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In the big tech-dominated era, data has been commercially exploited for so long that it is now hard to imagine that data sharing might also benefit the community. Yet that is what a collective of businesses, governments, social institutions and residents in Amsterdam aim to do. Sharing more data to better care for the city. On behalf of the Data Commons Collective, Lia Hsu (Strategic Advisor at Amsterdam Economic Board) asked the Amsterdam Smart City network for input and feedback on their Data Commons initiative on the last Demoday of 2023.
What is a (data) common?
Commons are natural resources that are accessible to everyone within a community. Water. Fertile soil. Clean air. Actually everything the earth has given us. We as humanity have increasingly begun to exploit these commons in our pursuit of power and profit maximisation. As a result, we risk exhausting them.
Data is a new, digital resource: a valuable commodity that can be used to improve products and services. Data can thus also be used for the common good. However there are two important differences between a common and a data common: data in commons never runs out, and data in commons is not tied to any geographical location or sociocultural groups.
Four principles for Data Commons
The Data Commons collective is currently working on different applied use cases to understand how data commons can help with concrete solutions to pressing societal problems in the areas of energy, green urban development, mobility, health and culture. Each data commons serves a different purpose and requires a different implementation, but there are four principles that are always the same:
- The data common is used to serve a public or community purpose
- The data common requires cooperation between different parties, such as individuals, companies or public institutions
- The data common is managed according to principles that are acceptable to users and that define who may access the data commons under what conditions, in what ways they may be used, for what purpose, what is meant by data misuse
- The data common is embedded to manage data quality, but also to monitor compliance with the principles and ensure that data misuse is also noticed and that an appropriate response (such as a reprimand, penalty or fine) follows.
The Data Commons Collective is now in the process of developing a framework, which provides a self-assessment tool to guide the formation of Data Commons initiatives by triggering consideration of relevant aspects for creating a data commons. It is a means of reflection, rather than prescription, to encourage sustainable and responsible data initiatives.
Energy Data Commons case and Value Workshop by Waag
After the introduction to the Data Commons Collective and Framework by Simone van der Burg (Waag) and Roos de Jong (Deloitte), the participants engaged in a value workshop led by Simone. The case we worked with: we’re dealing with a shortage of affordable and clean energy. Congestion issues are only expected to get worse, due to increased energy use by households en businesses. An energy Data Commons in neighbourhoods can have certain benefits. Such as preventing congestion issues, using clean energy sources more effectively, becoming self-sufficient as a neighbourhood and reducing costs. But under what circumstances would we want to share our energy data with our neighbours? What are the values that we find important when it comes to sharing our energy data?
Results: Which values are important when sharing our energy data?
In smaller groups, the participants discussed which values they found important for an energy data common using a value card deck from Waag. Some values that were mentioned were:
- Trustworthiness: It is important to trust one another when sharing our energy data. It helps when we assume that everyone that is part of the common has the right intentions.
- Fun: The energy Data Commons should be fun and positive! The participants discussed gamification and rewards as part of the common.
- Knowledge: One of the goals of sharing data with each other is to gain more knowledge about energy consumption and saving.
- Justice and solidarity: If everyone in the common feels safe and acknowledged, it will benefit the outcome. Everyone in the common should be treated equally.
- Inclusion and Community-feeling: It is important that people feel involved in the project. The Data Commons should improve our lives, make it more sustainable but also progress our social relations.
During this Demoday, we got to know the Data Commons collective and experienced which values we find important when sharing our data with others. Amsterdam Economic Board will remain involved in the Data Commons Collective in a coordinating role and work on use cases to understand how data commons can work for society.
Would you like to know more about the Data Commons Collective or do you have any input for them? Please feel free to reach out to me via email@example.com or leave a comment below.
On Thursday December 14th, Amsterdam Smart City partners concluded 2023 with an afternoon full of inspiration, exchange and connections at our 22nd Demoday! Our partner Deloitte welcomed our network in The Garage, where their ‘Deloitte Studios’ department is located. In this article, we’ll give you a quick overview of the Knowledge Session, Work Sessions and Pitches. Interesting in learning more? Read the full reports by our Programme Managers Noor, Pelle and Sophie (linked below).
About our Demodays
The Demodays are one of the tools we use to stimulate innovation and encourage connection between our partners and community. The purpose of the Demodays is to present the progress of various innovation projects, ask for help, share dilemmas and involve more partners to take these projects to the next level. More information about the Demodays can be found here.
Knowledge Session: Change in the here and now, with Theory U
To kick-off our final Demoday of 2023, our brand-new partner Hieroo led an inspiring knowledge session about the change method they use for social innovation in the city: Theory U. Dorien Schneider and Maartje Krijnen taught us more about this methodology and how it can help us solve complex problems by shifting from ego to eco-thinking. Read the full report here.
After the plenary Knowledge Session we split up in different worksessions, each exploring regional innovation challenges. As always, we had set up the sessions’ topics and moderation in collaboration with our partners.
Mobility | Decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity – Jurhan Kwee (Municipality of Amsterdam)
In The Netherlands, the concept of ‘Inclusive Prosperity’ is on the rise. Policy makers are busy defining this concept, figuring out how to put this concept into practice and what it means for their decision-making process. Together with his colleagues at the Municipality of Amsterdam, Yurhan Kwee hosts sessions on decision-making along the principles of Inclusive Prosperity. With the input he gathers, he hopes to make the decisions needed for our Inclusive Prosperity ambitions more understandable and transparent, both for Amsterdam’s administrators and councillors as well as its citizens. Read Pelle’s recap article here.
