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Elke maand interviewt De Gezonde Stad een duurzame koploper. Deze keer spreken we Ioana Biris, mede-oprichter van Nature Desks, een organisatie die mensen wil aansporen om meer naar buiten te gaan en te genieten van de natuur, ook in de stad.
Bij Nature Desks draait om het verbinden van natuur, werk en gezondheid. Dat doet ze door bijvoorbeeld de Outdoor Office Day te organiseren, waarop iedereen zijn werk naar buiten verplaatst en tegelijkertijd geniet van het mooie weer. Zo voelen mensen hoe belangrijk het is om natuur in de buurt te hebben, en gaan ze er ook beter voor zorgen!
“Een stad waar een kind lopend naar school kan gaan, en waar een dier zich ook thuis voelt. Een stad met meer groen en minder auto’s. Dat is wat ik wil.”
Lees het hele interview via onderstaande link.
In 2021, the city of Amsterdam has cooperated with citizen-led energy initiatives and The Democratic Society to bring about a decarbonised, decentralised energy future. Read the conclusions and six recommendations in the article by Kate Goodwin of the Democratic Society and Thomas de Groot of the Commons Network!
Dear Amsterdam Smart city community
I am reaching out to you to present a bit more of my project of Piss Soap and to ask you to vote and support my project at the New European Bauhaus Prize.
You can follow the link that will lead you to the voting page.
Piss Soap is a finalist in the section of “Rising Stars”, category Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking
Please vote, share and support and make sure to check all the amazing projects around sustainability, inclusivity and a greener future together.
"Piss soap is made entirely out of human activity waste materials, namely wood ashes, used cooking oil and urine. All these materials are easily gathered locally, in Amsterdam. The gathering of material and production of the Piss Soap is locally implemented and redistributed to the public cleaning services as well as the inhabitants. Piss soap has a regenerative impact in our cities, allowing to transform in a creative and useful way, wastes that our cities congregate."
If you have any question or comment do not hesitate to contact me
Samen energie besparen. Samen impact maken.
Het is oorlog in Oekraïne. Een oorlog die deels gefinancierd wordt met de opbrengst van de verkoop van fossiele brandstoffen aan het Westen – dus ook aan Nederland. Ruim 15% van het gas dat we verbruiken in Nederland komt uit Rusland. Als we samen een aantal eenvoudige besparingsstappen zetten, maken we ons energie-onafhankelijker. Benieuw hoe jouw organisatie minder last van de hoge energieprijzen kan hebben en haar duurzame doelen sneller bereikt?
Volg deze zes eenvoudige stappen om energie te besparen
 Naar huis? Lichten uit.
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Doe voor je het kantoor verlaat alle lichten en computers uit. Het helpt! #zetookdeknopom
 Mag het een graadje minder?
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Zet de verwarming op kantoor op max. 19 graden een draag een trui. Echt, dat graadje minder helpt! #zetookdeknopom
 Koel en verwarm in proportie
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Moet de koeling niet veel te hard draaien voor de grootte van de ruimte en de temperatuur buiten? Check en pas het aan. #zetookdeknopom
 Druk de ECO-knop in
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Druk op de spaarstand in van de vaatwasser en elektrische apparatuur, zet energiebesparing aan op je laptop en kijk eens naar het power management van je dataservers. Check en pas het aan. #zetookdeknopom
 Wek je eigen energie op
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Plaats zonnepanelen boven op het dak van jouw kantoor of vraag jouw verhuurder om het te doen. #zetookdeknopom
 Pak wat vaker de fiets
Onze energierekening stijgt, we moeten nu minder afhankelijk worden van gas uit Rusland én we willen klimaatverandering tegengaan. Wat jij kunt doen? Laat je auto staan en pak wat vaker de fiets. Trappen helpt, ook voor je gezondheid! #zetookdeknopom
- Spread the word. Laat zien wat jouw organisatie doet om energie te besparen. Deel deze campagne én jouw acties op social media en websites.
- Besparen is verplicht. Grotere organisaties zijn verplicht om maatregelen te nemen waarvan vaststaat dat ze binnen 5 jaar terug te verdienen zijn. Dit zijn ook handige lijstjes voor kleinere organisaties: handhaaf de wet – tussen kolen & Parijs (urgenda.nl) En kijk bij https://www.zetookdeknopom.nl/bedrijven.
- Bespaar ook thuis. Ook thuis kan je tegengas geven door energie te besparen. Kijk voor meer ideeën op https://www.zetookdeknopom.nl/.
