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With the research project 'From Prevention to Resilience' the Civic Interaction Design Research Group is exploring how public space and civic engagement can contribute to more resilient urban neighborhoods. And how local communities can become more resilient in the face of crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, global warming and biodiversity loss. Over the past months, this exploration has resulted in the development of a nature-inclusive design framework, which challenges and enables urban designers to not only consider ‘human’ residents within their scope but also ‘other-than-human’ residents. During this second public event at the Pakhuis de Zwijger, the research team will discuss what this framework brings to the practice of design professionals and how we could use it for new resilient strategies within city planning. Sign up below and join us for a thought provoking conversation.
Are you working on a project, art piece, cultural or social initiative that presents an inspirational vision for an inclusive, beautiful, and sustainable future? If so, the Festival of the New European Bauhaus is looking for you!
The Festival brings together people from all walks of life to debate and shape our future. A future that is sustainable, inclusive and beautiful. It is a great opportunity to network, exchange and celebrate – from science to art, from design to politics, from architecture to technology. It will feature debates, great speakers, artistic performances, exhibitions and networking opportunities.
How to be part of it
The Festival offers many opportunities for individuals and groups to get involved. Whether you want to present a project or initiative at the Fair, showcase artistic or cultural performances, or organise a side event in your own country, region or town. It is also possible to propose your venue to host an event within the festival, such as a project exhibit or an artistic performance.
Find out more and submit your application by March 21: https://new-european-bauhaus-festival.eu/
Op 22 maart organiseert The Present een event voor iedereen die wil ontdekken hoe zijn of haar kwaliteiten een bijdrage kunnen leveren aan een sociale en inclusieve samenleving. Tijdens deze middag vertelt Kees Klomp over het belang van de betekeniseconomie, delen ondernemers hun ervaringen en laten verscheidene bijzondere initiatieven zien hoe zij een bijdrage leveren aan het leven van anderen. Ontmoet gelijkgestemden en raak geïnspireerd door concrete voorbeelden van andere ondernemers. Ben jij klaar om te ondernemen voor de toekomst? Kom langs op 22 maart!
“Ondernemers staan voor visie, verandering en daadkracht. Precies de drie dingen die nodig zijn voor een duurzame en sociale toekomst.”
Over The Present
The Present (www.thepresent.world) is een ondernemersplatform met een frisse blik op ondernemerschap. Door middel van campagnes, events en actieve matchmaking helpt The Present ondernemers zich bewust(er) te worden van de positieve rol die zij kunnen spelen in de samenleving.
To finish my studies at Hotelschool The Hague, I am conducting a research project. My research examines how the level of self-efficacy of residents in intensively visited cities can influence the creation of social cohesion. Over the years, the city of Amsterdam has become flooded with tourists and will therefore be the main focus of this research.
Are you, or have you been, a resident of Amsterdam? Then please do take five minutes out of your day to share your experiences with me. It would mean a lot!
In case of any questions or remarks, do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Sharing is much appreciated and thank you very much in advance!
Link to the survey: https://lnkd.in/gtDReWrX
More than 50% of the European population currently lives in urban areas, a proportion that is projected to increase to almost 70% by 2050. Distributed small scale urban food growers can together make a difference in providing healthy food in cities, in a climate neutral and sustainable way. Zéger Nieuweboer, the founder of the urban food growers cooperation www.arnhemgroen.nl gave an interview about the YIMBY experience of small scale food growing.in the city.
The 17th edition of the Better cities - the role of digital technology series deals with strengthening local democracy through digitization.
In 1339, Ambrogio Lorenzetti completed his famous series of six paintings in the Town Hall of the Italian city of Siena, entitled The Allegory of Good and Bad Government. The above excerpt refers to the characteristics of good government: putting the interests of citizens first, renouncing self-interest, and integrity. But also developing a vision together with all those involved, transparency, justice and efficiently carrying out its many tasks.
In this article, I will discuss citizens’ involvement in government. The complaint is widely heard that democracy is reduced to voting once every few years and even then, it is not clear in advance what the policy of a new (city) government will be, due to the need to form coalitions. Digitization can substantially strengthen the citizen's input.
Being well-informed: the foundation of democracy
Digital channels are an excellent way to inform citizens, but digital disinformation and deepfakes are also on the rise. In this regard, YouTube has become notorious. Political microtargeting via Facebook has an uncontrollable impact and ruins the political debate. On the other hand, the 'Stemwijzer' app is a well-respected tool of informing citizens. Meanwhile, this tool has been adopted by a number of countries.
There are many other valuable digital sources of information, which increase the transparency of politics, for example by disclosing petty bribery, 'creative' accounting and preferential treatment. Prozorro (Ukraine) is a website that takes tenders away from the private sphere, My Society (UK) is an extensive collection of open source tools to hold those in power to account, Zašto (Serbia) is a website that compares statements of politicians with their actions and Funky Citizens (Romania) exposes irresponsible government spending, miscarriages of justice and forms of indecent political conduct.
