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Amsterdam trade & Innovate is a member of Trade & Innovate NL that organizes trade missions for entrepreneurs from the Amsterdam Region (MRA).
In november Barcelona Smart City takes place with a special focus on mobility.
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Email Jorrit Saaltink, trade developer mobility: email@example.com
Demoday #19: Mobility as a Commons worksession
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll connect you!
Mobility Poverty Challenge: How do we prevent people’s exclusion in our mobility system?
Rising petrol and electricity prices; increasing digitalisation and declining public transport supply, among other things, are causing more and more people to have problems getting around. Sustainability and shared mobility do not seem to be for everyone, and measures to encourage them may even exacerbate the problem. This increases the risk of social exclusion.
The province of North Holland and DRIFT are concerned about mobility poverty and wonder what we can do about it to keep these people mobile. However, little is still known about the extent of the problem, the exact target groups and what instruments work (and what, above all, do not). We are therefore keen to engage with partners to reach a shared understanding and an aligned approach.
Since mid 2022, we have been working on this challenge with network partners in various working group sessions. Would you like to think along and be part of the solution? Contact me at email@example.com. Tips are also welcome in the comments.
The 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge: Looking Back & Looking Forward
Over the past 2.5 years, the 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) of the European Commission’s DG GROW (Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) brought together 136 cities in a peer network aimed at transitioning to the green economy.
The main beneficiaries of the program were the 80 core cities that received policy advice and project implementation support. Additionally, all ICC participants engaged in collective learning and knowledge exchange during a series of “City Labs”.
The Role of Amsterdam Metropolitan Region (MRA)
The MRA, represented by Amsterdam Economic Board and Amsterdam Smart City program participated in the ICC as one of sixteen mentors, sharing experiences and best practices throughout the ICC journey. Thirteen experts and stakeholders from MRA contributed to sixteen knowledge-sharing sessions on topics such as local green deals, multi-stakeholder governance, up-skilling & re-skilling, smart mobility, circular economy, and citizen-led initiatives. Amsterdam Smart City and Amsterdam Economic Board also shared knowledge and advice in bilateral meetings with several ICC core cities and participated in the ICC Advisory Board.
The closing conference of the first phase of the ICC took place in Barcelona during the Smart City Expo World Congress on November 15-16. The conference brought together 40 European mayors, vice-mayors, political representatives, and city leaders. Marja Ruigrok, vice-mayor of the city of Haarlemmermeer, shared MRA’s experience and approach on multi-stakeholder collaboration and several Green Deals initiated by Amsterdam Economic Board. The development of Local Green Deals has become a cornerstone of the ICC which supported 42 cities in designing Green Deals through the development of a Green Deals Blueprint, and tailored support.
Looking Forward to Phase 2 of ICC
In Barcelona, the European Commission confirmed that the second phase of the ICC initiative will start in 2023. Phase 2 will focus on strengthening the existing network of cities and improving the ICC methodology for city-to-city learning, collaboration, and capacity building. Phase 2 also aims to ensure and improve complementarity between the ICC and other EU initiatives, particularly the 100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission.
For more information about the first phase of the ICC, visit:
• ICC Website: https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/
• ICC Project on ASC platform: https://amsterdamsmartcity.com/updates/project/the-100-intelligent-cities-challenge
Incoming & Outgoing Missions from Dutch Pavilion at Smart City Expo in Barcelona
During the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, Amsterdam Smart City will host several incoming and outgoing missions from the Dutch Pavilion in collaboration with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). The purpose of these missions is to provide Dutch delegates opportunities to connect with international colleagues, facilitating knowledge exchange, collaboration and trade.
Tue, 15 Nov, 10:00 – 11:00 Outgoing Dutch Mission to Microsoft Pavilion
Dutch delegates are invited to visit the Microsoft Pavilion for a showcase of how AI, machine learning and cloud solutions are empowering municipal governments to bring more forward-thinking, efficient, and secure services to their citizens.
Tue, 15 Nov, 11:30 – 12:00 Outgoing Mission to EIT Urban Mobility
Dutch delegates are invited to visit the EIT Urban Mobility at Tomorrow Mobility. Delegates will be received by Willem Frederik Metzelaar, Managing Director EIT Urban Mobility Hub West who will provide an introduction to EIT Urban Mobility programs and projects relevant for Dutch public and private stakeholders.