Om het doel van 15% minder gas te halen in 2022 zullen er meer campagnes en ondersteuning komen voor bewoners en bedrijven van een aantal samenwerkende partijen in de Metropoolregio Amsterdam (met o.a. Amsterdam Economic Board, Duurzaamheidsraad Amsterdam, gemeente Amsterdam, Green Business Club, Metropoolregio Amsterdam, 02025).
About the Urban Living Lab Summit
The 4th Urban Living Lab Summit will again strengthen the urban living lab community by sharing insights and knowledge about the urban living lab methodologies and experiences.
This year’s Summit will work on four leading themes: The Innovation Arena, Scoping and Scaling, Crossing Boundaries and Breaking Barriers. Find the full day program below, filled with presentations, workshops, living lab tours and open discussions. And don’t forget to claim your seat as in-person tickets are limited.
Get your ticket here:
Living Lab Essentials
Living labs have proven to be a successful approach for local and regional innovation, while at the same time aiming for co-creation and learning to make a lasting change and create knowledge for further expanding of urban innovative solutions. To enable new participants to gain basic knowledge on Urban living Labs, we also offer an Urban Living Lab mini-training. So, are you starting your own living lab, or are you getting involved? Are you just interested in ways how to experiment in an urban context? This Urban Living Lab pre-summit is something for you. For more information and registration, click here.
This pre-summit event is Monday, June 20 2022 from 13:00 to 16:30 CET time.
More info and tickets
The ULL Summit will be held in a hybrid format. In this way, you can participate to this event IN-PERSON at the AMS-Institute (limited tickets available)! Or do you prefer the online setting or is travelling to Amsterdam not an option? You can also join ONLINE. Both options will give you access to the presentations, workshops. Certain activities such as tour will not be available online, but we do our best to make it a worthy experience.
Get your ticket here:
Burgerwetenschap is in opkomst en meetgemeenschappen worden door steeds meer overheden en bedrijven als gelijkwaardige gesprekspartners gezien. Dat is maar goed ook, want ze zijn de belangrijkste experts over hun eigen leefomgeving.
In de allereerste Staat van de Burgerwetenschap-meetup brengen we burgerwetenschappers en wetenschappers samen rondom het thema ‘luchtkwaliteit’. We onderzoeken met elkaar hoe we de impact van sensordata kunnen vergroten en we zetten een aantal best practices in de schijnwerpers. Op gedeelde uitdagingen zoeken we antwoorden, zoals: hoe stel je een meetstrategie op? Hoe kun je als burgerwetenschapper data visualiseren en analyseren? En: welke alternatieve methoden zijn er om de luchtkwaliteit te meten?
Wanneer: dinsdag 24 mei 2022, 19:30 - 21:30 uur
Waar: De Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4 Amsterdam
19:15 - 19:30 - Inloop
19:30 - 20:30 - Welkom en panel ‘impact maken met data’
20:30 - 20:45 - Pauze met sensordemo’s
20:45 - 21:30 - Workshops 'Datafysicalisatie', 'Betrek de niet-mens', en 'Meetstrategie opstellen'.
21:30 - Afsluiting & borrel
Het belooft een interactieve bijeenkomst te worden waar het uitwisselen van kennis en ervaringen centraal staat. We nodigen burgerwetenschappers uit om zichzelf en hun meetinstrumenten te presenteren tijdens sensordemo’s. Heb jij een sensor? Neem deze dan mee!
Please join us and save this date: the 4th international edition of the #OutdoorOfficeDay will take place on June 16th. A celebration of the connection between urban nature, work and wellbeing.
✨ Keep an eye on our platform www.outdoorofficeday.nl: the coming months we'll share the best practices and insights, cool products, inspiring locations and stories of the frontrunners and local events from all around the world: from Amsterdam to Seoul, Helsinborg to Washington DC, Tokio to The Hague.
Do you also prefer to take your work outdoors? Are you meeting your colleagues in a city park close to home? Do you have phone conversations whilst walking outside and do you like to organize #weetings (walking meetings)? When the sun comes out, do you find yourself grabbing a table and chairs from your home or office, placing them on a balcony, on the pavement or garden in order to read or write? Work, well-being and urban nature are indivisibly linked. Today more than ever! Celebrate on 16th of June 2022 the necessity to work more healthily by taking your office outdoors: #outdoorofficeday
Outdoor Office Day is an open invitation. For everyone. It doesn't matter whether you work fulltime from home or are gradually returning to the office. Being self-employed or a manager at a corporate. Join us and participate in 4th edition of the international #OutdoorOfficeDay and prove that you care about your own well-being and that of your colleagues.
