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The first part of the serie 'Better cities - The role of technology' is online

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Six weeks ago, I started a new weekly series answering the question how digitization can contribute to the development of better cities and their surroundings. Technology alone cannot reach this goal. Far-reaching social and economic reforms are needed, also to ensure that the benefits of digitization are shared by everyone.

Below you will find links to the articles published until now:

Part A: Digital technology as a challenge

1. Prologue to a new series: Better cities. The role of digital technologies

2. Scare-off the monster behind the curtain: Big Tech’s monopoly

3. Ten years of smart city technology marketing

4. Digital social innovation: For the social good (and a moonshot)

5. Collect meaningful data and stay away from dataism

6. The Boston Smart City Playbook

7. The Future of Urban Tech. A project of the NYC Cornell University

Next up:
Part B: Digital instruments and ethics

8. Digital technology and the urban sustainability agenda. A frame

9. Ethical principles for digital technology

10. Accessibility, software, digital infrastructure, and data. The quest for ethics

11. Ethical principles and artificial intelligence

12. Ethical principles and applications of digital technology

13. Amsterdam benchmarked

14. ‘Agenda stad’ and digital instruments

Part C: Applications
15. Artificial intelligence abused
16. Government: services and participation
17. Mobility
18. Circular economy: Construction
19. Circular economy: Waste
20. Resilience
21. Energy transition
22. Health
23. Smart cities from scratch
24. Epilogue

Links to the Dutch versions, you will find below:

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Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Some of the most inspiring projects of 2021 during our 14th Demoday!

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On December 14 2021, we had a very special demo day. Of course, it was the last of the year. As the Amsterdam Smart City core team, we are very proud of all the collaborations our partners and community started and that's why we wanted to highlight a few of them. To give the demoday a typical Christmas vibe, the pitchers had a 'gift' for the participants: their lessons learned that everyone could benefit from. And the participants had a gift in return: answers to the questions of the pitchers. In short, a demo day with new projects, questioning and sharing insights!

Responsible Sensing Lab and Drones
Hidde Kamst of the City of Amsterdam tells the participants about the Responsible Sensing Lab, a collaboration between the municipality and AMS Institute. This Lab works on the implementation of (social) values in technology in the city. Cameras and sensors in public space can put values such as privacy and anonymity under pressure. The Responsible Sensing Lab researches and designs alternatives. This also applies to the subject of Responsible Drones. A group of civil servants, companies and knowledge institutions worked on a vision on the responsible use of drones. The subjects 'proportionality', 'communications' and 'rules of the game' were discussed.

Hidde’s lessons learned: behind the scenes there are many parties working on drones, but the involvement of residents and civil society is low. It is important to change this because drones can have a big impact on our society. In addition, it is a complex topic where more research is needed. Hidde's request for help 'How do you convey the urgency of a subject that is important, but not yet urgent?' was very recognizable for the participants. A selection of their ideas: repeat the urgency over and over again, visualize the urgency, use storytelling and name the risks.

Shuttercam and Measuring Public Space
Pitch 2 had a big link with Hidde's story. Tom van Arman does various sensing projects on the Marineterrein, also covered by the Responsible Sensing Lab. An example is the Shuttercam, a camera that citizens can put on or off. In this way they can have an influence on the technology in the city. We start Tom's pitch with a question to the participants. Do they find it important that we measure a lot and collect data to improve the city or would they rather see more privacy for residents? A question that provokes discussion.

Tom has been engaged in measuring and testing in the public space for years, with an important role for public values. That's why he learned a lot of lessons: make sure you take the time to get legislation in order, take vandalism into account, do everything you can to make your work understandable for citizens. And a very nice one to remember: a hot camera attracts many insects. They block the image or get into the devices. One of the best tips he got from the participants: let passers-by write down what they see. That way you can get great feedback.

Braking energy and Pilot OV E-hub
André Simonse from Firan (Alliander) introduced us to the 'braking energy' issue, or as it is now is called: the OV E-hub pilot. This started as a search with partners such as AMS Institute, Arcadis, the City of Amsterdam, the
VRA and Alliander. Now the process evolved into a collaboration between Strukton Rail, Hedgehog Applications and Firan. Big cities can no longer cope with the increasing demand for sustainable energy. This makes it more difficult to access mobility hubs, such as stations, to provide electricity. It is therefore important to use existing energy smartly.

The lessons learned in this pitch were about taking action. Although talking is important for ideation and understanding and trusting each other, the art is to work together on a targeted plan for implementation. André's request for help was on how to organize political support. Willem from the City of Amsterdam wants to be part of the initiative and can help to achieve official support.

Social side of hubs
Willem van Heijningen of the City of Amsterdam took the floor to tell us more about its hub mission. A hub can organize mobility in an effective way. Together with others, he is looking how Q-park Europarking in the center of Amsterdam can be transformed to a hub. Think of shared mobility, charging cars and logistics, while preserving the monumental character of the city. Hearing the word ‘hub’, many people will think of a place to connect different forms of mobility. But it is also about energy. At some point, vehicles, vessels or even drones will come by. Since we want to get rid of fossil fuels, a hub will also become the place where these forms of mobility are charged. The success or failure of hubs is all in the hands of people. It depends on their behavior whether hubs will be useful. Until now, they have got too little attention. T

his is where Willem could use some help: What is needed to bring the social aspect of hubs further? How does the hub prove its effectiveness towards humans? A selection of the answers from the group: investigating the needs of the residents, connect with existing social initiatives in the city, involve local entrepreneurs.

ArenAPoort LIFE
Else Veldman and Hans Roeland Poolman from AMS Institute took us on a tour to their Southeast Energy Lab. This is a collaboration to accelerate sustainability in the southeast of Amsterdam through practical research, meetings and concrete projects. One of the current projects is the LIFE project, an open platform to plan energy supply and demand in a smarter, inclusive way. An enormous ambition that is driven by partners such as Johan Cruijff ArenA, Alliander, Spectral, CoForce and the Utrecht University. AMS Institute is committed to ensuring this platform is not only a technical contribution to the energy transition, but also provides social value to the inhabitants of South-East.

