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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
At the end of its production process, waste or “output” produced by one company can be reborn into a valuable raw material or “input” for another.
This process is called “Industrial symbiosis”.
Learn more about it in the link below.
Weet jij als geen ander mensen te verbinden en te inspireren? Wil jij bijdragen aan het versnellen van de transities op het gebied van mobiliteit, energie, circulaire economie en digitalisering? Kom dan het Amsterdam Smart City team versterken.
Voor ons kernteam (bestaande uit 5 mensen) zijn wij per direct op zoek naar een nieuw teamlid Programmamedewerker Energie & Circulair (24 -28 uur per week).
Wie zijn wij?
Amsterdam Smart City is een onafhankelijk innovatieplatform dat innovatieve bedrijven, kennisinstellingen, maatschappelijke organisaties, overheden en proactieve bewoners samenbrengt en de stad van de toekomst vormgeeft.
Dit doen wij met een netwerk van 27 partners die werken aan een betere, duurzame en toekomstbestendige wereld. Daarnaast hebben we een internationale community van meer dan 8000 pioniers en innovatie professionals die elkaar op de verschillende thema’s ontmoeten en verder helpen. Door al deze partijen te verbinden, en met hen het gesprek te voeren over de grote uitdagingen in onze regio, komen we tot innovatieve oplossingen die bijdragen aan betere straten, buurten en steden.
Wij zijn ervan overtuigd dat de veranderingen die nodig zijn voor de vooruitgang van de stad en regio alleen gerealiseerd kunnen worden door samen te werken. Onze activiteiten zijn daarom gericht op het faciliteren van deze samenwerking, zodat partijen samen tastbare en duurzame innovaties tot stand kunnen brengen. Amsterdam Smart City richt zich met name op vier transitieopgaves: mobiliteit, de digitale stad, energie en circulaire economie.
Wat ga je doen?
Binnen het Amsterdam Smart City netwerk krijg jij glansrol in het realiseren van innovatie samenwerkingen. Dit doe je zowel als verbinder als aanjager. Als verbinder breng je onze diverse partners samen op verschillende onderwerpen binnen de thema’s Energie en Circulair. Je haalt op wat er speelt en probeert de behoeften, knelpunten, lopende initiatieven en potentiële oplossingen te vertalen tot een gezamenlijk en gedragen vraagstuk.
Vervolgens help jij als aanjager de partners verder om hier samen mee aan de slag te gaan. Daarvoor organiseer je verschillende soorten bijeenkomsten met onze partners, en mogelijk andere partijen. Deze bijeenkomsten stellen hen in staat om het vraagstuk stapsgewijs op te lossen. Jij ondersteunt het proces, mede vanuit je inhoudelijke kennis, zodanig dat de samenwerking daadwerkelijk tot concrete gezamenlijke resultaten leidt. Denk hierbij aan een innovatieve pilot, een onderzoek, een participatie traject of een reeks kennisbijeenkomsten waar de partners vervolgens mee verder gaan.
- Je onderhoudt en bouwt een netwerk van partners binnen de thema’s energie en circulaire economie;
- Je verbindt, mobiliseert en activeert partners, communityleden en andere relevante stakeholders. Soms ook internationaal;
- Je organiseert co-creatie sessies, workshops, en andere fysieke en online events die de partners in staat stellen om op complexe vraagstukken samen te werken;
- Je helpt het team in hun voortgang op andere transitieopgaves, events en programmaonderdelen;
- Je helpt bij de doorontwikkeling van onze innovatie-instrumenten en -processen om tot samenwerking te komen;
- Je maakt inhoudelijke kennis en resultaten zoveel mogelijk zichtbaar, samen met het team.
Wie ben jij?
Wij zoeken een collega met een nieuwsgierige, onderzoekende instelling die anderen aanzet tot nadenken en actie. Gedreven in het creëren van maatschappelijke waarde en een echte aanpakkers mentaliteit. Iemand die in staat is de ideeën, kennis en ervaring van individuele partijen samen te brengen tot een geheel waar men gezamenlijk op voort kan bouwen.
