New Amsterdam #10

Page 1






Pakhuis de Zwijger celebrates its tenth birthday. It started with a dream, sprung from Cultuurfabriek and the directorship of Over het IJ Festival almost 20 years ago, which became reality in 2006 at the southern part of the IJ-bank - at that time a bare plain with old warehouses far away from the city centre. A major challenge to start a successful cultural enterprise, to say the least. Transformed by architect AndrĂŠ van Stigt, today the former refrigerated warehouse functions as a debate centre of the 21st century, putting dialogue before debate and connection before opposition. It stimulates collaboration towards a livable city, puts urgent matters on the agenda, linking them to the creative industry. It is about integrating, connecting domains and disciplines, sharing knowledge and experiences, and designing and imagineering the future of everyday living. With an amazing team of coworkers, we keep the building buzzing and created countless special projects, design sessions, presentations, movie screenings and talkshows - from tens a year in the beginning to over 600 in 2016, gathering a community close to 100,000 members following us live and online. As an internationally operating platform for the city in transition we do research, develop online platforms, set up meetings and organise challenges, City Expeditions, and think tanks together with some two hundred partners while building local, national and international networks of City Makers and City Embassies. We welcome everyone regardless of age, sex, race or cultural background. At the same time, it represents the bottom-up vanguard: people with guts and perseverance, contributing actively to societal issues in the city, inspiring and activating people and communities and putting the collective interest first. The past year was one filled with highlights: we were cultural intendants of the EU 2016 Arts and Design programme Europe by People, creating FabCity at the head of Java-eiland, we organised the first City Makers Summit and

Š Huub van der Put, 2006


presented the (Im)Pact of Amsterdam - as a call to action to the EU minister council as part of the Urban Agenda for the EU. We played a defining role in Amsterdam winning the EU Innovation Capital Award 2016-2017, together with the City of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Economic Board, Waag Society and Kennisland. Last but not least we made an impact at the UN Habitat III Conference in Quito, Ecuador, where the worldwide New Urban Agenda was established and Pakhuis de Zwijger together with local City Makers set up Fabrica Ciudad, our new City Embassy in Quito. In the next few years, we will focus on the question: Who owns the city? Can we rethink the Amsterdam values? Will Amsterdam become a real inclusive city? Are we able to connect neighbourhoods to necessary innovations and can makers also make the difference in urgent urban challenges? Will we all profit from the economic growth in the metropolitan region? Are we able to turn our old economy into a new green and circular one? Can we make sure our children will grow up in a livable, sustainable and self-sufficient city with equal opportunities for everyone? In 2017, we will - in collaboration with our city partners continue our daily programmes and organise new activities that will address these matters. For example, the challenge Make your City! (a spin-off of the EU Innovation Capital Award), the educational programme for primary school students Mijn Amsterdam, and the project Maakplaats 021 at several locations of the Public Library Amsterdam. Projects with a focus on 21st century skills, digital making, and city-making where young people can grow into the creators of our future city. Egbert Fransen director Pakhuis de Zwijger


New Amsterdam #10, winter 2017








Lifelong learning

Community-led housing & in-between spaces

Are at the forefront of a city in transition

14 10 YEARS PDZ From squat to City Makers platform

24 WHO OWNS THE CITY? Developments in New Democracy

34 GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF MAYORS Strengthening democracy



60 HUMANS OF AMSTERDAM Everyone has a story to tell

66 EQUAL ACCESS Struggling to combat school segregation

72 RECYCLING AT ITS BEST A new approach to construction






Towards self-sufficient cities

The future is now, kid!

Democratising city-making

New Amsterdam #10, winter 2017







The disposal of recyclable resources

The rise of emerging cities


84 HET NIEUWE STADMAKEN The Cities Learning Network

86 FABRICA CIUDAD City-making in Quito

90 CITY MAKERS Diego Guayasamin & Sergio Alvarez Jaime Izurieta


Wanted: creative bureaucrats










Design and participation

The motherland of the Polis


Eigen Haard is a Trime partner. Trime stands for Trias Mores

can then share all of their knowledge with fellow tenants. Are you an

Energetic, a European project in which ten organisations from

Eigen Haard tenant who would like to take an energy coach course?

five different countries work towards the shared goal of helping

If so, take a look at and search in Dutch for:

housing association tenants reduce their energy consumption,

“word energiecoach� (become an energy coach).

thus saving money and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. Good for the wallet, and good for the environment.

Saving energy at home With almost 4,000 tenants at seven test locations across Europe, we

Energy saving of 9%

are investigating energy use in the household as well as the quality and

Trime is a three-year partnership (2014-2017) involving the United

use of household appliances. As part of an Eigen Haard programme, we

Kingdom, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium. The aim is to

offer tenants the opportunity to hire appliances, or help them purchase

investigate how people can use technology and lifestyle changes to

new products. The project also involves taking a look at the home itself

achieve an energy saving of at least 9% per household.

and seizing opportunities during renovations to improve insulation and install energy-efficient technology, for example in the ventilation

Energy ambassadors

system. All together, these combined measures represent the maximum

One of the projects that Eigen Haard is running as part of Trime

possible degree of energy consumption reduction.

involves energy ambassadors/energy coaches. The first three groups of Eigen Haard energy coaches have already been trained. An energy

More about Trime

coach is an Eigen Haard tenant who has received training on how to

The project is co-funded by the European Commission.

save energy. As an expert on the subject and a good neighbour, they

For more information about Trime, visit

Investing together in sustainability


Cities in Transition

BOTTOM-UP LOCAL INITIATIVES ARE AT THE FOREFRONT OF A CITY IN TRANSITION Changes in the urban social fabric are not initiated by top-down governmental structures, but by bottom-up local initiatives. They provide the city with a unique identity and are able to make a difference at the local scale. Residents and social entrepreneurs turn Amsterdam into a vibrant city. Our platform Nieuw Amsterdam shares the stories of these initiatives and brings them together to show the impact and greatness that they achieve. We call initiators and pioneers who use this bottom-up approach City Makers, an honourable title. Not only in Amsterdam but in every city in the Netherlands and throughout

whole Europa, these City Makers are making their neighbourhoods and cities a better place. On the online platforms Nieuw Nederland and New Europe, we highlight these City Makers and their initiatives. But also outside the borders of the European continent City Makers are active, therefore we handpicked some initiatives from all around the world to present on the following pages.

Peter Both editor Nieuw Nederland

Jira Wong intern Communication & Marketing Pakhuis de Zwijger

Jennifer Aardema community manager Pakhuis de Zwijger



Amsterdam, Seattle, Warsaw & Nijmegen

DE BIOGASBOOT A M S T E R D A M Together with several partners, Café de Ceuvel is building the world’s very first Biogas Boat! This boat will be able to convert organic waste into biogas, in order to cook on in their restaurant. This is the next step in the mission of De Ceuvel to reduce their waste production and close as many loops as possible, contributing to a transition towards a sustainable circular economy.


WA R S AW Miasto Jest Nasze was involved in Open


© Builing Trust

© Julian Stickley


C A P E T O W N The Mill Street Skatepark (or Gardens Skatepark) is the first price winner of an international design competition for inventive ways to re-design disused spaces in urban neighbourhoods around the world. Since then, this skatepark is an example for the use of many vacant spaces in the city of Cape Town, creating safe places where people can gather, feel free and learn from each other.


N I J M E G E N In an old farm in Nijmegen, the new

Jazdów, an urban movement that fights for public spaces, heritage, and other urban challenges. They are connected to both local government and bottom-up initiatives and won several court cases fighting for the preservation of public space and Warsaw heritage.

cultural hotspot De Broederij is located. The place focuses on activities for kids and lets them build things and make art. It is also the place for the people of the surrounding neighbourhood Lindenholt to meet and initiate their own projects.


Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Munich & São Paulo

© Karin Oppelland


DAKAKKER R O T T E R D A M On top of an office building in Rotterdam, the largest rooftop farm in Europe is located. Besides it being a place full of fruits, vegetables, and herbs it is also the location where elementary school classes learn about nature. To top it off, the place is an experimental zone for new water storage systems in the city.

A M S T E R D A M This home is a place where elderly artists can carry on their cultural lives. An artistic and inspiring environment that provides apartments for seniors and space that also welcomes the younger generation to perform, exhibit and create. A meeting place to share passions and exchange views on art, culture, music, and theatre.

© Jakob Drenth / STIJL No7


M U N I C H Surfing in Munich? Yes! Despite being many hundreds of kilometres away from the nearest ocean, locals and people from all over the world visit this city especially for the Eisbach Welle, a man-made wave. You can find this water wave in an urban park in the middle of the city, which is a great gathering place for locals, some of the best surfers, brands, creatives and other initiatives.

THE BRANCH S Ã O PA U L O In December 2015, a unique group of

professionals was brought together by the Blast Theory at a Mesa e Cadeira event in São Paulo. There mission? To create a game that uses the city as its board. The result? Branch: a game about having conversations with strangers and reclaiming your local area. Play it anywhere, with anyone.





B O L O G N A A group of fifty women joined forces to eliminate waste and improve the lives of children and less affluent residents of Bologna. Through their boutique, they distribute baby items and children’s clothing free of charge - in addition to organising events to educate children and teens about reuse and recycling.

Bologna, Amsterdam, Arizona & Haarlem


A M S T E R D A M Garage2020 is a unique company, that connects healthcare professionals, data scientists and design thinkers to collaborate. Garage2020 makes it possible for children and youth to have a promising life by creating and accelerating radically to give new insights and gain new solutions in social youth dispositions.

© dailytlj

KWEEKCAFÉ MESA MUSICAL SHADOWS M E S A What if our environment could encourage us to dance? Designstudio Daily tous les jours integrated custom tiles in the Mesa Art Center’s pavement that play singing voices when shadows are cast upon them. This new scenario for public space engages strangers to bump up against one another and share a moment of magic, igniting a sense of what is possible when acting together.

H A A R L E M Kweekcafé is a bar with a mission. Located in the former nursery garden of Haarlem, it is the place where thinkers and doers come together to work for a greener world. Next to a place where you can eat and drink local products there is a stage to present your initiative and tell your story.



Adelaide, Eindhoven, Amsterdam & Bucharest

SPLASH ADELAIDE © morganiseit (CC BY 2.0)

A D E L A I D E Not long ago, Adelaide could use a ‘splash’ of placemaking. And so, Splash Adelaide was born. This project brings the city’s streets and spaces to life through a series of community-run urban experiments intended to increase the vibrancy and vitality of the city, such as street parties, outdoor film screenings, spontaneous orchestral performances and urban guerilla-style vegetable gardens.

GEWILDGROEI E I N D H O V E N Gewildgroei is a green movement started by Vincent Wittenberg and Bennie Meek. With this movement, the designers want to create awareness around the usefulness of spontaneous vegetation in our cities. We spend a lot of money to get rid of it, but the weeds are actually a great support to combat the curse of climate change. The city needs wild plants!



B U C H A R E S T Văcărești Nature Park is a wetland, formed on the site of a hydro technical project commenced by the Communist regime in 1986 and left unfinished. Văcărești has been reconquered by nature and wildlife without any human intervention, to become one of Romania’s most diverse ecosystems, in the middle of one of Europe’s densest cities.

A M S T E R D A M BOOST Ringdijk is a temporary meeting place for refugees and neighbourhood residents, where they can get to know each other. Actively participating and being involved are simple but very important aspects of the integration and naturalisation process. BOOST develops programmes that stimulate the process of becoming part of the ‘social fabric’ of Dutch society.


© Helmut Ignat


‘s-Hertogenbosch, Berlin, Amsterdam & Tehran


© Lia Darjes

© Rene van der Hulst

HOUSE OF ONE B E R L I N House of One, which will be completed

in 2018, will be the world’s first house of prayer for three religions, containing a church, a mosque, and a synagogue. A place where the coexistence of religions is lived peacefully, in great openness and appreciation of diversity. The project is funded by the community (for 10 euros you donate a brick) and backed by religious leaders.

‘ S -H E R T O G E N B O S C H Initiators Simone Kramer and Petra Janssen are connecting people with poor job prospects to high-end product designers. The participants are making the most beautiful designed items, and working on their self-esteem and opportunities in life. Therefore, Social Label is a great example of mixing up and renewing themes as design, work, and care..


A M S T E R D A M My Red Light is a unique initiative that will be launched in May 2017 where sex workers are in charge. It’s the first brothel company in the Netherlands and Europe where they can work autonomous and start their own company. The platform, supported by the Municipality of Amsterdam, empowers sex workers, improves the safety of their working environment and takes away the stigma.

MUTINY OF COLOURS T E H R A N For the past year, Iranian filmmakers Zeinab

Tabrizy and Paliz Khoshdel have been documenting five Iranian street artists who question the political and social status quo of the country. They defy the law with their statements by illustrating the dichotomies of every-day life in Iran: war and peace, inequality and poverty, emancipation and social injustice.