Hans and Else asked the network to think about the latter. The result was a tidal wave of tips to involve residents: co-develop communication strategies such as storytelling and visualization, pay attention to the result, the dream, show what it means to participate in the process, and above all, invest time.

New narrative for the energy transition
The last pitch was about the New Narrative where Kennisland and What Design Can Do on behalf of RES Noord-Holland have been working on. Dave van Loon from Kennisland told us that a new story about the energy transition is being developed to move away from the negative image, people's concerns and to give a new impulse to the energy transition. This narrative is based on a design thinking process. Subsequently, the organizations developed building blocks to focus on:

  1. a shared sense of urgency
  2. a positive future perspective
  3. inspiration by concrete and recognizable examples and success stories
  4. a sense of pride
  5. a way to take of action

Dave's request for help was for a reflection on this process. And the reactions were praising. On the one hand, the feedback focused on how to make the story as concrete as possible for the target groups and on the other hand on reaching the masses, while incorporating those who are left behind.

The next demoday will take in place in February or March. Do you have a nice story to tell or would you like to join as audience? You are more than welcome! Drop a line below to let us know!

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Digital technology and the urban sustainability agenda. A frame

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The eighth episode in the series Better cities - The contribution of digital technology provides a frame to seamlessly integrate the contribution of (digital) technology into urban policy. The Dutch versions of this and already published posts are here.

From the very first publication on smart cities (1992) to the present day, the solution of urban problems has been mentioned as a motive for the application of (digital) technology. However, this relationship is anything but obvious. Think of the discriminatory effect of the use of artificial intelligence by the police in the US – to which I will come back later – and of the misery it has caused in the allowance affair (toelagenaffaire) in the Netherlands.

The choice and application of (digital) technology is therefore part of a careful and democratic process, in which priorities are set and resources are weighed up. See also the article by Jan-Willem Wesselink and Hans DekkerSmart city enhances quality of life and puts citizen first (p.15). Below, I propose a frame for such a process, on which I will built in the next five posts.

My proposal is an iterative process in which three clusters of activities can be distinguished:
• Developing a vision of the city
• The development and choice of objectives
• The instrumentation of the objectives

Vision of the city

The starting point for a democratic urban policy is a broadly supported vision of the city and its development. Citizens and other stakeholders must be able to identify with this vision and their voice must have been heard. The vision of the city is the result of a multitude of opposing or abrasive insights, wishes and interests. Balancing the power differences between parties involved is a precondition for making the city more just, inclusive, and democratic and the residents happier.

The concept of a donut economy is the best framework I know of for developing a vision of such a city. It has been elaborated by British economist Kate Raworth in a report entitled A Safe and Just Space for Humanity. The report takes the simultaneous application of social and environmental sustainability as principles for policy.

If you look at a doughnut, you see a small circle in the middle and a larger circle on the outside. The small circle represents 12 principles of social sustainability (basic needs). These principles are in line with the UN's development goals. The larger circle represents 9 principles of the earth’ long-term self-sustaining capacity. A table with both types of principles can be viewed here. Human activities in cities must not overshoot its ecological ceiling, thus harming the self-sustainable capacity of that entity. At the same time, these activities must not shortfall the social foundation of that city, harming its long-term well-being. Between both circles, a safe and just space for humanity - now and in the future - is created. These principles relate to both the city itself and its impact on the rest of the world. Based on these principles, the city can determine in which areas it falls short; think of housing, gender equality and it overshoots the ecological ceiling, for instance, in case of greenhouse gas emissions.

Amsterdam went through this process, together with Kate Raworth. During interactive sessions, a city donut has been created. Citizens from seven different neighborhoods, civil servants and politicians took part in this. The Amsterdam city donut is worth exploring closely.

The urban donut provides a broad vision of urban development, in particular because of the reference to both social and ecological principles and its global footprint. The first version is certainly no final version. It is obvious how Amsterdam has struggled with the description of the impact of the international dimension.

The formulation of desired objectives

Politicians and citizens will mention the most important bottlenecks within their city, even without the city donut. For Amsterdam these are themes like the waste problem, the climate transition, reduction of car use, affordable housing, and inclusion. The Amsterdam donut invites to look at these problems from multiple perspectives: A wide range of social implications, the ecological impact, and the international dimension. This lays the foundation for the formulation of objectives.

Five steps can be distinguished in the formulation of objectives:
• Determine where the most important bottlenecks are located for each of the selected themes, partly based on the city donut (problem analysis), for example insufficient greenery in the neighborhoods.
• Collect data on the existing situation about these bottlenecks. For example, the fact that working-class neighborhoods have four times fewer trees per hectare than middle-class neighborhoods.
• Make provisional choices about the desired improvement of these bottlenecks. For example, doubling the number of trees in five years.
• Formulate the way in which the gap between existing and desired situation can be bridged. For example, replacing parking spaces with trees or facade vegetation.
• Formulate (provisional) objectives.

This process also takes place together with stakeholders. More than 100 people were involved in the development of the circular economy plans in Amsterdam, mainly representatives of the municipalities, companies, and knowledge institutions.

Prioritizing objectives and their instrumentation

Given the provisional objectives, the search can begin for available and desirable resources, varying from information, legal measures, reorganization to (digital) techniques. The expected effectiveness, desired coherence, acceptability, and costs must be considered. With this knowledge, the goals can be formulated definitively and prioritized. It is also desirable to distinguish a short-term and long-term perspective to enable the development of innovative solutions.

The inventory, selection and ethical assessment of resources and the related fine-tuning of the objectives is best done in the first instance by teams representing different disciplines, including expertise in the field of digital technology, followed of course by democratic sanctioning.

My preference is to transfer the instrumentation process to an 'Urban Development and Innovation Department', modeled on the Majors Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) in Boston. Changing teams can be put together from this office, which is strongly branched out with the other departments. In this way, the coherence between the individual goals and action points and the input of scientific research can be safeguarded. According to Ben Green, the author of the book The smart enough city and who has worked in MONUM for years, it has been shown time and again that the effect of technological innovation is enhanced when it is combined with other forms of innovation, such as social innovation.