Digital | Data Commons Collective: Using data for a liveable city – Lia Hsu (Amsterdam Economic Board) and Simone van der Burg (Waag)
In the big tech-dominated era, data has been commercially exploited for so long that it is now hard to imagine that data sharing might also benefit the community. Yet that is what a collective of businesses, governments, social institutions and residents in Amsterdam aim to do. Sharing more data to better care for the city. On behalf of the Data Commons Collective, Lia Hsu (Strategic Advisor at Amsterdam Economic Board) asked the Amsterdam Smart City network for input and feedback on their Data Commons initiative. Read Sophie's recap article here.
Energy | How can we continue to facilitate the homeowner in driving the energy transition? | Wouter van Rooijen (Alliander)
Wouter van Rooijen (Alliander) discussed the challenges related to grid congestion. From 2030 onwards, it is expected that a significant portion of the low-voltage network will experience both over- and under-voltage. While the network will be reinforced as quickly as possible, the lack of labour capacity is also prompting the consideration of alternative solutions.
The solution that emerged from Wouter's co-creation process was WijkWise. In this work session, Wouter aimed to validate the WijkWise concept and find parties that could contribute to its development and market implementation. Dave van Loon from Kennisland moderated the session. Read Noor’s recap article here.
Circular | Navigating eco-emotions: The impact of working in sustainability on your mental wellbeing| Marian Zandbergen (Hogeschool van Amsterdam)
This work session, led by Marian Zandbergen (CIRCOLLAB, HvA) and moderated by Mareille de Bloois (Royal HaskoningDHV), explored the challenges and opportunities associated with eco-emotions, both personally and within organizations. The key question addressed was: How can individuals and organisations constructively manage eco-emotions, and what implications does this have for organisations? Read Noor’s recap article here.
To end this festive afternoon and the year 2023 as a whole, we invited project owners and -members to present their progress and next steps on topics brought in during our events and deep-dives throughout 2023. The following projects were presented. You can read more about these topics on their dedicated articles and project pages, linked below.
Local Energy Systems: Where we started, what we have achieved, and what are the next steps – Omar Shafqat (University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam)
Connecting the resource- and energy transition – Edwin Oskam (MRA)
ChatGPT and the government: Possibilities and impact on our work – Jeroen Silvis (Province of North Holland)
Floating urban districts: Future-proof living in the Metropolitan Region – Joke Dufourmont (AMS Institute)
Mobility Justice: Raising the topic of Mobility Poverty and the working group’s progress – Bas Gerbrandy (Province of North Holland)
Our next Demoday will take place in April. Do you have an inspiring story or project you want to pitch to the Amsterdam Smart City network? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) is one of the European Commission’s largest city support initiatives supporting European cities in their green and digital transitions. ICC delivers knowledge and support services to cities and their local economies to address two major challenges: making the transition to a net-zero economic model, while enabling social inclusion and sustainable development for every EU citizen.
Cities learn how to address these challenges through Local Green Deals: integrated, multi-disciplinary action plans to lead the green and digital transition across sectors from the built environment, urban mobility and renewable energy systems to tourism or small retailers. Cities become members of a vibrant network, gain access to advisory services, innovation and sustainability management techniques, cutting-edge technology and training and get inspiration and advice from peers and mentor cities.
Building on the success of the previous edition of the ICC programme (2020-22) and Digital Cities Challenge (2017-19), the ICC will now enter Phase 2!
Amsterdam as a Mentor City
Like previous years, Amsterdam has been selected to join the support programme as a mentor city. The city will play a leading support role by guiding the 64 core cities as they embark on their two year journey to create impactful strategies and develop innovative solutions that will place the cities at the forefront of the green and digital twin transition through Local Green Deals. A nice compliment, allowing the Amsterdam Region to share their experiences and learnings from setting up Local Green Deal initiatives over the past years.
The Intelligent Cities Challenge Strategy City Lab: Accelerating the Twin Transition (November 2023)
On 23 and 24 November 2023, over 200 people - a mix of Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC) core and mentor cities, political leaders and representatives from European institutions gathered for the first time in-person to discuss the status quo of Twin Transition. Through examples and best practices, attendees had the honour to hear from over 30 speakers as they shared insights into collaboration methods, Local Green Deals, climate ambitions, digital transitions and more across the course of 20 sessions.
Amsterdam Smart CIty's Leonie van den Beuken travelled to this gathering in Brussels as one of the representatives of the Amsterdam Region. She summarized her trip as follows:
This EU program helps cities from north to south, east and west to connect, share and learn. A much needed interaction, as we all try to improve the quality of life of our citizens. We all struggle with the ever rising cost of living. And we all want to get our cities to become more sustainable.
None of this comes easy, but we all know that local collaboration plays a key role. Building local coalitions between government, businesses and citizens is one thing, but how do we make sure these so called coalitions of the willing actually become coalitions of the doing?
Some of the learnings we shared from the Amsterdam Region are; the need for political support and the importance of trust and respect.
Local political leadership will inspire and guide society and entrepreneurs to invest and contribute. However, make sure pilotical support doesn’t evolve into political ownership. When that happens, societal parties and businesses tend to step out the coalition.
Take the importance of trust and respect seriously. You need to show long term commitment, take time to create understanding between parties. Take competition between participating SME’s serious and define together how to handle this together. Create a workflow in which smaller parties are allowed to participate less intense but sill feel incorporated.
We'll keep you up to date on our participation in future gatherings and results from ICC Phase 2. Want to know more? Check https://www.intelligentcitieschallenge.eu/