) and driverless vehicles (SEA level 4-5).
Automation of passenger cars
Systems such as automatic lane changes, monitoring distance and speed, and monitoring the behavior of other road users are seen as contributing to road safety. However, the driver always remains responsible and must therefore be able to take over steering at any time, even if the car does not emit a (disengagement) signal. Eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
'Hail-riding' will result in growth of traffic in cities because the number of car kilometers per user increases significantly, at the expense of walking, cycling, public transport and to a much lesser extent the use of private cars. Sofar, the number of people who switch from their own car to 'hail-riding' is minimal. The only way to reverse this trend is to impose heavy taxes on car kilometers in urban areas. On the other hand, the use of robot shuttles is beneficial in low-traffic areas and on routes from residential areas to a station. Shuttles are also an excellent way to reduce car use locally. For example, in the extensive Terhills resort in Genk, Belgium, where people leave their cars in the parking lot and transfer to autonomous shuttles that connect the various destinations on the site with high frequency.
A few months ago (April 2023), I read that Qbus in the Netherlands wants to experiment with 18-meter-long autonomous buses, for the time being accompanied by a 'safety driver'. Routes on bus lanes outside the busiest parts of the city are being considered. Autonomous metros and trains have been running in various cities, including London, for years. It is this incremental approach that we will need in the coming years instead of dreaming about getting into an autonomous car, where a made bed awaits us and we wakes us rested 1000 kilometers away. Instead of overcrowded roads with moving beds, we are better off with a comfortable and well-functioning European network of fast (sleeper) trains on a more modern rail infrastructure and efficient and convenient pre- and post-transport.
🚶♀️ How walkable is Amsterdam? 🚶♂️
🏘️ Ever wondered how pedestrian-friendly is your neighbourhood?
Do you feel encouraged and safe to walk in your surroundings?
Do the streets have too much traffic 🚦 and not enough trees 🌳?
I am thrilled to introduce to you the newest sibling of CTwalk: CTstreets Map!
CTstreets is a web tool that highlights how walkable Amsterdam is 🚶♀️ 🚶♂️
It uses openly available data sources and provides information on how walkable neighborhoods, walksheds (5 and 15-minutes), and streets are.
CTstreets was developed through a participatory approach in three main steps:
📖 We studied the literature and made a list of all the factors that are most commonly found to impact walkability.
💬 We asked urban experts who work in Amsterdam to prioritize the identified walkability factors while considering the characteristics and citizens of Amsterdam.
💯 Based on our discussions with the experts we created overall walkability scores, and scores per theme (e.g., related to landscape or proximity) and visualized them.
👀 Explore the web tool here:
[currently does not support mobile phones or tablets]
🔍 Learn more about CTstreets Map:
On a more personal note, it was wonderful collaborating with Matias Cardoso to develop this project. CTstreets draws significantly from Matia's MSc thesis "Amsterdam on foot," which is openly accessible and you can read here: https://lnkd.in/eyj3dpBZ
The estimated walkability scores are heavily based on the availability and quality of existing data sources. The reality is undoubtedly more complex. Walkability can be also personal and the presented scores might not reflect everyone’s point of view. Ctstreets is practically a tool aiming to enable the exploration of factors that impact walkability according to the experts in a simple, interactive, and fun way.
What opportunities for social cohesion do cities provide?
Is your neighbourhood park frequented by a homogenous or diverse mix of people? How many hashtag#amenities can you reach within a short hashtag#walking distance? And do you often encounter people from different walks of life?
I am very excited to introduce to you CTwalk Map, a web tool that seeks to highlight the social cohesion potential of neighbourhoods while also unmasking local access hashtag#inequities. CTwalk maps opportunities that different age groups can reach within a 5 or 15-minute walk.
🚶♀️🚶♂️ It uses granular population, location, and pedestrian network data from open sources to estimate how many children, adults, and elderly hashtag#citizens can reach various destinations in a city within a short walk.
🌐 It offers a simple and straightforward understanding of how the 5 and 15-minute walking environments are shaped by the street network.
➗ It estimates the degree of pedestrian co-accessibility of various hashtag#city destinations.
CTwalk Map is now available for the five largest cities in The Netherlands.
Take a look at the web tool:
... learn more about CTwalk Map at this link:
[currently does not support mobile phones or tablets]
...and let us know what you think!
🚶♀️ How walkable is Amsterdam? 🚶♂️
🏘️ Ever wondered how pedestrian-friendly is your neighbourhood?
Do you feel encouraged and safe to walk in your surroundings?
Do the streets have too much traffic 🚦 and not enough trees 🌳?
Together with Vasileios Milias, we've developed CTstreets map, a new tool where you can check how your street scores in different walkability factors and what might be missing to make it more attractive for pedestrians.
