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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Will the 15-minute city cause the US suburbs to disappear? 6/7

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Urbanisation in the US is undergoing major changes. The image of a central city surrounded by sprawling suburbs therefore needs to be updated. The question is what place does the 15-minute city have in it? That is what this somewhat longer post is about
From the 1950s, residents of US cities began moving en masse to the suburbs. A detached house in the green came within reach for the middle and upper classes, and the car made it possible to commute daily to factories and offices. These were initially still located in and around the cities. The government stimulated this development by investing billions in the road network.
From the 1980s, offices also started to move away from the big cities. They moved to attractive locations, often near motorway junctions. Sometimes large shopping and entertainment centres also settled there, and flats were built on a small scale for supporting staff. Garreau called such cities 'edge cities'.
Investors built new suburbs called 'urban villages' in the vicinity of the new office locations, significantly reducing the distance to the offices. This did not reduce congestion on congested highways.
However, more and more younger workers had no desire to live in suburbs. The progressive board of Arlington, near Washington DC, took the decision in the 1980s to develop a total of seven walkable, inclusive, attractive and densely built-up cores in circles of up to 800 metres around metro stations. In each was a wide range of employment, flats, shops and other amenities . In the process, the Rosslyn-Balston Corridor emerged and experienced rapid growth. The population of the seven cores now stands at 71,000 out of a total of 136,000 jobs. 36% of all residents use the metro or bus for commuting, which is unprecedentedly high for the US. The Rosslyn-Balston Corridor is a model for many other medium-sized cities in the US, such as New Rochelle near new York.
Moreover, to meet the desire to live within walking distance of all daily amenities, there is a strong movement to also regenerate the suburbs themselves. This is done by building new centres in the suburbs and densifying part of the suburbs.
The new centres have a wide range of flats, shopping facilities, restaurants and entertainment centres.  Dublin Bridge Park, 30 minutes from Columbus (Ohio) is one of many examples.
It is a walkable residential and commercial area and an easily accessible centre for residents from the surrounding suburbs. It is located on the site of a former mall.
Densification of the suburbs is necessary because of the high demand for (affordable) housing, but also to create sufficient support for the new centres.
Space is plentiful. In the suburbs, there are thousands of (semi-)detached houses that are too large for the mostly older couples who occupy them. An obvious solution is to split the houses, make them energy-positive and turn them into two or three starter homes. There are many examples how this can be done in a way that does not affect the identity of the suburbs (image).
New construction in suburbs
This kind of solution is difficult to realise because the municipal authorities concerned are bound by decades-old zoning plans, which prescribe in detail what can be built somewhere. Some of the residents fiercely oppose changing the laws. Especially in California, the NIMBYs (not in my backyard) and the YIMBYs (yes in my backyard) have a stranglehold on each other and housing construction is completely stalled.
But even without changing zoning laws, there are incremental changes.  Here and there, for instance, garages, usually intended for two or three cars, are being converted into 'assessor flats' for grandma and grandpa or for children who cannot buy a house of their own.  But garden houses are also being added and souterrains constructed. Along the path of gradualness, this adds thousands of housing units, without causing much fuss.
It is also worth noting that small, sometimes sleepy towns seem to be at the beginning of a period of boom.  They are particularly popular with millennials. These towns are eminently 'walkable' , the houses are not expensive and there is a wide range of amenities. The distance to the city is long, but you can work well from home and that is increasingly the pattern. The pandemic and the homeworking it has initiated has greatly increased the popularity of this kind of residential location.
All in all, urbanisation in the US can be typified by the creation of giant metropolitan areas, across old municipal boundaries. These areas are a conglomeration of new cities, rivalling the old mostly shrinking and poverty-stricken cities in terms of amenities, and where much of employment is in offices and laboratories. In between are the suburbs, with a growing variety of housing. The aim is to create higher densities around railway stations. Besides the older suburbs, 'urban villages' have emerged in attractive locations. More and more suburbs are getting their own walkable centres, with a wide range of flats and facilities. Green space has been severely restricted by these developments.
According to Christopher Leinberger, professor of real estate and urban analysis at George Washington University, there is no doubt that in the US, walkable, attractive cores with a mixed population and a varied housing supply following the example of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor are the future. In addition, walkable car-free neighbourhoods, with attractive housing and ample amenities are in high demand in the US. Some of the 'urban villages' are developing as such.  The objection is that these are 'walkable islands', rising in an environment that is anything but walkable. So residents always have one or two cars in the car park for when they leave the neighbourhood, as good metro or train connections are scarce. Nor are these kinds of neighbourhoods paragons of a mixed population; rents tend to be well above the already unaffordable average.
The answer of the question in the header therefore is: locally and slowly

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The '15-minute principle' also applies to rural areas (4/7)

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Due to a long stay in the hospital, I was unable to post my columns. I also cannot guarantee their continuity in the near future, but I will do my best... 