Every time I am amazed at the fumbling with huge ballot-papers that then must be counted by hand. Estonia is leading the way here; people vote digitally from home without security risks. If this is not possible in other countries, then I have my doubts about the security of other digital applications
Estonia is the best example of far-reaching digitization of public and private services. Not only the usual municipal services, but also applying for building permits, registering for schools, health affairs, banking, taxes, police, and voting. All these things happen via one digital platform - X-road – that meets the highest security requirements. Data is stored in a decentral way via end-to-end encryption using blockchain technology. Citizens manage their own data.
More than voting
There is a widespread desire among citizens for greater involvement in political decision-making. This includes referenda and popular assemblies, which still take place in Swiss municipalities. But there is little room here for the exchange of views, let alone discussion. Moreover, several authors try to improve direct democracy by bypassing the role of political parties. In his book Against elections (2013), the Flemish political scientist David van Reybrouck proposes appointing representatives based on weighted lottery. A lottery alone does not yet provide a representative group, because never more than 10% of the chosen people respond to the invitation. What remains is a predominantly indigenous group, over 50 years of age with higher education, interested in politics.
The strength of citizens' forums is that they enable deliberation between independent citizens rather than representatives of political parties, who are bound in every way by coalition agreements.
Van Reybrouck’s ideas have been adopted in different ways and in different places, but always as a complement to representative democracy. Citizens' forums have achieved good results in Ireland. There are also several examples in the Netherlands. The biggest bottleneck has been the acceptance of the results by established political bodies. In April 2021, a committee led by Alex Brenninkmeijer advised positive about the value of citizens' forums in climate policy in an advisory report to the House of Representatives.
Another interesting option is liquid democracy. Here, like direct democracy, citizens can vote on all issues. However, they can also transfer their vote to someone else, who they believe is more involved. This person can also transfer the received mandates. With secure IT, this is easy to organize. Examples of useful apps include Adhocracy (Germany), a platform for participation, collaboration and idea generation, Licracy, a virtual people's parliament, Sovrin, an open source decentralized protocol for any kind of organization. Insights Management Tool is an application for converting opinions of a large amounts of citizens into 'insights' that can benefit politicians. I will add a few more applications, which are mainly intended for cities: EngageCitizens (many South European cities including Braga, Portugal), an application that enables citizens to submit ideas and discuss them in virtual discussion groups, Active Citizens (Moscow), an application where residents can participate in referendums, CitizenLab, a medium for citizens to discuss ideas about local issues. Finally, I refer to the comprehensive applications Decide Madrid and Decidem (Barcelona), which I have discussed elsewhere.
All these apps increase the involvement of part of the citizens in government. These are usually highly educated. Meetings are held in Madrid and Barcelona to let underprivileged residents also make their voices heard.
Due to the many and complicated tasks that city authorities must deal with and the often equally complicated decision making in the city council, it is not easy create room for decentralized citizen participation. Several cities try to improve citizen participation in political decentralization. The establishment of city districts with their own administrative bodies often leads to power struggles between central and decentralized politicians, without residents gaining more influence.
According to Jan Schrijver, the centralized administrative culture of Amsterdam the city’s ideals of citizen participation often clashes even though the impressive amount of policy instruments to promote participation: Initiating a referendum has been made more accessible, social initiatives can be subsidized, and confirmed in neighborhood rights, including the 'right to challenge' and neighborhoods have a budget of their own.
Very recently, a 'mini-citizen deliberation' was held under the leadership of Alex Brenninkmeijer on the concrete question of how Amsterdam can accelerate the energy transition. This meeting was very productive, and the participants were satisfied with the progress. It will become clear soon whether the city council will adopt the proposals.
A city of commons
Democratization is mostly conceived of as a decision-making process, the result of which the municipal organization carries out. The ultimate step of democratization, after decentralization, is autonomy: Residents not only decide on, for example, playgrounds in their neighborhood, they also ensure that these are provided. Increasingly, the latter is formally established in the right to challenge. For example, a group of residents demonstrates that they can perform a previously municipal task better and often cheaper themselves. This is a significant step on the participation ladderfrom participating in decision-making autonomy.
In Italy this process has boomed, and the city of Bologna has become a stronghold of urban commons. Citizens become designers, managers, and users of some municipal tasks. Creating green areas, converting an empty house into affordable units for students, the elderly, or migrants, operating a minibus service, cleaning, and maintaining the city walls, refurbishing parts of the public space and much more.
From 2011, commons have been given a formal status. The most important instruments in this regard are cooperation-pacts. In each pact, city authorities and the parties involved (informal groups, NGOs, schools, entrepreneurs) lay down agreements about their activities, responsibilities, and power. Hundreds of pacts have been signed since the regulation was adopted. The city provides what the citizens need - money, material, housing, advice - and the citizens make their time, skills, and organizational capacity available. In some cases, commons also have a commercial purpose, for example the revitalization of a shopping street by the entrepreneurs established there. In that case, they often unite in a cooperative.
Only a limited number of people feel attracted to talk along the lines of politics, but many more people want to do something. This is at the roots of the success of the commons-movement. This explains the success of the commons-movement in Italy and elsewhere.