Kom op donderdag 19 mei naar de eerste Metaverse Meetup in Amsterdam en laat je verwonderen door de nieuwe werkelijkheid van de Metaverse. Samen met experts gaan we in gesprek over welke invloed deze nieuwe dimensie van het internet kan hebben op ons leven. Het evenement is een samenwerking tussen gemeente Amsterdam en Sharing Cities Alliance.
16.15 opening door Douwe Schmidt (Digitalisering & Innovatie, Gemeente Amsterdam) en Harmen van Sprang (co-founder Sharing Cities Alliance)
16.30 presentaties door de sprekers (info volgt)
Over de metaverse
Biedt de metaverse ons nieuwe kansen voor de toekomst of is het een bedreiging voor ons opgebouwde bestaan? Is het een plek van en voor ons allemaal of bepalen platformen steeds meer hoe we leven, werken en spelen? Het fenomeen metaverse spreekt tot de verbeelding van velen maar roept ook veel vragen op. Gemeente Amsterdam wil op een verantwoorde manier inspelen op deze technologische veranderingen.
Over dit evenement
Tijdens dit gratis evenement verkennen we samen met Amsterdammers hoe we de metaverse zo kunnen vormgeven dat deze een verrijking is van ons leven en van onze stad. Aan de hand van de inspirerende sprekers vanuit verschillende organisaties duiken we dieper in het thema. Elke spreker vertelt kort over zijn of haar visie en kennis over het onderwerp en gaat in gesprek met het publiek.
Na afloop drinken we met elkaar een borrel en praten we na over hoe jouw metaverse eruit ziet.
Do you know about initiatives, projects, groups that are working to decrease the cost of living of a Dutch household? Energy, rent, food, care, etc, all those field could be interesting for our research. Successful or less, is not important, I am looking for lessons learnt.
We are an innovation studio funded by PostNL and Dasym looking into Application of technology to increase disposable income in the household (also by unlocking the potential of the neighbourhood).
Let me know if this resonates or rings any bell!
In the last episode of the Better cities: The contribution of digital technology-series, I will answer the question that is implied in the title of the series, namely how do we ensure that technology contributes to socially and environmentally sustainable cities. But first a quick update.
Smart city, what was it like again?
In 2009, IMB launched a global marketing campaign around the previously little-known concept of 'smart city' with the aim of making city governments receptive to ICT applications in the public sector. The initial emphasis was on process control (see episode 3). Especially emerging countries were interested. Many made plans to build smart cities 'from scratch', also meant to attract foreign investors. The Korean city of Songdo, developed by Cisco and Gale International, is a well-known example. The construction of smart cities has also started in Africa, such as Eko-Atlantic City (Nigeria), Konzo Technology City and Appolonia City (Ghana). So far, these cities have not been a great success.
The emphasis soon shifted from process control to using data from the residents themselves. Google wanted to supplement its already rich collection of data with data that city dwellers provided with their mobile phones to create a range of new commercial applications. Its sister company Sidewalk Labs, which was set up for that purpose, started developing a pilot project in Toronto. That failed, partly due to the growing resistance to the violation of privacy. This opposition has had global repercussions and led in many countries to legislation to better protect privacy. China and cities in Southeast Asia - where Singapore is leading the way - ignored this criticism.
The rapid development of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, gave further impetus to discussion about the ethical implications of technology (episodes 9-13). Especially in the US, applications in facial recognition and predictive police were heavily criticized (episode 16). Artificial intelligence had meanwhile become widespread, for example to automate decision-making (think of the infamous Dutch allowance affair) or to simulate urban processes with, for example, digital twins (episode 5).
This current situation - particularly in the Netherlands - can be characterized on the one hand by the development of regulations to safeguard ethical principles (episode 14) and on the other by the search for responsible applications of digital technology (episode 15). The use of the term 'smart city' seems to be subject to some erosion. Here we are picking up the thread.
The dozens of descriptions of the term 'smart city' not only vary widely but they also evoke conflicting feelings. Some see (digital) technology as an effective means of urban growth; others see it as a threat. The question is therefore how useful the term 'smart city' is still. Touria Meliani, alderman of Amsterdam, prefers to speak of 'wise city' than of 'smart city' to emphasize that she is serious about putting people first. According to her, the term 'smart city' mainly emphasizes the technical approach to things. She is not the first. Previously, Daniel Latorre, place making specialist in New York and Francesco Schianchi, professor of urban design in Milan also argued for replacing 'smart' with 'wise'. Both use this term to express that urban policy should be based profoundly on the wishes and needs of citizens.