Tue, 15 Nov, 12:05 – 12:20 Incoming Mission by Minister for Transport from Baden-Württemberg (invite only)
The Minister for Transport from the German State of Baden-Württemberg, Mr. Winfried Hermann will visit the Dutch Pavilion for a meeting and discussion with a selection of Dutch delegates.
Tue, 15 Nov, 14:00 – 14:30 Incoming Mission by Australian Delegation (focus on IoT, safety & security, crowd management)
Dutch delegates are invited to meet their Australian counterparts at the Dutch Pavilion. Dutch and Australian delegates will have a chance to introduce their work, followed by an informal exchange of experiences and opportunities for doing business in Australia and the Netherlands.
Tue, 15 Nov, 15:00 – 15:45 Dutch Mission to Canadian Pavilion & Canadian Delegation to Dutch Pavilion
Dutch delegates are invited to meet their Canadian counterparts at the Canadian Pavilion. After an introduction by a selection of Canadian exhibitors, the delegates will move to the Dutch pavilion. Dutch and Canadian delegates will have a chance to introduce their work, followed by an informal exchange of experiences and opportunities for doing business in Canada and the Netherlands.
Wed, 16 Nov, 14:30 – 15:00 Outgoing Mission to Nordic Pavilion (focus on energy transition and circular economy)
Dutch delegates are invited to meet their Nordic colleagues. Following short introductions from select Nordic exhibitors, Dutch and Nordic participants can have an informal exchange regarding urban challenges and innovations in the Netherlands and the Nordics.
Wed, 16 Nov, 15:00 – 15:45 Outgoing Mission to Baden-Württemberg International (BW_i)
Dutch delegates are invited to meet their German colleagues from the state of Baden-Württemberg. Following short introductions from select exhibitors, Dutch and German participants can exchange experiences and opportunities for doing business in the Netherlands and Germany. At the end of the day, Dutch participants are invited to join for the “German Night” networking event at the Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) booth, C111 from 5:30-7:00pm.
Thu, 17 Nov, 10:30 – 11:00 Outgoing Mission to Berlin Pavilion
Dutch delegates are invited to visit the Berlin Pavilion. Following short introductions from select exhibitors, participants can have an informal exchange regarding urban challenges and innovations in Dutch and German cities.
Thu, 17 Nov, 11:30 – 12:00 Outgoing Mission to European Commission Pavilion
Dutch delegates are invited to visit the European Commission Pavilion where they will meet with representatives from several projects and programs, including the 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge and the 100 Climate Neutral Cities Mission.
Thu, 17 Nov, 13:00 – 13:30 Incoming Mission by Finnish Delegation (focus on mobility and data)
Dutch delegates are invited to meet their Finnish colleagues at the Dutch Pavilion. Following short introductions from select Dutch exhibitors and delegates, Dutch and Finnish participants can have an informal exchange regarding urban challenges and innovations in Dutch and Finnish cities.
Unless indicated otherwise, all missions are limited to 15 participants. Dutch delegates can reserve a spot by registering via Typeform. Participants should gather at the Dutch Pavilion 5min prior to mission start time.
The Dutch Pavilion is located at Gran Via, Hall 2, Level 0, Street E, Stand 145.
More opportunities to connect
Looking for other ways to connect with Amsterdam Smart City and Dutch delegates in Barcelona? Take a look at the other activities co-hosted by Amsterdam Smart City, and the full program of hosted at the Dutch Pavilion.
If you have questions or would like more information about any of the above, please send an email to Amsterdam Smart City International Liaison, Cornelia Dinca via firstname.lastname@example.org.
eBooks on how to create better streets, neighborhoods and cities
Each of the ebooks I've compiled from my blog posts and other publications contains essays on how to make our environment more livable and humane. Anyone can download these ebooks for free. There are also print-friendly versions available and most are available in English and Dutch. Below you will find an overview with links to all of them:
Study Excursion: Trends and Innovation in Amsterdam’s Cycling Infrastructure
The excursions are delivered as a partnership between the Urban Cycling Institute (UCI) and Bicycle User Experience (BUX).
This two hour excursion brings you to key innovation sites in the central core of Amsterdam, starting at the Nieuwmarkt square in the city center, and ending at the Rijksmuseum. We curate stops at select sites that are representative of broader trends taking place in the city. We discuss changing directions of how the city views cyclists and the street, we show you best practices and- most importantly 😉 – we promise to challenge your preconceptions of how to plan for a cycling city. At the end, we provide different avenues for continued engagement and learning with us.