- Opleiding of ervaring binnen tenminste een van de thema’s of binnen stedelijke innovatie in algemene zin;
- Kennis van samenwerkingsprocessen en innovatiemethodieken;
- Ervaring met het organiseren van bijeenkomsten en/of werksessies;
- Enthousiaste, open en bevlogen gesprekspartner;
- Uitstekende beheersing van de Nederlandse en Engelse taal in woord en geschrift;
- Enkele jaren werkervaring;
- WO/HBO werk- en denkniveau;
- Een netwerk binnen ons werkveld is een pre!
Wat bieden wij?
Wij bieden je een fijne werkplek op het Marineterrein in Amsterdam, met een informele en collegiale sfeer. We zijn een klein team waar we nauw met elkaar samenwerken.
Je wordt deel van een enorm divers en dynamisch netwerk bestaande uit koplopers en pioniers op het gebied van stedelijke innovatie binnen diverse toonaangevende organisaties in de Metropoolregio Amsterdam. Je krijgt een kijkje in de keuken bij talloze duurzame en innovatieve initiatieven en programma’s.
Daarnaast bieden wij:
- Een functie per direct voor 24 -28 uur per week;
- Een jaarcontract met uitzicht op verlenging;
- Salarisindicatie: max € 4.388 bruto per maand (o.b.v. 40 uur); aangevuld met vakantie- en eindejaarstoeslag
Ben je enthousiast? Dan horen we graag van je! Stuur je cv en een korte motivatie voor 12 mei naar: email@example.com. De gesprekken vinden plaats op 16 en 17 mei. Voor meer informatie over de functie kan je contact opnemen met Sophie via firstname.lastname@example.org of 06-36347785. Hopelijk spreken we elkaar snel!
The 22nd and penultimate episode in the *Better cities: The contribution of digital technology-*series will discuss two ambitious ‘smart city’plans of two governments and the associated risks.
Recently, the European Commission launched a 100-city plan, the EU Mission on Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities. One hundred European cities that aspire to be climate neutral by 2030 (you read that correctly) can register and count on supplemental funding. I immediately thought of another 100-city plan, India's Smart City Mission. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi announced that in six years 100 Indian cities would become 'smart'. The official term of the project has now ended, and I will examine below whether this goal has been achieved, I discuss the two plans and then explain why I call both of them a leap forward. At the end I will make a few suggestions for how the European mission can still learn from the Indian one.
India's Smart City Mission
In India, 377 million people live in cities. In 15 years, 200 million will have been added. Already, traffic in Indian cities has come to a complete standstill, each year more than 600,000 people die from air pollution, half of the urban areas have no drinking water connection, waste collection is poor and only 3% of sewage is treated. The rest is discharged into surface water, which is also the main source of drinking water.
The Smart City Mission was intended to implement substantial improvements on all these problems in 100 cities, which together comprise 30% of the population. In the improvements digital technology had to play an important role.
The 100 cities were selected because of favorable prospects and the quality of the plans, which usually consisted of a long series of projects.
The regular city governing bodies were deemed incompetent to lead the projects. That is why management boards (‘special purpose vehicles’) have been appointed, operating under company law and led by a CEO, supported by international consultancy firms. All rights and duties of the City Council regarding the execution of the mission were delegated to the appointed boards, including the power to collect taxes! Not surprisingly, this decision has been challenged in many places. Several cities have withdrawn from 'the mission' for this reason.
To implement their projects, each city would receive $150 million over five consecutive years. This money should be seen as seed capital to be supplemented from additional sources such as public-private partnerships, commercial bank lending, external financing, loans, and foreign investment.
Area-oriented and pan-urban approach
The plans contain two components: an area-oriented and a pan-urban approach. The first aims at adapting, retrofitting or new construction and should relate to a wide range of 'smart services'. For example high-speed internet, waste facilities, parking facilities, energy-efficient buildings, but also replacement of slums by high-rise buildings. The slick 'architectural impressions' that circulated at the beginning of the planning period (see above) mainly concern the area-oriented approach.
The pan-urban approach includes at least one 'smart' facility for a larger part of the city. The choice is often made to improve the transport infrastructure, for example the construction of new roads and highways and the purchase of electric buses. No fewer than 70 cities have built a 'smart' control center based on the example of Rio de Janeiro, which I believe was rather premature.