Democracy after the commons
The commons-movement might influence urban governance in the longer term. The Italian political scientist Christian Iaione predicts the emergence of a city of commons. Here, all most urban tasks are performed by commons and cooperatives. The city is a network of both, decision-making is decentralized and deconcentrated.
A similar idea The city as a platform has emerged in the US coming from a completely different direction. Instead of simply voting every few years and leaving city administration to elected officials and expert bureaucrats, the networked city sees citizens as co designers, co-producers, and co-learners, according to Stefaan Verhulst, co-founder of GovLab. In the city as a platform residents look individually and collectively for new and better ways to meet their needs and enliven public life. These may be neighborhood-based initiatives, for example the redevelopment of a neighborhood or city-wide initiatives, for example cooperative of taxi drivers, competing with Uber.
Without saying it in so many words, everyone involved sees both the city of commons and the city as a platform as an opportunity to make citizens the engine of urban development again instead of multinational companies. But in view of the (financial) power of these companies, it could also turn out that they appropriate the city. We have already experienced this once when a sympathetic and democratic sharing platform such as Airbnb grew into a multinational enterprise with a far-reaching impact on urban life. For the time being, therefore, city administrators can best focus on enabling and supporting citizens' joint action to make cities more beautiful, liveable, and sustainable.
The above builds on two essays included in my e-book Cities of the Future: Always humane, smart if helpful. The first essay Strengthening Urban Democracy – The Well-Governed City elaborates on the concepts of direct democracy, decentralization and autonomy and describes digital applications for both improving services and urban democracy. The second essay Citizens' Initiatives – City of the Commons extensively examines activities in various places in the world to increase the involvement of residents in their place of residence, and in that context discusses in detail the idea behind 'commons'. The e-book can be downloaded by following the link below.
Last year the city of Amsterdam released its “Digital City Agenda” showcasing 22 initiatives that aim to protect the digital rights of our fellow citizens. This year, Amsterdam will be one of the first municipalities to ever host a new online public register of sensors to inform its residents and visitors what kind of data is being collected from public space - and most importantly where these sensors are located. In the next 6 months, the municipality will be informing the business community about this new obligation and how it will be enforced.
Between the “Digital City Agenda” and the “Sensor Register” we begin to witness a blurry intersection between privacy protections of the online and offline world we inhabit. As a smart city activist, I was intrigued how these municipal ambitions could be manifested into the design profession. And if so, how architects or urban planners could be involved in this debate.
As Arcam’s Architect in Residence I look forward to the opportunity to ask my fellow architects and urban planners these kinds of thorny questions.
If you are interested in this topic join me and and Indira van 't Klooster on our upcoming talk on privacy and personal data with four national political parties Bij1 , GroenLinks, D66 and Volt who are participating in upcoming Amsterdam municipal elections. See the program and register for “Election Discussion on Privacy in the Public Space” event Saturday, 12 March 2022. Here: https://arcam.nl/events/verkiezingsgesprek-privacy-in-de-publieke-ruimte/
The 16th episode of the series Building sustainable cities - The contribution of digital technology reveals what can happen if the power of artificial intelligence is not used in a responsible manner.
The fight against crime in the United States, has been the scene of artificial intelligence’s abuse for years. As will become apparent, this is not only the result of bias. In episode 11, I discussed why artificial intelligence is a fundamentally new way of using computers. Until then, computers were programmed to perform operations such as structuring data and making decisions. In the case of artificial intelligence, they are trained to do so. However, it is still people who design the instructions (algorithms) and are responsible for the outcomes, although the way in which the computer performs its calculations is increasingly becoming a 'black box'.
Applications of artificial intelligence in the police
Experienced detectives are traditionally trained to compare the 'modus operandi' of crimes to track down perpetrators. Due to the labor-intensive nature of the manual implementation, the question soon arose as to whether computers could be of assistance. A first attempt to do so in 2012 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology resulted in grouping past crimes into clusters that were likely to have been committed by the same perpetrator(s). When creating the algorithm, the intuition of experienced police officers was the starting point. Sometimes it was possible to predict where and when a burglar might strike, leading to additional surveillance and an arrest.
These first attempts were soon refined and taken up by commercial companies. The two most used techniques that resulted are predictive policing (PredPol) and facial recognition.
In the case of predictive policing, patrols are given directions in which neighborhood or even street they should patrol at a given moment because it has been calculated that the risk of crimes (vandalism, burglary, violence) is then greatest. Anyone who behaves 'suspiciously' risks to be arrested. Facial recognition plays also an important role in this.
Both predictive policing and facial recognition are based on a "learning set" of tens of thousands of "suspicious" individuals. At one point, New York police had a database of 48,000 individuals. 66% of those were black, 31.7% were Latino and only 1% were white. This composition has everything to do with the working method of the police. Although drug use in cities in the US is common in all neighborhoods, policing based on PredPol and similar systems is focused on a few neighborhoods (of color). Then, it is not surprising that most drug-related crimes are retrieved there and, as a result, the composition of the database became even more skewed.