👀 Explore the web tool here: https://miliasv.github.io/CTstreets/?city=amsterdam#15.18/52.371259/4.895385/0/45
🔍 Dive into the methodology and process on our info page: https://miliasv.github.io/CTstreets/info_page/
CTstreets is based on the results of my thesis "Amsterdam on Foot" where I developed a participatory approach to evaluate walkability in every street segment of Amsterdam using open data.
The categories available on the map are Overall walkability, Landscape, Crime Safety, Traffic Safety, Proximity and Infrastructure.
📍 With this tool, you can check how is the walkability per street, neighbourhood or walkshed (5 or 15 minutes) and switch between categories.
A disclaimer about the results presented: While based on the opinions of municipality workers, urban designers and advocates for pedestrian accessibility, this work might not reflect the opinion of everyone. After all, walkability is also influenced by personal factors. Furthermore, the data we used comes from open sources and it might not always be accurate / up to date. Ctstreets aims to enable the exploration of factors that impact walkability according to the experts in a simple, interactive, and fun way, and spark a conversation about how we think and design for pedestrians.
This is the 20th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Its topic is to enable citizens having daily necessities in a walking and bicycling distance.
During the pandemic, lockdowns prevented people from leaving their homes or moving over a longer distance. Many citizens rediscovered their own neighbourhood. They visited the parks every day, the turnover of the local shops increased, and commuters suddenly had much more time. Despite all the concerns, the pandemic contributed to a revival of a village-like sociability.
Revival of the ‘whole neighbourhood’
Revival indeed, because until the 1960s, most residents of cities in Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia did not know better than their dally needs were available within a few minutes' walk. In the street where I was born, there were four butchers, four bakers, three greengrocers and four groceries, even though the street was not much longer than 500 meters. No single shop survived. My primary school was also on that street, and you had to be around the corner for the doctor. This type of quality of life went lost, in the USA in particular. However, urban planners never have forgotten this idea. In many cities, the pandemic has turned these memories into attainable goals, albeit still far removed from reality. Nevertheless, the idea of the 'whole neighborhood' gained traction in many cities. It fits into a more comprehensive planning concept, the 15-minute city.
Support for facilities
The idea is that residents can find all daily needs within an imaginary circle with an area of approximately 50 hectares. This implies a proportionate number of residents. A lower limit of 150 residents per hectare is often mentioned, considering a floor area of 40% for offices and small industry. The idea is further that most streets are car-free and provide plenty of opportunity for play and meeting.
Opportunity for social contacts
In a 'whole neighbourhood', residents find opportunity for shopping and meeting from morning to evening. There is a supermarket, a bakery, a butcher, a greengrocer's shop, a drugstore, a handful of cafes and restaurants, a fitness center, a primary school, a medical center, craft workshops, offices, green spaces and a wide variety of houses. Here, people who work at home drink their morning coffee, employees meet colleagues and freelancers work at a café table during the quiet hours. Housemen and women do their daily shopping or work out in the gym, have a chat, and drink a cup of tea. People meet for lunch, dinner and socializing on the terrace or in the cafes, until closing time. A good example is the Oostpoort in Amsterdam, albeit one of the larger ones with a station and a few tram lines.
On the map above, the boundaries of the neighborhoods with an area of approximately 50 hectares are shown in the form of circles. The circular neighborhood is a model. This principle can already play a role on the drawing board in new neighborhoods to be built. In existing neighbourhoods, drawing circles is mainly a matter of considering local data. The center of the circle will then often be placed where there are already some shops. Shops outside the intended central area can be helped to move to this area. Spaces between existing homes can be reserved for small-scale businesses, schools, small parks, communal gardens and play facilities. Once the contours have been established, densification can be implemented by choosing housing designs that align to the character of the neighbourhood. Towards the outside of the imaginary circle, the building density will decrease, except at public transport stops or where circles border the water, often an ideal place for higher buildings.
If a thoroughfare passes through the center of the circle, this street can be developed into a city street, including a public transport route. Facilities are then realized around a small square in the center of the circle and the surrounding streets.
Incidentally, space between the circles can be used for through traffic, parks, and facilities that transcend districts, for instance a swimming pool or a sports hall or an underground parking garage. Mostly, neighborhoods will merge seamlessly into each other.
It will take time before this dream comes true.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
This is the 19th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. This post is about increasing the independent mobility of children and the elderly, which is limited due to the dangers that traffic entails.
For safety reasons, most urban children under the age of ten are taken to school. The same goes for most other destinations nearby. It hampers children’s independent mobility, which is important for their development.
Car-free routes for pedestrians and cyclists
For security reasons, car-free connections between homes and schools, community centers, bus stops and other facilities are mandatory (photo’s top left and bottom right). Car routes, in their turn, head to neighborhood parking spaces or underground parking garages. Except for a limited number of parking spaces for disabled people.