Now that the official term of 'the mission' has ended, a first inventory can be made, although observers complain about a lack of transparency about the results. About half of all the 5000 projects that have been started have not (yet) been completed and a significant part of the government funds have not yet been disbursed. This could still happen in the coming years. This is also because attracting external resources has lagged behind expectations. These funds came mainly from governments, and large technology companies. This has had an impact on the implementation of the plans.
The slow progress of most projects is partly because most of the population was barely aware of the mission and that city councils were not always cooperative either.
It was foreseen that half of the available resources would go to area-oriented projects; this eventually became 75-80%. As a result, on average only 4% of the inhabitants of the cities involved have benefited from 'the mission' and even then it is not clear what the benefits exactly entail. The city of New Delhi covers an area of almost 1500 km2, while the area concerned is only 2.2 km2: So you're not even going to have 100 smart cities. You're going to have 100 smart enclaves within cities around the country, said Shivani Chaudhry, director of the Housing and Land Rights Network.
It soon became clear that the mission would be no more than a drop in the ocean. Instead of $150 million, it would take $10 billion per city, $1000 billion in total, to address all ambitions, according to an official calculation. Deloitte was a little more modest, calculating the need for $150 billion in public money and $120 billion from private sources.
Type of projects
The many topics eligible for funding have resulted in a wide variety of projects. Only one city has put the quality of the environment first. Most cities have initiated projects in the areas of clean energy, improving electricity supply, reducing air pollution, construction of new roads, purchasing electric buses, waste disposal and sanitation. What is also lacking, is a focus on human rights, gender, and the interests of the poorest population groups.
In some places, it has been decided to clear slums and relocate residents to high-rise buildings on the outskirts of the city. Indian master architect Doshi warns that the urban vision behind the smart city plans will destroy the informality and diversity that is the cornerstone of the country's rural and urban society. He challenges planners to shift the emphasis to rural areas and to create sufficient choices and opportunities there.
The European Mission on Climate-neutral and Smart Cities
Cities produce more than 70% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and use more than 65% of total energy. In addition, cities in Europe only cover 4% of the total surface area and accommodate 75% of the population. The ecological footprint of the urban population is more than twice what it is entitled to, assuming a proportional distribution of the earth's resources.
On November 25, 2021, the European Commission called on European cities to express their interest in a new European mission on Climate-neutral and smart cities. The mission aims to have 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, which will act as a model for all other European cities.
The sectors involved in this transformation process are the built environment, energy production and distribution, transport, waste management, industrial processes and product use, agriculture, forestry, and other land uses and large-scale deployment of digital technology. That is why the European Commission talks of a green and digital twin, or a simultaneous green and digital transformation.
Reaching the stated goal requires a new way of working and the participation of the urban population, hence the motto 100 climate neutral cities by 2030 - by and for the citizens.
According to the plan's authors, the main obstacle to climate transition is not a lack of climate-friendly and smart technology, but the inability to implement it. The current fragmented form of governance cannot bring about an ambitious climate transition. Crucial to the success of the mission is the involvement of citizens in their various roles as political actors, users, producers, consumers, or owners of buildings and means of transport.
The additional investment to achieve the mission is estimated at €96 billion for 100 European cities by 2030, with a net positive economic benefit to society of €25 billion that will increase further in the period thereafter. The European Commission will provide €360 million in seed funding.
The overwhelming amount of funding will have to come from banks, private equity, institutional investors, and from the public sector at the local, regional and national level.
What went wrong with the Indian Mission and its follow-up
The gap between ambitions and reality
Almost all comments on 'the mission' emphasize that three necessary conditions were not met from the start, namely a widely accepted governance model, adequate funding, and involvement of the population and local government. There was an unbridgeable gap between ambitions and available resources, with the contribution of external capital being grossly overestimated.