In my previous post, I emphasised that urban densification should be coordinated with other claims on space. These are: expanding blue-green infrastructure and the desire to combine living and working. I am also thinking of urban horticulture. It is therefore unlikely that all the necessary housing in the Netherlands - mentioned is a number of one million housing units - can be realised in the existing built-up area. Expansion into rural areas is then inevitable and makes it possible to improve the quality of these rural areas. Densification of the many villages and small towns in our country enable to approach them from the '15-minute principle' as well. Villages should thereby become large enough to support at least a small supermarket, primary school and health centre, but also to accommodate small businesses. A fast and frequent public transport-connection to a city, to other villages and to a railway station in the vicinity is important.
A thorny issue is the quality of nature in the rural area. Unfortunately, it is in bad shape. A considerable part of the rural area consists of grass plots with large-scale agro-industrial use and arable land on which cattle feed is grown. Half of the Netherlands is for cows, which, incidentally, are mostly in stalls. Restoring nature in the area that is predominantly characterised by large-scale livestock farming, is an essential task for the coming decades.
The development of sufficiently dense built-up areas both in cities and villages and the development of new nature around and within those cities and villages is a beckoning prospect. This can be done by applying the idea of 'scheggen' in and around medium-sized and large cities. These are green zones that penetrate deep into the urban area. New residential and work locations can then join the already built-up area, preferably along existing railway lines and (fast) bus connections. These neighbourhoods can be built in their entirety with movement on foot and by bicycle as a starting point. The centre is a small densely built-up central part, where the desired amenities can be found.
In terms of nature development, depending on the possibilities of the soil, I am thinking of the development of forest and heath areas and lush grasslands, combined with extensive livestock farming, small-scale cultivation of agricultural and horticultural products for the benefit of nearby city, water features with a sponge function with partly recreational use, and a network of footpaths and cycle paths. Picture above: nature development and stream restoration (Photo: Bob Luijks) 

Below you can link to my free downloadable e-book: 25 Building blocks to create better streets, neighborhoods and cities

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Automated cars; an uncertain future (7/8)

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The photograph above is misleading. Reading a book instead of watching the road is not allowed in any country, unless the car is parked.
For more than a decade, car manufacturers have been working on technology to take over driver's actions. A Lot  of money has been invested in this short period and many optimistic expectations have been raised, but no large-scale implementation of the higher SAE levels resulted so far. Commercial services with robotaxi’s are scarce and still experimental.  

The changing tide

Especially in the period 2015 - 2018, the CEOs of the companies involved cheered about the prospects; soon after, sentiment changed. In November 2018, Waymo CEO John Krafcik said that the spread of autonomous cars is still decades away and that driving under poor circumstances and in overcrowded cities will always require a human driver. Volkswagen's CEO said fully self-driving cars "may never" hit public roads.
The companies involved are therefore increasingly concerned about the return on the $100 billion invested in the development of car automation until the end of 2021. The end of the development process is not yet in sight. Much has been achieved, but the last 20% of the journey to the fully autonomous car will require the most effort and much more investment. Current technology is difficult to perfect. “Creating self-driving robotaxi is harder than putting a man on the moon,” said Jim Farley, CEO of Ford, after terminating Argo, the joint venture with Volkswagen, after the company had invested $100 million in it.
The human brain can assess complex situations on the road much better than any machine. Artificial intelligence is much faster, but its accuracy and adaptability still leave much to be desired. Driverless cars struggle with unpredictability caused by children, pedestrians, cyclists, and other human-driven cars as well as with potholes, detours, worn markings, snow, rain, fog, darkness and so on. This is also the opinion of Gabriel Seiberth, CEO of the German computer company Accenture, and he advises the automotive industry to focus on what is possible. Carlo van de Weijer, director of Artificial Intelligence at TU Eindhoven, agrees: “There will not be a car that completely takes over all our tasks.”
Elon Musk, on the other hand, predicted that by 2020 all Tesla’s will have SEA level 5 thanks to the new Full Self Driving Chip. In 2023 we know that its performance is indeed impressive. Tesla may therefore be the first car to be accredited at SAE level 3. That is not yet SAE level 5. The question is whether Elon Musk minds that much!  

The priorities of the automotive industry

For established automotive companies, the priority is to sell as many cars as possible and not to make a driver redundant. The main objective is therefore to achieve SAE levels 2 and possibly 3. The built-in functions such as automatic lane changing, keeping distance, and passing will contribute to the safe use of cars, if drivers learn to use them properly. Research shows that drivers are willing to pay an average of around $2,500 for these amenities. That is different from the $15,000 that the beta version of Tesla's Full Self Driving system costs.
The automotive industry is in a phase of adjusting expectations, temporizing investments, downsizing involved business units, and looking for partnerships. GM and Honda are collaborating on battery development; BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler are in talks to share R&D efforts for autonomous vehicles; and Ford and VW have stopped developing an autonomous car and are working together on more realistic ambitions.  

Safety issues at SAE level 3

But even with a focus on SAE level 3, the problems do not go away. The biggest safety problem may well lie at this level. Elon Musk has suggested for years that Tesla's autopilot would allow drivers to read a book or watch a movie. All they must do is stay behind the wheel. They must be able to take control of the car if the automatic system indicates that it can no longer handle the situation. Studies in test environments show that in this case the reaction time of drivers is far too long to prevent disaster. An eye on the road and a hand on the wheel is still mandatory everywhere in the world, except in  few paces for cars accredited at SEA level 4 under specified conditions.
The assumption is that the operating system is so accurate that it indicates in time that it considers the situation too complex. But there are still many doubts as to whether these systems themselves are sufficiently capable of properly assessing the situation on the road at all times. Recent research from King's College London showed that pedestrian detection systems are 20% more accurate when dealing with white adults than when dealing with children and 7.5% more accurate when dealing with white people compared to people with dark skin.
In the next post I will go into more detail about the legislation and what the future may bring.