The study excursions take place from 16:00-18:00 most Saturdays in July and August*. The cost is €50 per person. There are 15 open spots per excursion. Participants need to arrange their own bicycle to take part.
Dates: July: 23, 31*(July 31st is a Sunday)
August: 6, 13, 20, 27
For full information and sign-up, visit the following link:
Gratis proefcollege Reflexief Monitoren
Als je werkt aan transitie-vraagstukken rondom mobiliteit, energie of circulaire economie, dan kom je veel onzekerheid en controverse tegen. Zie jij ook de noodzaak voor lerend werken? En loop je er ook tegenaan dat jouw organisatie maar beperkte invloed heeft om oplossingen te realiseren?
De methode 'Reflexief Monitoren' helpt hierbij. Omdat je in transitie-opgaven altijd te maken hebt met onverwachte obstakels en kansen, wordt vaak pas tijdens het proces duidelijk wat écht belangrijk is. Dat maakt het lastig om op voorhand te bepalen wat en hoe je moet doen en monitoren. Reflexieve monitoring helpt je het accent van je transitiewerk te verleggen naar leren en bijsturen, gericht op structurele verandering
Op 23 juni 2022 van 09:30-10:30 bieden we je in dit gratis proefcollege de gelegenheid om een indruk te krijgen van de methode ‘Reflexive Monitoring in Action’ en kennis te maken met je potentiële medecursisten, onder leiding van kerndocent en transitie-expert PJBeers (DRIFT & HAS).
METROPOLITAN MOBILITY CONFERENCE: Building hubs for sustainable and liveable cities
eHUBS are starting to play an important part in the development of sustainable and liveable cities. As the shift to more sustainable transport becomes increasingly urgent, we must develop services which provide a real last-mile alternatives to the private passenger car. This is where eHUBS come in. An eHUB is an on-street location where electric shared mobility services, from escooters, to ebikes and cargo bikes can be found and used. These mobility hubs have the potential to significantly change the future of urban mobility, creating accessible, affordable and centralised shared mobility services. In this conference, we share experiences and exchange ideas about the current use and future of eHUBS.
The conference will explore the role of eHUBS, the lessons learned from cities pioneering them and opportunities for the future found by universities. Across two days, we hear from local authorities, universities, and mobility experts, sharing knowledge and inspiring their peers.
Several European cities are already experimenting with eHUBS, piloting the concept to create cleaner, sustainable and livable cities. This eHUBs conference is a result from the eHUBS project, which is funded by the Interreg NWE Programme, with six partner cities from five countries implementing the shared mobility concept, paving the way for others to do the same.
Open Database of Bicycle Infrastructure Manuals
500+ cycling infrastructure documents from all over the world, and growing. Cycling infrastructure design manuals, strategy guides and more all curated in one easy-to-use database.
Kunstmatige Intelligentie werklab Amsterdam
Praat en beslis mee over de toepassing van kunstmatige intelligentie in Amsterdam. Tijdens het werklab ga je in gesprek over een concrete casus over het gebruik van een sensorenregister in de stad. Hoe moeten we daar volgens jou mee omgaan?
Een extra paar ogen is soms best handig. In Amsterdam zijn er veel extra ogen: camera’s en sensoren. Deze camera’s en sensoren zijn van de gemeente, maar ook van de buurtsupermarkt, dat grote internationale bedrijf of uw buurman. Gemeente Amsterdam wil graag weten hoeveel camera’s en sensoren er in Amsterdam zijn. Het is mogelijk om met kunstmatige intelligentie data van camera’s en sensoren in kaart te brengen. Maar hoe zit het met de privacy van Amsterdammers als zulke data worden verzameld? En is het automatisch in kaart brengen van camera’s en sensoren wel een goed idee?
Wij nodigen u van harte uit voor het KI-werklab, dé plek waar Amsterdammers met elkaar nadenken over het gebruik van slimme toepassingen in de stad. Het werklab wordt georganiseerd door Netwerk Democratie.
Special: Opgavegericht innoveren op druktemanagement
Steden worden weer zichtbaar drukker. Hoe zorgen we ervoor dat we in deze tijd relevante data verzamelen om de juiste afwegingen te maken?