From vision to action points: Overview

Below I give an overview of the most important building blocks for arriving at a vision and developing action points based on this vision:

1. The process from vision to action points is both linear and iterative. Distinguishing between the phases of vision development, formulating objectives and instrumentation is useful, but these phases influence each other mutually and eventually form a networked process.

2. Urban problems are always complicated, full of internal contradictions and complex. There are therefore seldom single solutions.

3. The mayor (and therefore not a separate alderman) is primarily responsible for coherence within the policy agenda, including the use of (digital) technology. This preferably translates into the structure of the municipal organization, for example an 'Urban Development and Innovation Department'.

4. Formulating a vision, objectives and their instrumentation is part of a democratic process. Both elected representatives and stakeholders play an important role in this.

5. Because of their complexity and coherence, the content of the policy agenda usually transcends the direct interests of the stakeholders, but they must experience that their problems are being addressed too.

6. Ultimately, each city chooses a series of related actions to arrive at an effective, efficient, and supported solution to its problems. The choice of these actions, especially when it comes to (digital) techniques, can always be explained as a function of the addressing problems.

7. The use of technology fits seamlessly into the urban agenda, instead of (re)framing problems to match tempting technologies.

8. Implementation is at least as important as grand plans, but without a vision, concrete plans lose their legitimacy and support.

9. In the search for support for solutions and the implementation of plans, there is collaboration with stakeholders, and they can be given the authority and resources to tackle problems and experiment themselves (‘right to challenge’).

10. In many urban problems, addressing the harmful effects of previously used technologies (varying from greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution to diseases of affluence) is a necessary starting point.

Back to digital technology

(Digital) technology is here to stay and it is developing at a rapid pace. Sometimes you wish it would slow down. It is very regrettable that not democratically elected governments, but Big Tech is the driving force behind the development of technology and that its development is therefore primarily motivated by commercial interests. This calls for resistance against Big Tech's monopoly and for reticence towards their products. By contrast, companies working on technological developments that support a sustainable urban agenda deserve all the support.

In my e-book Cities of the Future. Humane as a choice. Smart where that helps, I performed the exercise described in this post based on current knowledge about urban policy and urban developments. This has led to the identification of 13 themes and 75 action points, where possible with references to potentially useful technology. You can download the e-book here.

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

7. The Future of Urban Tech-project

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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.

Six forecasts

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:

https://futureofurbantech.org/introduction/

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Participation in RESILIO

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This is the second part of a 5-piece movie on RESILIO blue-green roofs. We meet an expert on participation from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences ánd a resident from a social housing association de Alliantie complex on which a RESILIO Smart Blue-Green Roof just has been realized. We asked ourselves during the whole lifespan of RESILIO: How can we make smart sustainable solutions a hot and urgent topic for our citizens?
#participatie #socialhousing #heatstress #verduurzaming #resilientcommunities #residentengagement #indischebuurt

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Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

Meet the members of Amsterdam Smart City! Dirk Dekker: ‘There’s a connection between all of the individual elements that make a city what it is’

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Dirk Dekker is the co-founder and CEO of Being, a real estate developer that develops sustainable environments with the context of these environments in mind.

“Being part of something bigger: that’s our tagline. The work we do is not about us as a company but about the bigger picture. We are part of something bigger and want to positively influence the real estate market in the Netherlands. We also want to prove that you can do something good for society and make a profit.

We’re not content to simply discover a location to build on; there has to be a need for us to add a positive impact too. For us, this means adopting a holistic approach to projects based on four impact pillars: personal impact, public impact, ecological impact and economic impact. We research each site’s history and talk to various people: an environmental psychologist or city biologist, for example. We interview stakeholders: future users and local residents and organisations. As you might expect, we put together a business case as well.

As I see it, the different perspectives don’t result in concessions but in the creation of more value, which isn’t always possible to express in euros. One good example of this is YOTEL, a hotel we developed in the up-and-coming Buiksloterham urban district in Amsterdam. Interviews showed that neighbours wanted to see more public green spaces and accessible hospitality. We listened and made sure both were included in our design. The hotel has integrated into the neighbourhood well, from both a social and sustainable point of view. We also ‘greened’ the rear façade of The Pavilion office building in the Zuidas business district, because it faces a graveyard. It’s important for people, planet and profit to be in balance.”

Biophilic design
“I’m inspired by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) philosophy on architecture too. BIG does research to design well in extreme conditions—in the dessert or on the moon, for example. By carefully considering the context, it becomes possible to design something that complements the environment in question. Add nature into the equation and you have what is referred to in the industry as ‘biophilic design’. Mother Nature’s research department has far more experience than all the rest of us put together, so there’s a huge amount for us to learn from.

My ideal city is one with views that extend beyond the four years of a political term of office. It’s a place where residents are involved in decision-making, which is very achievable given the amazing digital resources at our disposal today in 2021. For example, I live in Amsterdam-West, where residents have been asked to vote on the € 300,000 our urban district has to spend on green and social initiatives suggested by citizens. That’s how you create a city together.”

Networks
“Green needs to be added not just next to buildings but on and in them too. And not just in stiff flowerbeds or like a green wallpaper of sorts; a far more natural approach is vital. Trees and plants communicate with and learn from each other via underground nature networks. Our job is to make sure this is possible in urbanised environments. The Fantastic Fungi Netflix documentary is a really useful programme to watch on this subject.

There’s a connection between all of the individual elements that make a city what it is. I would like to see politicians and the business sector immersing themselves in these networks far more and also looking very closely at everything happening on platforms like Amsterdam Smart City. Networks like this are essential for the future of our city and for connective growth.”

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

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

Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

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Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

6. The Boston Smart City Playbook

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This is the sixth episode of the Better Cities; The Contribution of Digital Technology series. It is about the expectations of the Majors Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) in Boston from representatives of tech companies crowding its doors to sell turnkey "smart" solutions. The Dutch versions of the published posts in this series are here.