You still can download for free my newest e-book '25 building blocks to create better streets, neighborhoods and cities' by following the link below

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Why we should stop talking about self-driving cars (3/8)

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The term 'self-driving car' is used for a wide variety of technical support systems for car drivers. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has distinguished six types, as mentioned in the tabel above. This classification is recognized worldwide.

At SAE level 0, a car has been equipped with various warning systems, such as unvoluntary deviation from lane, traffic in the blind spot, and emergency braking.

At SEA levels 1 and 2, cars can steer independently or/and adjust their speed in specific conditions on motorways. Whether drivers are allowed to take their hands from the steering wheel depends on national law. That is certainly not the case in Europe. As soon as environmental conditions make steering and acceleration more complex, for example after turning onto a busy street, the driver must immediately take over the steering.

A properly functioning SAE Level 3 system allows drivers to take their eyes off the road and focus on other activities. They must sit behind the wheel and be on standby and are always held responsible for driving the car. They must immediately take over control of the car as soon as 'the system' gives a ('disengagement') signal, which means that it can no longer handle the situation. There is currently no car worldwide that is accredited at SEA-3 level.

This level of control is not sufficient for driverless taxi services. Automotive and technology companies such as General Moters and Alphabet have been working hard to meet the requirements of the higher levels (SAE 4). Their expensive cars (up to $250,000) have automated backups, meaning they can handle any situation under specified conditions, such as well-designed roads, during the day and at a certain speed. Under these circumstances, no driver is required to be present.

SAE Level 5 automation can operate without a driver in all conditions. There is currently no vehicle that meets this requirement.

The variety of options in this classification explains why the term 'self-driving car' should not be used. Cars classified at SAE level 1 and 2 can best be called 'automated cars' and cars from SAE level 3 onwards can be called autonomous cars.

The state of California introduced new rules in 2019 that allow cars at SAE 4 level to participate in traffic. Very strict conditions apply to this. As a result, Alphabet (Waymo) and General Motors (Cruise) have been allowed to launch driverless taxi services. All rides are monitored with cameras to prevent reckless behavior or vandalism.
<strong>Last week, you might have read the last in a series of 25 posts about improving environmental quality.  Right now, I have finalized an e-book containing all posts plus additional recommendations.  If you follow the link below, you can download the book (90 pages) for free. A version in Dutch language can be downloaded HERE**</strong>

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

22. Nature, never far away

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This is the 22st episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Its topic is the way how the quality of the living environment benefits from reducing the contrast between urban and rural areas.

Photos from space show a sharp contrast between city and countryside. Urban areas are predominantly gray; rural areas turn green, yellow, and brown, but sharp contrasts are also visible within cities between densely built-up neighborhoods and parks. Even between neighborhoods there are sometimes sharp transitions.

The division between city and country

Large and medium-sized cities on the one hand and rural areas on the other are worlds apart in many respects and local government in municipalities would like to keep it that way. For a balanced development of urban and rural areas, it is much better if mutual cohesion is emphasized, that their development takes place from a single spatial vision and (administrative) organization and that there are smooth transitions between both. The biggest mistake one can made is regarding the contrast between city and country as a contradiction between city and nature. Where large-scale agriculture predominates in the rural area, the remaining nature has a hard time. Where nature-inclusive construction takes place in cities, biodiversity is visibly increasing.
The idea that urban and rural areas should interpenetrate each other is not new. At the time, in Amsterdam it was decided to retain several wedges and to build garden villages. Some of the images in the above collage show such smooth transitions between urban and rural areas: Eko Park, Sweden (top right), Abuja, Nigeria (bottom left), and Xion'an, China (bottom center). The latter two are designs by SOM, an international urban design agency that focuses on biophilic designs.

Pulling nature into the city

Marian Stuiver is program leader Green Cities of Wageningen Environmental Research at WUR. In her just-released book The Symbiotic City, she describes the need to re-embed cities in soil, water and living organisms. An interesting example is a design by two of her students, Piels and Çiftçi, for the urban expansion of Lelystad. The surrounding nature continues into the built-up area: soil and existing waterways are leading; buildings have been adapted accordingly. Passages for animals run between and under the houses (see photo collage, top left). Others speak of rewilding. In this context, there is no objection to a small part of the countryside being given a residential destination. Nature benefits!