Amsterdam, Pittsburgh, Vilnius & Gouda


© Carly Jacobs & Lizer van Hattem

A M S T E R D A M Amsterdam is at its most enticing from the water. Since summer 2015, two former refugee boats are sailing on the Amsterdam canals with Rederij Lampedusa. Let them take you through the many migration stories this city captures, including the personal story of the guides themselves who will tell you about their own flight and how they ended up in Amsterdam.


© Artūras Žukas


P I T T S B U R G H Conflict Kitchen is a restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which the United States is in conflict. They use the social relations of food and economic exchange to engage the general public in discussions about countries, cultures, and people. The restaurant rotates identities in relation to current geopolitical events.

V I L N I U S Burbuliatorius aims to revitalise public spaces

by bringing people together for an urban ritual of making soap bubbles together. Born in Vilnius, the initiative takes place in more than twenty cities worldwide, every second Monday during summer. By creating conditions to spend time together, the initiative encourages participants to develop new creative non-commercial solutions for public spaces in their cities.


G O U D A What can you do with a former asphalt ground of 23,000 m2? Citizens of Gouda got an answer and started an initiative to co-create the space in a sustainable way with living, working and leisure. They will preserve the industrial look and combine it with a broad variety of activities in the field of social entrepreneurship and cultural programming.


© Boris Nemeth


B R AT I S L AVA Stará tržnica (which translates as Old Market Hall) is a key multifunctional spot in Bratislava. Acting as a cultural centre, while at the same time an urban market, this initiative offers joint experiences for both residents and visitors of the city. As an added value, they are open to input from citizens, stimulating their participation in city-making.

Bratislava , Amsterdam, Seattle & Rotterdam


A M S T E R D A M Silicon Valley in De Baarsjes: Je m’appelle Company is a co-living space in Amsterdam-West where 25 creatives are sharing a 24/7 lifestyle, working and living under the same roof. A breeding place for innovative new projects, with like-minded people with a different skill set but the same vision: being the greatest.


PAVEMENT PARKS S E AT T L E Forced to work with the constraints of existing urban landscapes, Seattle creates so-called pavement parks in which they take underused areas to create vibrant social spaces. In addition to Seattle, other cities have adopted this strategy as well and pavement parks are becoming increasingly popular across North America.

R O T T E R D A M Residents of the Middelland area in Rotterdam have claimed control over how their neighbourhood will develop the coming years. Together with entrepreneurs and the government, the residents will control a budget of 7 million euros to improve their environment. It’s a great experiment in really co-creating the city.



Looking back and forward

TEN YEARS PAKHUIS DE ZWIJGER FROM SQUAT TO INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT PLATFORM FOR CITY MAKERS It started off as a slow train, but after ten years, Pakhuis de Zwijger is on a fast track. The organisation, housed in its distinguished location at the IJ, is known nationwide and even beyond the Dutch borders. A look-back and forward with founders Egbert Fransen en Hester Tiggeloven. >>




>> ‘It is hard to imagine we’ve managed to get things moving in the way we did. We started from scratch.’ Ten years ago, Egbert Fransen and his partner Hester Tiggeloven were still running Cultuurfabriek, producing large scale change events for corporates, NGO’s and ministries, and organising summer theater festival Over het IJ Festival in Amsterdam-Noord. A space for corporate and private events by day and housing cultural or political programmes by night is something Fransen had been dreaming about for a long time. ‘It is something we wanted and we were offered opportunities before, but those collapsed for several reasons. Besides, we wanted to run our own space.’


Paul Morel of Stadsherstel gives a tour in the building under construction, 2006


Starting from scratch

Through vision and a stroke of luck, they were able to obtain a building at the river IJ and, after some renovations, immediately worked on renting out spaces, connecting people and producing cultural events. Tiggeloven recalls the early days: ‘We started organising get-togethers of people from our networks. showing them the renovation of the building. It was a joint venture with Paul Morel from Stadsherstel Amsterdam, which still is the owner of the building. Our tradition of the Tafel van 50 (a dinner with 50 guests at one long table) started there, with people eating mustard soup and salads in the building which was still under construction.’ In the beginning, there was no money, no real business plan, no partners, no funding. Just a building, lots of ambition and ideas, and a large network. Soon, weekly events started to be programmed at night: Women Inc., Groove Nights, Beamlab and the still running programmes >> What’s Up? and Talk of the Town - which indicated


Voor Amsterdam

The torso of Willem de Zwijger, a gift from the squatters on the opening night of Pakhuis de Zwijger, 2006 © Joep Kroes

>> Fransen’s growing focus on the city. ‘I got inspired by

Richard Florida’s book and his vision for the city. He mentioned the relationship between the success of cities and the development of a blooming creative industry. For me, that was an eye opener and a very interesting idea.’ Fransen felt Amsterdam lacked a place for the creative industry to come together. ‘At the same time, I was also trying to come up with an alternative for the traditional debating stages. Something more practical, with more imagination and dialogue instead of the never-ending discussions.’ Tiggeloven adds: ‘And we were looking for sustainability. We got tired of incidental meetings: we wanted to create something with lasting impact.’


This is why in the run-up to its first lustrum in 2011, Pakhuis de Zwijger organised twenty so-called Tafels van 5. ‘We invited people from our network - with different backgrounds - for a five-course dinner served over the course of five hours and asked them what they were currently working on, about their visions for the near future, how they could contribute to that future and how we could collaborate with people and organisations in our city.’ It had the spin-off Fransen hoped for: ‘We constructed a manifest called VOOR AMSTERDAM and printed it on the back of a magazine which was made by visiting students of ArtEZ in Arnhem. It consisted of ten points, of which learning and exchanging were the most important. Furthermore, the idea for City Embassies was born at the table of the people we invited from Rotterdam. Soon after, we met again in their hometown and set up our first City Embassy, immediately followed by another one in Berlin.’ >>



Meaningful programmes

Opening dinner Women Inc. Festival, 2011

>> The timing was perfect: the growth of internet and

digitalisation was accelerating and in the slipstream of the financial crisis, a lot was happening. Existing institutions were either collapsing or struggling with societal transformation and in the void interesting bottom-up initiatives and platforms were arising. People felt a strong need to meet up. ‘We gave these movements visibility and a platform for sharing information, stories, and experiences.’ Projects like Nieuw Amsterdam - Stad in Transitie were born, shaping the momentum of transition. It gave Pakhuis de Zwijger the position of frontrunner in the field of urban transition, organising programmes about the smart city and climate change. Fransen explains the ‘kick-and-run mentality’: ‘Every time a ball lands in front of your feet, you kick it forward as hard as you can whilst shouting ‘come on, let’s get it!’, making people follow you. It’s about putting marks on the horizon.’


EVERYONE MUST HAVE A CHANCE TO GET INFORMED AND JOIN THE DIALOGUE Another five years later, the network of collaborators and partners has grown immensely. Every evening on weekdays, events are being visited by hundreds of visitors. Mostly for free, to ensure everyone has a chance to get informed and join the dialogue. During the day, rooms are packed with corporate or private events. Teamwork is key, Tiggeloven realises. ‘The success is built on a flexible and extremely professional organisation and dedicated programme makers. It is truly a well-oiled machine which can - next to own events - produce all kinds of happenings with the same standard of quality, from Emerce events, book presentations, corporate congresses, to smart city conferences and creative gatherings for social start-ups.’ >>


>> A bit of pride is definitely in order, as Pakhuis de Zwijger

is now an established brand, with actual impact through their City Makers and Urban Agenda. To Fransen, it is a fascinating experience. ‘Wherever I go, people know us now. And when we invite people to join one of our programmes, everyone gladly accepts, whether it’s a designer, a director-general or an alderman.’ And when Tiggeloven takes a cab to work - which rarely happens, though - she can just mention Pakhuis de Zwijger without having to explain where it is. ‘As someone born and bred in Amsterdam, I have to confess this makes me proud.’


Going international

And it’s not just people from Amsterdam. Pakhuis de Zwijger has long gone international due to the great influx of immigrants, expats, foreign students, and tourists. The programmes are crossing borders too - (New) Urban Agenda, City Embassies in different capitals, the Quito UN Habitat III. At the moment, about a third of the programmes in Pakhuis de Zwijger are English spoken. ‘It is great to see we’re having an impact on the city’, Egbert says. ‘We have people getting inspired here and starting their own programming initiatives. That’s great, but it also means we have to be on the lookout, we have to keep distinguishing ourselves, maintaining our communities and finding new ones. Our cities are facing a lot of new issues, on diversity, incorporating digitalisation in our society, the balance between tourism and livability, on governance and democracy. The next ten years will be crucial in deciding how cities will deal with the public domain in the broadest sense of the word. Who owns the city? The water, energy, clean air, transport, technology, >>

© Jorinde Tenten

Yearly summer tradition documentary screenings IDFA by Night, 2015



Including everyone

>> houses and data? And will we be able to include everyone or will there be a strong division?’

WE ARE PRAGMATIC IDEALISTS, NOT ACTIVISTS Pakhuis de Zwijger wants to keep playing an important and even leading role in dealing with these issues. Without taking sides. ‘We are pragmatic idealists, not activists’, Fransen says. ‘We want to include everyone: corporates as well as municipalities, insurance companies, politicians, citizens, students, designers, creatives and scientists. And people must feel they can speak out freely, which makes for interesting discussions.’

© Kim Hagenaars

At PdZ Portfolio Night, young creatives have the possibility to show their portfolio to professionals, 2012


Both partners love the vibe in the building, which can be incredible, according to Fransen. ‘The other night, we had a full house. A Tegenlicht MeetUp about robotics with 350 people in the audience. 140 people in another room talking about healthy ageing, 80 in the Studio discussing newcomers and affordable housing. And there was also a private event going on, organised by a law firm. At the square in front of the building, people who attended events during the day were having a drink, while in the restaurant people were getting food before the start of an evening programme. The place was bursting with a great diversity of people, without any dominant groups. At these moments we are extremely proud.’ >>


Future perspective

Deciding on the city of the future at Nacht van de Stad van de Toekomst, 2016 © Joep Kroes

>> If this all may sound too good to be true, it is in a sense.

The appreciation society and governments have for Pakhuis de Zwijger has not been expressed in financial support. Trying to get structural funding has turned out to be very difficult, as it is hard to label the organisation. It doesn’t fit into the existing structures of the cultural funds. Its success has also been used against them: funds will tell them they don’t need funding because they can hold their own. At the moment, Pakhuis de Zwijger generates 90 percent of its income by itself. Fransen would like to work to 30 percent structural funding by the Municipality and national government. ‘So we can create public space for research and development. Right now, we have to push our boundaries too far. It is an unhealthy situation.’

The couple has its work cut out for the next ten years. ‘We’re at a point where we have to try to sustain what we have built up so far’, Tiggelhoven says. ‘This whole thing has grown much bigger than just Egbert and me.’ ‘Our main goal was and is to bring people together, exchanging know-how and creating an impact together’, Fransen concludes. ‘For now, this is the best place to do just that. This level of energy, engagement and connection is hard to find anywhere else.’ •• You can find the manifest VOOR AMSTERDAM here:

Nicole Santé freelance editor


© Jorinde Tenten



Pakhuis de Zwijger, 2016




© LabGov Bologna

Needless to say, the city is a system, which is in a continuous progress or - as David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography would say - in a ‘process of becoming’. The city is a complex and incomplete event, a space and a condition at the same time, and that is why a city today is completely different from what it was centuries ago. This process of becoming should be perceived with caution, because sometimes cities might end up in a tragic event – cities might lose their ‘cityness’. And democracy is at stake here. In order to understand these processes, it is necessary to focus on a couple of particular questions. What is a city and who owns it? What processes in our cities are accelerated by the current economic and political system? And what could be the potential practice that would lead the way towards sustaining cities for everyone, and hence renovating democracy, that is, towards a ‘new democracy’? >>




>> In order to visualise the sound claim of a non-urban city

in an era of global capital, widespread gentrification, and the dominance of top-down political decision making, it is first important to address the complex and incomplete system that a city is. In his book The City (1925), American urban sociologist Robert E. Park described the city as ‘something more than a congeries of individual men and social conveniences – streets, buildings, electric lights, tramways, and telephones, etc.; something more, also, than a mere constellation of institutions and administrative devices – courts, hospitals, schools police, and civil functionaries of various sorts. The city is, rather, a state, a body of customs and traditions, and of organised attitudes and sentiments that inhere in these customs and are transmitted with this tradition. The city is not, in other words, merely a physical mechanism and an artificial construction. It is involved in the vital processes of the people who compose it; it is a product of nature, and particularly human nature.’ Saskia Sassen – an urban sociologist whose research and writings focus on globalisation and its social, economic and political dimensions – stresses this in her book Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. She states that a concrete, densely built city infrastructure is actually not enough to constitute a city. Rather the opposite – it could even constitute the loss of urbanity, i.e. the loss of its cityness. But what does that exactly mean?