In these cases, 'bias' is the cause of the unethical effect of the application of artificial intelligence. Algorithms always reflect the assumptions, views, and values of their creators. They do not predict the future, but make sure that the past is reproduced. This also applies to applications outside the police force. The St. George Hospital Medical School in London has employed disproportionately many white males for at least a decade because the leather set reflected the incumbent staff. The criticized Dutch System Risk Indication System also uses historical data about fines, debts, benefits, education, and integration to search more effectively for people who abuse benefits or allowances. This is not objectionable but should never lead to 'automatic' incrimination without further investigation and the exclusion of less obvious persons.
The simple fact that the police have a disproportionate presence in alleged hotspots and are very keen on any form of suspicious behavior means that the number of confrontations with violent results has increased rapidly. In 2017 alone, police crackdowns in the US resulted in an unprecedented 1,100 casualties, of which only a limited number of whites. In addition, the police have been engaged in racial profiling for decades. Between 2004-2012, the New York Police Department checked more than 4.4 million residents. Most of these checks resulted in no further action. In about 83% of the cases, the person was black or Latino, although the two groups together make up just over half of the population. For many citizens of colour in the US, the police do not represent 'the good', but have become part of a hostile state power.
In New York, in 2017, a municipal provision to regulate the use of artificial intelligence was proposed, the Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act (POST). The Legal Defense and Educational Fund, a prominent US civil rights organization, urged the New York City Council to ban the use of data made available because of discriminatory or biased enforcement policies. This wish was granted in June 2019, and this resulted in the number of persons included in the database being reduced from 42,000 to 18,000. It concerned all persons who had been included in the system without concrete suspicion.
San Francisco, Portland, and a range of other cities have gone a few steps further and banned the use of facial recognition technology by police and other public authorities. Experts recognize that the artificial intelligence underlying facial recognition systems is still imprecise, especially when it comes to identifying the non-white population.
The societal roots of crime
Knowledge of how to reduce bias in algorithms has grown, but instead of solving the problem, awareness has grown into a much deeper problem. It is about the causes of crime itself and the realization that the police can never remove them.
Crime and recidivism are associated with inequality, poverty, poor housing, unemployment, use of alcohol and drugs, and untreated mental illness. These are also dominant characteristics of neighborhoods with a lot of crime. As a result, residents of these neighborhoods are unable to lead a decent life. These conditions are stressors that influence the quality of the parent-child relationship too: attachment problems, insufficient parental supervision, including tolerance of alcohol and drugs, lack of discipline or an excess of authoritarian behavior. All in all, these conditions increase the likelihood that young people will be involved in crime, and they diminish the prospect of a successful career in school and elsewhere.
The ultimate measures to reduce crime in the longer term and to improve security are: sufficient income, adequate housing, affordable childcare, especially for 'broken families' and unwed mothers and ample opportunities for girls' education. But also, care for young people who have encountered crime for the first time, to prevent them from making the mistake again.
This will not solve the problems in the short term. A large proportion of those arrested by the police in the US are addicted to drugs or alcohol, are severely mentally disturbed, have serious problems in their home environment - if any - and have given up hope for a better future. Based on this understanding, the police in Johnson County, Kansas, have been calling for help from mental health professionals for years, rather than handcuffing those arrested right away. This approach has proved successful and caught the attention of the White House during the Obama administration. Lynn Overmann, who works as a senior advisor in the president’s technology office, has therefore started the Data-Driven Justice Initiative. The immediate reason was that the prisons appeared to be crowded by seriously disturbed psychiatric patients. Coincidentally, Johnson County had an integrated data system that stores both crime and health data. In other cities, these are kept in incomparable data silos. Together with the University of Chicago Data Science for Social Good Program, artificial intelligence was used to analyze a database of 127,000 people. The aim was to find out, based on historical data, which of those involved was most likely to be arrested within a month. This is not with the intention of hastening an arrest with predictive techniques, but instead to offer them targeted medical assistance. This program was picked up in several cities and in Miami it resulted in a 40% reduction in arrests and the closing of an entire prison.
What does this example teach? The rise of artificial intelligence caused Wire editor Chris Anderson to call it the end of the theory. He couldn't be more wrong! Theory has never disappeared; at most it has disappeared from the consciousness of those who work with artificial intelligence. In his book The end of policing, Alex Vitale concludes: Unless cities alter the police's core functions and values, use by police of even the most fair and accurate algorithms is likely to enhance discriminatory and unjust outcomes (p. 28). Ben Green adds: The assumption is: we predicted crime here and you send in police. But what if you used data and sent in resources? (The smart enough city, p. 78).
The point is to replace the dominant paradigm of identifying, prosecuting and incarcerating criminals with the paradigm of finding potential offenders in a timely manner and giving them the help, they need. It turns out that it's even cheaper. The need for the use of artificial intelligence is not diminishing, but the training of the computers, including the composition of the training sets, must change significantly. It is therefore recommended that diverse and independent teams design such a training program based on a scientifically based view of the underlying problem and not leaving it to the police itself.
This article is a condensed version of an earlier article The Safe City (September 2019), which you can read by following the link below, supplemented with data from Chapter 4 Machine learning's social and political foundationsfrom Ben Green's book The smart enough city (2020).