Whatever term you use, it is primarily about answering the question of how you ensure that people - residents and other stakeholders of a city - are put in the center. You can think of three criteria here:
1. An eye for the impact on the poorest part of the population
There is a striking shift in the literature on smart cities. Until recently, most articles focused on the significance of 'urban tech' for mobility, reduction of energy use and public safety. In a short time, much more attention has been paid to subjects such as the accessibility of the Internet, the (digital) accessibility of urban services and health care, energy and transport poverty and the consequences of gentrification. In other words, a shift took place from efficiency to equality and from physical interventions to social change. The reason is that many measures that are intended to improve the living environment led to an increase in the (rental) price and thus reduce the availability of homes.
2. Substantial share of co-creation
Boyd Cohen distinguishes three types of smart city projects. The first type (smart city 1.0) is technology- or corporate-driven. In this case, companies deliver instruments or software 'off the shelf'. For example, the provision of a residential area with adaptive street lighting. The second type (smart city 2.0) is technology enabled, also known as government-driven. In this case, a municipality develops a plan and then issues a tender. For example, connecting and programming traffic light installations, so that emergency services and public transport always receive the green light. The third type (smart city 3.0) is community-driven and based on citizen co-creation, for example an energy cooperative. In the latter case, there is the greatest chance that the wishes of the citizens concerned will come first.
A good example of co-creation between different stakeholders is the development of the Brain port Smart District in Helmond, a mixed neighborhood where living, working, generating energy, producing food, and regulating a circular neighborhood will go hand in hand. The future residents and entrepreneurs, together with experts, are investigating which state-of-the-art technology can help them with this.
Bias among developers plays a major role in the use of artificial intelligence. The best way to combat bias (and for a variety of other reasons, too) is to use diversity as a criterion when building development teams. But also (ethical) committees that monitor the responsible purchasing and use of (digital) technologies are better equipped for their task the more diverse they are.
Respecting urban complexity
In his essay The porous city, Gavin Starks describes how smart cities, with their technical utopianism and marketing jargon, ignore the plurality of the drivers of human behavior and instead see people primarily as homo economicus, driven by material gain and self-interest.
The best example is Singapore – the number 1 on the Smart City list, where techno-utopianism reigns supreme. This one-party state provides prosperity, convenience, and luxury using the most diverse digital aids to everyone who exhibits desirable behavior. There is little room for a differing opinion. A rapidly growing number of CCTV cameras – soon to be 200,000 – ensures that everyone literally stays within the lines. If not, the culprit can be quickly located with automatic facial recognition and crowd analytics.
Anyone who wants to understand human life in the city and does not want to start from simplistic assumptions such as homo economicus must respect the complexity of the city, try to understand it, and know that careless intervention might have huge unintended consequences.
The complexity of the city is the main argument against the use of reductionist adjectives such as 'smart', but also 'sharing', circular, climate-neutral', ‘resilient' and more. In addition, the term smart refers to a means that is rarely seen as an aim as such. If an adjective were desirable, I prefer the term 'humane city'.
But whatever you name a city, it is necessary to emphasize that it is a complex organism with many facets, the coherence of which must be well understood by all stakeholders for the city to prosper and its inhabitants to be happy.
Digitization. Two tracks
City authorities that are aware of the complexity of their city can best approach digitization along two tracks. The first aims to translate the city's problems and ambitions into policy and consider digital instruments a part of the whole array of other instruments. The second track is the application of ethical principles in the search for and development of digital tools. Both tracks influence each other.
Track 1: The contribution of digital technology
Digital technology is no more or less than one of the instruments with which a city works towards an ecologically and socially sustainable future. To articulate what such a future is meaning, I introduced Kate Raworth's ideas about the donut economy (episode 9). Designing a vision for the future must be a broadly supported democratic process. In this process, citizens also check the solution of their own problems against the prosperity of future generations and of people elsewhere in the world. Furthermore, policy makers must seamlessly integrate digital and other policy instruments, such as legislation, funding, and information provision (episode 8).
The most important question when it comes to (digital) technology is therefore which (digital) technological tools contribute to the realization of a socially and ecologically sustainable city.