Social, political and economic expulsion is a phenomenon described by Sassen that explains this the best. Expulsion is something that varies enormously across social strata, physical conditions, and across the world, but one of the ways to address it is by stressing the fact that cities of today – an era of international capital and global networks – are experiencing an increase in corporate urban buying. It is not a secret that urban land and property are an extremely profitable investment. Hence, by buying it, it is impossible to go wrong. This is not a problem in itself, but often the corporate buying leads to underutilisation or enclosure of the bought infrastructure. When national or foreign corporations buy property - housing complexes and cultural or industrial heritage for example - and leave it abandoned or enclosed, a city undergoes the loss of its cityness. It evaporates when the boiling social and cultural heterogeneity – in the form of communities with no property rights – is wiped out from cities, making them conserved for homogeneity and the owning elite. This is of course also closely related to the concept of gentrification. Urban land is a resource. It is one of those things we need to make a city, just like real estate, radio frequencies, sunlight, urban waters and much more. Citizens making the city has an intrinsic democratic quality that is appealing at a time when existing democratic institutionalisation is under pressure and the democratic reach and effectiveness of representation is questioned. The ownership of resources has an important meaning for cities’ inhabitants because it enables them to become active makers, who can develop and improve their neighbourhoods and the city as a whole. This is because ownership rights allow acquiring housing, while at the same time creating opportunities to introduce new initiatives, start activities for the neighbourhood, or undertake projects for energy production, food and water supply. The current system of ownership makes this process problematic. A city is not a pre-political and pre-market place like some non-urban areas are. Citizens don’t have free access to the resources a city has to offer. Almost all resources in the city are already owned and regulated either by the state or private entities. They are already part of a public-private usage scheme and are not open for any alternatives, without state or market complying with the change. >>


>> To clarify, the state here should not be perceived as a

neutral party that merely represents the interests of diverse communities. Everyday reality shows that the state is subdued to more complex sets of interests, in which political parties, for example, play a decisive role. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples where the state is serving interests that are opposite to those of the community. Let’s not go in depth however whether this is done intentionally or not. More important is the fact that communities and social innovators, who make the city bottom-up, are dependent on allowance and permission by other parties and do not own the resources they need to make the city. The only way to overcome this dependency is to obtain ownership, but this - obviously - is not within reach for all communities. As a matter of fact, only a small portion can be anticipated to gain such force in cities. The rest – the poor and the modest – get expelled. This is why property rights are crucial in the way essential goods and resources are allocated, not just for people who own property, but for the non-owners too. What is actually hindered by the conventional property regimes, is the fact that property rights tend to expel the nonowners from the property. This is critical if we address the question of urban inequality. Despite the fact that the city is the main democratic space to act, the poor and the modest don’t get to own or organise, and so, in a large part are excluded from the process of city-making. Sassen stresses that cities have always been democratic spaces for everyone to make history, culture, and economy. Yet, with mostly privatised and state-owned land and property, those with less or no ownership lose their power and right to the city. Maybe they are left with modest neighbourhoods in a periphery where they are given a space ‘to do their thing’, but in the end, they get to be the makers without resources – dependent on the approval of owners, running the risk to be stopped and expelled at any given moment.

Urban Commons

Unenclosed spaces with an open and unrestricted access not only ‘refresh the soul of the city, but they also empower citizens’, states American political scientist Benjamin Barber in his book If Mayors Ruled the World (2016). The loss of cityness is a strong indication of democratic shrinkage and decline of good governance. Diverse communities are not able to capture the full value of the urban life anymore. They become segregated due to their social and economic status and hence lose the right to live the life they have reason to value. The loss of the right to own a city as a collective resource is the loss of the freedom of a reasonable social co-existence - the loss of democracy.

THE QUALITY OF URBAN LIFE DEPENDS ON THE OPEN AND COLLECTIVE ACCESS TO THE CITY’S COMMON RESOURCES Having stressed that cities lose their cityness when their inhabitants are deprived of their right to the city, the ‘Urban Commons’ phenomenon appears as a progressive way to address inclusive, collective ownership as well as introduce democratic renewal. Urban Commons has been formulated by, among others, Sheila Foster, professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University New York, and Christian Iaione, professor of Public Law and Government Economic Regulation at Guglielmo Marconi University of Rome. The commons in a city could be tangible as well as intangible goods and resources. That means it could be digital goods, knowledge, and culture, but it also refers to environmental and urban commons, such as squares, parks, waters, buildings, street paths, vacant lots, cultural institutions, and other urban infrastructure private or public units. These places are recognised to serve for social access and existential exchange, which makes them of a truly common good nature. In their joint work City as a Commons, Iaione and Foster stress that the quality of urban life depends on the open and collective access to the city’s common resources. This is why, the whole city should run as a collaborative commons, in other words: as a ‘co-city’. >>



Sheila Foster

SHEILA FOSTER STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY AT CITY LEVEL While introducing commons in New York, Sheila Foster - professor of Real Estate, Land Use and Property Law at Fordham University - has focused on three main aspects: affordable housing and commercial spaces, climate resiliency and justice, and technological equality. Having a strong contact with local communities and being a respected property law scholar, she initiated drafting legislations and collaboration pacts, creating urban collaboration labs and establishing collaboration in experimental zones in Harlem, Brooklyn, and The Bronx. In the light of LabGov Amsterdam, she recently visited Pakhuis de Zwijger to share her experience and insights and talk about urban commoning in Amsterdam with active urban innovators from the Netherlands. ‘There are some urban commons that are identified by their relationship to the surrounding community [at the scale of a block, a neighbourhood, or a city]’, she answer when asked why she works with urban commons and what value the governance of the commons generates for the city. ‘One of the things about these spaces in the relation to communities is to talk about them in terms of what humans in cities need to survive and flourish, for instance, affordable housing, safe environment, and access to good food. The value generated by transforming an underutilised


or vacant urban land or a building into a public or community good [like a community garden, urban farm, affordable housing, cooperatively managed work space], outweighs or at least competes with whatever value that structure would have, either being sold on a market or laying vacant and underutilised.’ According to Foster, local communities have the proper expertise to self-govern the commons. ‘Look at Detroit for example. Communities have turned some of the vacant, abandoned, burnt out land into urban farms and gardens. Urban abandoned structures were turned into places for affordable housing or for other community functions. This illuminated the categorisation of these resources not as privately owned by someone who has abandoned it or even held publically by the city, but rather as a commons, property in transition that belongs to all of us’, she says. Commons is the way of saying that resources should be more accessible to a broader group of people, and in particular to those who are the most vulnerable to expulsion. ‘And not just accessible and available,’ she adds, ‘but most importantly generative, these resources should be made available so they can be used to generate other collective goods, such as housing culture, art, etcetera.’



>> What is particular about commons, is that it could be

seen as an intervention into the logic of expulsions. Where expulsions, as addressed by Sassen, are about private wealth, exclusion, enclosure, and a culture of consumption, the commons is about common wealth, inclusion, and access, as well as openness to property and resources. It is not about consuming, but rather generating goods for human development, flourishing, and wellbeing. In the 21st century, expulsions and commons are two crucial concepts for local authorities to formulate public policies for a city and its resources that many different stakeholders depend on, for example, on land use, area development, and property. Commons stakes out the claim to the city. It intervenes into privatisation and commodification of a city space by stating that city’s resources belong to a broader group of urban inhabitants than just the political and economic elites. This means that ownership of city resources should not be limited to a single entity because the underlying claim is that urban resources are not something that should be locked up by one owner, but rather belong to all city inhabitants and be open for city-making by any one. The commons concept focuses on two things. First, the issue of city resources and how we could categorise a resource that should be neither privatised nor solely owned by the state, rather accessible for those who have no formal property rights but – as every human being – have a right to flourish. This is how not just material assets but also immaterial ones - including relational interest of communities to a particular resource in cities - are protected. Second, the issue of governance regarding a democratic process of inclusive co-management of an urban resource. This means that city spaces and a city itself are the right place for a collaborative production of public life, goods and services. The commons means that city resources - formalised in communal ownership - should not only be accessible to but essentially should be governed by a broad and diverse range of stakeholders to make the city and simultaneously restore democracy from the ground up. It aims to provide communities with resources - not on a temporary or use basis, but in a permanent manner. The democratic quality of commons depends, for a large part, on a cultural shift in terms of how we think about government. The commons challenge us to develop new governance structures.

Communal ownership

This is why Foster and Iaione introduce the co-city with a co-creative governance scheme based on moving away from hierarchical, standardised, and uniform government toward collaborative or polycentric governance which aims to include multiple stakeholders in order to co-make the city. Communal ownership (community trusts) over the resource is a prerequisite for a truly co-creative governance, based on inclusivity and a productive use of expertise and the different roles and interests stakeholders have. It creates a form of accountability for those who are involved in the cocreation process as well as it shores the democratic legitimacy for the community at large, transcending the internal governance structure.

URBAN COMMONS IS ABOUT GENERATING GOODS FOR HUMAN WELLBEING Every city has different urban development and governance paths. Every city differs significantly in terms of its political, legal and economic systems or even urban issues. Even within one city, there is this great variety. The idea of commons in the city is thus to come up with context-based policies and strategies to address both resource and governance issues and by doing so transforming cities into sufficiently responsive, flexible and adaptive spaces which engage and involve different ‘publics’ in owning and governing collective economic and social city assets. A co-city is a new democratic arena – the interface between state and society, conduits for negotiation, information, and exchange – to designate urban space, structure or infrastructure, like community gardens, parks, abandoned buildings, vacant lots, cultural institutions, as experimental Urban Commons in which different actors can collaborate to co-create solutions to meet local needs. >>



The co-city framework


We could say that Foster and Iaione’s City as a Commons challenges Sassen’s City as a Commodity because one of the underlying objectives of a co-city is securing rather than reducing the right of its inhabitants to co-own and co-manage the city. The commons concept reorients city officials from a hierarchical, standardised, expertise-based governance model to a distributed, adaptive, collaborative one, in which local and sub-local actors share responsibility and collaborate with the city to achieve a range of social and economic ends. This commons-based approach is practiced on the ground having received support from Laboratory for the Governance of the Commons (LabGov), which experiments with a methodology or a Co-city protocol to support local City Makers projects and strengthen the relationships between city officials and the local community at large, and thereby redesign democracy in practice. This is a profoundly experimental process, which differs in every city.

>> Despite that a co-city framework is meant to adapt

to local peculiarities of different contexts, it has three underlying principles. The first one is collective governance. It refers to a pluralism of actors (members of the public, public authorities, businesses, civil society organisations, and knowledge institutions), incorporating sub-local communities, cooperating and collaborating together to create, access, use, and co-manage common resources. With collective action, it aims to identify and reinforce social norms and social capital as well as leverage access to civic and other assets. The second principle is an enabling state, which is based on the transformation of the local administrative culture and norms. This principle stresses the increase of local competencies and capabilities to incentivise and coordinate collective governance to change the ‘architecture’ of the city (administrative, cognitive and professional, technological, financial, etc.). The enabling state should take part in designing new legal and policy tools to facilitate collaboration and cooperation. The third principle is social pooling. It is a peer-to-peer production of goods and services (such as Do It Yourself and open production, and value produced through open source software, information, data, and culture). Social pooling is based on social mutualism and reciprocity to produce social welfare and well-being through street, block or sidewalk level cooperativism (collectively owner-ship or management, internal collaborative decision-making). It is preceded by building on the value of local or sub-local ingenuity and entrepreneurship, anchoring the social and economic wealth of the community through public-private-community partnerships.


So far, LabGov is based in Bologna and New York, where it ensures collective and inclusive governance of community goods, develops and implements legal and institutional infrastructures that facilitate collaboration and cooperation, and promotes the cooperative production of goods and services (social pooling). As an ultimate goal, it aims to establish true commons and bring together community groups and neighbourhood anchor institutions, along with universities, social innovators, local businesses, and non-profit public interest organisations working as catalysers to co-design and implement local cooperative platforms or regulatory schemes, and citywide networks or collaborative partnerships to create new opportunities to support the needs of all urban inhabitants and differentiated communities to flourish. A LabGov Amsterdam is in the making. >>







Piazza dei Colori 21


LABGOV IN PRACTICE PIAZZA DEI COLORI Piazza dei Colori is a public housing complex on the outskirts of Bologna. It was built in the late 70s for Italians who moved from the South all the way up to the North of Italy. The building is four storeys high, with commercial spaces on the ground floor and three layers of apartments. During the 90s, a new group formed by immigrants and refugees found residence in this area. This had a significant impact on the social infrastructure. Moreover, many urban problems such as unemployment, poverty, addiction, and criminality begun to be visible in the area. Meanwhile, as the establishment of large supermarkets and other hyper stores in the area caused small businesses to fail, the commercial spaces on the piazza became vacant. In an attempt to revitalise the area, the Municipality - which owns the piazza and its real estate - started a programme to attract entrepreneurs and their respective ideas for new social projects in the piazza. The city itself had no money to invest but by providing initiatives and businesses with spaces, it has created opportunities for people who could invest not just in terms of money but above all time and entrepreneurship. To name some examples, Annabella Losco started Piazza dei Color 21, a second-hand shop where people from the neighbourhood can contribute by donating things they don’t use anymore. The profit of the shop is being invested in social projects such as language courses for residents. In another space,


Livio Talozzi and Andrea Sartori opened MakeInBo, a Fab Lab. During the day they earn their money with commercial production and at night their lab is open for makers from all over Bologna. The FabLab reconnects Piazza dei Colori with the larger community of the city of Bologna, most of whom had no idea of its existence. It has also become a place for education and personal development for the local community. Since 2016, LabGov is involved with the piazza. The project started with building a community and network. LabGov connects the different entrepreneurs and other stakeholders by organising meetings and co-design sessions. The first result of LabGov is the realisation of a jointly written regulation for collaboration, which was found necessary by the participants to build mutual trust. The next step is to develop joint projects and initiatives. LabGov has a long way to go with the piazza, but the potential is appealing. As a long-term ambition or end game, one can think of transferring the ownership over the commercial and public spaces to the community, making it a true commons.