In the first part of the series, I explained why digital technology 'for the good' is a challenge. The second part dealt with ethical criteria behind its responsible use. In the third part I have selected important field that will benefit from the responsible application of digital technology:
16 Abuse of artificial intelligence by the police in the US. More than bias
17 How can digital tools help residents to regain ownership of the city?
18 Will MaaS reduce the use of cars?
19 Digital tools as enablers towards a circular economy
20 Smart grids: where social and digital innovation meet
21 Risks and opportunities of digitization in healthcare
22 Two 100-city missions: Ill-considered leaps forward
23 Epilogue: Beyond the smart city
The link below enables you to open all previous episodes, also in Dutch language.
Typisch stedelijke vraagstukken worden steeds complexer en vragen om veelzijdige en snel-schakelende professionals die over hun expertise heen succesvol kunnen samenwerken. Bestaat er ondanks alle verschillen een gedeelde identiteit in stedelijk werken? Wat maakt (toekomstig) professionals stadsbekwaam? En – net zo belangrijk – welke (woon)ruimte en waardering biedt de stad eigenlijk aan haar professionals?
Tijdens de talkshow 'De Stad als Professie’ onderzoeken we deze dynamiek tussen stad en professional. Door middel van tafelgesprekken, discussies en prikkelende sprekers duiken we in hedendaagse kwesties rondom het werken in de stad en benoemen we oplossingsrichtingen. Dit alles aan de vooravond van de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.
The 15th episode of the Better cities - The contribution of digital technology- series is about collaboration between Dutch cities within the City Deals in the Agenda stad en regio project.
Over the past years, the interest Dutch municipalities in digitization at urban level has increased, partly because of the initiating role of the VNG, G40, the Future City Foundation and forerunners such as Apeldoorn, Helmond, and Zwolle as well. Initially, these were small-scale and isolated projects. In this post, I'll discuss two projects that aim at scaling through collaboration.
A mission-driven approach to public sector projects
In her new book, Mission Economy, Mariana Mazzucato advocates a mission-driven approach to public sector projects at the local level in the way that a man was put on the moon. She refers at large-scale projects with a high degree of complexity, such as the energy transition, the construction of affordable housing, the well-being of the poor part of the population and the conservation of nature.
What is a mission-driven approach? At first, it includes an ambitious vision, followed by breaking down silos within the governmental organization, collaboration within the quadruple helix, and cooperation between higher and lower governments.
A mission-driven approach is appropriate for the major transitions facing the world and digitization as a part of these. The following pertains to a couple of projects that aim at such an approach. The first, Agenda city and region has been running for some time and will be dealt with extensively. The other is initiated by G40 will be discussed briefly.
Agenda stad and City deals
In Agenda city and region, cities, governments at different levels, companies, and organizations, including the VNG, G4, G40 and Platform31, work together to drive innovation in cities. The mission is summarized in SDG 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. The most important instrument are City Deals: collaborative ventures around a themes.
The first City Deals started in 2016, there are now 27, about half of which have been completed, but six new ones are about to start. 125 municipalities, 8 provinces, 9 ministries, 10 other government agencies, 5 water boards, more than 100 companies, 30 knowledge institutions and more than 20 other partnerships are involved. There are now 14 partnerships with municipalities outside the Netherlands.
Examples of City Deals are: Working and doing business across borders, cleantech, food on the urban agenda, local resilience against cybercrime, inner city building, the inclusive city, and smart city, that's how you do it. The latter will be discussed below.
Within a City Deal, the parties involved work together in their own way on concrete products, ranging from legislation to policy instruments. The main principles are:
- Formulating an ambition and a strategy.
- Enabling scaling through cooperation between and/or within (urban) regions.
- Realizing collaboration between public and private parties, including the central government
- Innovating by realizing new forms of problem-solving.
- Scaling up, also across national borders.
City Deals also work together and new deals are created from among them, such as ‘Smart customization', a new City Deal that arises from the existing City Deals 'Simple customization' and 'Smart city, that is how you do it'. If I had to imagine how a moonshot works, which I referred to in the introduction of this article, then Agenda city and region could be a good example.
City deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it'
The goal of this City Deal, as we read in the annual report, is to use digitization to tackle the major challenges facing Europe and the Netherlands, such as poverty, social cohesion, and insecurity, and to achieve a society in which everyone can live in freedom. 60 parties are now involved in this City Deal.
The aim is to change at least 12 processes by which regions, cities and towns are designed, organized, managed, and governed, and to make the most of the opportunities offered by digitization. The starting point is the existing practice and aimed at matching city’s demands.
The City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', has 14 working groups. Each of those have chosen which a process to tackle, on the understanding that three municipalities must be prepared to test the results and can be scaled eventually. The City Deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it' has been underway for almost two years now, and the processes to be tackled have crystallized. In a few cases prototypes are ready, most are under development. Below is a brief description of the situation on November 15th, 2021. A lively description of some participants’ experience can be read in ROMmagazine, volume 39, no. 11.
1. Open urban data platform
This project is developing a procedure for tendering an open data platform, which is shareable and scalable, in which privacy and data autonomy are guaranteed and that offers sufficient precautions for cybersecurity. The result will be a step-by-step plan, in which technical questions (what it will looks like), legal questions (who is the owner) and financial questions (funding) are discussed.