Track 2: The ethical use of technology
In the world in which we realize the sustainable city of the future, digital technology is developing rapidly. Cities are confronted with these technologies through powerful smart city technology marketing. The most important question that cities should ask themselves in this regard is How do we evaluate the technology offered and that we want to develop from an ethical perspective. The first to be confronted with this question—besides hopefully the industry itself—is the department of the Chief Information or Technology officer. He or she naturally participates in the first track-process and can advise policymakers at an early stage. I previously inventoried (ethical) criteria that play a role in the assessment of technological instrument.
In the management of cities, both tracks come together, resulting in one central question: Which (digital) technologies are eligible to support us towards a sustainable future in a responsible way. This series has not provided a ready-made answer; this depends on the policy content and context. However, the successive editions of this series will have provided necessary constituents of the answer.
In my e-book Cities of the Future. Always humane, smart if helpful, I have carried out the policy process as described above, based on current knowledge about urban policy and urban developments. This has led to the identification of 13 themes and 75 actions, with references to potentially useful technology. You can download the e-book here:
I updated and put together 75 posts and articles about the energy transition in a new e-book (in Dutch) 'Kennisdossier Zonne-energie' (120 pages). If you interested, download it for free with the link below.
Wandel op zondag 24 april mee langs de digitale sporen van de stad en ga in gesprek over data, sensoren en camera’s in de openbare ruimte.
Wat wordt er aan data verzameld in Amsterdam en wat gebeurt daarmee? Van slimme bewegwijzering die ons leidt, tot camera’s die ons volgen. In een wandeling
van 5.3 km kom je langs slimme technologie in de stad en word je uitgedaagd je aannames te bevragen en toekomstideeën te delen.
Na afloop word je ontvangen met koffie en thee in deTolhuistuin.
Met je hier aan via de website van Waag https://www.eventbrite.nl/e/tickets-smart-citizen-wandeling-amsterdam-208540619607
On Thursday, March 17 Grisha Zotov pitched some of the dilemmas his team encountered during the process of urban design. Among others, he touched upon densification and building height as aspects that influence intensity of human interaction.
Located in the former industrial zone, Schinkelkwartier is an example of inclusive and interdisciplinary redevelopment. Destined to be a diverse mix-use hub, Schinkelkwartier will develop in several phases during 25 years. At an early stage local stakeholders and neighbors of the area were involved.
On behalf of Architectural Prescription Grisha raised questions about opportunities and risks offered by water-related location and complexity due to the amount of interested parties.
Suggestions, ideas and feedback are always welcome.
Local or guest, reach out and share what you think!
Mateusz Jarosiewicz And His Smart City Projects For A Smart Future - UAE TIMES, A Gulf Newspaper, Dubai News, Gulf News, Abu Dhabi News, UAE News
In this DemoDonderdag edition, we invite you to help us with steering 20 graduation research projects into valuable AI solutions for Amsterdam!
15:45 - Doors open
16:00 - Short Introduction
16:10 - Interactive Poster Session
17:00 - Networking & Snacks
Every year, we give master's students from the field of AI and Data Science the opportunity to conduct their graduation research on real-life problems together with the City of Amsterdam.
This year, we collaborate with 20 students from the University of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit, and the University of Twente, on topics such as measuring the accessibility of our city, creating a healthier, greener, and cleaner environment, optimizing the maintenance of public assets and infrastructure, as well as improving internal processes such as document management.
During this event, the students will present their research directions and current findings, as well as their plans for the remainder of their theses. In a poster session setup, everyone would be able to explore the different projects, enjoy short demonstrations, and have an open discussion about their favorite topics.
What we would need from you is an open mind, constructive feedback, and fresh ideas, so that together we could help all projects crystallize, and eventually, turn them into valuable AI solutions for our city.
Last but not least, this would be a moment for all of us to reconnect and meet each other in a fully physical event.
PODCAST: In this episode of the Tech Data Tech on Stage podcast we discuss thorny 21st century issues like opting-in and opting out of public space, innovation outpacing governments and planners, hyper transparency = open source & open data, and “greening of IT” versus “greening by IT” . Awesome round table with Lieke Hamers of Dell Technologies, Tom van Arman of TAPP, Markus Pfundstein of LIFE electronic and Kees Tolsma of Tech Data. A great 30min session moderated by Danny Frietman and produced by Patrick Vogelaar
Stories from the living labs front line: Bureau Marineterrein and Johan Cruijff Arena
Energy, food, mobility, finance – just about every global sector is expected to transform dramatically in the coming decades. So isn’t it time you create your own transition strategy?