>> An example of a successful urban commons project is

located in Bologna, where the City Council adopted the Regulation on Collaboration Between Citizens and the Administration for the Care and Regulation of Urban Commons. It is a regulation that allows the unorganised public, such as social entrepreneurs and social innovators, to become involved in projects that require ‘municipal assets or cooperation’ and also allows for a ‘collaboration agreement’ for each project that lays out the terms (what kind of support the city will provide citizens or civic groups, which can include supplies, property, or technical expertise). The securing of the city to its people is played out by pacts of collaboration that identify various kinds of opportunities for collaboration of residents, or whomever else, to take over some of the abandoned underutilised properties and enter them into a collaboration for the city in order to regenerate them. One of the core ideas behind the collaboration pacts in Bologna is to facilitate a transparent process, addressing questions who can access city resources and whether there is a mechanism that regulates this process. With the co-Bologna project, LabGov Bologna has identified new ground for experimentation. Within the project, there are three locations at the edges of the city that share common features, like a high number of low-income families living in public housing complexes, a high number of first or second generation migrants and a high unemployment rate. The co-Bologna project is about the creation of social pools in these modest areas, where people would be enabled to share basic resources and the basic needs that they have in order to reach a common goal. In Piazza dei Colori, one of these neighbourhoods, where the underutilised commercial spaces have been used as sort of laboratories to start a collaborative economy circuit, in which all the actors on the ground would take part. This has proven to be the way to self-develop in support of other actors. These are hence social pools based on the outskirts of the city where local communities are the driving force. A lot of time and energy is needed in order to collectively build the culture of collaboration within the community itself. This is the reason why governance of commons is a continuous process based on experimentation in order to bring back cityness to the cities.


In order to be successful, co-city needs to be fully inclusive. This emphasises the fact that co-city is not just an invitation to the collaboration process, because this means that those who join collaboration are people who already have resources, such as, time, technical know-how, etc. Co-city rather pays special attention to including groups and individuals who are at the margins or the edges of the city in literal terms and stresses the increase of the capacity of people that are normally left out, expelled or dependent on allowance and permission to participate in city-making. Only by adopting the commons concept in public policies on land use, area development, property and other, urban inhabitants are enabled to contribute to the new democracy at the city level. The governance of the commons is a challenging process, nonetheless, it is going viral. The fact that laws and general city dynamics can be changed from the ground up is fascinating and this is why many cities are working along these lines. Securing commons to urban inhabitants is the way to bring the right to the city back to its citizens and intervene into the logic of expulsions. The commons gives us an answer to the question ‘Who owns the city?’. The answer is ‘We own the city’. Commons encourages us to start working on both the fundamental and practical interpretations of this statement. The commons requires us to define the meaning and culmination of ‘We’ as the community that it concerns; ‘own’ as the governance structure to co-govern with the community; and ‘the city’ as the resource that this community co-governs. ••

Joachim Meerkerk strategist and programme maker New Democracy at Pakhuis de Zwijger

Ieva Punyte intern New Democracy at Pakhuis de Zwijger



The voice of the global public


Last September, mayors, experts and City Makers - including municipal officials, researchers, students, social innovators and representatives from social organisations - of seventy-five countries from all over the world came together at the World Forum in The Hague, the city of Peace and Justice. They gathered to launch the first Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) which was founded by Dr. Benjamin Barber with support of a number of active intellectuals and represents a trusted voice of the global public. GPM is an innovative, global governance body by, for and of cities. It is meant to empowering mayors to become more influential players in the globally interconnected world, as well as enabling them to proactively engage in the governance realm. >>




>> Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in

urban settlements. Cities are a hotbed for knowledge and innovation, growth, art, and culture. Cities with hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of inhabitants are incredible generators of economic growth - they produce over 80% of the global gross domestic product, and wellbeing. It’s where local government is located, and not ideology or sound pledges, but education and health, transportation, safety, and other common needs are served - as well as local problems solved. Hence, cities and its inhabitants have tremendous potential in writing their respective urban narratives, rather than permitting organisations of nation states to do that for them.

NATIONS ARE NO LONGER DRIVING GLOBALISATION, CITIES ARE! American political scientist Benjamin Barber first expressed the idea of a mayors’ parliament in his book If Mayors Ruled the World, where he emphasised that the parliament of mayors is the parliament of citizens without borders. He introduced GPM as a platform that is meant to address global challenges from a local point of view, having mayors share their practices, learn from one another and especially leverage collective political power of cities to craft real strategic solutions in borderless world with borderless leadership. One of the core ideas that Barber expressed during the inaugural convening, was that ‘the GPM represents not anonymous millions [of people] held together only by abstract bonds of a frenzied [sense of] patriotism that can all too quickly become xenophobia, but rather committed residents of communities, where local government still works and the social contract still holds. We come here not to speak top-down from the towering heights, but to speak bottom-up from the rich natural soil where the social contract was first engendered and the idea of citizenship was planted’, Barber stressed. ‘We know that democratic power springs up from local communities of people [who] intent on self-government, it does not flow down from arrogant national oligarchs claiming to represent people without ever engaging them.’

Restoring the faith in democracy

This is why - in regards to the complex global governance realm which appears to be disconnected from the people - what is actually needed is the change of the subject. In other words, more attention should be paid to political institutions where civilisation and culture were born - that is, cities rather than nation states. ‘Cities are closer to democracy, more trusted, much more involved with the citizenry’, states Barber, when - in opposition - ‘states defined by borders and sovereignty, compete and confront each other - having very little progress in terms of actual issues that cities’ inhabitants experience on the ground.’ And for that reason too, ‘a parliament of cities helps not just solve problems, but helps restore the faith in democracy. Cities and their mayors are pragmatists, they are problem solvers, and deal with reality as it is. That makes them very different from prime ministers and presidents, and that’s why we believe they have a chance - when they work together across borders - to really govern the world,’ says Barber. After the first successful convening of the GPM, it is highly promising that the parliament, encompassing practical proficiencies of small towns and large cities, can indeed make a significant contribution to the global strengthening of democracy and pragmatic decision-making in regards to problems that cities and their inhabitants around the world face.

CITIES AND THEIR MAYORS SHOULD WORK TOGETHER ACROSS BORDERS The timing couldn’t have been better for mayors, experts, and City Makers to come together on the brink of present day challenges to confront anarchy, governmental gridlock, terrorism, climate change and the endless flow of economic and war refugees. As a pure matter of fact, a significant percentage of all these global issues comes from and is felt nowhere else but in cities and by its inhabitants. Among many issues, cities are also inequality traps. Home to billionaires and beggars, a number of cities show a higher level of inequality than the national average. With a rapidly growing urban population, it is crucial that cities don’t become the drivers of inequality. ‘The global community currently stands on a dizzying brink with hope tempered by cynicism’, Barber states. ‘With Brexit being a reality and neo-populist nationalists in revolt, the European community is in trouble. In Africa and Latin >>



>> America, people struggle to secure their democracies.

And even the admired American political process seems to have come unhinged. The United Nations has become the ‘Disunited Nations’ and democracy itself is in peril, seeming to have failed those most in need. Planet Earth’s very sustainability is at risk.’

PLANET EARTH’S VERY SUSTAINABILITY IS AT RISK So whether or not states come into agreement with one another, cities and their inhabitants are in a strong position to contribute to mastering the challenges of these transnational and essentially interdependent problems. In reality, many cities are already working together, in order to collaboratively deal with climate change and migration, terrorism and trafficking. For example Barcelona established a City Protocol, together with tech company Cisco, thirty other cities, allied organisations and universities. The protocol ‘aims to define a global, cooperative framework among cities,

Working together

industries and institutions with the goal to address urban challenges in a systematic way in areas, such as sustainability, self-sufficiency, quality of life, competitiveness and citizen participation’, their website states. Also, there is Mayors for Peace, which is an 5,664 cities organisation that brings the voice of mayors to the table, and puts the municipalities most likely to suffer from global war on the frontline of the peace effort. These and many other city organisations prove the claim that cities are ready to make a difference and progress in inclusive and sustainable urban development. This was undoubtedly acknowledged by Mayors from cities including Paris, Mexico City, Warsaw, Palermo, Seoul, Cape Town, Amman, Rio de Janeiro, Dakar, Mannheim, Rotterdam, Quito, New Delhi and Amsterdam - together home to millions of people. It has been unanimously agreed that the GPM confronts the central problem of democracy that is embedded in the asymmetry between on one hand 21st century brutally interconnected global issues, and on the other hand archaic and increasingly dysfunctional political institutions like nation states. >>




Expanding the network



>> What makes the GPM different from other city

organisations, is the fact that it is not just a cities’ network, but a parliament. It has an underlying objective to systematically develop strategic and adequate guidelines for action, and then take that action. At the inaugural convening last September, mayors, cities’ representatives and experts already addressed issues in plenary and strategy sessions on Migration, Environment & Climate Change, as well as Governance. This was not just another meeting of high-ranking officials talking about their concerns, but this occasion had an overall goal to express the voice of people and join local forces to craft strategic solutions to interdependent problems. The GPM is the closest it gets for citizens to address issues and exchange local knowledge and know-how to deal with them globally.

Currently, the GPM is moving forward in forming its Executive Committee with a president and a secretariat in order to become an autonomous body. Cities will then be capable to fund, plan upcoming parliaments, and come up with tangible actions to confront ‘glocal’ issues. What is needed now for the parliament to succeed, is a wider acknowledgement that would include cities from more than seventy-five countries and have these cities not only addressing problems, but offering solutions in terms of most urgent issues, such as common actions over climate change and refugees. Having more cities proactively engaged in the GPM, enables citizens themselves worldwide to contribute to the strengthening of democracy. •• Ieva Punyte intern New Democracy at Pakhuis de Zwijger




Š Jean-Luc Pierite

More than two hundred years since the Industrial Revolution, global urbanisation keeps accelerating. United Nations projections indicate that 75% of the human population will be living in cities by 2050. Newly created cities and the urbanisation process in rural areas replicates a lifestyle based on consumerism and the linear economy, causing destructive social and economic impact while compromising the ecological systems of the planet. Extreme industrialisation and globalisation have turned cities into the most voracious consumers of materials, and they are overwhelmingly the source of carbon emissions through both direct and embodied energy consumption. The rise of offshoring and automation indirectly leads to a decrease of the practical and cultural knowledge on how and where things used to be made locally in our cities. These dynamic hubs loose their livelihood. >>




>> We need to reinvent our cities and their relationship

to people and nature by re-localising production, so cities are generative rather than extractive, restorative rather than destructive, and empowering rather than alienating. In these cities, prosperity flourishes and people have purposeful, meaningful work that they enjoy and that enables them to use their passion and talent. By connecting citizens with the advanced technologies that are transforming our everyday life, we need to recover the knowledge and capacity on how things are made in our cities.

WE NEED TO RECOVER OUR KNOWLEDGE ON HOW THINGS ARE MADE The Fab City is an international initiative started by the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC), MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), the Barcelona City Council and the Fab Foundation to develop locally productive and globally connected selfsufficient cities. The project is connected to the global Fab Lab (Fabrication Laboratory) network and comprises an international think tank of civic leaders, makers, urbanists and innovators working on changing the paradigm of the current industrial economy. In the latter, the city operates on a linear model of importing products and producing waste. This should change to a spiral innovation ecosystem, in which materials flow inside cities locally and information on how things are made circulates globally. Fab City is about building a new economy based on manufacturing infrastructure and distributed data.