Jascha Franklin-Hodge, former head of MONUM, recalls meeting representatives of a Fortune 500 technology company that had tendered to equip all the city's lampposts with cameras and sensors. When asked if this equipment had already proven its worth elsewhere, the answer was that the company would appreciate Boston investigating it. It goes without saying that the city has resolutely rejected this 'offer'. It was one of many exhausting encounters with eager salespeople offering 'promising' technological solutions, with limited knowledge of urban problems. As a result, Franklin-Hodge and his colleague Nigel Jacob decided to incorporate the feedback normally given to these people into a document that they could share with companies. This became the famous Boston Smart City Playbook, with the primary purpose of propagating Boston's intent to develop technology that is responsible, people-centric and problem-driven.

Below I go through the book, paraphrasing (italics) and commenting on each chapter

Stop sending salespeople

The introduction to the booklet sighs, send us someone who knows about cities, someone who wants to talk to the residents about what they like (and don't like!) about Boston. The MONUM team appreciates when technologists come to talk about topics that matter rather than fire well well-prepared pitches. Shared understanding of urban problems and the nature of their solution is the only way to establish a long-term relationship between the company and the city. The team announces to ask examples of how the product has worked or failed elsewhere.

In addition, I believe that representatives of technology companies who believe that a vendor’s pitch will do, sometimes forget that their interlocutors are technologists too, who are often better educated than themselves. However, civil servants often lack knowledge of successful examples from elsewhere, therefore they sincerely hope that representatives of a technology company can provide these. Unfortunately, that rarely turns out to be the case. The best solution is pre-competitive triple-helix collaboration between representatives of municipalities, knowledge institutions and companies. Together they can compensate for each other's knowledge gaps.

Solving real problems for people

Municipal employees often feel that their colleagues from companies lack involvement and knowledge about the concerns of ordinary people. That's why the Playbook expects them to talk to workers, unemployed, entrepreneurs, artists, citizen groups, advocacy groups and architects before visiting MONUM. The team would like to know what companies have learned during this conversation and especially why their products will make a difference.

Such an assignment is not easy. Citizens are easy to speak out about their problems and come up with solutions too. These solutions rarely have a technological component. The tech companies itself must build bridges and ask citizens for their opinion. Even citizens they don't see the value of the proposed technologies, city councils can still be confident in their long-term value.

Don't worship efficiency

Efficiency must be part of the solution to any problem, as cities have finite resources and infinite needs. However, efficiency is never a motive in the phase in which alternative choices are weighed up. Once a choice has been made, the next step is to implement it as efficiently as possible.
Talking prematurely about efficiency often results from ignoring underlying political positions. The question is always: Efficient on the basis of which criteria, for what purposes and in whose interest? As Ben Green wrote in ''The smart enough city' (p. 14): For those on the front lines, words like “better” and “more efficient” are the tip of an iceberg, below which sit the competing interests and conflicting values of the city and the people who live in it. In my opinion, the same applies to the misuse of the adjective 'smart'.

To become a competent partner, representatives of tech companies must not only be familiar with urban problems, but also with current political debates and the mission of mayor and aldermen. Anyone who mentions arguments such as 'cost savings' and 'efficiency gains' as main motives in the discussion about technological solutions for urban problems will immediately be questioned about the real benefits and for whom.

Better decisions, not (just) better data

The price for the purchase of technology must be paid immediately. Often a city can only reap its benefits in the future. The problem is that the success of the technology acquired will depend at least as much on how it is applied. This in turn depends on the behavior of the people involved. The often have to adapt themselves and targeted management is required to bring about behavioral change. Technological innovation usually goes hand in hand with social innovation or at least behavioral change. This could be, for example, breaking through silos between departments whose data must be shared. In essence, the quality of the data depends on its ability to improve decisions. Better decisions, in turn, should pay off in greater satisfaction for all stakeholders involved.

In my opinion, representatives of tech companies do not think enough about the 'soft side' of implementing technological change. In addition, they neglect after-sales contacts, which can provide them with valuable information about the impact of organizational conditions on technological innovation.

Platforms make us go ¯\_(**ツ)_/¯

In 2015, Ross Atkin, a critic of smart cities, wrote his Manifesto for the clever city. In the 'clever city', technology is used radically bottom-up to solve the problems that ordinary citizens experience with as little data as possible and in a way that citizens can understand. In the smart city, 'platforms' are often proposed as networks of sensors that collect huge amounts of data because they can potentially be used to solve problems. But many problems that affect people, such as pollution, stench and particulate matter, have been known for years, as have their causes: factories, heavy traffic and unhealthy homes. Installing a sensor network delays the resolution of these problems and is at the expense of it.

Moreover, because of vendor lock-in municipalities risk being stuck for years to solutions that companies have developed, as long as there are no standards or there is no guarantee of interoperability. Representatives of technology companies should be asked what they believe to be the cheapest solution for collecting critical data and what the interoperability of this solution is.

Towards a "public" privacy policy

Police monitor video cameras throughout the city and transit companies use GPS trackers to detect the location of buses and trains. Since the observation of people in public space is increasing rapidly, the question is what is the bottom-line of privacy of citizens that must always be respected. Representatives of tech companies should be surveyed to make explicit the privacy risks of their technologies and whether these technologies meet data minimization requirements.

In my opinion, it is up to cities to draw up guidelines about internet safety, privacy security and data minimization, but also to make explicit which means are acceptable for crime prevention and law enforcement. The development of such guidelines is also an opportunity for pre-competitive collaboration between cities, companies, and knowledge institutions.

Ben Green, also a former member of the MONUM team and now a teacher at the Ford School of Public Policy, Michigan University, also refers to the Smart City Playbook in his work 'The smart enough city' and emphasizes that the last thing to happen is considering technology as imminent and inevitable, thus beyond dispute and deliberation (p. 7). Technology must always be justified by its proven contribution to human well-being.

Follow up

The Boston Smart City Play Book makes it clear that before they can provide 'solutions', tech companies must become familiar with urban problems, preferably through direct contact with stakeholders and citizens in particular. In addition, cities also want to be involved in the development of these technologies.
The Playbook spawned a series of research and development projects, including the Local Sense Lab, a loose group of sensor technologists developing sensors and other devices of demonstrable value to Boston residents.