Do you believe, like us, that sustainability and social justice are key to fundamental change? Then join ‘Just Sustainability Transitions’: a hands-on, six-month course that provides the tools and inspiration needed to facilitate change processes.
Niet langer hoef je jouw groente- en fruitafval weg te gooien, want samen maken we er lokaal waardevolle compost van, met Afval naar Oogst! Op 5 verschillende locaties in de stad kun je je nu aanmelden om GF-afval in te leveren. Op 23 april tijdens de kick-off leer je alle ins & outs. Zo maken we samen de cirkel rond. Composteer je mee?
Afval naar Oogst is ontsproten op buurttuin 'I can change the world with my two hands' waar nu meer dan 100 huishoudens hun GF-afval inleveren, dat wordt omgezet tot goede compost, voor nog betere oogst in de tuin! Het is de ambitie nog veel meer plekken te creëren voor lokale inzameling van groente- en fruitafval.
Bijna drie jaar na de lancering van de eerste versie van de groenblauwe kaart van Amsterdam en 3.000 exemplaren verder, hebben we een tweede - herziene - druk van #UrbanNatureAmsterdam gemaakt. Maandagavond 21 maart werd tijdens Vier de Lente! in Pakhuis de Zwijger het eerste exemplaar uitgereikt aan de nieuwe groenburgemeester van Amsterdam.
Wat is nieuw in deze tweede versie van #UrbanNatureAmsterdam? Ontdek bijvoorbeeld 🌱 de eekhoornbruggen in het Gijsbrecht van Aemstelpark, 🌱 twee nieuwe stadsparken, 🌱 het monumentaal groen of de eerste tiny forest van de stad, 🌱 nieuwe stadse Trage Tochten, 🌱 de natuur in de 'Port of Amsterdam', 🌱 nieuwe partners, 🌱 informatie over natuur inclusief bouwen of 🌱 de vernieuwde top-10 lijsten met dingen die je in de stad kunt doen.
Op de voorzijde van de kaart zie je letterlijk hoeveel groen en blauw in Amsterdam is te vinden: de parken, (binnen)tuinen, plantsoenen, natuurspeeltuinen, sportvelden, grachten, meren, polders en bossen. De achterzijde van de kaart vol met informatie fungeert als een oproep aan de gebruiker: ontdek de natuur, maar draag ook bij aan vergroening van de stad.
Met dank aan Urban Good CIC en aan onze nieuwe partners Buurtgroen020, Anmec en Natuurfontein. En partners Gemeente Amsterdam, Staatsbosbeheer, Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht en Recreatie Noord Holland.
In the 19th episode of the Better cities - the contribution of digital technology-series, I address the question of how digital technology can help in the long road to a circular society.
The contribution of digital technology becomes most visible when viewed in conjunction with other policy instruments and actions. That is why in this episode Amsterdam is in the spotlight; this city has been pursuing a consistent circular policy from 2015 onwards.
Why is a circular economy necessary?
European countries together need an average of 2.9 copies of planet Earth to meet the needs for raw materials. But even one Earth has finite resources, and it is therefore obvious that more and more countries aim to be circular by 2050. The circular processing ladder contains a range of options with the lowest step recovery of energy from materials unsuitable for re-use and furthermore recycling, repurposing, remanufacturing, renovation, repair, reuse, reduction, reconsideration to rejection.
A circular economy is an economic and industrial system that eliminates waste and takes the reusability of products and raw materials and the regenerative capacity of natural resources as a starting point, minimizes value destruction in the total system and pursues value creation in every link of the system. In this context, the term cradle-to-cradle design is often referred to. This is done in terms of material flows and the preservation of values, so that in the long term there is no longer any need for an influx of virgin materials. Maersk has developed a cradle-to-cradle passport, a first for the shipping industry, consisting of a database of all ship components, including all the steel, for recycling, reuse and remanufacturing of new ships or their parts.
The Digital Sustainability-memorandum is considering digitization as an enabler on the way to a circular economy. A fourfold distinction is made in this regard: (1) the coordination of supply and demand of materials, (2) facilitating maintenance and repairs, (3) improving the production process, and (4) supporting partners in chain cooperation. Examples of all these options are discussed below.
Amsterdam and the realization of circular principles
Amsterdam's ambition is to use 50% less virgin raw materials by 2030 compared to the current situation. This goal is also very important for achieving its climate targets: 63% of the CO2 emissions for which the city is responsible come from products and materials that are produced abroad. The municipal government can only partly influence this steam. That is why the policy focuses on three areas where the city has most influence, namely food and organic residual flows, consumption and the built environment.