Fab Cities

For more than ten years, Fab Labs have provided widespread access to modern means for invention and production. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s CBA, but Fab Labs have spread from inner city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the most northern tip of Norway, counting approximately 1,000 Fab Labs located in more than 78 countries today. Activities in Fab Labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training. Projects being developed and produced in Fab Labs include, for example, solar and wind powered turbines and custom housing. Fab Labs share core capabilities among each other so that people and projects can be shared across the world. These labs work with components and materials optimised for use in the field and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a Fab Lab being eventually able to make a Fab Lab.

IN 2054, OUR CITIES SHOULD BE AT LEAST 50% SELF-SUFFICIENT In 2011, the Fab City project was launched at the FAB7 conference in Lima, Peru. A few years later at the FAB10, the Mayor of Barcelona invited his colleagues around the world to join the Barcelona Pledge: a countdown for cities to become at least 50% self-sufficient by 2054. Ever since several cities have pledged to join the network. Amsterdam joined the movement in 2016 at the first annual Fab City Summit, held at the EU2016 FabCity Campus. The Fab City movement is open for other cities, towns or communities to join in order to collectively build a more humane and habitable new world. Fab City takes the ideals of the Fab Lab - the connectivity, culture and creativity - and scales it to the level of the city. It is a new urban model for transforming and shaping cities that shift how they source and use materials from ‘Products In, Trash Out’ to ‘Data In, Data Out’. This means that more production occurs inside the city, along with recycling materials and meeting local needs through local inventiveness. A city’s imports and exports would mostly be found in the form of data: information, knowledge, design and code. >>


>> At the core of the Fab City strategy is the development

of a global network of cities that are part of a sustainable ecosystem of production and knowledge: from a 3D printer at home to the neighbourhood’s Fab Lab, and to the city factory to global production infrastructure. In a Fab City, the number of imported goods - like food and resources as water and energy - need to be reduced. To make this possible, urban farming needs to evolve from experimental practices to a larger scale infrastructure. Local production of foods at domestic, neighbourhood and city scales create a closed loop system for food production and harvesting. The use of recycled raw materials for the production of objects in cities should be increased. This way, we create added value in every iteration of a new product, in a new spiral economy approach. A new productive ecosystem to rescale globalisation and provide the means of innovation to empower citizens. This process involves a huge cultural shift. One that promotes the empowerment of cities and their citizens.

Rescaling global manufacturing

To become a Fab City requires having a more precise knowledge of the way that cities work. The evolution of the movement will make it possible to create better systems of capturing and analysing data, developing knowledge about each city and sharing it, and it will require the implementation of an evaluation system and detailed monitoring: the Fab City Dashboard. The Fab City strategy is unique in that it addresses a range of environmental, social and economic objectives (carbon reduction, waste minimisation, relocalisation of manufacturing and work) in a systems approach to harnessing new technology and production approaches. All of this is brought to a practical level, by connecting with the existing Fab Lab Network and complementary productive ecosystems; a vast source for urban innovations being shared already globally by makers in more than 70 countries and 1,000 labs. The first city to become self-sufficient - simultaneously increasing employment by creating opportunities through open innovation, and radically reducing carbon emissions by re-localising production - will lead the future of urban development globally. >>



Fab12 Shenzen / Roadmap to self-sufficient cities


© Jean-Luc Pierite

Each year, members of the more than 1,000 worldwide Fab Labs gather to share, collaborate, explore and - of course - fabricate. In August 2016, they met in Shenzhen (China) at the FAB12 ‘Fabricate the Future’. Shenzhen is a dynamic metropolis with a population of 11 million, of whom 98% were born elsewhere and the average age barely tips 30. It is often referred to as the Silicon Valley of hardware and is a historically important city for manufacturing and making; the city is responsible for 60% of China’s industrial production. Today, China is embarking on a long-term programme to foster innovation and technology, which made the city the perfect incubator for the digital fabrication revolution which Fab Labs are bringing to the world. FAB12 focused on self-replication: Fab Lab making Fab Lab, Business making Business, Organisations making Organisations and Civilisations making Civilisations. Fab City was also one of the main issues. During FAB12, the cities of Paris, Toulouse, Bhutan, Sacramento, Santiago, and Detroit joined the network of cities that want to be self-sufficient in 2054.





>> According to Marleen Stikker, founder and director of

Waag Society which is home to Fab Lab Amsterdam, Fab City shows that the combination of the maker movement and circular economy are presenting solid alternatives that are ready to scale. ‘The shared starting point is that we have to take responsibility for our own behaviour’, she explains. ‘We cannot wait for systems to change. We have to be the change. This Do-It-Ourselves or rather Do-It-Together mentality unleashes a powerful dynamic in society. It shows that civic movements are at the heart of change. We need an innovation paradigm shift. Not shareholders value but social value, open instead of closed, cooperative instead of competitive. Smart citizens instead of smart cities.’

WE CANNOT WAIT FOR SYSTEMS TO CHANGE, WE HAVE TO DO IT OURSELVES The Fab City approach can contribute to achieving a range of city objectives. It helps civic leaders to develop locally productive cities in collaboration with local communities, companies, and institutions by revitalising manufacturing infrastructure and incentivising a new economy. Fab Lab and makerspace-based innovations could be a source for solutions to connect to real problems in cities, opening opportunities for businesses, research and education through projects in the digital realm. In this approach, citizens and cities are empowered to be the masters of their own destiny as their resilience is increased. With the circulation of materials and associated energy consumption, a more ecological system is developed in which carbon emissions - typical for the current economy - are drastically reduced; atoms stay in cities while bits travel globally. In order to make this happen, the city must be locally productive and globally connected to knowledge, economic and social networks. In this connection, the cooperation between cities, citizens, and knowledge centres form the basis of the scientific knowledge.

A concerted and coordinated response must be made to reimagine how, where and what we make if we are to live harmoniously within the bounds of the planet’s resources. Fab City proposes a model for cities to be resilient, productive and self-sufficient in order to respond to the challenges of our times. It also proposes the recovery of knowledge and the capacity to make things, to produce energy, to harvest food and to understand the flow of matter, in order to empower its citizens to be the leading agents of their own destiny. The Fab City is about radical transformation. It is about rethinking and changing our relationship with the material world, in order to continue to flourish on this planet. ••

Christel van de Craats programme maker Sustainability at Pakhuis de Zwijger Tomas Diez director Fab Lab Barcelona & Fab City Research Lab



Lifelong learning

MAAKPLAATS 021 LIFELONG LEARNING IN AMSTERDAM MAKERSPACES The 21st century is strongly influenced by the information-based economy and challenges us with new types of (digital) communication as well as new ways of collecting and understanding information. This involves a new set of ‘21st-century skills’ we, especially the young, need to develop in order to succeed in this economy. To hold information-age jobs, now and in the future, we need to think deeply about issues, solve problems creatively, work in teams, communicate clear in many media types, learn ever-changing technologies, and deal with a flood of information. The rapid changes in our world require us to be flexible, to take the initiative and lead when necessary, and to produce something new and useful. >>



© Waag Society, FabSchool


>> Examples of the 21st skills are Creative Thinking, Media

TO PARTICIPATE IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY, WE NEED 21ST CENTURY SKILLS change, we can be the agents of change. This enhances a feeling of relevance and ownership. Making puts power in our hands. Makerspaces empower those who seek to make and be the change.

Š Waag Society, FabSchool

Literacy, Technology Literacy Initiative and Leadership. But these essential skills are hardly (actively) taught at schools. This is when makerspaces come in. A makerspace can be the place to bring together a diversity of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to solve problems on the spot. It’s a collaborative workspace inside a library, school or separate public facility providing technology, manufacturing equipment and educational opportunities to the public. They could also foster entrepreneurship and utilise as incubators and accelerators for business start-ups. Makerspaces give access to these new skills and provide hands-on learning, critical thinking skills and even boost self-confidence.

The maker movement

The maker movement is a global revolution of new ways of production, of making products. It includes everything from technologies like 3D printing to new participative, open internet-based technologies. Some of the skills learned in a makerspace pertain to electronics, 3D printing, 3D modelling, coding, robotics, and laser cutting. It is no longer necessary to wait for a factory or big company to produce what you want - you can make it yourself. Besides, the maker movement is a way of thinking and a stance towards learning, and a community that is collaborative, participative, critical without being judgmental, and inclusive. Instead of being the objects of


The Amsterdam Public Library (OBA), Waag Society, Hogeschool van Amsterdam and Pakhuis de Zwijger joined forces to develop Maakplaats 021: a series of makerspaces in Amsterdam. The first location will open in December 2016 next to OBA Waterlandplein in Amsterdam-Noord. All kinds of Amsterdammers - children, students, entrepreneurs, locals, policy advisors, etc. - are invited to listen, learn and share their ideas about current issues and to take responsibility and ownership in finding solutions. >>


OBA makerspaces

>> The ecosystem of the 26 locations of OBA leads to a great opportunity to establish several makerspaces throughout the whole city of Amsterdam. Martin Berendse, Chief Executive of OBA: ‘Libraries have been and are still popular public places attracting a cross-section of local neighbourhoods. It’s one of the few very accessible and non-commercial urban spaces where everyone is welcome to study and share ideas.’ Since 1919, OBA has been an important public site supporting the personal development of all Amsterdammers. During the 20th century, this was mainly facilitated by lending books and providing study-rooms. Nowadays, OBA is constantly looking for

new approaches to create easy access to knowledge and information as books aren’t our primary sources anymore. ‘Makerspaces perfectly fit in contemporary and future manners of acquiring and using knowledge’, says Berendse. ‘Adding them to our OBA locations will be an important asset to our mission: to encourage all Amsterdammers to lifelong learning.’

Waag Society - the Amsterdam institute for art, science, and technology - will help to equip the OBA makerspaces with machines and knowledge and will introduce their Smart Citizen Kit programme, a bottom-up environmental sensing community and platform. It aims to enable citizens to become active in shaping the development of their city by capturing, sharing and making sense of data in

a local environment. Joining Maakplaats 021 is a great opportunity for Waag Society as well. ‘Waag Society is always active in a social context’, says Marleen Stikker, founder of the institute. ‘For more than 20 years, we have been working on the progress of social innovation through a unique mix of art, science, and technology with a prominent role for citizens. With this collaboration, we get the chance to offer our programmes at physical locations throughout Amsterdam and spread around the maker movement.’ >>



EMPOWERING THOSE WHO SEEK TO MAKE AND BE THE CHANGE >> How can we reduce digital illiteracy? What is the best

That means being right there where change is especially needed: disadvantaged Amsterdam areas like Noord, Nieuw-West, and Zuidoost struggle with a high level of unemployment, relatively poor health, illiteracy and other issues. Local makerspaces are ideal to initiate and facilitate this process, especially as it is not taken for granted residents of neighbourhoods like Noord, NieuwWest and Zuidoost visit sites like Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam’s city centre. ‘We often addresses these issues urging for solutions’, says Fransen. ‘Though, mainly in our own building, which is accessible to everyone, but where we hardly meet the average resident from - let’s say - Noord. And it is exactly those people who have the necessary knowledge about and experience with affairs like increasing debts, safety and security problems and poor public spaces.’

© Waag Society, FabSchool

way to design a new playground for kids? How can we all collaborate to keep our public spaces clean and enjoyable? How to improve our air quality? Just some of the many minor and major issues that are at stake throughout our city. Egbert Fransen, director of Pakhuis de Zwijger, has been connecting stakeholders and organising events on these urgent and complex urban challenges of today for ten years. ‘We have been rather successful attracting

The city-making process

highly educated people of Amsterdam’s city centre. But the issues we address concern a much wider audience. To be able to reach and involve them, we need to be entrenched deeply in the city. Because everybody has the potential to be a City Maker.’ He strongly believes in the city-making process: shifting ownership from top-down to bottom-up initiatives in the public domain. ‘Change comes from within the neighbourhoods’, he says. ‘When we actively bring together the parties concerned right there where issues are at stake, transformation and hopefully improvements will follow.’


This motivated to start Amsterdam’s first Maakplaats 021 at Waterlandplein. ‘There are great things happening in Noord,’ says Fransen, ‘but there are also major challenges.’ According to him, it is extremely important to be close to everyone who seeks to accelerates one’s personal development with these new skills. ‘We shouldn’t operate just in the city centre as this limits many (young) people to participate. These makerspaces will be nearby your home and accessible to stimulate everyone to join. When we all come together and collaborate, share and learn from each other, better and more sustainable solutions are more likely.’ >>


Learning from local experience

EVERYBODY CAN BE A CITY MAKER >> Rob Andeweg, project manager Applied Sciences of HvA

The makerspace in Amsterdam-Noord welcomes its first makers, more locations will follow in the near future. As a bottom-up initiative where experiment will prevail, there’s no concrete plan yet for programming. Courses and activities will develop according to ideas and needs coming from participants. ‘Teachers of nearby schools already showed their interest’, says Berendse. ‘They experience 21st century skills like coding and programming being essential, but most schools are not equipped for this.’ Maakplaats 021 can be the key to facilitating this learning by doing, and prepare us all for future developments. ••

© Rens van Vliet

totally agrees on this. As a partner of Maakplaats 021, he will link his students to the makerspaces and creates community-based assignments and challenges together with locals and other stakeholders. ‘I believe when we collaborate locally - not just learning from books and in lecture rooms - and be part of a neighbourhood network, impact will be bigger and more lasting. Moreover, working and studying in a community-oriented way, experiencing the local context, will help students to cultivate a sense of appreciation and usefulness.’ It fits the idea of 21st century skills on multiple levels.