Read the Boston Smart City Playbook by following the link below

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Scipio Kok, Advisor , posted

Available for download now: Mayor’s Manual Book Edition

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What advice would you give to mayors of cities worldwide?  In the first season of the Mayor's Manual Podcast, Sacha Stolp (Director of Future-Proof Assets, City of Amsterdam) and Kenneth Heijns (Managing Director of AMS Institute) have embarked on a journey to discuss solutions for urban challanges together with over 50 frontrunners from different countries working for  governmental institutions, knowledge institutions and businesses. Each frontrunner was asked what advice they would give to Mayors and cities worldwide. The Mayor’s Manual Book Edition is a compilation of these advices accompanied by 6 Essays written by guest writers. The book is meant not only to inspire, but also to provide actionable recommendations for cities globally.

We invite you to read the first Mayor’s Manual Book and share
your insights with us!

Download the book for free on our website or by clicking here.

Currently, we are working on a Dutch edition so keep an eye on our site
for updates!

Find the Mayor’s Manual podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcast and Google Podcast &  view our trailer or go to www.mayorsmanual.org

Scipio Kok's picture #Mobility
Marije Poel, Programma manager at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

We can navigate wickedness together

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On the 25 and 26st of November the Amsterdam Smart City network worked together to tackle big wicked problems that exist in the region. But is it even possible to tackle wicked problems? In a masterclass on the first day, initiated by the ASC wicked problems team, Marije Poel (HvA) and Nora van der Linden (Kennisland) tried to change the perspective: what if we aim to navigate wickedness together?

While we work on big and complex issues like the energy transition or the digital transition, we try to get a grip on problems and come up with a structured plan or linear project. But that approach is not always in line with reality, where we struggle with complex, unstructured and undefined messiness. In this masterclass,  we shared a perspective on the character of wicked problems and on the consequences of working on these kind of challenges. Most of the participants recognised the reflexes we have, trying to master or control a wicked problem and come up with a concrete solution.

To give some perspective on how to deal with wickedness, we presented some overall strategies on navigating in wickedness. We suggested to make room for little mistakes (to prevent big ones), invite different perspectives and voices to the table, to be adaptive all along the way, and create time and space for reflection and learning.

The Wicked problems team got positive feed back on the workshop, leading to the idea next time we might dive a bit deeper into this topic and try to apply one or more concrete approaches and tools to navigate around wickedness.

We continue learning and sharing learnings about wickedness in the ASC network. Therefore we are open to work with wicked cases. So, Is your organization a partner of Amsterdam Smart City and do you deal with wicked problems? Let the Wicked Problems know and find out if we can inspire you and find innovative ways to navigate through them together. You can contact Francien who is coordinating this team from the Amsterdam Smart City Baseteam.

In the Wicked problems team are: Dave van Loon (Kennisland), Christiaan Elings (RHDHV), Gijs Diercks (Drift), Giovanni Stijnen (NEMO), Bas Wolfswinkel (Arcadis) en Marije Poel (HvA).

Marije Poel's picture #DigitalCity
Tom de Munck, Content Marketeer at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

Digital Society Talk Show & Showcase

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At the Digital Society Showcase (DSS) we proudly share how our projects and courses activate a new generation’s potential to positively impact the digital transformation of society. Find out how to obtain a responsible, inclusive mindset, how to integrate technology in society and how to design for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

Programme

16:00 CET | start of live talkshow
16:30 CET | opening expo (ongoing)
17:00 CET | closing the live talkshow
18:15 CET | closing the expo

Live Talk Show

At 16:00 we kick-off with an interactive and live talkshow about Transformational Leadership, Learning Revolution and Sustainability, Diversity and Digital transformation.

With topic experts we discuss the following questions:

  • What is needed to lead the transformation of todays world and digital society to become more inclusive, sustainable and living-future-proof?
  • How is DSS changing the learning game from within the AUAS? What impact do we think education has on the needed transformation of crumbling systems around us?
  • How is the AUAS growing these topics within the organisation, education and research? And how is DSS impacting these topics via our programs and products?

Discover the 7 projects

In 20 weeks an international, highly talented group of trainees worked on finding solutions for the most urgent challenges that relate to the digital transformation of society. In multidisciplinary teams they worked with our project partners, under the guidance of a ‘Digital Transformation Designer’, their track community, and the rest of the Digital Society School team.

During the showcase the teams will show you the prototypes and explain how they contributed to the Digital Transformation of Society and the Sustainable Development Goals. The different tracks (thematic programs) will also present themselves and discuss how design, tech and social innovation can have a positive impact on sustainable development.

Discover more about the projects on our website.

Tom de Munck's picture Online event on Jan 19th
Hanna Rab, Communication advisor at City of Amsterdam: Chief Technology Office, posted

Geef laptops aan de Cyberbank

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Amsterdam krijgt de eerste Cyberbank van Nederland; een soort voedselbank voor laptops en digitale ondersteuning. 💻♻️
Heb jij een laptop of heeft jouw organisatie laptops die de Cyberbank een tweede leven kan geven? Vraag je werkgever oude laptops te doneren aan de Cyberbank en deel deze oproep binnen je netwerk!
Hoe meer laptops, hoe meer mensen er blij gemaakt kunnen worden.
#decyberbankzoektlaptops

Hoe het werkt?
➡️ Organisaties en particulieren doneren hun oude laptops.
➡️ Jongeren met een afstand tot de arbeidsmarkt knappen ze op.
➡️ Mensen met een Stadspas met groene stip kunnen tegen statiegeld van €20 euro aanspraak maken op een laptop. De eerste opgeknapte laptops worden begin 2022 verdeeld.

Informatie over de inzameling van gebruikte laptops en de eisen vind je op https://decyberbank.nl/

#Citizens&Living
Hanna Rab, Communication advisor at City of Amsterdam: Chief Technology Office, posted

Leer meer over digitale rechten tijdens Digital Rights Day

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Kom naar het 'Digital Rights Day' weekend op 10-12 december! Een weekend met talks, exposities en film screenings over het thema digitale rechten.