The biggest problem, however, is the gap between the mission's ambitions and the nature of the problems that India it faces: Cities are bursting at the seams because of the millions of poor people who flock to cities every year in search of work and a place to live that find them only in the growing slums. The priorities for which the country must find a solution are therefore: improving life in rural areas, improving housing in the cities, ensuring safe drinking water, waste disposal, sanitation, and purification of wastewater, good (bus) transport and less polluting car traffic. Urgently needed is a sustainable development model that addresses ecological problems, makes urbanization manageable, controls pollution and will use resources efficiently.
The 'Mission' is a leap forward, which does not tackle these problems at the root, but instead seeks a solution in 'smartification'. Policymakers were captivated by the promises made by IBM and other technology companies that ICT is the basis for solving most urban problems. A view that I objected in the third episode of this series. IC solutions have been concentrated in enclaves where businesses and prosperous citizens are welcomed. The Government of India Special Rapporteur on Housing therefore notes that the proposals submitted had a predominant focus on technology rather than prioritizing affordable housing and doubts the correctness of this choice.
Instead of emphasizing the role of digital technology, the focus should have been on equitable, inclusive, and sustainable living areas for all. Not the area-oriented but the pan-urban approach should have prevailed.
Several authors suggest future actions consistent with the above comments:
• Setting a longer time horizon, which is much more in line with the problems as they are felt locally.
• Decentralization, coupled with strengthening local government in combination with citizen participation.
• A more limited number of large-scale pan-urban projects. These projects should have an immediate impact on all 4000 Indian cities and the surrounding countryside.
• More attention for nature and the environment instead of cutting down trees to widen motorways.
• Training programs in the field of urbanization, partly to align urban development with Indian culture.
The European mission revisited
Europe and India are incomparable in many ways, but I do see similarities between the two missions.
With the proclamation of the 'mission', the Indian government wanted to show the ultimate – perhaps desperate – act of determination to confront the country's overwhelming problems. I therefore called this mission a flight forward in which the image of the 'smart city' was used as a catalyst. However, the country’s problems are out of proportion to this, and the other means employed.
It is plausible that the European Union Commission also wanted to take an ultimate act. After the publication of the ambitious European Green Deal, each national governments seems to be drawing its own plan. The ‘100 cities mission’ is perhaps intended as a 'booster', but here too the feasibility of this strategy is doubtful.
Smart and green
The European Union cherishes the image of a 'green and digital twin', a simultaneous green and digital transformation. Both the Government of India and the European Commission consider digital technology an integral part of developing climate neutral cities. I hope to have made it clear in the previous 21 episodes of this series that digital technology will certainly contribute. However, the reduction of greenhouse gases and digitization should not be seen as an extension of each other. Making a city climate neutral requires way more than (digital) technology. Moreover, suitable technology is still partly under development. It is often forgotten that technology is one of the causes of global warming. Using the image of green and smart twins will fuel the tension between the two, just like it happened in India. In that case, it remains to be seen where the priority will lie. In India it was 'smart'.
Funding of the Indian mission fell short; much is still unclear about funding of the European mission. It is highly questionable whether European states, already faced with strong opposition to the costs of 'climate', will be willing to channel extra resources to cities.
The European mission wants to be by and for the citizens. But the goal has already been established, namely becoming climate neutral by 2030. A new 'bottom-up' governmental approach would have been to investigate whether there are cities where a sufficiently large part of the population agrees with becoming climate neutral earlier than in 2050 and how much sooner that could be and next, leave it to these cities themselves to figure-out how to do this.
Can Europe still prevent its mission from failing like India's? I propose to look for in the same direction as India seems to be doing now:
• Opt for one unambiguous goal: Reducing greenhouse gases significantly earlier than 2050.
• Challenge a limited number of cities each to form a broad coalition of local stakeholders that share this ambition.
• Make extra resources available, but also ask the cities themselves to make part of the necessary investments.
• Stimulate universities and industry to provide a European response to Big Tech and to make connections with the 'European Green Deal'.
My e-book Smart City Tales contains several descriptions of intended and alleged smart cities, including the much-discussed Saudi Arabian Neom. The Dutch version is here.
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.:
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/
In December, the Metabolic Cities team created a series of 3 articles on what future cities can become based on interconnections with nature, communities and resources.
If you haven’t already, take a look and tell us what you think.