Model-wise, the design of a residential area consists of quadrants of approximately 200 x 200 meters in which connections are primarily intended for pedestrians and cyclists. There are routes for motorized traffic between the quadrants and there are parking facilities and bus stops at the edges. Inhabitants might decide that cars may enter the pedestrian area at walking pace to load and unload to disappear immediately afterwards. The routes for pedestrians and cyclists connect directly with the shops and other destinations in the neighborhood, based on the idea of the 15-minute city. Shops 'ideally' serve 9 to 16 quadrants. In practice, this mode will have many variations because of terrain characteristics, building types and aesthetic considerations.
The number of neighborhoods where cars can only park on the outskirts is growing. A classic example is 'ecological paradise' Vauban were 50 'Baugruppen' (housing cooperatives) have provided affordable housing (photo bottom middle ). Car-free too is the former site of the Gemeentelijk waterleidingbedrijf municipal water supply company in Amsterdam - (photo bottom left). Here almost all homes have a garden, roof terrace or spacious balcony. The Merwede district in Utrecht (top middle) will have 12,000 inhabitants and for only 30% room for parking is available, and even then only on the edge of the district. Shared cars, on the other hand, will be widely available. The space between the houses is intended for pedestrians, cyclists and children playing.
More emphasis on collective green
Due to the separation of traffic types and the absence of nuisance caused by car, there are no obligatory streets, but wide foot- and cycle paths. Instead there are large lawns for playing and picnicking, vegetable gardens and playgrounds. Further space savings will be achieved by limiting the depth of the front and back gardens. Instead, large collective space appears between the residential blocks; remember the Rivierenwijk in Utrecht that I mentioned in the former post (top right). Behind the buildings, there is room for small backyards, storage sheds and possibly parking space.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
This is the 18th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. This message is about the limited possibilities for children to play in a green environment because of the sacrifices that are made to offer space for cars and private gardens
Almost all residential areas in the Netherlands offer too little opportunity for children to play. This post deals with this topic and also with changing the classic street pattern to make way for routes for pedestrians and cyclists.
Everything previously mentioned about the value of a green space applies to the living environment. The rule 3 : 30 : 300 is often used as an ideal: Three trees must be visible from every house, the canopy cover of the neighborhood is 30% and within an average distance of 300 meters there is a quarter of a hectare of green space, whether or not divided over a number of smaller parcels.
Functions of 'green' in neighbourhoods
The green space in the living environment must be more than a grass cover. Instead, it creates a park-like environment where people meet, it is accompanied by water features and can store water in case of superfluent rain, it limits the temperature and forms the basis for play areas for children.
Legally, communal, and private green areas are different entities; in practice, hybrid forms are becoming common. For example, a communal (inner) garden that can be closed off in the evening or public green that is cadastral property of the residents but intended for public use. In that case the residents live in a park-like environment which they might maintain and use together. Het Rivierdistrict in Utrecht is an example of this.
Play at the neighborhood level
Children want wide sidewalks and a place (at least 20 x 10 m2) close to home that is suitable for (fantasy) games and where there may also be attractive play equipment. The importance of playground equipment should not be overestimated. For many children, the ideal playground consists of heaps of coarse sand, water, climbing trees and pallets. To the local residents It undoubtedly looks messier than a field full of seesaw chickens. Good playground equipment is of course safe and encourages creative action. They can also be used for more than one purpose. You can climb on it, slide off it, play hide and seek and more. Of the simple devices, (saucer) swings and climbing frames are favorites.
A somewhat larger playground to play football and practice other sports is highly regarded. Such a space attracts many children from the surrounding streets and leads to the children playing with each other in varying combinations.
Most squares are large bare plains, which you prefer to walk around. Every neighborhood should have a square of considerable size as a place where various forms of play and exercise are concentrated. In the middle there is room for a multifunctional space - tastefully tiled or equipped with (artificial) grass - for ball games, events, music performances, markets and possibly movable benches. Ideally, the central part is somewhat lower, so that there is a slope to sit on, climb and slide down. On the edge there is room for countless activities, such as different forms of ball games, a rough part, with climbing trees, meeting places, spaces to hide, space to barbecue and walls to paint, but also catering and one or more terraces. Lighting is desirable in the evening, possibly (coloured) mood lighting. There is an opportunity for unexpected and unforeseen activities, such as a food car that comes by regularly, street musicians that come to visit, changing fairground attractions and a salsa band that comes to rehearse every week.
Such a square can possibly be integrated into a park that, apart from its value as a green space, already offers opportunities for children to play. Adding explicit game elements makes parks even more attractive.
Connecting car-free routes
Safe walking and cycling routes connect playgrounds, parks, and homes. They offer excellent opportunities to use bicycles, especially where they are connected to those of other neighbourhoods.
By seeing facilities for different age groups in conjunction, networks and nodes are created for distinctive target groups. The children's network mainly includes play areas close to home, connected via safe paths to playgrounds in the vicinity. Facilities especially for teenagers are best located somewhat secluded, but not isolated. Essentially, they want to fit in. The teenage network also includes places where there is something to eat, but also various facilities for sports and at a certain age it includes the entire municipality.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.