Meld je nu aan voor onderstaande gratis (online) activiteiten:

➡️ Digital Rights Talk – 10 december (online streaming van Pakhuis de Zwijger)
➡️ Online vertoning You Are Your Profile II – 11 december (online streaming)
➡️ Tentoonstelling NEMO Studio- Bits of You + Zintuigen van Amsterdam – 11 december

Voor meer activiteiten van Digital Rights Day en om je aan te melden, ga naar https://www.amsterdam.nl/innovatie/digital-rights-day/

Online event from Dec 10th to Dec 12th
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

4. Digital social innovation: For the social good (and a moonshot)

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The fourth edition in the series Better cities. The Contribution of Digital Technology is about “digital social innovations” and contains ample examples of how people are finding new ways to use digital means to help society thrive and save the environment.

Digitale sociale innovatie  – also referred to as smart city 3.0 – is a modest counterweight to the growing dominance and yet lagging promises of 'Big Tech'. It concerns "a type of social and collaborative innovation in which final users and communities collaborate through digital platforms to produce solutions for a wide range of social needs and at a scale that was unimaginable before the rise of Internet-enabled networking platforms."

Digital innovation in Europe has been boosted by the EU project Growing a digital social Innovation ecosystem for Europa (2015 – 2020), in which De Waag Society in Amsterdam participated for the Netherlands. One of the achievements is a database of more than 3000 organizations and companies. It is a pity that this database is no longer kept up to date after the project has expired and – as I have experienced – quickly loses its accuracy.

Many organizations and projects have interconnections, usually around a 'hub'. In addition to the Waag Society, these are for Europe, Nesta, Fondazione Mondo Digitale and the Institute for Network Cultures. These four organizations are also advisors for new projects. Important websites are: digitalsocial.eu(no longer maintained) and the more business-oriented techforgood.

A diversity of perspectives

To get to know the field of digital innovation better, different angles can be used:

• Attention to a diversity of issues such as energy and climate, air and noise pollution, health care and welfare, economy and work, migration, political involvement, affordable housing, social cohesion, education and skills.

• The multitude of tools ranging from open hardware kits for measuring air pollution, devices for recycling plastic, 3D printers, open data, open hardware and open knowledge. Furthermore, social media, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, big data, machine learning et cetera.

• The variety of project types: Web services, networks, hardware, research, consultancy, campaigns and events, courses and training, education, and research.

• The diverse nature of the organizations involved: NGOs, not-for-profit organizations, citizens' initiatives, educational and research institutions, municipalities and increasingly social enterprises.

Below, these four perspectives are only discussed indirectly via the selected examples. The emphasis is on a fifth angle, namely the diversity of objectives of the organizations and projects involved. At the end of this article, I will consider how municipalities can stimulate digital social innovation. But I start with the question of what the organizations involved have in common.

A common denominator

A number of organizations drew up the Manifesto for Digital Social Innovation in 2017 and identified  central values for digital social innovation: Openness and transparency, democracy and decentralization, experimentation and adoption, digital skills, multidisciplinary and sustainability. These give meaning to the three components of the concept of digital social technology:

Social issues
The multitude of themes of projects in the field of digital social innovation has already been mentioned. Within all these themes, the perspective of social inequality, diversity, human dignity, and gender are playing an important role. In urban planning applications, this partly shifts the focus from the physical environment to the social environment:  We're pivoting from a focus on technology and IoT and data to a much more human-centered process, in the words of Emily Yates, smart cities director of Philadelphia.

Innovation
Ben Green writes in his book 'The smart enough city': One of the smart city's greatest and most pernicious tricks is that it .... puts innovation on a pedestal by devaluing traditional practices as emblematic of the undesirable dumb city.(p. 142). In digital social, innovation rather refers to implement, experiment, improve and reassemble.

(Digital) technology
Technology is not a neutral toolbox that can be used or misused for all purposes. Again Ben Green: We must ask, what forms of technology are compatible with the kind of society we want to build (p. 99). Current technologies have been shaped by commercial or military objectives. Technologies that contribute to 'the common good' still need to be partly developed. Supporters of digital social innovation emphasize the importance of a robust European open, universal, distributed, privacy-aware and neutral peer-to-peer network as a platform for all forms of digital social innovation.

Objectives and focus

When it comes to the objective or focus, five types of projects can be distinguished: (1) New production techniques (2) participation (3) cooperation (4 raising awareness and (5) striving for open access.

1. New production techniques
A growing group of 'makers' is revolutionizing open design. 3D production tools CAD/CAM software is not expensive or available in fab labs and libraries. Waag Society in Amsterdam is one of the many institutions that host a fab lab. This is used, among other things, to develop several digital social innovations. One example was a $50 3D-printed prosthesis intended for use in developing countries.

2. Participation
Digital technology can allow citizens to participate in decision-making processes on a large scale. In Finland, citizens are allowed to submit proposals to parliament. Open Ministry supports citizens in making an admissible proposal and furthermore in obtaining the minimum required 50,000 votes. Open Ministry is now part of the European D-CENTproject a decentralized social networking platform that has developed tools for large-scale collaboration and decision making across Europe.

3. Collaboration
It is about enabling people to exchange skills, knowledge, food, clothing, housing, but also includes new forms of crowdfunding and financing based on reputation and trust. The sharing economy is becoming an important economic factor. Thousands of alternative payment methods are also in use worldwide. In East Africa, M-PESA (a mobile financial payment system) opens access to secure financial services for nine million people. Goteo is a social network for crowdfunding and collaborative collaboration that contribute to the common good.

4. Awareness
These are tools that seek to use information to change behavior and mobilize collective action. Tyze is a closed and online community for family, friends, neighbors, and care professionals to strengthen mutual involvement around a client and to make appointments, for example for a visit. Safecast is the name of a home-built Geiger counter with which a worldwide community performs radiation measurements and thus helps to increase awareness in radiation and (soon) the presence of particulate matter.

5. Open Access
The open access movement (including open content, standards, licenses, knowledge and digital rights) aims to empower citizens. The CityService Development Kit (CitySDK) is a system that collects open data from governments to make it available uniformly and in real time. CitySDK helps seven European cities to release their data and provides tools to develop digital services. It also helps cities to anticipate the ever-expanding technological possibilities, for example a map showing all 9,866,539 buildings in the Netherlands, shaded by year of construction. Github is a collaborative platform for millions of open software developers, helping to re-decentralize the way code is built, shared, and maintained.