Amsterdam published its first policy plan Amsterdam Circular: Vision and roadmap for the city and regionin 2015. The emphasis was on organic waste and the built environment. It included 75 action points and its approach was positively evaluated in 2018 and a new report was published. It was decided to continue with the same emphasis with the addition of food and consumption. The addition of consumption was obvious, because Amsterdam had been making a strong case for the sharing economy for some time.
Shortly after the publication of the new report, Kate Raworth’s donut-principles made their entrance. Remarkably, none of the previous reports contain a reference to her work on the donut economics. In May 2019, the first fruit of the collaboration with Kate Raworth appeared, building on the report from the previous year. The collaboration resulted in a new report Building blocks for the new Amsterdam Circular 2020-2025 strategy, involving many stakeholders from the sectors, food and organic residual flows, consumption, and construction. It resulted in 17 building blocks, named 'development directions'.
This report was based on the original 2012 publication on the donut economy. However, there turned out to be one pitfall. The original donut model was designed for global-level applications, which, according to Kate Raworth, cannot be directly traced to the urban level. The social implications of behavior in one city not only affect this city itself, but also the rest of the world. The same applies to the ecological aspects.
As a next step Kate Raworth invited representatives from Amsterdam, Philadelphia and Portland to join a task force and discover what a city-level donut model looks like. In each of these cities, dozens of officials and citizens participated in an interactive process. The result was a new model that uses four lenses to view urban activities: The first and second resemble the original lenses but applied at the city level, for example, the impact of local industry on local nature. The third is how activities in a certain city had a negative social impact on the rest of the world, think for example of clothing, produced under poor conditions. The fourth is the impact of local actions on nature worldwide.
These activities resulted in a new publication, The city donut for Amsterdam. It is an instrument for change that can be applied more broadly than to circular policy. In this publication, the new donut model is mainly used as a conceptual model. Instead of exact calculations, snapshots are collected as illustrations.
While city representatives were busy developing the urban donut model, the work towards the circular city continued unabated, resulting in the publication of the final circular strategy for the period 2020 – 2025 and the action plan for the period 2020 – 2021 at almost the same time. In terms of content, these plans are in line with the publication of the building blocks-report from 2019, including the application of the 'old' donut model from 2012.
In the following, I use both the strategy and the action plan to show the role of digital tools. At the end, I come back to the future role of the city donut.
Digital techniques in the circular strategy of Amsterdam 2020 – 2025
I align with the three value chains: food and organic residual flows, consumption and the built environment that are central to the strategy. Three ambitions are formulated for each of these three, further detailed in several action directions, each containing several projects, most with measurable results to attain in 2021. In addition, a couple of projects are described, that bare related to types of companies, institutions and the port. Finally, there are overarching projects, in which I will again pay attention to digitization, also because the role of the city donut will become visible here.
Below I briefly describe the three value chains, name the three ambitions for each, and give references to digital tools that will play a role within each of the three value chains.
Value chain food and organic residual flows
The municipality wants to combat food waste and reuse organic residual flows as much as possible. The role of regionally produced (plant-based) food will be strengthened in line with the Amsterdam food strategy. In realizing its objectives, the municipality participates in an extensive European project, Rumore.
The three ambitions are: (V1) Short food chains provide a robust, sustainable sensory system, (V2) Healthy and sustainable food for Amsterdammers and (V3) Food and organic residual flows.
Examples of digital tools
• GROWx vertical farm is a farm that aims to achieve maximum returns by applying artificial intelligence to the indoor cultivation of food crops, among other things.
• Restore is a measurement system and simulation model for Amsterdam and surrounding municipalities and companies that provides insight into the financial, ecological, and social effects of various forms of composting and bio-fermentation, including the use of biomass.
• The InstockMarket platform will map (surplus) food flows and - if possible - predict them so that the catering industry can anticipate this when purchasing. The data from this project will be linked to the circular economy data platform
• The Platform www.Vanamsterdamsevloer.nl makes all local food initiatives (including food events) visible and residents of Amsterdam can share news about food and urban agriculture.
Value chain consumer goods
The emphasis is on consumer goods that contribute substantially to the depletion of rare raw materials, their production is polluting and often takes place under poor working conditions. In addition, the impact on climate change is significant. The emphasis is on electronics, textiles, and furniture because repair is also possible in each of these cases.