2. Cookbook for effective data strategy
This project develops a procedure for the acquisition and storage of data. A 'data cookbook' has been developed that supports the collection, storage, and application of data. It offers an 11-step plan from the formulation of a measurable questions to the interpretation of the measurement results. It accentuates the importance to make explicit the assumptions behind the selection of data. The usability of the steps is tested in practice. A first concept can be found here.
3. Smart initiatives test
The aim of this project is to allow initiators (citizens, companies) to make optimal use of available public data, including those that will be provided by the DSO (digitaal stelsel omgevingswet). The DSO will provide information about which rules apply at a specific location and ultimately also about the quality of the physical living environment itself. Ideally, the ‘smart initiatives test’ will collect and optimize all data needed for a plan. The project group is currently investigating which types of (geo) data users need most ('usercases').
4. Sensor data and privacy
The aim of the project is to develop a tool that allows a municipality to tender for the installation of sensors that exactly match the type of data that will be collected and that consider ethical questions and GDPR rules.
5. Design of the new city
The growing availability of various types of (real-time) data, for example about air quality and noise pollution) has implications for the way in which cities and neighborhoods are developed. The working group is developing a canvas that functions as a ‘translator' of available data. The starting point for its development was a matrix with as inputs the phases of the design process (initiative, design and realization phase) and the area type (urban, Randstad and suburban area). This matrix must indicate which data is needed at what time. The usability will be tested through pilots.
6. Everyone (and everything) a sensor
Citizen measurement initiatives (via telephones and with sensors attached to bicycles, cars, and homes) have a double goal: to increase citizen’s involvement and to improve the insight into living environment of those who execute the measurement. It can also contribute to behavioral change, especially if the measurements match the needs of residents and they are also involved in the interpretation of the results. The working group is striving for a roadmap based on several user cases.
7. Local measurement: comparing projects
Measuring data locally – as was done in the previous project – may be redundant if data from elsewhere is available. In that case, comparability is required with data being searched for and standardization is needed to enable such a comparison. However, standardization can lead to mistrust and remove the incentive for resident groups to get started themselves. Ultimately, the working group opts for the development of a self-service portal, which will be developed together with the Healthy Urban Living Data and Knowledge Hub. Resident groups can then choose for themselves to participate in a standardized project that reads their measurement results directly or for a 'do-it-yourself' solution. A manual will be written for this last option.
Both projects are being further developed in collaboration with Eurocities, a network of 190 cities in 38 countries, under the name CitiMeasure - using citizen measurement to create smart, sustainable and inclusive cities.
8. Smart mobility: Towards a safe and sustainable city
Digitization in traffic has already taken off, for example by intelligent traffic systems (IVRIs), but usually the existing situation, for example private use of cars, is the starting point. The question is how to connect to the pursuit of a better quality of life. To this end, the working group has chosen three themes: better accessibility for emergency services, shared mobility, and city logistics.
A step-by-step plan is being developed for emergency services, with which municipalities can realize the necessary facilities to always priorize emergency vehicles – and possibly other target groups as well.
If everyone were to travel with the most suitable means of transport at that time (varying from walking, (shared) bicycle or scooter, public transport to (shared) car, private car use would decrease considerably and thus improve the quality of city live. Additionally, the working group is developing a 'map' to encourage shared mobility, which provides answers to all related questions.
Developments in city logistics are already taking place via other routes. Therefore, the contribution of the working group in this regard will be limited.
9. A business model for the smart city
New forms of collaboration between governments, the business community, knowledge institutions and citizens can result in new 'values' for areas, but also to the need to allocate costs and benefits in a different way. A new 'business model' may then be necessary. To this end, the working group is investigating the consequences for companies and organizations of entering partnerships for the successful development of products and services. This compared to more traditional client/contractor relationships.
10 Ethical Boards
Within the City Deal 'A smart city, this is how you do it', a rule is that digital instruments to be developed always comply with ethical principles. The implications of such principles are often situational. That is why municipalities are setting up an 'ethical board', which includes experts and residents. To support its work, the committee wants to create a knowledge platform that informs which ethical principles or tools suit best for different digitization projects.
11 Model Acquisition
Local authorities want to regulate the use of digital tools such as sensors in public spaces. Anita Nijboer, who works as a lawyer at Kennedy Van der Laan, who is also a partner of the City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', has drawn up a model regulation for this purpose, which has already been tested in Rotterdam and Helmond. The most important learning effect is that departments within a municipality have fundamentally different view of the way in which these types of questions should be legally framed. In response to this, the working group is examining the question of whether a model regulation is an appropriate answer to obtaining consent for the use of digital tools.
12 Dealing with crowds in the city
Measuring (too large) crowds in parts of the city was a problem long before corona times. The aim is to develop a digital model ('digital twin') of the city - a so-called crowd safety manager - that provides real-time insight into pedestrian flows and concentrations. Such a model must also be able to communicate with people in the city. A prototype of a dashboard, developed by partner company Argaleo, is now being used in 's-Hertogenbosch, Breda and The Hague. This instrument does not use any personal data. It is being further developed at European level with external subsidies.