Cities Support

Cities can support organizations pursuing digital social innovations in tackling problems in many ways. Municipalities that want to do this can benefit from the extensive list of examples in the Digital Social Innovation Ideas Bank, An inspirational resource for local governments.

Funding
Direct support through subsidies, buying shares, loans, social impact bonds, but also competitions and matching, whereby the municipality doubles the capital obtained by the organization, for example through crowdfunding. An example of a project financed by the municipality is Amsterdammers, maak je stad.

Cooperation
Involvement in a project, varying from joint responsibility and cost sharing, to material support by making available space and service s, such as in the case Maker Fairs or the Unusual Suspects Festival. Maker Fairs or the Unusual Suspects Festival. Municipalities can also set up and support a project together, such as Cities for Digital Rights. A good example is the hundreds of commons in Bologna, to which the municipality delegates part of its tasks.

Purchasing Policy
Digital social innovation projects have provided a very wide range of useful software in many areas, including improving communication with citizens and their involvement in policy. Consul was first used in Madrid but has made its way to 33 countries and more than 100 cities and businesses and is used by more than 90 million people. In many cases there is also local supply. An alternative is Citizenlab.

Infrastructure
Municipalities should seriously consider setting up or supporting a fab lab. Fab Foundation is helpful in this regard. Another example is the Things Network and the Smart citizen kit.. Both are open tools that enable citizens and entrepreneurs to build an IoT application at low cost. These facilities can also be used to measure noise nuisance, light pollution, or odors with citizens in a neighborhood, without having to install an expensive sensor network.

Skills Training
Municipalities can offer citizens and students targeted programs for training digital skills, or support organizations that can implement them, through a combination of physical and digital means. One of the options is the lie detector program, developed by a non-profit organization that teaches young children to recognize and resist manipulative information on (social) media.

Incubators and accelerators
We mainly find these types of organizations in the world of start-ups, some of which also have a social impact. Targeted guidance programs are also available for young DSI organizations. In the Netherlands this is the Waag Society in Amsterdam. A typical tech for good incubator in the UK is Bethnal Green Ventures. An organization that has also helped the Dutch company Fairphone to grow. In the Netherlands, various startup in residence programs also play a role in the development of DSI organisations.

A digital-social innovative moonshot to gross human happiness

It is sometimes necessary to think ahead and wake up policymakers, putting aside the question of implementation for a while. A good example of this from a digital social innovation perspective is the moonshot that Jan-Willem Wesselink (Future City Foundation), Petra Claessen (BTG/TGG). Michiel van Willigen and Wim Willems (G40) and Leonie van den Beuken (Amsterdam Smart City) have written in the context of 'Missie Nederland' of de Volkskrant. Many DSI organizations can get started with this piece! I'll end with the main points of this:

By 2030...
… not a single Dutch person is digitally literate anymore, instead every Dutch person is digitally skilled.
… every resident of the Netherlands has access to high-quality internet. This means that every home will be connected to fast fixed and mobile internet and every household will be able to purchase devices that allow access. A good laptop is just as important as a good fridge.
… the internet is being used in a new way. Applications (software and hardware) are created from within the users. With the premise that anyone can use them. Programs and the necessary algorithms are written in such a way that they serve society and not the big-tech business community.
… every resident of the Netherlands has a 'self-sovereign identity' with which they can operate and act digitally within the context of their own opportunities.
… new technology has been developed that gives residents and companies the opportunity to think along and decide about and to co-develop and act on the well-being of regions, cities, and villages.
… all Dutch politicians understand digitization and technology.
… the Dutch business community is leading in the development of these solutions.
… all this leads to more well-being and not just more prosperity.
… the internet is ours again.

A more detailed explanation can be found under this link

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Hede Razoky, Accountmanager Upcyclecentrum at Gemeente Almere, posted

Ruimte zoekt bevlogen, startende circulair ondernemer

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Goed nieuws: er komt per 1 februari een bedrijfsruimte vrij in het Upcyclecentrum.
Voor het Upcylcecentrum in Almere zoeken we een startende ondernemer met een geweldig plan voor een onderneming dat bijdraagt aan onze lokale circulaire economie.

De afgelopen jaren is Almere uitgegroeid tot één van de koplopers van de circulaire economie in Nederland, en het Upcyclecentrum is daar een belangrijk onderdeel van. Bedrijven en overheden vanuit de hele wereld komen naar Almere om te zien hoe wij de circulaire economie vormgeven.

Het Upcyclecentrum bestaat uit drie onderdelen: recyclingperron, ondernemers en belevingscentrum. Op het recyclingperron zamelen we grondstoffen droog in. De gevestigde ondernemers in het Upcyclecentrum mogen deze gebruiken. De ondernemers laten in hun bedrijfsruimte zien wat zij doen met deze grondstoffen. Afgelopen 3 jaar hebben verschillende ondernemers zoals “Ruik”, ‘’SEEFD’’, “Unravelau” en “Ruig & Geroest” al geprofiteerd van deze kans. En er is weer plaats voor een nieuwe startup om eenzelfde ontwikkeling door te kunnen maken.

Wil jij een vliegende start maken met jouw onderneming? Of ken je zo’n ondernemer?

Stuur dan uiterlijk 30 december jouw businessplan naar ons toe via het inschrijfformulier op onze website: almere.nl/upcyclestartups.

#CircularCity
Arjan Koning, Community Manager Responsible IT at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

Fellowship responsible IT for artistic researcher or artist

The Responsible IT research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is offering a fellowship to an artistic researcher or an artist, aiming to create fresh future-oriented perspectives on digitization and public values.
For your call for proposal see the following link.

Arjan Koning's picture #DigitalCity
Gijs Boerwinkel, Head of communications at Waag, posted

Wandelen in Amsterdam langs de digitale sporen van de slimme stad

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Wandel op 30 januari '22 mee langs de digitale sporen in Amsterdam en ga in gesprek over data, sensoren, en camera’s in de openbare ruimte. Kan een stad slim zijn of moeten we juist inzetten op slimme burger; smart citizens?