Furthermore, a lot of profit can be made by good collection and reuse through sharing and exchange.
Here too, a multi-year research project funded by the European Commission is important. The Reflow project maps data on flows of materials and develops processes and technology to support their implementation.
The ambitions are :(C1) The municipality is setting a good example and will consume less; (C2) Together we make the most of what we have and (C3) Amsterdam makes the most of discarded products.
Examples of digital tools
• The municipality will develop digital tools within the (purchasing) systems that support civil officers in circular procurement.
• The West-district supports www.warewesten.nl. This website brings together the sustainable fashion addresses of Amsterdam-West.
• Using artificial intelligence, among other things, it is being investigated how the lifespan of various goods can be extended so that they do not end up with bulky waste. This can be used, for example, on the municipal website to offer the option of first offering goods for sale or for giving via existing online platforms before they are registered as bulky waste.
• Indirectly, it is worth noting that the municipality wants to make the use of ICT more sustainable by purchasing less equipment (for example through 'hardware as a service'), extending the lifespan of equipment and reducing its energy consumption.
Value chain built environment
This value chain was also chosen because the municipality has an important voice in what and where is built and in the development of the public space. The municipality itself is also a major user of buildings.
In terms of the built environment, circular construction can be achieved through large-scale reuse of construction waste. By ensuring that buildings can be used for more purposes, their demolition can be slowed down. Sustainable materials can also be used in the design of public spaces – from roads and bridges to playgrounds. In addition, consideration could be given to the climate-adaptive design of the city, resulting in cleaner air and dealing with increasing heat and rainfall.
The ambitions are: (G1): We do circular development together; (G2) The municipality sets a good example and uses circular criteria; (G3) We deal circularly with the existing city.
Examples of digital tools
• Introduction of large-scale application of material passports to have the most complete information possible on material use in all phases of the life cycle of buildings. This is linked to national plans, among other things by providing all materials with an OR code.
• Research into the possibilities of a (national) online materials marketplace. Such a marketplace will influence (local) material hubs, such as the Amstel III construction hub and the creation of circular business cases.
• Providing insight into the supply (demolition, renovation) and demand (new construction, renovation) of circular building materials and thus of circular material flows.
• Creating a digital twin of the public space and the subsurface to be able to furnish and maintain it functionally and circularly.
• Research in digital production due to the rapid development of digital production techniques and their applications, such as robots and 3D printing.
• Research into making the construction, equipment and water and energy consumption of data centers more sustainable.
• Research into which data about residents and users of buildings can be made public and which data should remain private.
The municipality could further simplify the process of permit applications by digitizing everything, enabling applicants to upload the necessary municipal data and construction drawings and calculating the BREAAM score. This applies to both new and renovated buildings.
Overarching theme: Data platform and monitor circular economy
On the road to a circular economy, a lot of data will become available and just as much data is needed to help citizens, companies, and institutions to make sustainable choices and to determine whether the goal of 100% circularity by 2050 is within reach. That is why a data platform and monitor is being developed. This numerically maps all material, recycle, residual and waste flows that enter, leave, and go around the city. This also makes it possible to calculate the impact on CO2 emissions. The data from the material passports and the materials marketplace are also integrated herein, if possible. The monitor also includes social aspects such as health, education, and equality. Relevant data will be open and accessible, so that it can be used for the development of new innovations and applications by the municipality and third parties, also to connect with other urban transitions.
The monitor connects to the four lenses of the city donut of Amsterdam and will collect the data that is currently missing to provide full quantitative insight. This also concerns the environmental impact of all materials that Amsterdam imports for its own consumption. Where the city donut is currently only a partially quantified, the monitor will continuously provide insight into whether the municipality is staying within the ecological preconditions or where it falls short with regard to the minimum social requirements.
Amsterdam's circular strategy and the resulting action agenda is ambitious and will inspire many other cities. Because many projects are small- and medium scaled, it is not yet possible to assess to what extent the strategy and action agenda help to achieve the targets (50% circularity in 2030 and 100% in 2050). Commitment to the development of the monitor is therefore crucial and the municipality will also have to keep an open eye on the parallel actions that citizens, the business community, the port and other institutions must take to achieve their share. After all, becoming circular encompasses much more than food and organic waste, consumption, and construction.
To document the process of the City of Amsterdam's adaptation of circular policy and the contribution of Kate Raworth, I have put together a brief dossier. This includes references to (copies of) all relevant reports and an indication of their content. This file can be downloaded by following the link below.:
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