An inclusive nature city allows species to thrive: https://www.metabolic.nl/news/interconnected-city-nature/
Interconnected communities, vital for healthy cities: https://www.metabolic.nl/news/interconnected-city-community/
Reconnecting to resources brings operations within planetary boundaries: https://www.metabolic.nl/news/interconnected-city-resources/
Campussen en kennishubs in de metropoolregio Amsterdam zijn rijk aan onderzoeksfaciliteiten, kennis, testruimtes en geavanceerde apparatuur. Uit de gesprekken met de gemeente Amsterdam en diverse campussen zoals het Amsterdam Science Park en het Amsterdam Life Sciences District komt de aanname naar voren dat veel aanwezige faciliteiten maar voor een klein deel benut worden. Dit terwijl faciliteiten vaak een flinke investering zijn geweest voor bedrijven en kennisinstellingen. Wij zien hier een grote kans voor de MRA. Optimale benutting van faciliteiten kan onnodige investeringen voorkomen, ruimte en grondstoffen besparen en mensen uit verschillende hoeken bij elkaar brengen.
Onder de noemer ‘Project Facility Sharing in de MRA’ hebben wij deze kans verkend. Deze verkenning bestaat uit afgenomen interviews en georganiseerde bijeenkomsten. Deze verkenning is uitgewerkt in het rapport: “Facility sharing: optimale benutting van (kennis) faciliteiten in de regio”
Voor meer informatie kun je mailen naar email@example.com
ampus Amsterdam is het netwerk dat alle innovatiegebieden, campussen en kennislabs in de metropoolregio aan elkaar verbindt waardoor de kenniseconomie van de regio wordt versterkt.
Drinkwater is wereldwijd een schaars goed. In Nederland is onze drinkwatervoorziening gelukkig goed geregeld. En toch. Als gevolg van
onze veranderende wereld stapelen de transities op. Zekerheden die we lang voor lief namen worden omgegooid. Onze steden groeien, wat nieuwe kansen brengt, maar ook nieuwe uitdagingen. Dat betekent ook iets voor onze
drinkwatervoorziening. Ons gebruik neemt toe en het aanbod staat onder druk.
Binnen de Provincie Flevoland is men aan het onderzoeken wat er nu al voor nodig is om dit probleem een halt toe te roepen. Momenteel zien we de vraag naar drinkwater stijgen, de drukte in de ondergrond toenemen en door klimaatverandering (denk aan droogte en hete zomers) het watergebruik stijgen. Om voldoende drinkwater van een goede kwaliteit te garanderen moeten we werken aan een systeemverandering. Waterbesparing moet worden gestimuleerd en laagwaardig gebruik van hoogwaardige kwaliteit water moet worden voorkomen.
Het huidige drinkwatergebruik bestaat voor ca. 70% huishoudelijke- en 30% zakelijke gebruikers (regio afhankelijk). Hoe maken we bij deze doelgroepen waterbesparing de norm? En hoe zorgen we ervoor dat de kwaliteit van het water bepalend is voor het gebruik? Dit zijn vraagstukken die in de toekomst steeds relevanter worden, maar ook nú al onze aandacht vragen.
Halverwege maart zal er binnen de Provincie Flevoland een Adviseur Drinkwatertransitie aan de slag gaan die zich met deze vragen bezighoudt.
We vragen jou om hulp!
Samen met de Provincie Flevoland zoeken we daarom alvast de ideeën, ervaringen en het draagvlak van het netwerk op. We zijn op zoek naar actuele kennis over dit onderwerp en mogelijke oplossingen. Daarnaast zijn we ook specifiek geïnteresseerd in ideeën om nu al urgentie te creëren voor dit onderwerp, ondanks dat het mogelijk pas in de toekomst gaat spelen.
Ben jij een expert op het thema, of heb jij relevante ideeën en ervaringen uit andere onderwerpen? Laat je reactie achter in de comments!
Are you passionate about research and open knowledge?
If so, we're looking for a dynamic Director to lead our non-profit research entity, Metabolic Institute. You'd be guiding a fantastic team, shaping the strategy, and building strong partnerships.