Gemeente Amsterdam neemt jullie graag mee in de laatste ontwikkelingen van hoe data nu worden ingezet. En welke slimme connecties zij onderling hebben gevonden, ten behoeve van drukte monitoring en management in de openbare ruimte. Leer hoe het crowd monitoring project niet alleen wordt ingezet voor een leefbare stad, maar hoe ook een nieuwe manier van werken wordt neergezet waarbij innovatie en implementatie samenkomen. We gaan graag met jullie in gesprek over de toekomst.
Locatie: Pakhuis de Zwijger (Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam)
Interesse in deze bijeenkomst? Stuur dan een e-mail aan Dhr. D. Groenink, email@example.com voor een persoonlijke uitnodiging.
Er zijn een beperkt aantal plaatsen beschikbaar.
Invitation to co-create European transition pathways for more resilient, greener and digital industrial ecosystems
One of the key priorities of the European Commission is to support the twin transition to a green and digital economy. One way the Commission is shaping this transition is by co-creating transition pathways for more resilient, green and digital industrial ecosystems, across different sectors.
Within the scope of the Intelligent Cities Challenge, Amsterdam Region contributed to a stakeholder consultation session on 9 February 2022. Mirko van Vliet, Amsterdam Economic Board Strategic Advisor shared the region’s experience using future scenarios as a tool for assessing developments in inherently unpredictable and complex systems. In this approach, scenarios are not forecasts but alternative images of how the future can unfold. The approach can be used to stimulate discussion and action around key opportunities, threats, driving forces and no regret measures to achieve a desired vision.
Beyond visions, achieving the digital and green transition requires concrete initiatives. Mirko shared the example of LEAP, a coalition of the willing that aims to speed up the transition to a sustainable digital infrastructure by deploying and accelerating existing and new technologies. One of the topics explored within LEAP is the possibility of shifting away from hyper-scale, monolithic data-centers to more flexible, distributed and disaggregated infrastructures. LEAP exemplifies Amsterdam Economic Board's approach to building a robust ecosystem through multi-stakeholder collaboration in order to transition the data-center and digital infrastructure value chains.
Would you like to help shape the transition pathways for more resilient, greener and digital industrial ecosystems? The Commission is inviting all interested stakeholders to co-create transition pathways for three sectors / ecosystems:
- Proximity & social economy ecosystem, consultation closes February 28
- Construction ecosystem, consultation closes February 28
- Mobility ecosystem, consultation closes March 31
Based on the results of these consultations, the Commission will organise further meetings with stakeholders to finalise the various pathways in 2022.
For more information visit: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/consultations_en
Waarom de slimme stad een must have is?
Daarover gaan we in gesprek met de opdrachtgevers en onderzoekers van het Ecorys rapport: Maatschappelijke impact van Slimme en Duurzame verstedelijking.
Het afgelopen jaar verschenen er tal van rapporten over digitalisering en technologisering. Maar wat zijn de vervolgstappen? Welke lessen kunnen we trekken voor de slimme stad? Welke ideeën kunnen ons gaan inspireren in dit nieuwe smartcityjaar?
Dit soort gesprekken voer je normaal gesproken als je elkaar tegenkomt tijdens een nieuwjaarsborrel, een congres of een andere netwerkbijeenkomst. Helaas kan dit nu even niet fysiek, maar gelukkig laat het digitale ons niet in de steek. Zo kunnen we toch met elkaar nieuwe kennis delen en verspreiden.
Daarom is de Future City Foundation op zoek gegaan naar de makers en bedenkers dit rapport. We vragen aan Jessica Dirks, Walter Hulsker (onderzoekers van Ecorys), Noor van den Brink en Caspar de Jonge (ministerie van IenW) wat er volgens hen zwaar ingezet moet worden op slimme en duurzame verstedelijking.
Datum: 24 februari, 16.00 – 17.00 uur.
MELD U NU AAN
Uit het rapport van Ecorys in opdracht van het ministerie van Infrastructuur en Waterstaat blijkt dat het effectief combineren en inzetten van smartcityprojecten noodzakelijke oplossingen zijn voor het ruimtegebrek in Nederland. En dat slim en binnenstedelijk bouwen niet alleen leidt tot meer leefbare steden, maar ook tot andere positieve effecten leiden, die financieel en maatschappelijk meer opleveren dan traditioneel bouwen aan de randen van steden.