This is the 16th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. This post is about one of the most important contributions to the quality of the living environment, a pleasant (family)home.
It is generally assumed that parents with children prefer a single-family home. New construction of this kind of dwelling units in urban areas will be limited due to the scarcity of land. Moreover, there are potentially enough ground-access homes in the Netherlands. Hundreds of thousands have been built in recent decades, while families with children, for whom this type of housing was intended, only use 25% of the available housing stock. In addition, many ground-access homes will become available in the coming years, if the elderly can move on to more suitable housing.
The stacked house of your dreams
It is expected that urban buildings will mainly be built in stacks. Stacked living in higher densities than is currently the case can contribute to the preservation of green space and create economic support for facilities at neighbourhood level. In view of the differing wishes of those who will be using stacked housing, a wide variation of the range is necessary. The main question that arises is what does a stacked house look like that is also attractive for families with children?
Area developer BPD (Bouwfonds Property Development) studied the housing needs of urban families based on desk research, surveys and group discussions with parents and children who already live in the city and formulated guidelines for the design of 'child-friendly' homes based on this.
Another source of ideas for attractive stacked construction was the competition to design the most child-friendly apartment in Rotterdam. The winning design would be realized. An analysis of the entries shows that flexible floor plans stand head and shoulders above other wishes. This wish was mentioned no less than 104×. Other remarkably common wishes are collective outdoor space [68×], each child their own place/play area [55×], bicycle shed [43×], roof garden [40×], vertical street [28×], peace and privacy [27× ], extra storage space [26×], excess [22×] and a spacious entrance [17×].
One of the most expressed wishes is a flexible layout. Family circumstances change regularly and then residents want to be able to 'translate' to the layout without having to move. That is why a fixed 'wet unit' is often provided and wall and door systems as well as floor coverings are movable. It even happens that non-load-bearing partition walls between apartments can be moved.
Phased transition from public to private space
One of the objections to stacked living is the presence of anonymous spaces, such as galleries, stairwells, storerooms, and elevators. Sometimes children use these as a play area for lack of anything better. To put an end to this kind of no man's land, clusters of 10 – 15 residential units with a shared stairwell are created. This solution appeals to what Oscar Newman calls a defensible space, which mainly concerns social control, surveillance, territoriality, image, management, and sense of ownership. These 'neighborhoods' then form a transition zone between the own apartment, the rest of the building and the outside world, in which the residents feel familiar. Adults indicate that the use of shared cars should also be organized in these types of clusters.
Once, as the housing market becomes less overburdened, home seekers will have more options. These relate to the nature of the house (ground floor or stacked) and - related thereto - the price, the location (central or more peripheral) and the nature of the apartment itself. But also, on the presence of communal facilities in general and for children in particular.
Many families with children prefer that their neighbors are in the same phase of life and that the children are of a similar age. In addition, they prefer an apartment on the ground floor or lower floors that preferably consists of two floors.
Communal facilities vary in nature and size. Such facilities contain much more than a stairwell, lift and bicycle storage. This includes washing and drying rooms, hobby rooms, opportunities for indoor and outdoor play, including a football cage on the roof and inner gardens. Houses intended for cohousing will also have a communal lounge area and even a catering facility.
However, the communal facilities lead to a considerable increase in costs. That is why motivated resident groups are looking for other solutions.
Building collectively or cooperatively
The need for new buildings will increasingly be met by cooperative or collective construction. Many municipalities encourage this, but these are complicated processes, the result of which is usually a home that better meets the needs at a relatively low price and where people have got to know the co-residents well in advance.
With cooperative construction, the intended residents own the entire building and rent a housing unit, which also makes this form of housing accessible to lower incomes. With collective building, there is an association of owners, and everyone owns their own apartment.
Indoor and outdoor space for each residential unit
Apartments must have sufficient indoor and outdoor space. The size of the interior space will differ depending on price, location and need and the nature of the shared facilities. If the latter are limited, it is usually assumed that 40 - 60 m2 for a single-person household, 60 - 100 m2 for two persons and 80 - 120 m2 for a three-person household. For each resident more about 15 to 20 m2 extra. Children over 8 have their own space. In addition, more and more requirements are being set for the presence, size, and safety of a balcony, preferably (partly) covered. The smallest children must be able to play there, and the family must be able to use it as a dining area. There must also be some protection against the wind.
Residents of family apartments also want their apartment to have a spacious hall, which can also be used as a play area, plenty of storage space and good sound insulation.
'The Babylon' in Rotterdam
De Babel is the winning entry of the competition mentioned before to design the ideal family-friendly stacked home (see title image). The building contains 24 family homes. All apartments are connected on the outside by stairs and wide galleries. As a result, there are opportunities for meeting and playing on all floors. The building is a kind of box construction that tapers from wide to narrow. The resulting terraces are a combination of communal and private spaces. Due to the stacked design, each house has its own shape and layout. The living areas vary between approximately 80 m2 and 155 m2 and a penthouse of 190 m2. Dimensions and layouts of the houses are flexible. Prices range from €400,000 – €1,145,000 including a parking space (price level 2021).