Find out more about the vacancy and apply now OR should you know someone who qualifies, please do share it with them.
Praat je met ons mee over Circuloco?
Speciaal voor de Week van de Circulaire Economie organiseren we een Co-Creatiesessie, waarin we alvast een voorproef geven op alles wat er straks op ons paviljoen op Floriade Expo 2022 te zien en te doen zal zijn.
Tijdens de Co-Creatiesessie kom je meer te weten over het ontwerp-, denk- en maakproces rondom Circuloco. Ons circulaire gebouw zal na Floriade Expo 2022 gedemonteerd worden en op de Steiger 66 heropgebouwd worden. Het ontwerp, de bouw, de invulling, de afbouw en de heropbouw: alles wordt gedaan door en met lokale makers.
Je bent (online) welkom op donderdag 10 februari, van 12:00-13:00 Doe je ook mee?
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!
The eighth episode in the series Better cities - The contribution of digital technology provides a frame to seamlessly integrate the contribution of (digital) technology into urban policy. The Dutch versions of this and already published posts are here.
From the very first publication on smart cities (1992) to the present day, the solution of urban problems has been mentioned as a motive for the application of (digital) technology. However, this relationship is anything but obvious. Think of the discriminatory effect of the use of artificial intelligence by the police in the US – to which I will come back later – and of the misery it has caused in the allowance affair (toelagenaffaire) in the Netherlands.
The choice and application of (digital) technology is therefore part of a careful and democratic process, in which priorities are set and resources are weighed up. See also the article by Jan-Willem Wesselink and Hans Dekker: Smart city enhances quality of life and puts citizen first (p.15). Below, I propose a frame for such a process, on which I will built in the next five posts.
My proposal is an iterative process in which three clusters of activities can be distinguished:
• Developing a vision of the city
• The development and choice of objectives
• The instrumentation of the objectives
Vision of the city
The starting point for a democratic urban policy is a broadly supported vision of the city and its development. Citizens and other stakeholders must be able to identify with this vision and their voice must have been heard. The vision of the city is the result of a multitude of opposing or abrasive insights, wishes and interests. Balancing the power differences between parties involved is a precondition for making the city more just, inclusive, and democratic and the residents happier.
The concept of a donut economy is the best framework I know of for developing a vision of such a city. It has been elaborated by British economist Kate Raworth in a report entitled A Safe and Just Space for Humanity. The report takes the simultaneous application of social and environmental sustainability as principles for policy.
If you look at a doughnut, you see a small circle in the middle and a larger circle on the outside. The small circle represents 12 principles of social sustainability (basic needs). These principles are in line with the UN's development goals. The larger circle represents 9 principles of the earth’ long-term self-sustaining capacity. A table with both types of principles can be viewed here. Human activities in cities must not overshoot its ecological ceiling, thus harming the self-sustainable capacity of that entity. At the same time, these activities must not shortfall the social foundation of that city, harming its long-term well-being. Between both circles, a safe and just space for humanity - now and in the future - is created. These principles relate to both the city itself and its impact on the rest of the world. Based on these principles, the city can determine in which areas it falls short; think of housing, gender equality and it overshoots the ecological ceiling, for instance, in case of greenhouse gas emissions.
Amsterdam went through this process, together with Kate Raworth. During interactive sessions, a city donut has been created. Citizens from seven different neighborhoods, civil servants and politicians took part in this. The Amsterdam city donut is worth exploring closely.
The urban donut provides a broad vision of urban development, in particular because of the reference to both social and ecological principles and its global footprint. The first version is certainly no final version. It is obvious how Amsterdam has struggled with the description of the impact of the international dimension.
The formulation of desired objectives
Politicians and citizens will mention the most important bottlenecks within their city, even without the city donut. For Amsterdam these are themes like the waste problem, the climate transition, reduction of car use, affordable housing, and inclusion. The Amsterdam donut invites to look at these problems from multiple perspectives: A wide range of social implications, the ecological impact, and the international dimension. This lays the foundation for the formulation of objectives.
Five steps can be distinguished in the formulation of objectives:
• Determine where the most important bottlenecks are located for each of the selected themes, partly based on the city donut (problem analysis), for example insufficient greenery in the neighborhoods.