Daarover gaan op donderdag 24 februari in gesprek met de onderzoekers van Ecorys:
Wilt u weten wat de meerwaarde van smartcityprojecten is? En waarom ze niet langer ‘leuk om te hebben’, maar ‘noodzakelijk’ zijn? Meld u dan nu aan!
MELD U NU AAN
Wilt u zich alvast inlezen? Lees dan hier het Ecorys rapport.
Amsterdam launches bike safety innovation competition
Amsterdam is inviting universities, companies and members of the public to come up with solutions to improve bike safety in the Dutch capital through an open challenge.
The central theme of the competition – “Different speeds on bicycle paths” – aims to influence the behaviour of road users and asks how bike delivery services, and differences in speed bicycle types can impact this.
Applications are open until February 24, with the winner set to be announced on April 11.
Policy guidelines and ethical principles for digital technology
The 9th episode of the series Building sustainable cities: the contribution of digital technology deals with guidelines and related ethical principles that apply to the design and application of digital technology.
One thing that keeps me awake at night is the speed at which artificial intelligence is developing and the lack of rules for its development and application said Aleksandra Mojsilović, director of IBM Science for Social Good. The European Union has a strong focus on regulations to ensure that technology is people-oriented, ensures a fair and competitive digital economy and contributes to an open, democratic and sustainable society. This relates to more than legal frameworks, also to political choices, ethical principles, and the responsibilities of the profession. This is what this post is about.
Politicians are ultimately responsible for the development, selection, application and use of (digital) technology. In this respect, a distinction must be made between:
• Coordination of digital instruments and the vision on the development of the city.
• Drawing up policy guidelines for digitization in general.
• Recognizing related ethical principles next to these policy guidelines.
• Creating the conditions for democratic oversight of the application of digital technology.
• Make an appeal to the responsibilities of the ICT professional group.
Guidelines for digitization policy
In the previous post I emphasized that the digital agenda must result from the urban policy agenda and that digital instruments and other policy instruments must be seen in mutual relation.
Below are five additional guidelines for digitization policy formulated by the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance. 36 cities are involved in this initiative, including Apeldoorn, as the only Dutch municipality. The cities involved will elaborate these guidelines soon. In the meantime, I have listed some examples.
Equity, inclusiveness, and social impact
• Enabling every household to use the Internet.
• Making information and communication technology (ICT) and digital communication with government accessible to all, including the physically/mentally disabled, the elderly and immigrants with limited command of the local language.
• Assessing the impact of current digital technology on citizens and anticipating the future impact of this policy.
• Facilitating regular education and institutions for continuous learning to offer easily accessible programs to develop digital literacy.
• Challenging neighborhoods and community initiatives to explore the supportive role of digital devices in their communication and actions.
Security and resilience
• Developing a broadly supported vision on Internet security and its consequences.
• Mandatory compliance with rules and standards (for instance regarding IoT) to protect digital systems against cyberthreats.
• Becoming resilient regarding cybercrime by developing back-up systems that seamless take over services eventually.
• Building resilience against misuse of digital communication, especially bullying, intimidation and threats.
• Reducing the multitude of technology platforms and standards, to limit entry points for cyber attackers.
Privacy and transparency
• The right to move and stay in cities without being digitally surveilled, except in case of law enforcement with legal means.
• Establishing rules in a democratic manner for the collection of data from citizens in the public space.
• Minimalist collection of data by cities to enable services.
• Citizens' right to control their own data and to decide which ones are shared and under which circumstances.
• Using privacy impact assessment as a method for identifying, evaluating, and addressing privacy risks by companies, organizations, and the city itself.
Openness and interoperability
• Providing depersonalized data from as many as possible organizations to citizens and organizations as a reliable evidence base to support policy and to create open markets for interchangeable technology.
• Public registration of devices, their ownership, and their aim.
• Choosing adequate data architecture, including standards, agreements, and norms to enable reuse of digital technology and to avoid lock-ins.
Operational and financial sustainability
• Ensuring a safe and well-functioning Internet
• The coordinated approach ('dig once') of constructing and maintenance of digital infrastructure, including Wi-Fi, wired technologies and Internet of Things (IoT).
• Exploring first, whether the city can develop and manage required technology by itself, before turning to commercial parties.
• Cities, companies, and knowledge institutions share data and cooperate in a precompetitive way at innovations for mutual benefit.
• Digital solutions are feasible: Results are achieved within an agreed time, with an agreed budget.