As promised, the building has now been completed, albeit in a considerably 'skimmed-down' form compared to the 'playful' design (left), no doubt for cost reasons. The enclosed stairs that were originally planned have been replaced by external steel structures that will not please everyone. Anyway, it is an attractive edifice.
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)
- 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 email@example.com.
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.
While our mobility system and its options are continuously expanding, there’s a growing number of people who feel excluded from the mobility system and experience a lack of access to services like public transport and shared mobility options. The concept of Mobility Poverty shows there are a variety of reasons for this exclusion, ranging from economic and geographical reasons, to falling behind on digital skills. If we want to move towards ‘Mobility Justice’, we would need a detailed image of the groups experiencing this exclusion and we would need a variety of actors to come up with -and implement- creative solutions to this emerging problem.
For the past months, Chris de Veer and I have been busy setting up a regional coalition and program on this subject. Because it’s becoming clear we’re discussing a problem we, a pool of mobility specialists, are not experiencing ourselves, we decided to critically look at what parties have a seat at the table. During the Amsterdam Smart City Transition Day on June 6th, we gathered input and reflections on the power structures in play and considerations when involving your target group in decision making.
Understanding power relations and structures when working on transitions
When designing solutions and innovative policies, it’s important to understand and be aware of the power structures in play. Our partner Kennisland is concerned with the topic and introduced this discussion within our network during on of our ‘Kennissessies’ earlier this year. Together with this session’s participants, we used their method to evaluate which parties have been involved in the initial phase of our Mobility Justice challenge.
It became clear that it had been mostly governmental parties which were involved in exploring the topic and initiating the design of a cooperation program. While this is of importance for practical matters like funding and political support, the group should have been diversified when we started exploring the problem and its solutions. The (target) group we’re talking about is currently lacking the power to help design both the collaboration process itself and the initiatives that should help fight Mobility Poverty.
Considerations when engaging with your target group
There was a general consensus in the group that we should now make more of an effort to engage with our target group. But how exactly? The group discussed different existing forms of involving a target group in decision making and advised us on matters to consider, namely;
- Decide in what stage(s) of the process collaboration or input is needed. Exploring the problem will require a completely different conversation and method compared to the stage of co-designing solutions.
- Be very clear about what you’ll use the outcomes for. If you decide to gather input from - and collaborate with your target group, you’ll need to actually incorporate the outcomes within your process. This is necessary to maintain the groups trust and validate their efforts.
- Besides defining problems and exploring its solutions, evaluation of the initiatives that follow will be equally important. Special efforts need to be put into place to keep the dialogue going with the target group during and after testing initiatives.
Next steps: Harnessing the power of community centres
When discussing potential next steps for the group, one of the session’s participants reminded us of the power of community centres. She mentioned an example in her own neighbourhood, where a group of neighbours initiated a sharing vehicle for elderly/disabled people. This example illustrated how local communities know best what specific problems or needs are at play, and how to set up solutions in a quick manner.
This conversation inspired us to now look for relevant local initiatives and community centres in the Amsterdam region. With their help, we hope to better understand problems related to Mobility Poverty and what specific solutions people need within their local context.
A call to the community
I’m now wondering if there is anyone in our Amsterdam Smart City community who could link us to local initiatives and community centres in the Amsterdam region? Mobility-related topics are a plus, but this is certainly not necessarily. Any advice or tips to share? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. This summer, we’ll design the continuation of this project.
In the coming decades, urban population growth and a rising demand for mobility options will cause strain on our public spaces. The city of Amsterdam will counteract this trend by making private car ownership less attractive for its citizens, while making sure there are enough, well facilitated, alternative modes of transport. One could think of investments in (more) public transport, and the welcoming of shared mobility providers. Currently, some market players are making use of the latter and sharing cars and sharing mopeds are becoming part of the streetscape. Is this enough?
Mobility as a Commons
On the 23th of March, Diederik Basta and Jop Pék from the municipality of Amsterdam’s innovation department, hosted a working session on the concept of; Mobility as a Commons (MaaC). They introduced this concept by pointing out that currently, we’re not ‘sharing’ our modes of transport but we’re just ‘renting’ them from private companies. This raises a couple of concerns; these parties exist purely to maximize profits, they own and sell user data, their fleet of vehicles is not spread evenly throughout the city, and because it’s only available for those who can afford the service, it’s not inclusive for all.
The municipality is now exploring how to move away from these market mechanisms and facilitate car sharing solutions based in local ownership. This summer, they’ll experiment with pilots in which modes of transport are perceived as a ‘Commons’ and cooperatively owned and used by a group of local residents. Their goal is to gather insights on how to facilitate this form of locally organized mobility in the best way possible and pave the way for emerging initiatives.
