Amsterdam Smart City partners at Smart City Expo Barcelona - part 1: AMS Institute

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Next week the Amsterdam Smart City team travels, together with a couple of our program partners, to the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona. This is THE leading event for cities in the world. Main goal of the event is to empower cities and collectivize urban innovation across the globe. We asked our partners why they will join the Dutch innovation mission to Barcelona. First up is Kenneth Heijns, the Managing Director of AMS Institute.

So, Kenneth, what is AMS Institute?

AMS Institute is a public-private institute founded in 2014 by Wageningen University & Research and Delft University of Technology, together with Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We are a young and ambitious international institute at the forefront of innovation, situated between industry, government and academia. Engaging and developing the latest technology and science with research, experiments and projects in the city of Amsterdam, we take on the challenges posed by our rapidly urbanizing world.

Our mission is to develop a deep understanding of the city – sense the city – to design solutions for its challenges, and integrate these into the city of Amsterdam. Our research portfolio revolves around applied technology in themes such as water, energy, waste, food, data and mobility, and integrating these themes to create an innovative, sustainable and just city. We are involved in over 90 projects that focus on securing a city that is innovative, sustainable and just.

And what is your vision on a Smart City?

We research and develop metropolitan solutions that include new concepts of integrated urban intelligence to achieve sustainable growth. This leads to what often is framed as a Smart City. These cities are said to integrate and sort data gathered from sensors, enabling citizens and enterprises to apply new IT in a variety of areas. They can economize time, improve individual mobility, facilitate access to information and services, save energy and resources, and adapt to change.

At AMS Institute, we emphasize the creation of social, political and economic infrastructures as vital components that will support the growth of intelligent use. So it’s not necessarily smart cities what AMS Institute aims at, but smart use(rs), and smart citizens. This as we strongly believe that fair and sustainable transformations will include distributive components of social, economic and environmental outcomes. They will also include procedural elements, like who is involved in the decision-making process. By encouraging all stakeholders to participate in urban decision-making processes, the approach helps to ensure lasting efficiency, equity, sustainability and quality of life for the citizens and users of metropolitan areas.

What is your reason to join the Smart City Expo in Barcelona?

Cities worldwide feel the urgency of climate change, the digital revolution, energy and circular transitions and the pressure to innovate in order to keep their city safe, clean, livable and accessible. We need to collaborate because true collaboration creates value for all. In Barcelona I would like to discover, learn and innovate together.

What are you bringing to Barcelona?

AMS Institute, the City of Rotterdam and the City of Amsterdam are organizing a workshop on future proof asset management. The goal is to create a new normal; speed & scape up to be Smart and Resilient cities. To speed up innovation means to inspire (public) lead buyers to open their assignments for start-ups and innovative solutions. We will showcase the benefit of triple helix cooperation and the return of innovative procurement. We welcome representatives of local governments, businesses and knowledge institutes with a special interest in innovation, digitalization and asset management to the workshop!

You can find AMS Institute, Amsterdam Smart City and other Dutchies mostly at the Dutch Pavilion. Street D, Stand 473.

Registration for the workshop (Business Forum by the Dutch and Nordics) is still possible: <>

Do we see you there?