The guidelines formulated above partly converge with the ethical principles that underlie digitization according to the Rathenau Institute. Below, I will summarize these principles.
• Citizens' right to dispose of their own (digital) data, collected by the government, companies and other organizations.
• Limitation of the data to be collected to those are functionally necessary (privacy by design), which also prevents improper use.
• Data collection in the domestic environment only after personal permission and in the public environment only after consent by the municipal council.
• The right to decide about information to be received.
• The right to reject or consent to independent decision making by digital devices in the home.
• No filtering of information except in case of instructions by democratically elected bodies.
• Ensuring protection of personal data and against identity theft through encryption and biometric recognition.
• Preventing unwanted manipulation of devices by unauthorized persons.
• Providing adequate warnings against risks by providers of virtual reality software.
• Securing exchange of data
• Ensuring public participation in policy development related to digitization
• Providing transparency of decision-making through algorithms and opportunity to influence these decisions by human interventions.
• Decisions taken by autonomous systems always include an explanation of the underlying considerations and provide the option to appeal against this decision.
• Using robotics technology mainly in routinely, dangerous, and dirty work, preferably under supervision of human actors.
• Informing human actors collaborating with robots of the foundations of their operation and the possibilities to influence them.
• Ensuring equal opportunities, accessibility, and benefits for all when applying digital systems
• If autonomous systems are used to assess personal situations, the result is always checked for its fairness, certainty, and comprehensibility for the receiving party.
• In the case of autonomous analysis of human behavior, the motives on which an assessment has taken place can be checked by human intervention.
• Employees in the gig economy have an employment contract or an income as self-employed in accordance with legal standards.
• The possibility of updating software if equipment still is usable, even if certain functionalities are no longer available.
• Companies may not use their monopoly position to antagonize other companies.
• Ensuring equal opportunities, accessibility, and benefits for all when applying digital systems.
The above guidelines and ethical principles partly overlap. Nevertheless, I have not combined them as they represent different frames of reference that are often referred to separately. The principles for digitization policy are particularly suitable for the assessment of digitization policy. The ethical principles are especially useful when assessing different technologies. That is why I will use the latter in the following episodes.
In discussing the digitalization strategy of Amsterdam and other municipalities in later episodes, I will use a composite list of criteria, based on both the above guidelines and ethical principles. This list, titled 'Principles for a socially responsible digitization policy' can already be viewed HERE.
Currently, many municipalities still lack sufficient competencies to supervise the implementation and application of the guidelines and principles mentioned above. Moreover, they are involved as a party themselves. Therefore, setting up an independent advisory body for this purpose is desirable. In the US, almost every city now has a committee for public oversight of digitization. These committees are strongly focused on the role of the police, in particular practices related to facial recognition and predictive policing.
Several cities in the Netherlands have installed an ethics committee. A good initiative. I would also have such a committee supervise the aforementioned policy guidelines and not just the ethical principles. According to Bart Wernaart, lecturer in Moral Design Strategy at Fontys University of applied sciences, such a committee must be involved in digitization policy at an early stage, and it should also learn from mistakes in the field of digitization in the past.
The latter is especially necessary because, as the Dutch Data Protection Authority writes, the identity of an ethically responsible city is, is not set in stone. The best way to connect ethical principles and practice is to debate and questions the implications of policy in practice.
Experts’ own responsibility
A mature professional group has its own ethical principles, is monitoring their implementation, and sanctioning discordant members. In this respect, the medical world is most advanced. As far as I know, the ICT profession has not yet formulated its own ethical principles. This has been done, for example, by the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) in the field of artificial intelligence. Sarah Hamid: Data scientists are generally concerned more with the abstract score metric of their models than the direct and indirect impact it can have on the world. However, experts often understand the unforeseen implications of government policy earlier than politicians. Hamid addresses the implications for professional action: If computer scientists really hoped to make a positive impact on the world, then they would need to start asking better questions. The road to technology implementation by governments is paved with failures. Professionals have often seen this coming, but have rarely warned, afraid of losing an assignment. Self-confident professionals must therefore say 'no' much more often to a job description. Hamid: Refusal is an essential practice for anyone who hopes to design sociotechnical systems in the service of justice and the public good. This even might result in a better relationship with the client and more successful projects.
Establishing policy guidelines and ethical principles for municipal digitization requires a critical municipal council and an ethics committee with relevant expertise. But it also needs professionals who carry out the assignment and enter the debate if necessary.