The instruments to be developed and existing instruments have been brought together via a website, the Toolbox. Other City Deals also develop knowledge, which is far from being systematically documented. That is why the best way to distribute this knowledge is investigated together with the Knowledge Lab for Urbanism.
G40: Smart sustainable urbanization
In March 2021, G40, the umbrella organization of 40 medium-sized municipalities, submitted a project proposal to promote digitalization and thus also create opportunities to the business community.
The project plan rejects the current approach of 'smart urbanization' and the realization of 'main social tasks'. Decentralization, broadening of tasks, narrowing of implementation funds and a fragmented central government policy have led to an impeding control gap and financing deficit in municipalities. Instead, a bundled approach is wanted, led by representatives of municipalities and central government, and the latter is being asked to invest € 1 billion.
When studying this plan, I was surprised by the absence of any reference to the activities of Agenda city and regioand the City Deals. Instead, one wonders whether Agenda city and region is the subject of criticism of the fragmented approach and G40 wants to get rid of it.
The strength of Agenda city and region is the cross connections between urban projects of all kinds, the involvement of citizens and intermunicipal cooperation. This is something to cherish.
In my opinion, G40 would be better off by ushering in a new phase of Agenda city and region, characterized by economies of scale and acceleration of the findings so far. The aims of this new phase could be consolidation of the cohesion between the themes of the individual City Deals within the framework of the major transitions facing the Netherlands. The theme of digitization thrives best in this context. After all, the ultimate value of digitization lies in the contribution to the energy transition, the reduction of traffic nuisance and the growth of a circular economy, to name a few examples. However, that requires a different plan.
In the meantime, I hope that in the foreseeable future we will be able to see the results of the working groups of the City Deal 'Smart city, this is how you do it', together with those of the other 'Deals'.
Follow the link below to find one of the previous episodes or see which episodes are next, and this one for the Dutch version.
UPDATE: MARCH 17
There is still time to participate in the #Waterchallenge. The current timeline is:
• March 30, 11:00-12:00 (UTC+1): Q&A session 2
• April 10: deadline contributions
• April 19, 14:00-17:00 (UTC+1): The three best scoring contributions will present for the jury
What if you could predict your house being flooded, so you can take measures to prevent this?
Does this seem far-fetched? It is not.
Most of the data to be able to do this is readily available, however most people are not aware and the data is sometimes difficult to understand. Take on the SCOREwater* #WaterChallenge and make this and other important water data accessible for everyone.
Participation in the #WaterChallenge is open to all: students, researchers, professionals, citizens etc. You can join this challenge as an individual or as a team of maximum 4.
Read more on the challenge website: https://www.scorewater.eu/waterchallenge
* This challenge is connected to the EU-funded (Horizon 2020) research and innovation project SCOREwater. It focusses on enhancing the resilience of cities against climate change and urbanisation by enabling a water smart society. The project develops smart (sensor based) solutions in three different cities, Amersfoort (Netherlands), Barcelona (Spain) and Göteborg (Sweden). The overarching vision is to link the physical and digital world for city water management solutions.
YIMBY Arnhem! is a bottom-up movement aiming at small scale food growing in the city of Arnhem (NL). The 10 ten years of green YIMBY Arnhem! experience shows the fun and cooperation of growing food in the city. The YIMBY experience also shows that in time small initiatives grow to major results in empowering green people in the city. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to live in a fully circular and sustainable city?
Around the world, cities are testing out real-life solutions to urban challenges in small open innovation ecosystems that allow them to demonstrate circular principles in action.
Learn more about how cities are embracing experimentation.
Register for the online event | As cities worldwide attract more and more people, public space is coming increasingly under pressure. To create liveable cities now and in the future, we need to find ways to address the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and other urban challenges. There are many ideas already out there, we want cities to share these ideas. In recent months, the Netherlands has called on its embassies, NBSOs and other representatives to use their networks to collect these ideas on the Closer Cities platform.
We have invited urban experts to an interactive online event to discuss:
Solving Urban Challenges Together: Best practices for liveable cities
Date: 14 February 2022
Time: 14.30-16.00 CET
Location: Online -Register here
For practical reasons, the programme is prerecorded. During the webcast on 14 February, we have an interactive chat open so speakers can answer your questions.
Who can attend
This online event is highly interesting for policymakers of governments, employees of companies, representatives of civil society and intergovernmental organisations active in the field of city development and urban resilience.
What to expect
At this interactive online event, we hear from urban experts on vital cities, citizens' initiatives, inclusive innovation and the importance of sharing. We share with you the lessons learned by the Closer Cities platform. We give the floor to urban actors who will relate their experiences. We also dive into how projects can be shared and adapted to be implemented elsewhere in the world. During the event, prizes will be awarded to the best urban solutions.
We look forward to seeing you on 14 February. Let's #solveurbanchallenges together
On behalf of the Netherlands,
Netherlands Enterprise Agency
Closer Cities and partners
As cities worldwide attract more and more people, public space is coming increasingly under pressure. Climate change and rapid urbanisation are intensifying the problems faced by people living in urban areas. As governments around the world look to build back better, we want to help them by sharing great ideas online.