For this new alternative to succeed, drastic innovation is needed in which public authorities identify and alter their role. That’s why Diederik and Jop are also turning inwards and critically reflecting on the current premises from which they’re acting. Only then, you’ll be able to innovate in a way that you’re breaking free from your current paradigm and its effects. Because they are of such importance, I would like to quickly summarize the three relevant premises:
- People act out of self-interest; we assume mistrust. People need control and governance to reinforce the common good. Its effects: A government mistrusting its citizens and legal sealing of documents and procedures.
- The municipality owns public space. Public space should be designed and managed by experts to ensure quality, consistency and efficiency of functionalities. Its effects: Struggles with public participation and a focus on efficiency and functionality, instead of social interaction.
- The municipality is responsible for a well-functioning mobility system. Public space makes way, and more urban mobility makes people richer and happier. Its effects: Private parties push the mobility system and the government facilitates this, and traveling for work and other (social) activities is the norm.
Reactions from the participants
Next to inspiring the working session participants, Diederik and Job wanted to ignite an active conversation with the diverse group in front of them. They wanted to show the parties at the table how important it is to realise from what kind of premises and paradigm you’re currently ‘innovating’, but they were also curious what others thought of their upcoming project.
A big theme during the discussion was the fact that this ‘commons’ thinking is finding its way within different themes like the energy- and data transition. Energy cooperatives are emerging at a fast rate and this topic is receiving a lot of research and attention from energy companies at the moment. The same goes for cooperative ownership and use of data, as an alternative to protection and the commercial use of data. The different domains should be actively learning from each other, as learnings should be easily transferable. Furthermore, the group discussed the painful dilemma of the innovation department of the municipality. Their critical stance against their own policies is remarkable, but they need to find a balance where the pilot and its results will be refreshing and creative, as well as applicable in current policies as soon as possible. Finally, the group advised the presenters to; pay special attention to groups of citizens who have less time and resources available to organize themselves, write down in detail all administrative rules and obstructions that counteract these initiatives, and to not forget the power of private parties altogether; with a clear problem definition, they are able to organise and act at a fast rate.
In the coming months, the project’s final preparations and consideration will be implemented. Through the Horizon 2020 (GEMINI) project, The municipality of Amsterdam will cooperate with parties like Townmaking, Smart Innovation Norway, and our partner Cenex Nederland. Together they will guide and research local initiatives within Amsterdam (e.g. de Pijp, Tuindorp Oostzaan, Spaarndammerbuurt), activate a so called ‘Experimenteerregeling’ and create a plug and play system for future local initiatives. Diederik and Jop will incorporate the comments and discussions from this working session, and we’ll make sure to have them share their first learnings with the Amsterdam Smart City network later in 2023.
Do you want to know more about this topic, or would you like to get in contact with Diederik Basta or Jop Pék? You can contact me via email@example.com, and I’ll connect you!
We are looking for parties with experience with mobility, accessibility, mobility as a service, city logistics & delivery, autonomous vehicles, willing to think together or collaborate in a research by design project on the impact of e-commerce and remote working on future urban space and street design.
We are urban experts, with strong interest in mobility-related topics and a passion for creating more inclusive and sustainable living environments. We are in the process of submitting an application to the following grant: Ways to Wellbeing.
If interested in contributing or joining our team, please contact us via the mail below, before the end of week 8.
Met Scale Up onderzoekt het MRA-platform Smart Mobility samen met kennisinstellingen en de markt hoe je extreme drukte op hotspots – zoals toeristische trekpleisters, winkelgebieden en het strand – kunt voorkomen. De inzet: innovatieve oplossingen om bezoekersstromen te voorspellen en met gerichte acties te spreiden in tijd, route en vervoersmiddel. De eerste fase van het project is inmiddels afgesloten en geëvalueerd. Wat hebben de partijen opgestoken van deze manier van samenwerken en wat is de volgende stap?
In 2019 hebben de partners van het platform (Gemeente Amsterdam, de provincies Noord-Holland en Flevoland en de Vervoerregio Amsterdam) het initiatief genomen voor ‘Scale Up | Bezoekersstromen’. Het doel was het ontwikkelen én toepassen van een aanpak die helpt bij het sneller opschalen van innovaties die zorgen voor een betere bereikbaarheid van de regio. Het project heeft twee oplossingen opgeleverd die onafhankelijk van elkaar zijn ontwikkeld en getest. ‘Tijdens de testen op het strand van Zandvoort en in de Kalverstraat in Amsterdam hebben we wel gezien dat de oplossingen elkaar aanvullen en versterken,’ zegt Maarten Peters, thematrekker Smart infra bij MRA-platform Smart Mobility. ‘Tijdens de proeven op drukke plekken zagen we dat waarschuwingen in reisplanners en sociale media daadwerkelijk zorgden voor een afname van de piekdrukte. Maar liefst 60% van de mensen die achteraf een enquête heeft ingevuld, gaf aan dat hij of zij op een ander tijdstip heeft gereisd.’