Restoration of the rural area

The threat to nature does not come from urban expansion in the first place, but mainly from the expansion of the agricultural area. Don't just think immediately of the clearing of tropical rain woods to produce palm oil. About half of the Dutch land area is intended for cows. Usually, most of them are stabled and the land is mainly used to produce animal feed.
The development of large-scale industrialized agriculture has led to the disappearance of most small landscape features, one of the causes of declining biodiversity. Part of the Climate Agreement on 28 June 2019 was the intention  to draw up the Aanvalsplan landschapselementen . Many over-fertilized meadows and fields that are intended to produce animal feed in the Netherlands were once valuable nature reserves. Today they value from a biodiversity point of view is restricted and they are a source of greenhouse gases. Nature restoration is therefore not primarily focusses at increasing the wooded area. Most of the land can continue to be used for agricultural and livestock farming, provided that it is operated in a nature-inclusive manner. The number of farmers will then increase rather than decrease.

Pulling the city into nature

There are no objections against densification of the city as long this respects the green area within the city. So-called vertical forests by no means make up for the loss of greenery. Moreover, space is needed for urban agriculture and horticulture (photo collage, top center), offices, crafts, and clean industry as part of the pursuit of complete districts. Nature in the Netherlands benefits if one to two percent of the land that is currently used to produce animal feed is used for housing, embedded in a green-blue infrastructure. Some expansion and densification also apply to villages, which as a result are once again developing support for the facilities, they saw disappearing in recent decades.
Finally, I mentioned earlier that nature is more than water, soils, plants, and trees. Biophilic architects also draw nature into the built environment by incorporating analogies with natural forms into the design and using natural processes for cooling and healthy air. The 'Zandkasteel' in Amsterdam is still an iconic example (photo collage, bottom right).
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21. Work, also in the neighbourhood

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This is the 21th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. Its topic is the combination of living and working in the same neighbourhood. This idea is currently high on the agenda of many city councils.  

Benefits for the quality of the living environment

If there is also employment in or near the place where people live, several residents might walk to work. That will only apply to relatively few people, but urban planners think that bringing living and working closer together will also increase the liveliness of the neighborhood. But more reasons are mentioned: including cross-fertilization, sharing of spaces, the shared use of infrastructure (over time), a greater sense of security and less crime. Whether all these reasons are substantiated is doubtful.
In any case, mixed neighbourhoods contributes to widening the range of residential environments and there is certainly a group that finds this an attractive idea. The illustrations above show places were living and work will be mixed (clockwise): Deventer (Havenkwartier), The Hague (Blinckhorst), Leiden (Bioscience Park), Amersfoort (Oliemolenterrein), Amsterdam (Ravel) and Hilversum (Wybertjesfabriek).  

Break with the past

Le Corbusier detested the geographical nearness of work and living. In his vision, all the daily necessities of residents of the vertical villages he had in mind had to be close to home, but the distance to work locations could not be great enough. Incidentally, very understandable because of the polluting nature of the industry in the first half of the 20th century. Nowadays, the latter is less valid. An estimated 30% of companies located on industrial sites have no negative environmental impact whatsoever. A location in a residential area therefore does not have to encounter any objections. The choice for an industrial site was mainly dictated because the land there is much cheaper. And that's where the shoe pinches. The most important reason to look for housing locations on industrial estates is the scarcity of residential locations within the municipality and consequently their high prices. Moreover, in recent decades the surface of industrial estates has grown faster than that of residential locations, at least until a couple of years ago.  

Companies are still hesitating

Companies are generally reserved about the development of housing in their immediate vicinity. Apart from the realistic expectation that the price of land will rise, they fear that this will be at the expense of space that they think they will need to grow in the future. This fear is justified: In the Netherlands 4600 hectares of potential commercial sites disappeared between 2016 and 2021. Another concern is that future 'neighbors' will protest against the 'nuisance' that is inherent to industrial sites, among others because of the traffic they attract. The degree of 'nuisance' will mainly depend on the scale on which the mixing will take place. If this happens at block level, the risk is higher than in case of the establishment of residential neighborhoods in a commercial environment. But as said, there is no need to fear substantial nuisance from offices, laboratories, call centers and the like. Companies also see the advantages of mixing living and working, such as more security.  

Searching for attractive combinations of living and working

Project developers see demand for mixed-use spaces rising and so do prices, which is an incentive for the construction of compact multifunctional buildings, in which functions are combined. To create sufficient space for business activity in the future, they advocate reserving 30% for business space in all residential locations. The municipality of Rotterdam counters this with a 'no net loss' policy regarding gross floor surface for commercial spaces.
Gradually, attractive examples of mixed living and working areas emerge. Park More (from Thomas More), the entrance area of the Leiden Bioscience Park, which will consist of homes, university facilities and a hotel (photo top right). The idea is that in the future there will also be room for the storage of rainwater, the cultivation of food and the production of the estate's own energy.
Another example, which can probably be followed in more places, is the transformation of the Havenkwartier Deventer into a mixed residential and working area, although part of the commercial activity has left and the buildings are being repurposed as industrial heritage (photo above left). The starting point is that, despite hundreds of new homes, the area will retain its industrial and commercial character, although some residents complain about the 'smoothening' of the area'. Living and working remains a challenging combination, partly depending on where the emphasis lies. In this respect, many eyes are focused on the substantiation of the plans of Amsterdam Havenstad.
Follow the link below to find an overview of all articles.  

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

18. Space for sporting and playing in a green environment

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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.
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11. Nature inclusivity

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This is the 11th episode of a series 25 building blocks to create better streets, neighbourhoods, and cities. In this post, I wonder whether nature itself can tackle the environmental problems that humans have caused.