For instance, technology students can design playgrounds together with local kids, policy makers, and other interested parties. Or law students, who can help locals with legal services and initiate debt settlement proceedings. Subsequently, they can develop easy-tounderstand digital legal programmes that locals can use independently. Healthcare students can learn about health issues by communicating with locals directly and thinking about solutions together. ‘HvA aims that our students will graduate with relevant skills they didn’t just learn from the books, but from local experience too’, says Andeweg. The makerspaces will make those essential 21st century skills accessible to all parties.

Maartje Rooker freelance market researcher & writer



Summer school


© Anke Teunissen

THE FUTURE IS NOW, KID! Our society is in great need for active and responsible citizens. Citizens who feel co-ownership and responsibility for their own environment and willingness to act upon it. Together we can make the city of the future. But this is not an adults-only thing. In 2016, 13.7% of Amsterdam’s population is twelve years or younger - a total of 114,600 children. It’s about time to include the game changers of tomorrow in city-making.


While children growing up in urban areas have access to various opportunities, they are also vulnerable to urban challenges such as inadequate access to recreational and play space, pollution, and poor housing conditions. Cities have a direct impact on children’s health, but they also play a crucial role in how children perceive and become engaged with their urban environment. To encourage their participation to create vibrant urban neighbourhoods, we need to create opportunities to shape their understanding of a place and let them develop ways to make the city their own. >>


Child Summit

>> We want Amsterdam to be an inclusive city, in which all

can and must make their contribution. A prerequisite for this is that you know how your own city operates, how it works. School teaches you some basics about the system of local governance, city transport, and urban development, but structural learning about Amsterdam as a living lab and how to add a positive, valuable and skilled contribution to city-making is not part of young people’s education - not in primary school nor in high school.

CITY-MAKING IS NOT AN ADULTS-ONLY THING What happens to our waste? Who decides what and who are the people in the city council? Where does our food come from and how does it shape our city? How is money earned and by who? How do people in different communities get information in a digitalised age? Who lives where and what do the different boroughs look like? To find answers to these questions, right before the summer holiday 2017 kicks in, we will take 900 6th grade students of primary schools around the city on field trips throughout Amsterdam. Accompanied by their own school mentor and a student of project partner Hogeschool van Amsterdam, they walk or take public transport to places where their city is made and shaped. They will visit one of the city’s recycling centres, ride along with a subway conductor, take a cruise through the Amsterdam harbour, take a look behind the scenes at the airport, attend a council meeting, take a walking tour through an unknown neighbourhood and visit City Makers and their community driven initiatives. The children make assignments on the spot and will report about the different initiatives in their workbooks and through social media. ••

CHILD SUMMIT DUBLIN Ireland had the highest proportion of children in the European Union. In September 2016, Ireland’s first Child Summit took place in Dublin. The purpose of the summit was to look at recommendations to Ireland from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which should be seen as ongoing and urgent, rather than ‘concluding observations’. Also children are worried about certain problems such as the high levels of poverty and homelessness, and the right for everybody to play was one of the most pressing issues. ‘Children have a lot to teach adults’, one of the young contributors wisely said. They are experts in certain areas which adults don’t always understand. If it is to meet their needs, they must be given a voice in how things are reformed, according to the young people at the summit. The head of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs welcomed the young people’s input - hopefully children will have a chance to contribute to the action plan Ireland will develop on how to implement the UN’s recommendations.

Mijn Amsterdam summer school is in Dutch. Are you a teacher and interested in joining Mijn Amsterdam? You can send an email to .

Dymphie Braun programme maker Creative Industries



© Joeri Postma


Housing, integration, and inclusion


The influx of refugees to the Netherlands has given rise to a broad perspective of concerns about the housing, integration, and inclusion of newcomers in the Dutch society. State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (Ministry of Security and Justice) has declared that refugees and newcomers should largely be accommodated in cities, in order to increase the likelihood of integration and participation in the Dutch society and labour market. The distribution of newcomers, authorised by The Ministry of the Interior, is determined every half year based on the number of people expected to receive Dutch citizenship. The bigger the city, the more newcomers the municipality is asked to accommodate. >>



Startblok Riekerhaven

>> In the coming years, the city of Amsterdam will become home to three centres for asylum seekers (azc). ‘De Bijlmerbajes’, the well-known vernacular for what was previously a prison complex, has been refurbished and has been to the home to almost one thousand refugees since August 2016. A second azc is planned to open during the second half of 2017 in the former Academy for Physical Education building at the Willinklaan, located in the Nieuw-West district. The newly built asylum seekers centre azc Houthavens will open in 2018 in the Spaarndammerbuurt neighbourhood. In total, Amsterdam is additionally responsible for accommodating 5 percent of the newcomers (former refugees) in the Netherlands.

AMSTERDAM MUST ACCOMMODATE 5% OF ALL DUTCH NEWSCOMERS Between 2016 and 2018, the six largest housing corporations in Amsterdam are responsible for providing housing to 2400 newcomers per year, in collaboration with the Municipality. In times of a blatant lack of affordable housing, large-scale temporary housing projects seem to be thriving. The housing corporation De Key, for example, has developed a temporary housing project called Startblok Riekerhaven, which accommodates newcomers together with Dutch locals in modular housing units, previously used as student housing. Keeping in mind their responsibility to provide housing for newcomers, De Key swiftly dealt with the lack of affordable housing in the city of Amsterdam. The student houses were removed from their original location at De Houthavens and found new purpose in the city district Nieuw-West with the creation of Startblok Riekerhaven. While most houses are independent units, some of them are communal and have been accommodating up to 565 new residents since July earlier this year.


Preparations for Startblok Riekerhaven began only last year. De Key closely collaborated closely with the district municipality Nieuw-West, whose suggestion to mix local Dutch residents with newcomers became the defining characteristic of the housing project. The general profile of its future residents was decided beforehand: all residents should be between the age of 18 and 27 years, and should either be studying, or recently graduated starting to build their careers and finding their way into Dutch society. While the Dutch residents were selected through an application form, followed by an interview, the newcomers were instead appointed by the Municipality in cooperation with the national refugee intake organisation COA (Centraal Orgaan Opvang Asielzoekers). ‘There were no real examples at hand’, notes Leon Bobbe, director of De Key. ‘Stadsgenoot [housing corporation] had a small project in which they mixed a few dozen newcomers and students, but not on the scale that we were operating. We really didn’t know how it would turn out. We had little time on our hands to fully design a plan and implement it accordingly. So we decided to learn as we go, operate hands-on and use all the knowledge already available in the city.’ The project is characterised by low-cost (there is service costs reduction for tenants who take up extra responsibilities) high-density housing units that allow for interaction between Dutch locals and newcomers. Dutch locals who take up extra responsibilities receive a rent reduction. Enjoying low-cost housing makes it easier for all residents to start their own projects and businesses, like organising language classes for newcomers or even their own startups. Besides to the responsibility of helping each other – to gain insight into Dutch bureaucracy for example - the residents also organise weekly social gatherings. According to Bobbe, many of the Dutch locals who applied to live at Riekerhaven are motivated and curious to learn about how people live in other parts of the world. Of the 1100 local Dutch residents who had applied for the housing project, only 283 were selected. The goal of this community-led project is to encourage and advocate selforganisation and interaction between newcomers and Dutch locals, in order to build a future together. >>


azc Wenckebachweg

Š Zoalfeqar Mohammad

FAVELA PAINTING AZC WENCKEBACHWEG Last August, the first residents moved in the huge complex at Wenckebachweg, a former prison with six giant grey towers that have long be an eyesore in Amsterdam’s skyline. The whole complex has been refurbished and luckily, Favela Painting - famous for their community art projects in Rio de Janeiro, Philadelphia and Haiti among others - transformed the in- and outside of the buildings together with a group of local residents and volunteers. The project aims to offer opportunities in form of skill training, network building, and job opportunity while empowering the participants to make the place their own.




ONDERTUSSEN Ondertussen is rooted in long-term experience and knowledge about the pitfalls of the institutionalisation of asylum seekers centers and their reinforcement of the category of ‘refugees’. The collective considers its activities as a countermovement to institutionalised and policy-based approaches to refugees and newcomers. With an awareness of public discourse and through activities that would de-emphasise a disparity between asylum seekers and the local population, their objective is to counter paternalistic approaches and foreground sharing space, both literally and metaphorically.

© Jasmin Peco



Community building

>> Browsing the website of Startblok Riekerhaven, it is hard not to notice the somewhat cliché, but at times also practical advice on ‘intercultural communication’. A list of one-liners includes sentences like: ‘It is natural that a lot of things are unclear or unusual for immigrants’ and ‘Be curious, also when it comes to subjects that are deemed taboo. Be aware that Dutch straightforwardness is perceived worldwide as impolite and rude.’ Bobbe explains: ‘We knew beforehand that it wouldn’t be perfect; it is too complex to assume that it would just work out automatically. There are so many aspects that make this project challenging. The advantage that we have as a housing corporation is the fact that we have a lot of experience with housing young people together. Plus, many organisations have offered to be of help during this process. Vluchtelingenwerk for example, the largest non-profit organisation for refugees, has chosen to contribute to the project as well. They have their own room on the site. At the same time, we firmly believe in the potential of community-building, which means that the residents themselves are responsible for how they live together.’ Since this community-led project is initiated and designed according to its local context, it is not a readymade recipe, according to Leon. However, Hester van Buren, director of the housing corporation Rochdale, notes that they are also currently preparing a similar model of modular housing on the NDSMterrain in Amsterdam-Noord, which will house a group of newcomers together with locals starting in November 2016.


Supporting inclusive, community-led housing projects is a political act in the current political climate. The presence of anti-immigration politicians, such as Geert Wilders, has contributed to the growth of a discourse with adverse connotations for immigration and integration into Dutch society. The influx of refugees and newcomers is therefore accompanied by the persistent image of migrants and refugees as problem categories who are either causing difficulties, taking up social housing, or costing too much. In light of this rhetoric, Startblok Riekerhaven seems to provide a dynamic model of community regeneration based on the belief in the self-organising capacity, creativity, and entrepreneurship of its residents. Large-scale housing projects like these have great potential to shift public discourse by allowing locals to practice at becoming better in understanding diversity. It should be noted, however, that these modular housing projects are temporary, which essentially means that the residents will most likely have to look for housing again five years from now. Considering the lack of affordable housing and the disadvantaged position of newcomers in society, providing them with temporary housing remains a balancing act. How can we bring housing models like Startblok Riekerhaven to another level in terms of sustainability? The work of the independent collective Stichting Ondertussen provides a different, bottom-up, example of practicing diversity through community projects. Over the past 1.5 years, OnderwegOndertussen has built a ‘broedplaats’ in the centre of Amsterdam, has started to work in the azc at the former Bijlmerbajes and been working in the Spaarndammerbuurt neighbourhood - where azc Houthavens is currently being built. The azc will open in 2018 and will accommodate up to 550 refugees. Understanding that mainstream discourse surrounding refugees is characterised by fear towards the so-called Other, the collective operates from a sense of urgency, creating in-between spaces in the public sphere that are rooted in reciprocity and which encourage new approaches to exchange between people who live in azc’s and the local population. >>



In-between spaces

>> Fronnie Biesma, one of the main organisers of

Ondertussen and founder of De Vrolijkheid, a foundation that promotes happiness and invests in children and teenagers in asylum seekers centres, asserts: ‘I knew that a permanent azc was going to be built in De Houthavens. At that time I was talking to a group of people including architects, urban planners, scientists, civil servants and entrepreneurs about new approaches to deal with azc’s. That is where the idea of in-between spaces came from.’ With regards tot the function of these in-between spaces, Biesma elaborates: ‘Thinking about the new azc gave rise to the questions: How can the public space be built in such a way to increase the likelihood of frequent meetups between locals and residents of the azc?’ Without any formal commission, Ondertussen - which is comprised of human right workers, artists, thinkers, and social and community workers - decided to take matters into their own hands. The movement (as they call themselves) approached different parties involved with the realisation of the azc - including the urban planners, aldermen, and the people living in the neighbourhood. Engaging in cross-discipline collaborations has not only been fruitful in terms of sharing knowledge and experience, but also in getting financial support from divergent funds to support their plan. The willingness of the collective to experiment, combined with their ability to form interdisciplinary partnerships for collaboration is what makes their work promising. Moreover, Ondertussen operates from a firm belief in the potential of art. Over the past year, a diverse group of artists have collected stories in Spaarndammerbuurt about safety and movement, drawing a line to the azc Houthavens. Various art projects, including a new public-space sculpture (of a lighthouse) and a series of performative interventions such as ‘the weird mailman’, have served as interactive tools to engage with and introduce the local population to the idea of future cohabitation with asylum seekers. Through conversations with locals in the neighbourhood, the artists have worked with the area’s identity, making visible that which remains untold, while drawing a connection to the azc Houthavens.