The link below opens a preliminary overview of the already published and upcoming articles in the series Building sustainable cities: the contribution of digital technology. Click HERE for the Dutch version.
7. The Future of Urban Tech-project
The seventh edition of the series Better cities. The contribution of digital technology is about forecasts, trends and signals regarding the role of technology in the development of cities, as seen by Cornell University's Future of Urban Tech-project. The Dutch versions of this and other already published posts are here.
A source of new insights
Technology has changed the planet for better and for worse. Will this change continue, and which direction will dominate? To answer this question, scientists at the Jacobs Institute at Cornell University in New York developed a horizon scan, named The Future of Urban Tech. At first, they made a content analysis of hundreds of recent scientific publications, from which they distilled 217 signals. These signals were grouped into 49 trends, full of contradictions. Each trend is tagged with an indication of time frame, probability, and societal impact. In the end, they modeled six forecasts. These describe dominant directions for change.
Readers can use the site in their own way. I started from the 17 sectors such as built environment, logistics, mobility, and energy and explored the related trends. It is also possible to start top-down with one of the six forecasts and examine its plausibility considering the related trends and signals. I will show below that each of the forecasts is challenging and invites further reading.
Content selection is supported by dynamic graphics, which connect all signals, trends and forecasts and enable the reader to see their interrelationships. Just start scrolling, unleash your curiosity and decide after some explorations how to proceed more systematically.
The website briefly describes each of the forecasts, trends, and signals. Each signal reflects the content of a handful of (popular) scientific publications, which are briefly summarized. Read the articles that intrigue you or limit yourself to the summary.
Take the time to explore this site as you will encounter many new insights and opinions. The link to the project is at the end of this article.
Below I will explain some aspects of the content of the project, followed by some caveats.
The forecasts reflect the multiplicity of views in contemporary scientific literature, stimulating readers to form a judgment. The wording of the forecasts is reproduced in abbreviated form below.
1. All buildings, houses, means of transport, infrastructure, but also trees and parks will be connected with sensors and cameras and form one web.
Many buildings, buses, trains, and roads are already equipped with digital detection, but they are not linked yet up at city scale. The next decade will change this, which will, for example, mean a breakthrough in the management of energy flows, but also raise questions regarding privacy.
2. Cities will use advanced biotechnology to take livability to new heights.
Growing understanding of human dependence on nature will lead to mapping the physical-biological world as well as its threats and its blessings to humans. City authorities will equip trees, parks, and waterways with sensors to measure and control the vitality of ecosystems.
3. Resilient corridors will mitigate the impact of climate change, but citizens will be prepared for the inevitable shocks to come.
Cities will reduce CO2 emissions but also prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change. Political and financial centers of power will be concentrated in places where the impact of climate change can be controlled by technical means.
4. Artificial neural networks provide advanced forms of machine learning with unparalleled predictive capabilities that will bring order to the chaos of urban life.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence will become inscrutable black boxes that make decisions without giving explanations. The ultimate questions are whether the machines to which we outsource our decisions can still be controlled themselves and whether the impact of spontaneous encounters and human ideas disappears if computers produce the best solutions after all?
5. New Screen Deal that redistributes the risks and benefits of urban technology.
“Everything remote” – learning, healthcare, work, and entertainment – is becoming the new normal. The predictive power of AI will lead to conflicts over the concentration of wealth and power that digital platforms cause. But on the other hand, new stakeholders will focus on equity.
6. A global supply chain for city-building technologies will 'crack the code of the city'.
In the smart cities-movement there is a tension between top-down and bottom-up, between proprietary versus open and between Big Tech and Makers. A new urban innovation industry will take dominance but will be more attuned to societal concerns. Governments, in turn, will have a clearer picture of the problems that the industry needs to solve. A public-private structure for investments and governance is indispensable to counter the power of Big Tech.
A few notes
As mentioned, each of the six forecasts is based on trends. Nine trends, in the case of the latest forecast mentioned above. Each trend is illustrated by a handful of signals, documented by various publications. One of the nine trends supporting the latter forecast is “Regional clustering from enterprises to ecosystems”, for example New York, London, Berlin, and Amsterdam. This refers to the growing power of local technology hubs, supported by regional capital and involving governments, start-ups, knowledge institutions and citizens. This concentration could even lead to a new “space race” between cities instead of countries. However, the underlying signals show that this "trend" is more open-ended and uncertain than its description warrants.