Ecosystem services

According to environmental scientists, ecosystems are providers of services. They are divided into production services (such as clean drinking water, wood, and biomass), regulating services (such as pollination, soil fertility, water storage, cooling, and stress reduction) and cultural services (such as recreation, and natural beauty). In case of nature-inclusive solutions ecosystems are co-managed to restore the quality of life on the earth in the short term and to maintain it in the long term, insofar as that is still possible.

The green-blue infrastructure

The meaning of urban green can best be seen in conjunction with that of water, hence the term green-blue infrastructure. Its importance is at least fourfold: (1) it is the source of all life, (2) it contributes substantially to the capture and storage of CO2, (3) 'green' has a positive impact on well-being and health; (4) it improves water management. This post is mainly about the third aspect. The fourth will be discussed in the next post. 'Green' has many forms, from sidewalk gardens to trees in the street or vegetated facades to small and large parks (see collage above).

Improving air quality

Trees and plants help to filter the water itself. They have a significant role to play in managing water and air pollution. Conifers capture particulate matter. However, the extent to which this occurs is less than is necessary to have a significant impact on health. Particulate matter contributes to a wide range of ailments. Like infections of the respiratory system and cardiovascular disease, but also cancer and possibly diabetes.

Countering heat stress

Heat stress arises because of high temperature and humidity. The wind speed and the radiation temperature also play a role. When the crowns of trees cover 20% of the surface of an area, the air temperature decreases by 0.3oC during the day. However, this relatively small decrease already leads to a 10% reduction in deaths. Often 40% crown area over a larger area is considered as an optimum.

Reduce mental stress and improve mood

According to Arbo Nederland, 21% of the number of absenteeism days is stress-related, which means approximately a €3 billion damage. A short-term effect of contact with nature on stress, concentration and internal tranquility has been conclusively demonstrated. The impact of distributing greenery within the residential environment is larger than a concentrated facility, such as a park, has.

Strengthening immune function via microbiome

The total amount of greenery in and around the house influences the nature and quantity of the bacteria present. This green would have a positive effect on the intestinal flora of those who are in its vicinity and therefore also on their immune function. The empirical support for this mechanism is still rather limited.

Stimulate physical activity

The impact of physical activity on health has been widely demonstrated. The Health Council therefore advises adults to exercise at least 2½ hours a week. The presence of a green area of at least ¼ hectare at 300 meters from the home is resulting more physical activity of adults in such areas, but not to more activity as a whole.

Promoting social contact

Well-designed green areas near the living environment invite social contacts. For instance, placement of benches, overview of the surroundings and absence of traffic noise. The state of maintenance are important: people tend to avoid neglected and polluted areas of public space, no matter how green.

Noise reduction

Vegetation dampens noise to some extent, but it is more important that residents of houses with a green environment experience noise as less of a nuisance. It is assumed that this is due to a mechanism already discussed, namely the improvement of stress resistance because of the greenery present.

Biophilic construction

For years buildings made people sic. A growing number of architects want to enhance the effect of 'green' on human health by integrating it into the design of houses and buildings and the materials used. This is the case if it is ensured that trees and plants can be observed permanently. But also, analogies with natural forms in the design of a building
The 'Zandkasteel', the former headquarters of the Nederlandse Middenstandsbank in Amsterdam, designed by the architects Ton Alberts and Max van Huut, is organically designed both inside and outside, inspired by the anthroposophical ideas of Rudolf Steiner. The (internal) water features are storage for rainwater and the climate control is completely natural. The building has been repurposed for apartments, offices and restaurants.

Green gentrification

Worldwide, there is a direct correlation between the amount of greenery in a neighborhood and the income of its residents. Conversely, we see that poorer neighborhoods where new green elements are added fall victim to green gentrification over time and that wealthier housing seekers displace the original residents.
The challenge facing city councils is to develop green and fair districts where gentrification is halted and where poorer residents can stay. Greening in poor communities must therefore be accompanied by measures that respect the residential rights and aim at improving the socio-economic position of the residents.

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10. Health

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

Are cities healthy places?

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

The Netherlands

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

Collaborative measuring air quality

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


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

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

6. Appropriate density

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

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

The need for density

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

Advantages of density

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

No necessity to expand building outside urban areas

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

Competing claims on urban land use

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

Inner- and outer-urban development revisited

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

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

5. Integration of high-rises

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

Options for high-rises

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

Integrative solution

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

Separate towers

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


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

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

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

2. Human density

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

Compactness (‘enclosure’)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

In urban planning a breeze of fresh air comes in.

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

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

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

The concept of high-quality living environment

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

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

Herman van den Bosch's picture #Citizens&Living
NEMO Science Museum, posted

Evenement: Unesco Werelderfgoed & Klimaat

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Werelderfgoed & Klimaat

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

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

Over Unesco Werelderfgoed

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


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


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

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

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

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

foto: Belle Co op Pexels⁠

NEMO Science Museum's picture Meet-up on Sep 28th
Amsterdam Economic Board, posted

Anders kijken en anders doen in de Metropool van Morgen

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Dringende oproep van Femke Halsema tijdens zesde State of the Region.