Meerwaarde van Scale Up
De tests zijn afgerond, de commerciële fase van Scale Up | Bezoekersstromen breekt nu aan en er worden plannen gemaakt voor nieuwe Scale Up-onderwerpen. Daarom is dit een goed moment om samen terug te blikken, lessen te leren en vooruit te kijken naar kansen om nog meer impact te kunnen maken. Royal HaskoningDHV heeft samen met de Hogeschool van Amsterdam een evaluatie uitgevoerd. Daarin stonden drie punten centraal, vertelt Christiaan Elings van Royal HaskoningDHV: ‘Hoe kunnen we in het lopende proces van Scale Up | Bezoekersstromen een volgende stap maken voor nog meer impact, welke meerwaarde biedt de Scale Up-aanpak voor andere opgaven in de regio en hoe kunnen we ‘m daarvoor verder ontwikkelen als houvast? Hierover zijn de marktpartijen, beleidsambtenaren in de regio en het kernteam van Scale Up met elkaar in gesprek gegaan.’
Oplossingen in de hele regio inzetbaar
Het unieke en innovatieve van de Scale Up-aanpak is de manier van aanbesteden. Projectleider Anja Reimann van de gemeente Amsterdam licht dit toe: ‘We hebben het probleem uitgevraagd en niet al vooraf de oplossing bedacht. We wilden gebruikmaken van de creativiteit en kennis van de markt. Daarbij zochten we naar een werkbare totaaloplossing voor datagebruik, voorspellen en verleiden. Dat vind je niet bij één organisatie, daar is samenwerking voor nodig. Onze vraag aan de markt was daarom gericht aan consortia.’ De twee testlocaties hebben genoeg informatie opgeleverd om de oplossingen in de hele regio in te kunnen zetten. ‘Dat is het andere unieke aan dit project. De vier overheden hebben het initiatief genomen om oplossingen te zoeken voor het drukteprobleem in de hele regio. Onze eis daarbij was dat deze oplossingen overal ingezet kunnen worden. Zo hoeven gemeenten niet ieder voor zich het wiel uit te vinden. Dat hebben de consortia voor elkaar gekregen. We hebben nu een raamovereenkomst getekend met twee partijen, zodat andere overheden de oplossingen ook kunnen inkopen. De eerste opdrachten zijn al gegeven: de gemeente Amsterdam heeft de oplossingen met succes ingezet tijdens Koningsdag en Pride.’
Opschalen voor meer impact
En wat is de volgende stap? ‘Het écht op grote schaal inkopen en toepassen van de oplossingen om nog meer impact te kunnen maken. Oftewel: opschalen. Daarvoor moeten we nog een slag maken op het gebied van efficiëntie en standaardisatie, en moeten we nog nauwer samenwerken met partijen in de MRA, zoals gemeenten’, zegt Anja. Christiaan vult aan: ‘We zijn gestart met de doelstelling om te komen tot opschaling van bestaande innovatieve oplossingen, dus om goede oplossingen zo ver te brengen dat ze op verschillende plekken in de MRA kunnen worden ingezet. De eerste stappen zijn gezet. Het is nu nodig om door te pakken om de bewezen oplossingen op nog grotere schaal in te kunnen zetten in de regio.’
Samenwerken en specifieke vaardigheden van belang
Uit de evaluatie blijkt dat de aanpak werkt en inzetbaar is voor verschillende opgaven en dat de samenwerking heeft geleid tot concrete oplossingen. Deze zijn getest, maar het écht op grote schaal inkopen en toepassen moet nog starten. Opschaling vraag om specifieke kennis en vaardigheden. Veel afnemers van de Scale Up-oplossingen zijn kleinere gemeenten, legt Christiaan uit: ‘Die hebben beperkte capaciteit en geld om hiermee aan de slag te gaan. Dat is een belangrijk punt voor de volgende stap. Die moet je faciliteren.’ Dat kan, als je met een sterk team samenwerkt met die partijen, zegt Anja. ‘Als je met zo veel partijen aan de slag gaat, dan vraagt dat flink wat afstemming. De rollen en verantwoordelijkheden in het projectteam waren duidelijk, de juiste competenties waren aan boord en er was een grote drive om Scale Up tot een succes te maken. Toch werden er specifieke kennis en competenties gemist. Denk aan een financieel expert, om de stap naar de commerciële fase sneller en beter te kunnen maken, een projectsecretaris om ook de interne processen te kunnen regelen en communicatieondersteuning, zodat andere partijen eerder kunnen worden meegenomen, gericht op uiteindelijke opschaling.’