YOU WILL NOT BE A REFUGEE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE Recently, Ondertussen was able to open a story shop in the neighbourhood where the stories from the neighbourhood are exhibited. Organising free workshops in the shop gives space for people from the neighbourhood to talk about their fears and desires and encourages them to get involved in thinking about shared interests and how to share space. According to Biesma, an essential characteristic of an in-between space is that it provides facilities that are useful to both new and old inhabitants of Spaarndammerbuurt, such as a professional baking oven or a 3D printer. The goal of these inbetween spaces, both inside the azc and in the neighbourhood, is that to allow for social interaction between the old and new inhabitants. They should be places where artists can meet artists, and bakers can meet bakers, for example. By transcending the boundaries of cultural identity and the category of ‘the refugee’, these spaces are meant to open up the possibility for people to work and learn together, and to create win-win situations while getting better at living together with diversity. Biesma finally notes: ‘Personally I refrain from using the label ‘refugee’ as a sort of category and I have started a countermovement against it.’ She goes on to explain that: ‘Being a refugee is simply a phase in someone’s life. I find it quite absurd that policy is being made on refugees. One will not stay a refugee for the rest of their life.’ >>


Amsterdam werkt voor iedereen

© Simone van den Akker

EAT TO MEET Amsterdam has welcomed many newcomers, people who fled their own country and who have found a safe new home in our city. Eat to Meet is a monthly informal network dinner hosted by Pakhuis de Zwijger where old and new Amsterdammers can meet each other, share their stories, and laugh.

>> Research has shown that refugees’ and newcomers’

experiences during their first years of residence in a new country are crucial for their future integration into society. Indeed, the work of Onderweg allows space for mutual exchange and diversity, focusing on the participation of new and old inhabitants of the Spaarndammerbuurt neighbourhood, while communityled housing projects like Startblok Riekerhaven provide a model that can be a valuable tool in providing affordable housing. Startblok Riekershaven’s temporary model could potentially lead to new, sustainable, inclusive and diversity-based cohousing models.

It is therefore urgent that housing corporations, local authorities and the municipality support divergent, long-term, inclusive and sustainable housing strategies, characterised by innovation and integrated collaboration. Integrating bottom-up initiatives such as in-between spaces into long-term housing solutions is a vital addition to the process of building a future together. ••

Katayoun Arian freelance curator and writer




Everyone has a story to tell

HUMANS OF AMSTERDAM Pictures: Debra Barraud

Meet the Humans of Amsterdam! After discovering Humans of Tel Aviv during a stay in Israel in 2012 (in its turn inspired by the popular Facebook page Humans of New York), Debra Barraud started taking pictures of people in Amsterdam. Together with a short interview, she posted the pictures on her website and social media, which has ever since attracted over 430,000 followers. ‘In the beginning, I photographed just colourful and striking people, but now there is more emphasis on the story itself’, says Debra. ‘And because of the

online interaction, that story comes alive.’ The online dialogue could even lead to offline action. Last winter, the community of followers raised 5,345 dollars to buy winter coats for 400 refugees arriving in Amsterdam. Now, there is the first Humans of Amsterdam book, published by National Geographic, with over 400 portraits and stories of which some have never been put out before. ‘Everyone has a story to tell,’ says Debra, ‘this project has taught me more than any other educational institution ever has.’


‘Lieneke was one of those woman that stayed calm under any kind of circumstances. We came from the same village and she was my next door neighbor. I always had a crush on her and I always made sure I was near her. When we were 17 I asked her out and we became a thing but her dad didn’t like the idea of us going out. I wasn’t religious and I came from a different social class. She bravely faced her dad and told him she was going to stay with me, no matter how he felt about it. Our marriage lasted 50 years. Every day I realized how blessed I was with such an amazing woman by my side. Every night before we would go to bed we would talk about our day and we would express our feelings towards one and other. I think it was the secret of our marriage, we never held on to anger. 3 years ago she became very ill. I took care of her until the end. She died a few months ago. Today is the first time I’m out all by myself. I went to the Rijksmuseum and oh man do I miss her. I love going to museums but it’s not the same without her. The hardest part was seeing all those couples in the café of the museum. I also have quite a temper and very little patience. While I was standing in line for an exhibition I got impatient. She always knew something to say to put me right back into place. I could hear her voice saying: Come on Leenus! Don’t exaggerate. It’s almost your turn!’


‘I remember arriving on Amsterdam Central station. When the doors of the train opened, I saw a young woman wearing an orange shirt that said ‘Refugees welcome’ in Arabic. I was cold and hungry. The girl took me to the back of the station and gave me food and a new jacket, look I’m still wearing it! That night I slept near the Amsterdam Arena. I heard some people talking about going to Sweden or Denmark and they asked me if I wanted to come along but everyone here was so nice to me, I decided to stay. 10 days later I was transferred to an old prison building in the Havenstraat near Vondelpark. Four months have passed and I have made so many new friends. People here have been so good to me and I had the chance to visit many places. My favorite place is the Van Gogh museum. People say Van Gogh was crazy but I don’t believe that. I think he didn’t know how to express his feelings and that’s why he painted. After I visited the museum I started to paint myself. Now, whenever I don’t know how to express my own feelings, I paint.’



‘We came to Amsterdam to celebrate a new chapter in our lives. We both have gone through a rough break up. We met each other years ago when our daughters were in the same class. Now we are best friends. We are both divorced with children so we understand each other really well. I can call her in the middle of the night and she will be there for me. I don’t see myself getting married any time soon but you never know, I still believe in love. I have always said that I need a strong man, a kind of Viking. Who knows, maybe I will find my Viking right here in Amsterdam.’





© Carel van Hees


In 2015, one out of five Amsterdam citizens was living in poverty. Especially families and children in the backward neighbourhoods of the city were trapped in a negative spiral of long-term poverty. Poverty and the level of education are interrelated. Several research reports - for instance, the SCP report Voorbestemd tot Achterstand - show that poverty leads to a lower level of education and vice versa. Children from low-income

households are often excluded from social events. As a result, they are less able to develop social- and cultural capital, which is needed to successfully get through high school. Schools in Amsterdam are getting more and more segregated. We interviewed headmasters of Amsterdam high schools located in mainly low-income areas that are coping with this issue. >>



IMC Weekendschool

>> Eradicating poverty is one of the priorities of the

municipal authorities of Amsterdam. Their executive agreement 2014 - 2018 is called Amsterdam is van iedereen (which translates Amsterdam belongs to everyone). One of the keypoints of this agreement is that every child in Amsterdam should get the best opportunities possible. In their programme Aanvalsplan Armoede (Poverty Approach), an amount of 20 million euros a year was allocated for poverty eradication - on top of the 60 million euros that was already available for poverty programmes. The Poverty Approach aims to help people get out of poverty by providing them facilities like 100% discounts for low-level incomes on several activities and free public transport for the elderly. Another goal of the programme is to improve the accessibility of special facilities designed for the target groups. One of the aspects the Municipality of Amsterdam wants to address with the poverty programme is equal chances for all children, regardless of their background. Education is considered to be a powerful tool to escape poverty. However, one of the outcomes of the recent report Nieuwe segregatie in het Amsterdamse onderwijs is that equal access to education does not automatically mean that all children will have an equal chance for success. The research was carried out by OIS, the research department of the Municipality of Amsterdam. In the report, the level of education of the parents and the ethnic origins of the students were also taken into account, which brought to light a couple of important insights about high school students.

CHILDREN FROM DIFFERENT SOCIOECONOMIC AND ETHNIC BACKGROUNDS HARDLY MEET First of all, the number of students with high educated parents is increasing. But students with low educated parents hardly interact with students of high educated parents (and the other way around). In addition, the report states that approximately only eight high schools out of sixty are (social-economical and ethnical) proportionally mixed. A quarter of all high schools exists for the majority out of students with high educated parents. Especially at high schools with only atheneum and/or gymnasium (VWO, preparatory scholarly education), the major part of the students have high educated parents. 70% of the students has high educated parents and less than 20% has a non-western background. In contrast, less than 20% of the students with high educated parents enroll into a VMBO school (preparatory middle-level applied education), where more than 60% has a non-western origin. In short: children with different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds hardly meet in a school environment, where they spent a great part of their daily lives. >>

IMC WEEKENDSCHOOL AMSTERDAM The IMC Weekendschool aims to connect youth from backward neighbourhoods with a wide range of enthusiastic professionals. Classes are designed to create inspiring experiences. The school empowers their students and offers them a strong network. In this way, they are provided with the necessary baggage to become who they want to be. The school offers classes on weekends and operates with partnering companies and volunteers.



De Talentenschool


© Sanne Sofia Broks


Another aspect that the research showed, is that school choice is an indicator of segregation. Every day, approximately 9,000 students cycle a long distance to more wealthy parts of the city to go to a renowned high school. This leads to twice as many students going to schools in the South and the Centre of Amsterdam than are actually living there. The major part of these children has high educated parents, causing increased segregation between high schools. The report concludes with the notion that this issue is less present in primary schools, they are in general more mixed.


De Talentenschool believes all children should be given the opportunity to develop themselves optimally. Unfortunately, not all kids are born and raised under equal circumstances. Social and economic segregation, among other reasons, causes some children to fall behind in their language skills, which can lead to learning disabilities. The Talentenschool offers extracurricular activities that give these children the support they need. Lending school children a helping hand, the programme focuses on improving language skills, boosting confidence and creating a positive attitude toward learning.

What causes this segregation? According to the report, the advice teachers give their students at primary school has a big impact. While children of parents with a higher educational background are more likely to receive a recommendation for pre-university level, children with parents who have a low educational background are more likely to get an advice like VMBO (preparatory middlelevel applied education), even if they have achieved good grades. In addition, children of high educated parents tend to prefer a school who offer only one level of education (like a gymnasium) instead of multiple, increasing further segregation. Their motivation behind this is that if there’s only one level offered, their child is less prone to subside to a lower level. As stated before, (the lack of) cultural- and social capital could be another explanation of segregation on high schools. In general, it can be said that high educated parents pass on more cultural capital to their children than parents with lower education. Children with extensive cultural capital are more likely to attain higher education and will go to a high school with students of a similar background. This is an ongoing pattern and undermines social mobility of children from less privileged backgrounds. >>



Teach First

>> Hetty Mulder is the principal of 4e Gymnasium in

When asking headmaster Hans van Dokkum about the diversity at Hervormd Lyceum West, he explains that there are students from 39 different nationalities at his school. His school is situated in Nieuw-West and is a reflection of the demography of that part of town. Because of this diversity, students have different cultural capital. To make sure students are able to develop and exchange this capital, the school came up with an empowerment programme called Hallo Wereld. The school offers extra classes until half past four, where students are able to learn new skills, like learning a language or playing an instrument. The school has ambitions to become an English bilingual school. ‘Sixty percent of the classes will be held in English and this suits the Hallo Wereld project. We want our students to grow up as global citizens’, says Van Dokkum. With his forty years of experience, never before he taught at a school where students with a different background get along so well.



© Teach First

Amsterdam-West. This high school was set up in 2005 by three renowned gymnasia (Ignatius, Vossius, and Barleaus) in cooperation with the Cartesius Lyceum and Esprit Schools. The school was founded with the intention to bring children from different ethnic and social groups together, regardless of their social-economic or cultural background. Mulder says that this goal has successfully been achieved, even with the new matching procedure of the Municipality. Enrolling in high school happens through an online matching system where children and their parents pass on their top 10 preferred high schools. The system aims to promote diversification at schools, but despite the good intentions, it makes the goal of reaching diversity harder for 4e Gymnasium, says Mulder. ‘The school is still relatively diverse: about a quarter of the students speaks a different language at home, it clearly is a more mixed school than other gymnasia.’ She admits there are large differences in economic background visible, though. The school has found a solution for that. They introduced the 4e Fonds, a loyalty fund where parents donate money that is directly used for students whose parents can’t afford certain services or necessaries, like school trips and books.

‘How much you achieve in life should not be determined by how much your parents earn’ and ‘One great teacher can change a child’s life’, are two quotes found on the Teach First website that pretty much describe what their programme is about. Teach First believes that a child’s background should not limit the opportunities they have in education and in life. Educational inequality in the UK is real and this programme focuses on finding, training and supporting people to become brilliant teachers who will inspire the young people who need them the most.