Van grenzen aan de groei en zonnepanelen voor iedereen tot talenten werven op een nieuwe manier en een nieuw perspectief op nieuwkomers: als we brede welvaart echt een kans willen geven, moeten we anders kijken en anders doen. En daarvoor is vertrouwen cruciaal, zegt Femke Halsema in haar oproep. Welkom bij de 6e editie van State of the Region, in de Meervaart Amsterdam.

Duurzaamheid. Wonen. De energietransitie. Als presentatoren Tex de Wit en Janine Abbring via de Mentimeter het publiek vragen naar de grootste uitdaging voor de Metropool Amsterdam verschijnt er een gevarieerde woordwolk op het scherm. Armoedebestrijding wordt genoemd, minder vergaderen en bereikbaarheid.

Ook noemen veel mensen brede welvaart. “En dat is vandaag een belangrijk thema”, zegt Abbring. “In eerdere State of the Regions lag de focus meer op cijfers, op economische welvaart. Nu richten we ons ook op minder materiële zaken.”

Dat zien we terug in een paar filmpjes. Pallas Achterberg, Challenge Officer bij Alliander roept daarin op beter te luisteren, tot samenwerken op een andere manier, een samenwerking waarin we ons eigen belang ondergeschikt maken aan het gemeenschappelijke belang. We zien een kinderarts die zich afvraagt waarom we ons niet veel meer richten op preventie. We zien ondernemers die bij het werven van talent verder kijken dan alleen het cv en ondernemers die zonnepanelen betaalbaar maken voor iedereen.

Geen lege term

Het zijn de concrete voorbeelden die nauw aansluiten bij de jaarlijkse State of the Region, de speech van Femke Halsema tijdens het gelijknamige evenement. Ze is burgemeester van Amsterdam, maar vandaag vooral voorzitter van de Metropoolregio Amsterdam én van Amsterdam Economic Board. Die organiseren dit evenement samen met de gemeente Amsterdam, amsterdam&partners en ROM InWest.

Halsema herhaalt de oproep die vandaag centraal staat: anders kijken en anders doen. “We moeten fundamentele keuzes maken om ervoor te zorgen dat brede welvaart geen lege term wordt. Dat we het werkelijk gaan uitvoeren. Wij doen nu deze oproep. En ik hoop dat we die samen met inwoners, bedrijven, maatschappelijke instellingen en u in de zaal werkelijkheid kunnen laten worden.”

Bijzondere samenwerking

De Board-voorzitter is net terug uit Hatay, de Turkse provincie die zo zwaar werd getroffen door de aardbeving. Door slechte samenwerkingen lukt het de regio niet goed om de enorme schades te herstellen. Het leven ligt er stil. In Nederland zit die samenwerking in ons bloed. De eerste Nederlandse dijk liep langs het Gooi, via Diemen en Amsterdam naar het IJ en was het gevolg van een bijzondere samenwerking tussen boeren, vissers, de graaf en inwoners.

“Die samenwerking vraagt nog wel onze aandacht. Ons verdienmodel is aan vernieuwing toe. Economische groei zal hand in hand moeten gaan met sociaal-maatschappelijke vooruitgang. Onze huidige voorspoed bereikt nog lang niet iedereen. Inkomensverschillen zijn groot, er is te veel uitstoot van fijnstof, er zijn te weinig arbeidskrachten en er is een tekort aan woningen.”

De Metropool als meent

Toch ziet Halsema geen reden voor pessimisme. Met dank aan grote en kleine bedrijven die in de Metropool hun uitvalsbasis hebben verdienen we hier 20 procent van het bruto binnenlands product. De voorzieningen en kennisinstellingen zijn van hoog niveau. En we zijn een veerkrachtige regio.

Vertrouwen is volgens Halsema de kern van onze toekomstige samenwerking. “We kunnen niet met elkaar blijven concurreren, we moeten elkaar versterken. We moeten onze Metropool zien als de meent van vroeger, een gemeenschappelijke weidegrond waar we samen verantwoordelijk voor zijn. Als jij die niet goed gebruikt, heeft dat gevolgen voor de andere gebruikers. De Metropool is te lang beschouwd als onbeheerde, woeste grond waar geen samenwerking voor nodig is.”

Halsema haalt econoom en nobelprijswinnaar Elinor Ostrom aan, die pleitte voor goede instituties voor gemeenschappelijk beheer. “We beheren goederen die we moeten laten floreren voor het welvaren van de gehele gemeenschap, zegt zij. Dat betekent dat we altijd het belang van de ander hebben mee te wegen, ook dat van mensen in de rest van Nederland en de wereld en ook dat van toekomstige generaties.”

‘Een mega radicale transformatie’

Anders kijken en anders doen klinkt misschien eenvoudig, maar vraagt van iedereen in de Metropool Amsterdam een nieuwe manier van denken en doen. Op het podium gaat Femke Halsema hierover in gesprek met Ingo UytdenHaage, co-CEO van Adyen, architect Thomas Rau en onderzoeken en community builder Soraya Shawki. Wat vinden zij van de oproep anders te kijken en anders te doen?