I went through many publications documenting the signals and concluded that "trends" essentially map the bandwidth within developments within a domain will occur. To me, this does not detract from the value of the exercise, because the more doubts there are about the future and the more insights we have into the forces that shape it, the more opportunities we have to influence the future.
As the six forecasts must match the open nature of the trends, I have reformulated each of these forecasts as pairs of conflicting directions for development.
1. The commercial or political interests behind urban technology versus the well-being and privacy of citizens.
2. The struggle between 'Big Tech' versus (supra)national political over leadership over technological development.
3. The infusion of technology into all domains of society versus acceptance of unpredictable outcomes of human interactions resulting from creativity, inner motives, and intuitive decisions.
4. Controlling nature through biotechnology versus restoring a balance between humans and natural ecosystems.
5. The concentration of power, political influence, and wealth through control over technology versus open licensing that allows technology to be used for the benefit of the entire world population.
6. Autonomous decision-making through machine learning and artificial intelligence versus the primacy of democratic and decentralized decision-making over the application of technology.
Studying the Future of Urban Tech-project has been a rich and thought-provoking learning experience and has helped fueling the insights underlying this series.
You can find the Future of Urban Tech project behind the link below:
CityFlows Final Project Workshop
Over the past 1.5 years, CityFlows partners have worked on improving liveability of crowded pedestrian spaces by developing and testing the use of a Crowd Monitoring Decision Support Systems (CM-DSS) in different settings.
As the project nears competition, this final online workshop will share and validate the results and lessons learned from living labs in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Milan. The workshop will also present a selection of international best practices for crowd-management collected through the CityFlows Educational Package open call.
Draft Agenda -- Speakers will be announced soon!
• Welcome & introductions
• Overview to CityFlows project
• Short keynote on responsible crowd-management innovations
• Presentation of results and lessons learned from CityFlows Living Labs
• Q&A with audience
• Final reflections & wrap-up
Crowd-management researchers and practitioners are encouraged to join the event and reflect on the findings from the project.
To join this webinar, please register in advance via:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
For more information about the CityFlows project visit: https://cityflows-project.eu/
4th ICC City Lab
The 100 Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) is an initiative of the European Commission (EC) supporting municipalities in adopting new technologies to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and rebuild their economies while steering them in the direction of green, smart and sustainable growth. The focus is on supporting mid-size and smaller municipalities with improving the quality of life for citizens and business competitiveness.
Throughout the 2.5 year challenge, a series of five City Labs bring together ICC cities and stakeholders with the following objectives:
1. Inspire with state-of-the-art re-thinking of the city of the future and its role amidst new climate change and digital growth ambitions;
2. Peer-to-peer review of ICC core cities’ implementation plans;
3. Present initiatives which entered the phase of implementation and exchange of views on maximising impact;
4. Provide opportunities to explore the possibility of collaboration between cities with an interest in developing joint solutions;
5. Allow the exchange of knowledge between city teams during interactive thematic sessions;
6. Provide transversal support on access to finance, public procurement, and open data.
The 4th ICC City lab will kick off on November 30th with public sessions on up-skilling-and re-skilling open both to the ICC community and external participants.
As ICC mentor, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region, will contribute to a Thematic Workshop on Green Economy and Local Green Deals on Wednesday, December 1st. During the workshop, Yolanda Schmal, policy advisor at the Province of North Holland will share best practices and current initiatives for accelerating the circular economy on a regional scale, with focus on plastics.
The full program and registration is available via: https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/events/4th-icc-city-lab
Shared mobility for more liveable cities. How can we make it work?
Join us at the EIT Climate-KIC Sustainable Shared Mobility (SuSMo) closing webinar on the 7th of December 14:00 - 16:00 to find out how to introduce shared mobility in your city and learn from the experiences from European frontrunners.
The SuSMo partners will present learning material and guidelines for introducing, managing and regulating shared mobility in cities. In addition to the SuSMo partners we introduce speakers from CROW and autodelen.net. CROW will present their car sharing toolkit for Dutch municipalities while autodelen.net will discuss best practices from car sharing in Belgium. See the attached agenda for the full list of speakers and topics.
You do not want to miss this webinar!
Please register here: https://tinyurl.com/SuSMoWebinar
We look forward to meeting you online!
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