Wat wordt er aan data verzameld en wat gebeurt daarmee? Kun je je nog onbespied wanen in de publieke ruimte van mijn stad? Hoe ziet de ideale digitale stad van de toekomst er volgens jou uit?

Digitale infrastructuur

Ooit bestond de stad uit bakstenen en staal, gebouwen en wegen. Maar steeds meer is deze infrastructuur vervlochten met een digitaal netwerk dat alles verbindt. Deze digitale sporen vind je overal. Ze helpen ons de stad en haar inwoners steeds verder in kaart te brengen. Tijdens de smart citizen-wandeling kom je deze sporen tegen. Van slimme bewegwijzering die ons leidt, tot camera’s die ons volgen. Je gaat in gesprek over de relatie van bewoners met de technologie in de stad en wordt uitgedaagd je aannames te bevragen en toekomstideëen te delen.

Wanneer:30 januari '22
Starttijden: 14:00 uur en 15:00 uur
Startpunt: Amsterdam CS, IJ-zijde West
Eindpunt: Tolhuistuin
Nodig: goede schoenen, opgeladen telefoon, flesje water
Afstand en duur wandeling: 
Amsterdam: 
5,3 km
 - 1 uur en drie kwartier

Meer informatie

Bij het startpunt van de wandeling krijg je informatie over de wandeling en ontvang je een wandelpakket met een routekaart en gespreksmateriaal voor tijdens de wandeling. We starten gezamenlijk, daarna wandel je in kleine groepjes, met max 4 mensen. Bij het eindpunt word je ontvangen met koffie en thee. Je kunt je aanmelden met vrienden, of meewandelen met iemand die je nog niet kent en je laten verrassen!

Gijs Boerwinkel's picture Meet-up on Jan 30th
Amsterdam Smart City, Connector of opportunities at Amsterdam Smart City, posted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk

Amsterdam Smart City's picture #DigitalCity
Herman van den Bosch, professor in management development , posted

Prologue to a new series: Better Cities. The role of digital technologies

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Next months, I will post a weekly contribution answering the question how digital technologies can contribute to the development of better cities. Here's what to expect from these posts:

According to the WEF Global Risk Report, anyone committed to the contribution of digital technology to solving  the problems facing society should realize that technology and the underlying business model itself is one of those problems. The last thing to do is uncritically follow those who see only the blessings of technology. Some of their prophecies will send shivers down your spine, like this one from tech company SiemensIn a few decades, cities will have countless autonomous, intelligently functioning IT systems that are perfectly aware of users' habits and energy consumption and provide optimal service. The aim of such a city is to optimally regulate and control resources through autonomous IT systems. The company precisely articulates the fear expressed by Lewis Mumford who wrote in his seminal book The Myth of the Machine: Emerging new mega-techniques create a uniform, all-enveloping, super-planetary structure, designed for automatic operation in which man will become a passive, purposeless, machine-conditioned animal. This was in 1967, before anyone could even think about the impact of digital technology.

Fortunately, there are of governments, companies and institutions committed to developing and adopting technology to address the challenges the world faces: Energy transition and other impacts of climate change, pressure on mobility, setting up a circular economy; making society inclusive and improving the liveability of cities. However, technology alone cannot reach these goals. Far-reaching social and economic reforms are needed, also to ensure that the benefits of digitization are shared by everyone.

I join those who 'believe' in the potential of digital technology for society, if done in a responsible and value-driven way, but also are skeptical whether this will happen indeed. This ambivalence will not have escaped the notice of those familiar with my previous publications. In my first ebook Smart city tales (2018) I explored the use and abuse of technology in so-called smart cities. In the second ebook Cities of the future, always humane, smart if helpful (2020) I presented the problems of contemporary cities, collected possible solutions and mapped out which digital techniques can contribute. The conclusion was that humane cities are still a long way off.

What you are reading now is the first post (Read the Dutch version here) in a new series that focuses on digital technology itself. In the first part of this series, I discuss the demands that can be placed on the design of digital technology for the sake of better cities. In the second part, I apply these requirements to a broad range of technologies. The integration of digital technology into urban policies will be discussed in part three.

I foresee the publication of about 20 articles. The link below opens a preliminary overview of their topics. I will take the liberty of adapting this plan to the actuality and advancing insight.

Herman van den Bosch's picture #DigitalCity
Jennifer Drouin, Community Manager at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, posted

Donut Meetup #7

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Kom naar onze laatste meetup van het jaar. Tijd om samen terug te kijken, elkaar te spreken, te verbinden en samen vooruit te kijken! We willen weten hoe het met je gaat en delen wat er allemaal gebeurt op het gebied van de donut economie binnen de community van de Amsterdam Donut Coalitie.

WANNEER 20 december, 15.30 - 17.00
WAAR online via zoom
VOOR WIE alle donut-newbies & donut changemakers van de regio Amsterdam
WAAROM de kans om elkaar te leren kennen, te verbinden, kennis te maken, elkaar te inspireren, terug te blikken en vooruit te kijken

WAT

  • Samen kijken we terug wat we afgelopen jaar gezamenlijk tot stand hebben gebracht / hebben bereikt en kijken we terug naar de Amsterdam Donut Dagen en de meest belangrijkste inzichten van de twee workshops!
  • Een update van donut pioniers. Met onder andere Boaz Bar-Adon van Ecodam en we geven jullie podium om zelf te delen waar je staat en wat je nodig hebt.
  • De koers bepalen voor komend jaar. Wat gebeurt er in Amsterdam donut-land en hoe zie jij graag hoe de coalitie verder gaat. Dit doen we in break-outs.
  • We sluiten af met het delen van de uitkomsten die we meenemen in een concreet actieplan voor komend jaar.
  • Borreltijd!

Er is maar een beperkt aantal plekken beschikbaar dus wees snel met aanmelden via dit formulier.

We zien je graag op 20 december!

Team Amsterdam Donut Coalitie

Jennifer Drouin's picture Meet-up on Dec 20th