Wat Thomas Rau, architect, ondernemer, innovator betreft gaat de oproep niet ver genoeg. “Het is nog niet radicaal genoeg. We hebben het over 2050, maar ik vind dat we een duidelijk beeld moeten hebben van waar we over zeven jaar als Metropool willen staan. Daarbij moeten we niet doen wat mogelijk is, maar wat nodig is: een mega radicale transformatie. En dat is niet altijd comfortabel.”


Ingo Uytdenhaage , co-CEO van Adyen is wat positiever. “Bedrijven kijken vaak al verder dan alleen maar naar geld verdienen. Wij kijken ook naar onze impact op de regio, op de stad.” Die impact van Adyen is bijvoorbeeld dat er veel expats voor hen werken, zegt Abbring, en die hebben ook allemaal woonruimte nodig. Uytdenhaage ziet dat anders. “Ik noem ze geen expats, het zijn jongeren van begin 30 die een lokaal contract hebben en dezelfde uitdagingen hebben als andere jonge Amsterdammers. En ze willen ook helemaal niet allemaal in de stad wonen.” Hij krijgt bijval van Halsema: “We hebben internationale arbeidskrachten nodig voor het werk dat er ligt. We kunnen de tekorten niet oplossen met eigen inwoners.”

Soraya Shawki, researcher/community bouwer Open Embassy die nieuwkomers wegwijs maakt in de Nederlandse samenleving. Zij had graag een concretere oproep gezien. “Er is bijvoorbeeld nog veel systemische ongelijkheid. Er zijn heel veel mensen hier die pas na vijf jaar mogen werken. Dat zijn allemaal mensen die in de zorg en techniek aan de slag kunnen gaan.” Onlangs sprak ze een Iraanse wiskundelerares die Nederlands en Engels spreekt. “De gemeente vond dat ze zo snel mogelijk aan de slag moest gaan en stuurde een vacature voor een kassamedewerker door. Er ligt hier ook een rol voor werkgevers, om trajecten voor nieuwkomers beschikbaar te maken.”

Lessen aan nieuwkomers

Adyen is daar bijvoorbeeld al mee bezig en geeft programmeerlessen aan nieuwkomers. Ook laat het bedrijf in speciale lessen op scholen zien hoe technologie werkt, om zo de interesse van jongeren voor techniek te wekken. Wat Halsema betreft is het een goed voorbeeld van hoe bedrijven in de afgelopen jaren een andere taakopvatting hebben gekregen. “Waar ze voorheen misschien doneerden aan culturele instellingen, zie je nu dat ze veel meer investeren in de lokale economie en met jongeren en inwoners praten.”

Volgens Shawki mag dat nog wel wat verder gaan, bij overheden én bedrijven. “Participatie is vaak nog een vinkje op een lijstje, het is niet ingebed waardoor er bij bedrijven en overheden weinig kennis is over wat er precies nodig is. En dat terwijl mensen letterlijk expert zijn over hun eigen ervaringen. Wij hebben bijvoorbeeld expertpools van mensen die ervaring hebben met de nieuwe Wet inburgering.”

Nieuwe ontmoetingen

Soraya Shawki en Ingo UytdenHaage kenden elkaar tot vandaag nog niet, terwijl er wel wat overlap zit in hun werkzaamheden. Anders kijken en anders doen gaat ook over dit soort ontmoetingen, stelt interviewer Abbring vast. “De toekomst ligt altijd in de mensen die je niet kent”, bevestigt Rau. “In gesprekken met mensen die je niet kent. Dus ga het gesprek aan. Wij zijn de oplossing.”

En Halsema besluit: “De Metropoolregio was te lang een soort noodzakelijk kwaad, maar volgens mij moeten we het omdraaien. Alle grote onderwerpen moeten we op regionaal niveau met elkaar bespreken. We moeten wantrouwen inruilen voor vertrouwen. Alleen zo kunnen we radicale stappen zetten.”

Wil je direct aan de slag? Op Anders kijken, anders doen vind je inspirerende interviews en mooie voorbeelden. Je kunt er je eigen initiatieven en manier van werken onder de loep nemen. Past die wel bij de Metropool van Morgen? Ook kun je je er inschrijven voor de werkateliers die we na de zomer gaan organiseren.

Voor het hoofdprogramma waren er twee side-events:

State of the Youth

De Young on Board is in gesprek gegaan over het betrekken van jongeren bij het vormgeven van de toekomst van de Metropoolregio Amsterdam. Het thema participatie bleek na dit weekend relevanter dan ooit. Hoe zorgen we voor brede maatschappelijke betrokkenheid en hoe zorgen we ervoor dat jongeren weer vertrouwen krijgen in de politiek èn hun stemrecht?

Paula Smith (docent-onderzoeker Social Work bij InHolland) gaf ons een stoomcursus over jongerenparticipatie. Ze ging daarbij niet alleen in op de verschillen tussen jongeren en de rest van het electoraat, maar ook over de verschillen tussen jongeren. De belangrijkste boodschap van Paula is dat we jongerenparticipatie moeten gaan verankeren in (beleid)structuren. Als je jongeren nu betrekt creëer je namelijk geëngageerde burgers voor later.