Kansen voor gedeelde opgaven
De Scale Up-aanpak is ook inzetbaar voor andere domeinen, zoals duurzaamheid, circulariteit, sociaal domein, veiligheid, sport en andere evenementen en festivals. Er is inmiddels al een tweede Scale Up in voorbereiding. Anja: ‘Scale Up biedt veel kansen. We hebben genoeg gedeelde opgaven in de regio. We kunnen deze manier van aanbesteden en samenwerken ook daarvoor gebruiken. Zo zetten we die nu in voor het aanleggen van circulaire sportvelden.’ Het is slim om opgaven aan te pakken die breed gedeeld worden, denkt Maarten. ‘Bijvoorbeeld op basis van een regionaal plan waar partijen al achter staan. Dan staat die samenwerking al. Begin 2023 besluit onze stuurgroep hoe we Scale Up verder gaan inzetten. De partners van het platform gaan hiermee dit jaar hard aan de slag. En wij gaan de boer op om onze ervaringen te delen en gemeenten actief benaderen. Deze aanpak biedt houvast bij de aanpak van grote en breed gedeelde opgaven.’
Toen ik als kleine jongen na lang zeuren eindelijk eens op de skelter van de buurjongen mocht rijden, was ik als kind zo blij. Hetzelfde overkwam me, zoveel jaren later nog eens vlak voor het einde van 2022. Door onze Community Manager Sophie was ik geattendeerd op een klein berichtje van NEMO de Studio, een soort dependance van NEMO met een eigen tentoonstelling ('energy junkies') op het Marineterrein. Praktisch buren van Amsterdam Smart City, waar ik sinds halverwege 2022 anderhalve dag per week werk op het thema mobiliteit.
NEMO de Studio ging rijden met de Witkar en je mocht mee, tenminste, als je de 'prijs' won. Daarvoor hoefde je alleen een mailtje te sturen. Nu ben ik dol op prijzen waar ik nagenoeg niets voor hoef te doen, dus dat mailtje was zo gestuurd. En tot mijn verbazing bleek ik gewonnen te hebben. Dus daar ging ik, op 29 december, naar NEMO de Studio.
Natuurlijk had ik Sophie en Pelle (mijn compagnon op het thema mobiliteit) meegevraagd en gedrieën werden we ontvangen door Jodie en Maaike van NEMO. De Witkar was aan het opladen, gewoon met een stekker in het stopcontact. Een driewieler die inderdaad grotendeels wit is, met een mooie rode bies aan de onderkant, en in de verte iets wegheeft van de Pausmobiel. Hoog en rondom ramen. Vanwege de mooie ronde koplampen doet het denken aan Brum, het oldtimer autootje met de ronde koplampen als ogen.
De Witkar reed tussen 1974 en 1986 rond in de stad. Het is feitelijk de eerste elektrische deelauto in Amsterdam. De bedenker ervan, Luud Schimmelpennink, is ook bekend van het Witte Fietsenplan. In totaal zijn er 38 Witkarren gemaakt waarvan er zo'n 25 daadwerkelijk hebben rondgereden. De autootjes stonden in speciaal gebouwde laadstations en konden door leden tegen een vergoeding gebruikt worden. Het was een non-profit initiatief; de opbrengsten werden beheerd door een stichting en werd geïnvesteerd in beheer en uitbreiding van het systeem. Hoeveel mensen er daadwerkelijk gebruik van hebben gemaakt is mij niet bekend.
En nu mocht ik het dus ook proberen. Zelf sturen zat er helaas niet in, maar meerijden is ook al een belevenis. De 'handrem' werd weggenomen, gewoon een stuk blok dat achter de wielen wordt gelegd (een echte handrem was kennelijk niet nodig). Na plaatsgenomen te hebben in de ovale coupé op het Gispen (jawel!) stoeltje naast Jodie die voor deze gelegenheid ook chauffeur was, kon het avontuur beginnen. Voor de gelegenheid hadden de dames een jaren 70 Spotify lijstje opgezet op een JBL- speakertje die achter de stoelen was gelegd (ruimte genoeg). Oude en nieuwe technologie die naadloos samengaan.
Nog even de gordel aan en hup het gaspedaal werd ingedrukt. Soepel accelereerde het karretje naar zo'n 15 km per uur. Het maximum ligt op 30 km/u maar het Marineterrein leent zich daar niet echt voor. Het ritje was niet heel comfortabel, door het gebrek aan schokdempers voel je elk hobbeltje. En door de vele kieren hebben wind en regen vrij spel. De Witkar zou in deze tijd ook ongetwijfeld worden afgekeurd voor gebruik op de openbare weg. Maar net als op de skelter destijds, heb ik ontzettend genoten. Wat een heerlijke ervaring! Comfort en gemak zijn hier niet het belangrijkste. Net zoals bij bijv. kamperen zijn andere zaken veel interessanter dan het comfort van een huisje of hotel. Plezier, authenticiteit, vrijheid, verbinding, avontuur, weg uit de hokjes, verzin het maar: de Witkar biedt het. Een mooie uitvinding van een visionaire man die zijn tijd duidelijk ver vooruit was. Dus, mag ik ajb nog een keer? Mijn buurjongetje destijds verhuisde vrij snel. Maar hopen dat deze buren lang op het Marineterrein blijven!
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