Watch our short campaign video.
Why: creating greater impact
As a small country, the Netherlands is committed to achieving the world’s sustainable development and climate goals by sharing ideas and working together to overcome challenges. By sharing our knowledge and expertise with our international partners, and learning from others, the Netherlands can create greater impact. That's why we have devised a series of symbolic actions. This symbolic action 'Connected Cities' seeks to help urban areas develop resilience by sharing solutions online.
What: sharing urban ideas and best practices
We are calling on urban innovators, inventors, creatives, makers, startups, scale ups, do-gooders and anyone else with a great idea to share it via the Closer Cities platform. Closer Cities is a non-profit initiative supported by the Easmus Initiative Vital Cities Citizens, the Institute for Housing and Development Studies and Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies and Leiden - Delft Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities.
How: What you can do?
Each and every day, the most amazing and impactful developments are made in cities around the globe. But all too often they go unnoticed. This is a real pity, since many of these projects are worth sharing. We need to make great projects that the world should know about more visible. The idea or project needs to meet the following criteria:
- Is this idea shareable and repeatable?
- Does it address the SDGs, climate change, wellbeing, diversity, youth, housing or education?
- Or does it just make the city a better place?
Projects at any stage of development will be accepted. Remember no Dutch involvement is required. It’s all about cities helping other cities to improve. At the same time, you become part of a bigger movement helping the transition towards creating liveable cities. Closer Cities will conduct scientific research into which factors drive successful sharing. By sharing ideas online, we can help solve global challenges together. If you know about ideas that help achieve the sustainable development goals, address climate change or just make the world a better place, then we want to hear about it on the Closer Cities website.
How can you submit a project
Simply follow the steps and fill in the form (takes approximately 30 minutes).
Step 1. Go to the Closer Cities website
Step 2. Click on Share a project
Step 3. Fill in the questionnaire (project form) and share!
Make sure you submit the ideas by the end of January! The best five ideas will be selected for a prize awarded during an online webinar on 14 February 2022.
Want to find out more about urban solutions? Join our interactive online event on Monday 14 February 14.30 - 16.00 CET on Solving Urban Challenges Together. During the event, you will hear from city innovators, urban experts, scientists, and urban innovators pitching their ideas. Register here.
If projects from your network join the campaign, let us know which ones they are! Or if you have any questions or suggestions? Contact the NL Branding team.
Applications for the 2022 New European Bauhaus prizes are open. Following the success of the first prizes that received more than 2,000 applications last year, the 2022 edition will celebrate new inspiring examples of the transformations the initiative wants to bring about in our daily lives, living spaces and experiences. As in the first edition, the New European Bauhaus prizes 2022 will award young talents' ideas as well as existing projects for sustainability, inclusiveness and aesthetics bringing the European Green deal to people and local communities.
Prizes will be awarded to projects and ideas that contribute to beautiful, sustainable and inclusive places, in four categories:
- Reconnecting with nature;
- Regaining a sense of belonging;
- Prioritising the places and people that need it most;
- Fostering long-term, lifecycle and integrated thinking in the industrial ecosystem.
Applications are open until 28 February 2022 at 19:00 CET.
For more information and to submit your application visit: https://prizes.new-european-bauhaus.eu/
From February 16 to 18, 2022 AMS Institute hosts the scientific conference "Reinventing the City". Working on urban challenges requires cooperation on a multi-stakeholder level. This is what we do as an institute, and is also the primary goal of the conference. "To share and discuss multidisciplinary insights and inspire each other to take actionable steps towards sustainable urban transformations."
The conference will bring together over 200 urban innovators ranging from scientists, policymakers, students to industry partners. We will discuss how cities can transform their systems on a metropolitan scale, to become more livable, resilient, sustainable and offer economic stability. Don't miss out on this amazing event, and register now.
This is event is hosted by AMS Institute in collaborations with the City of Amsterdam.
Cities occupy just 3% of the earth’s land surface, but are home to more than half of the world’s population. When we envision cities of the future, interconnectedness with nature, communities, and resources is at the heart of it all. Our team put together a cities vision taking us on a vivid journey to a city in 2050. Lush, green, healthy, sustainable, and livable.
We hope that tangible, and positive image of what cities could look like in the future can bring different groups together, to build the right conditions and drive the actions to achieve it. Our vision is one of many such images, and we would love to hear from you about what you like, dislike, and what your city of the future looks like. In particular, we'd like to move away from a techno-futurist ideal.
Cities of tomorrow will emerge from the cities of today. Just as important as the conversations about what we would like to change, are the conversations about what we would like to keep! What would you keep, from your current city, for decades to come? Take a look and let us know what you think!
Vele steden hebben de overlast van ratten beheersbaar gekregen met de Smart Rioolvallen. In deze webinar vertellen we waarom rattenoverlast toeneemt, waarom traditionele bestrijding vaak te kort schiet. Benieuwd welke Smart Cities al gebruik maken van de slimme oplossingen van Anticimex? Met Rando Kromkamp en Smart City Specialist Marcel Scheel. Kosteloos en anoniem
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