Vervolgens zijn we met Younes Douari (Represent Jezelf) en Kimberley Snijders (voorzitter van De Nationale Jeugdraad) en Paula Smith in gesprek gegaan. Zij deelden hun ervaringen over wat er in de praktijk werkt om jongeren te betrekken in het maatschappelijke debat en bij het vormgeven van beleid. We hebben daarbij een aantal belangrijke lessen opgehaald, namelijk:

Betrek jongeren op tijd, en gebruik ze niet als windowdressing.
Maak gebruik van sociale structuren in wijken en dorpen en ga naar jongeren toe
Durf het aan om het resultaat echt uit handen te geven

Economische Verkenningen

Het andere side event was volledig gewijd aan de Economische Verkenningen MRA 2023.

Amsterdam Economic Board's picture #Citizens&Living
Kanteen 25, Hospitality at Kanteen25, posted

K25 market: Sustainable Producers

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A day full of music, delicious food and booze, warm and cheerful conversations, and the discovery of new sustainable producers...

It's K25 market, hosted by Kanteen25 restaurant. It represents sustainable and local food and beverage suppliers! As a restaurant, Kanteen25 wants to bring change to the community and save the environment with our supplier selections. Each of these suppliers has a unique story of how they started their business with concern for the environment. And we want more people to know about the choices and to try great products! Join, entrance is free!

What's in programm:

🍸 Free drink tasting
🍭 Kids' Workshop.
😎 Activities/Seminars for adults
🎶 Live music.
🏖 Chill-area
Free entrance!

𝗗𝗮𝘁𝗲: June 18, time 14:00-18:00
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲: Kanteen25

Stay tuned in Instagram - we'll be sharing more exciting details about K25 Market: https://www.instagram.com/kanteen25/

Kanteen 25's picture Meet-up on Jun 18th
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Living with nature

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Today an article in the NRC about nature in the city. Last week, I published a new e-book (in Dutch) about this topic. Interested? Download it for free.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #CircularCity
Marijn Emmers, Intern at De Gezonde Stad, posted

Uitdeelactie Bomen voor Amsterdam

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Wat als we Amsterdam zien als één groot bos? Stel je voor, dat je je deur opendoet en direct de natuur inloopt. Hoe chill is dat? Wij willen Amsterdam omtoveren tot stadsbos. En jij kan meehelpen.

Op 26 november doen wij 3000 biologische bomen cadeau aan de stad en wij hebben jouw hulp nodig om ze een mooie plek te geven. Zoek een geschikt privéterrein, bijvoorbeeld jouw tuin of eerst in een pot op je balkon. Zo planten we samen een heel nieuw bos middenin de stad.

Meld je hier gratis aan en kom langs op 26 november!

Meet-up on Nov 26th
Puck Hoogenboom, Communication at Waag, posted

Waag Talks at DDW: The State of Citizen Science

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Citizen science is on the rise and measurement communities are seen as equal by more and more governments and businesses. This is just as well, because they are the most important experts on their own living environment.

In this second edition of The State of Citizen Science we explore what it takes to democratise knowledge. How can citizen scientists and scientists work together in a satisfactory way? What do citizen scientists need from policymakers? And what can measurement communities around the country learn from each other?

The meetup will start with a panel discussion between a citizen scientist, scientist and policymaker. Then we'll break out into workshops. It promises to be an interactive meeting where the exchange of knowledge and experiences is central. At the end of the workshops there will be a tour of the DDW exhibitions in the Klokgebouw and drinks afterwards.


14:00-15:45 hrs - panel and workshops
16:00-17:00 hrs - guided tour of Klokgebouw including Waag installations
17:15-18:00 hrs - drinks back at Baltan Laboratories
This event is mostly Dutch. 

About Waag Futurelab

Waag Futurelab is a platform for designers and artists to research current societal issues. Waag brings together all relevant parties through expositions, presentations, experiments, debates and reflection. In the four-year Expeditions to planet B programme, Waag Futurelab is finding the answer to the following design questions: what if a planet B would exist? How would we re-design our world and our lives? And what does that teach us about the here and now?

Meet-up on Oct 23rd
Puck Hoogenboom, Communication at Waag, posted

Better Future Now: de Grote Spelbrekershow

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Tijdens de Grote Spelbrekershow gaan we in gesprek met spelbrekers; verschillende mensen die het anders doen en daarnaast actief zijn in verschillende domeinen, zoals wonen, mode, design, data, economie, klimaat, en de kunsten. Een ding hebben ze gemeen: allen staan ze voor systeemverandering.

We hebben het over waar de huidige systemen wrikken: waar wringen de regels, wie zijn de winnaars en de verliezers? En wat is er voor nodig om de regels open te breken? Samen kijken we naar alternatieven.

Ook kan je genieten en je laten inspireren door muziek en spoken word. Zien we je daar?

Met Met o.a. Melissa Koutouzis (co-initiator Woonprotest), Ruben Pater (designer & researcher), Thamar Kempees (marketeer & sneakerhead), Broke Ass Millionaires (creative producers & sustainable circulair fashion), Arne Hendriks (kunstenaar), Elten Kiene (spoken word) en Benjamin Fro (muziek)

Meet-up on Sep 24th