• Collect data on the existing situation about these bottlenecks. For example, the fact that working-class neighborhoods have four times fewer trees per hectare than middle-class neighborhoods.
• Make provisional choices about the desired improvement of these bottlenecks. For example, doubling the number of trees in five years.
• Formulate the way in which the gap between existing and desired situation can be bridged. For example, replacing parking spaces with trees or facade vegetation.
• Formulate (provisional) objectives.
This process also takes place together with stakeholders. More than 100 people were involved in the development of the circular economy plans in Amsterdam, mainly representatives of the municipalities, companies, and knowledge institutions.
Prioritizing objectives and their instrumentation
Given the provisional objectives, the search can begin for available and desirable resources, varying from information, legal measures, reorganization to (digital) techniques. The expected effectiveness, desired coherence, acceptability, and costs must be considered. With this knowledge, the goals can be formulated definitively and prioritized. It is also desirable to distinguish a short-term and long-term perspective to enable the development of innovative solutions.
The inventory, selection and ethical assessment of resources and the related fine-tuning of the objectives is best done in the first instance by teams representing different disciplines, including expertise in the field of digital technology, followed of course by democratic sanctioning.
My preference is to transfer the instrumentation process to an 'Urban Development and Innovation Department', modeled on the Majors Office of New Urban Mechanics (MONUM) in Boston. Changing teams can be put together from this office, which is strongly branched out with the other departments. In this way, the coherence between the individual goals and action points and the input of scientific research can be safeguarded. According to Ben Green, the author of the book The smart enough city and who has worked in MONUM for years, it has been shown time and again that the effect of technological innovation is enhanced when it is combined with other forms of innovation, such as social innovation.
From vision to action points: Overview
Below I give an overview of the most important building blocks for arriving at a vision and developing action points based on this vision:
1. The process from vision to action points is both linear and iterative. Distinguishing between the phases of vision development, formulating objectives and instrumentation is useful, but these phases influence each other mutually and eventually form a networked process.
2. Urban problems are always complicated, full of internal contradictions and complex. There are therefore seldom single solutions.
3. The mayor (and therefore not a separate alderman) is primarily responsible for coherence within the policy agenda, including the use of (digital) technology. This preferably translates into the structure of the municipal organization, for example an 'Urban Development and Innovation Department'.
4. Formulating a vision, objectives and their instrumentation is part of a democratic process. Both elected representatives and stakeholders play an important role in this.
5. Because of their complexity and coherence, the content of the policy agenda usually transcends the direct interests of the stakeholders, but they must experience that their problems are being addressed too.
6. Ultimately, each city chooses a series of related actions to arrive at an effective, efficient, and supported solution to its problems. The choice of these actions, especially when it comes to (digital) techniques, can always be explained as a function of the addressing problems.
7. The use of technology fits seamlessly into the urban agenda, instead of (re)framing problems to match tempting technologies.
8. Implementation is at least as important as grand plans, but without a vision, concrete plans lose their legitimacy and support.
9. In the search for support for solutions and the implementation of plans, there is collaboration with stakeholders, and they can be given the authority and resources to tackle problems and experiment themselves (‘right to challenge’).
10. In many urban problems, addressing the harmful effects of previously used technologies (varying from greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution to diseases of affluence) is a necessary starting point.
Back to digital technology
(Digital) technology is here to stay and it is developing at a rapid pace. Sometimes you wish it would slow down. It is very regrettable that not democratically elected governments, but Big Tech is the driving force behind the development of technology and that its development is therefore primarily motivated by commercial interests. This calls for resistance against Big Tech's monopoly and for reticence towards their products. By contrast, companies working on technological developments that support a sustainable urban agenda deserve all the support.
In my e-book Cities of the Future. Humane as a choice. Smart where that helps, I performed the exercise described in this post based on current knowledge about urban policy and urban developments. This has led to the identification of 13 themes and 75 action points, where possible with references to potentially useful technology. You can download the e-book here.
This is the second part of a 5-piece movie on RESILIO blue-green roofs. We meet an expert on participation from the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences ánd a resident from a social housing association de Alliantie complex on which a RESILIO Smart Blue-Green Roof just has been realized. We asked ourselves during the whole lifespan of RESILIO: How can we make smart sustainable solutions a hot and urgent topic for our citizens?
#participatie #socialhousing #heatstress #verduurzaming #resilientcommunities #residentengagement #indischebuurt
Our cities are evolving. Fast. How can we ensure they are sustainable, liveable, and healthy?
Metabolic has developed a nature-inclusive, community-centered, and circular city's vision.
This vision of the "ideal" city is only one of many. What's your favorite? Please share the story, vision, book, podcast, or image that best represents the city you hope to live in, one day.
At the Digital Society Showcase (DSS) we proudly share how our projects and courses activate a new generation’s potential to positively impact the digital transformation of society. Find out how to obtain a responsible, inclusive mindset, how to integrate technology in society and how to design for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
16:00 CET | start of live talkshow
16:30 CET | opening expo (ongoing)
17:00 CET | closing the live talkshow
18:15 CET | closing the expo
Live Talk Show
At 16:00 we kick-off with an interactive and live talkshow about Transformational Leadership, Learning Revolution and Sustainability, Diversity and Digital transformation.
With topic experts we discuss the following questions:
- What is needed to lead the transformation of todays world and digital society to become more inclusive, sustainable and living-future-proof?
- How is DSS changing the learning game from within the AUAS? What impact do we think education has on the needed transformation of crumbling systems around us?
- How is the AUAS growing these topics within the organisation, education and research? And how is DSS impacting these topics via our programs and products?
Discover the 7 projects
In 20 weeks an international, highly talented group of trainees worked on finding solutions for the most urgent challenges that relate to the digital transformation of society. In multidisciplinary teams they worked with our project partners, under the guidance of a ‘Digital Transformation Designer’, their track community, and the rest of the Digital Society School team.
During the showcase the teams will show you the prototypes and explain how they contributed to the Digital Transformation of Society and the Sustainable Development Goals. The different tracks (thematic programs) will also present themselves and discuss how design, tech and social innovation can have a positive impact on sustainable development.
Goed nieuws: er komt per 1 februari een bedrijfsruimte vrij in het Upcyclecentrum.
Voor het Upcylcecentrum in Almere zoeken we een startende ondernemer met een geweldig plan voor een onderneming dat bijdraagt aan onze lokale circulaire economie.
De afgelopen jaren is Almere uitgegroeid tot één van de koplopers van de circulaire economie in Nederland, en het Upcyclecentrum is daar een belangrijk onderdeel van. Bedrijven en overheden vanuit de hele wereld komen naar Almere om te zien hoe wij de circulaire economie vormgeven.
Het Upcyclecentrum bestaat uit drie onderdelen: recyclingperron, ondernemers en belevingscentrum. Op het recyclingperron zamelen we grondstoffen droog in. De gevestigde ondernemers in het Upcyclecentrum mogen deze gebruiken. De ondernemers laten in hun bedrijfsruimte zien wat zij doen met deze grondstoffen. Afgelopen 3 jaar hebben verschillende ondernemers zoals “Ruik”, ‘’SEEFD’’, “Unravelau” en “Ruig & Geroest” al geprofiteerd van deze kans. En er is weer plaats voor een nieuwe startup om eenzelfde ontwikkeling door te kunnen maken.
Wil jij een vliegende start maken met jouw onderneming? Of ken je zo’n ondernemer?
Stuur dan uiterlijk 30 december jouw businessplan naar ons toe via het inschrijfformulier op onze website: almere.nl/upcyclestartups.
The Responsible IT research group at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences is offering a fellowship to an artistic researcher or an artist, aiming to create fresh future-oriented perspectives on digitization and public values.
For your call for proposal see the following link.
Ever wondered what life would look like in a sustainable, regenerative city?
With cities occupying only 3% of the global land surface but contributing to 70% of emissions, positive change can have a big impact. Metabolic CEO Eva Gladek reflected on how we can all become city makers. In light of COP26, it might be time to refocus on our cities.
Ready to take action? Find out how in the link below.