Also located in Amsterdam Nieuw-West is Calandlyceum. ‘A school with a lot of students from different ethnical backgrounds and around 30 different nationalities’, says headmaster Jan-Mattijs Heinemeyer. He thinks the population of his school is a good reflection of Amsterdam’s demography. High schools should reflect the city’s diversity and to achieve this, high schools should provide different levels of education, according to Heinemeyer. ‘I strongly believe in the power of schools where as well as VMBO as a gymnasium are present and can lead to the upward mobility of students’, he says. Instead of launching a special campaign to attract different students, Heinemeyer believes that a wide >>


>> range of educational levels will attract more students

with different backgrounds. The current debate focuses too much on students with a pre-university background. ‘There are too many ‘categorical’ schools with only VWO, even though most of those students have a lower level. This should change’, he says. To make sure his students mingle, Heinemeyer organises events like an open stage or field trips that all of his students between the ages of 12 to 18 can join. ‘This way’, Heinemeyer says, ‘students can get to know each other on a personal level, interact and learn from each other. This will help them to become empowered and involved citizens.’

Fighting segregation

The above cases are illustrative for how high schools in Amsterdam are struggling, but also taking an effort of finding and exploring ways of dealing with (lack of) diversity. Fighting segregation is a joint effort, we are all responsible. We need to keep on finding innovative ways to empower children to explore and develop their talents to their full extent. Every child, regardless background, should be able to pursue their dreams and goals and become active members of society. ••

HIGH SCHOOLS SHOULD REFLECT THE CITY’S DIVERSITY Cartesius 2 in the centre of Amsterdam has just opened its doors in August 2016. It is a small school with only 90 students at the moment. Headmaster Martijn Meerhoff explains that the school is a concept school, where students with HAVO and VWO are in the same class for three years. This makes it easier for a student to grow to a next level. With this concept, the school hopes to attract students with of various backgrounds. When asking about diversity, the school is mixed but not an accurate reflection of the city’s population. Yet. ‘Segregation at high schools can be tackled in two ways’, says Meerhoff. Just like Jan-Mattijs Heinemeyer, he believes that schools could offer more educational levels than just one. ‘However, parents nowadays rather send their children to schools which are categorical’, he adds as a side note. ‘Another option is to tackle the problem earlier, by motivating and encouraging the students at primary school to reach a higher level of education.’ Also Meerhoff thinks the root of the problem of segregation is that there is a difference in the cultural capital between the students. Students with a weak socio-economic status are unlikely to achieve the same success as their wealthier peers. He illustrates this with an example: ‘If you send a boy who has good cognitive skills, but grew up in a deprived area to a gymnasium, he can feel very out of place, because he doesn’t recognise the language, customs, and behaviour that belongs to that school.’

Simea Knip programme maker Social City & Urban Development at Pakhuis de Zwijger

Eva Kassaye intern Social City at Pakhuis de Zwijger



Stadstuin Overtoom

RECYCLING AT ITS BEST A NEW APPROACH TO CONSTRUCTION Eigen Haard wants to recycle 99 percent of the materials that are produced from constructing, maintaining and managing residential buildings. The housing association believes that any raw materials that have been used in the past - or which are going to be used - should be recycled and reused. This is technically possible. The key is finding partners who share the same vision. The Stadstuin Overtoom project was undertaken by Eigen Haard with a number of partners. The aim was to create a fully carbon-neutral urban district. ‘To achieve that goal, we wanted to recycle as much material as possible,’ says Jurgen van de Laarschot, project manager at Eigen Haard. ‘Our partnership with an innovative demolition firm was very valuable. You have to dismantle buildings step by step. Too often, people go straight in with a wrecking ball and too much of the material produced ends up in a landfill. That’s partly due to ignorance, but also partly due to fear. Suppliers worry that they cannot guarantee the quality of materials that are recycled. For Stadstuin Overtoom,


we met suppliers of construction materials to discuss this and made clear agreements with them. As long as you are prepared to invest in long-term relationships, it’s easy to build trust. We have demolished over 350 homes and almost all the materials produced have been recycled. And to save even more energy, we process all the material on site or within a maximum radius of 20 kilometres. >>



>> First, all asbestos was removed from the homes. Materials that did not form part of the supporting structure were removed by hand. The materials acquired were sorted and transported separately to be processed and reused for their original purpose. Glass was returned to the glass sector; the tar from the roof was processed into new rolls of roofing material. Next, machines were used to convert the interior walls, exterior facade walls, and supporting structures into high-grade concrete granulate. This granulate was reused in the construction process as concrete mortar or to make elements such as support piles. This way, the use of additional natural resources, such as sand and gravel, was kept to a minimum. Obviously, the ultimate form of sustainability would be to make buildings that last forever. But since that is not always possible, it is important to take to take the possibility of future recycling into account. Almost all the materials used in the construction of Stadstuin are recyclable. The raw materials that are now being used in construction will therefore have a value in the future.

Build now, reuse later

THE ULTIMATE FORM OF SUSTAINABILITY WOULD BE BUILDINGS THAT LAST FOREVER ‘The Stadstuin project marks a break with traditional construction methods,’ says Van de Laarschot. ‘The project has been a trail-blazer in terms of supply chain cooperation because it’s based on circular construction techniques. Achieving our objectives meant that the partners had to be fully transparent with each other. That is essential. It means that you can avoid waste at every step in the construction process. And it worked. No energy, time or materials were wasted in the Stadstuin Overtoom project. And the result is a beautiful, new climate-neutral residential area.’ ••


District heating in Amsterdam More than only the most natural thing in the world

165 soccer fields of solar panels vs district heating Carefree district heating, it’s the most natural thing in the world

District heating in Amsterdam is more than only the most

for 35,000 households and more than 500 companies and

natural thing in the world. It is also a good thing for the world of

institutions in Amsterdam. By using district heating, last year’s CO2


emissions in Amsterdam were reduced by 69,000 tons, compared to a boiler in each house. To achieve the same with solar energy,

Read more about district heating and CO2-reduction at:

you would need 165 soccer fields filled with solar panels.


© One Architecture

Digital media technologies

HACKING BUIKSLOTERHAM HOW DIGITAL MEDIA CAN DEMOCRATISE CITY-MAKING How can digital media technologies democratise city-making? We investigated this question in the project The Hackable City in 2015-2016. We understand media technologies not only as tools but also in terms of the new practices and institutional arrangements they afford. The research focused on Buiksloterham, a brownfield area in Amsterdam’s northern side projected to grow from 200 to 10,000 residents. The context of this research is the rise of digital tech in everyday urban life and dominant high-tech visions about smart urban futures, the bleeding over of do-it-yourself ‘hacker culture’ from the online realm to domains like city-making, and the financial crisis that hit the world of urban design. >>




>> In this context, self-building (re)emerges as an alternative

for developing Buiksloterham. Self-builders include private individuals and households, and collectives of about 15 – 50 people. Sometimes non-experts are at the wheel, often hiring architects, constructors, and consultants as needed. Oftentimes, architects initiate projects and allow for varying degrees of consultation and customisation. What drives people involved in self-building, how do they balance between individual and collective interests, and how do they deal with institutional stakeholders? In this contribution, we describe how the notion of hacking offers a productive frame to understand current developments in city-making.

WHAT DRIVES PEOPLE INVOLVED IN SELF-BUILDING? The stories that self-builders recount often sound like adventure quests. Cleverness, stamina, and sharing resources enable them to overcome the many obstacles along the road. Like hackers, self-builders are driven by strong motivation. Marjan de Blok, one of the initiator of Schoonschip - a project to realise housing on water - says: ‘I envisioned sustainable living on a housing boat. I went looking for a group of people sharing my ideals, and a good location. What I liked in Buiksloterham was that there weren’t too many rules and restrictions. I was really drawn to that openness.’ Many people feel that self-building is about identity. Who do you belong to, what ideas do you share? Collective identity shapes how services are organised differently. Can groups arrange services like water and energy themselves, based on trust, and who can join? Successful self-builders quickly mobilise institutions. ‘The former council of the borough Amsterdam-Noord did not want to develop the waterfront’, says De Blok. ‘We approached the Alderman who liked sustainability and citizen initiatives. He wrote a letter to the council, resulting in the tender we needed for our location.’


By engaging ‘adversaries’ in the right way they can become allies. ‘My house is on the south-side of the plot’, another self builder recounts. ‘According to the rules, meters have to be installed three metres from the front door. In my case, that meant in my living room! I started negotiating with the water and energy companies. Fortunately, I found helpful people in these organisations. I shared this with my neighbours so they too could benefit.’ Self-builders face steep learning curves. They share information via platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp, websites, conversations, and public or closed meetups, but much of it remains inside the heads of individuals. Consequently, self-builders keep reinventing the wheel. We found several knowledge gaps. One is between advanced and beginning self-builders. Another exists between self-builders and (semi-)professionals who have the vocabulary and understand the processes but rarely actually built a home from scratch themselves. A third gap exists between self-builders who engage in experiments and institutions who also experiment like the municipal Team Zelfbouw or public service companies.

WE ARE FACING SEVERAL KNOWLEDGE GAPS Based on this, we imagined better ‘flows’ between the specific contextual tacit knowledge frequently tied to individuals, a collective body of generic and explicit information, and the institutional rules and players involved. >>


Model for hackable city-making

& individual be unal nef its mm co


ls & indicator s signa


re s o urc e s


re s


e s & f r a m ewo



THE HACKABLE CIT YMAKING FROMvalue THE INDIVIDUAL, TO loops THE COLLECTIVE A lemniscate diagram descibesPROCESS. the resource, and feedback of the hackableAND citymaking process. INSTITUTIONS ANDFrom BACK.the individual, to the collective and institutions and back.

>> We constructed a model for hackable city-making that

captures stakeholder dynamics in a shifting context of city-making: 1. From an individual hacker attitude, people share knowledge with the collective. 2. From collective hacking practices, the fruits of open innovation and collaboration are shared with individuals. The collective level is key in providing quantitative indicators and persuasive stories that drive institutional change. 3. Institutional hackability involves the degree of openness at the level of rules and organisations, which in turn sets the conditions for structural changes in city-making.

The Hackable City is a project by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht University, One Architecture, The Mobile City, Netherlands Ministry of Internal Affairs, Pakhuis De Zwijger, and Stadslab Circulair Buiksloterham. It has been funded among other by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

This idea of hackable city-making allows us to ask who have the right to make the city in an age of digital technologies and smart cities. It helps to reconsider the value of expert knowledge and public institutions. Instead of being a hermetic singular narrative, hackable citymaking underlines that the future of our cities is inevitably messy, open-ended and inclusive. ••

Michiel de Lange assistant professor New Media Studies Utrecht University & co-founder The Mobile City



Bahram Sadeghi

WHAT HAPPENS TO MY WASTE? THE DISPOSAL OF RECYCLABLE RESOURCES AND WASTE IN OUR CITY Over the last two years, I have been separating my waste: one box for plastics, one for glass, one for paper and cardboards, and one for everything else. After sorting it at home, I bring it to the underground waste containers at Javaplein in Amsterdam-Oost, where there is a separate container for each material. Quite honestly, I do this without any questioning because as a conscious and sustainable citizen I separate my waste, right? I never thought of what happens with the waste I separate, and whether it is necessary I do this. Until I recently worked on a programme for Pakhuis de Zwijger with filmmaker and writer Bahram Sadeghi, who collected his own plastic waste for 1,000 days. Seeing his ‘waste collection’ made me think about the waste I produce and where it goes after leaving my house. Now it’s time to find out! >>




>> Currently, around 27 percent of our waste in Amsterdam is separated, with the aim to reuse it in new products. Most of our waste still ends up together as rest waste. In short, we can do better as citizens of Amsterdam. With almost a quarter of our waste separated today, Amsterdam scores lower than Utrecht and The Hague, and its position is comparable with Rotterdam. In 2015, the Municipality set a goal of reaching a 65 percent waste separation rate in Amsterdam by 2020. To reach the additional 38 percent in four years, households and businesses need to separate more waste. However, the Municipality has already ascertained, just a year after setting its goal, that separating at the source will not be sufficient to actually accomplish this 65 percent mission.

Mokum Mariteam

Looking at my own waste production, I am first of all unpleasantly surprised by the weekly amount of it. Also, I wonder what actually happens to all my separated glass, paper, plastic, and rest waste. I chose to follow the tracks of the latter two, starting with the group that probably appeals most to the imagination: plastics. On average, a household in the Netherlands consumes around 50 to 60 kilogram of plastic packing materials a year. Most municipalities in the Netherlands collaborate with collective system Plastic Heroes to collect and recycle plastic packaging materials. Plastic Heroes is initiated by the Dutch packaging industry. The participating municipalities receive a compensation by Plastic Heroes to collect the plastics. Per municipality, it differs if you use apecial refuse bags or the orange Plastic Heroes >>

MOKUM MARITEAM It just makes sense; using the canals we have in Amsterdam for transporting goods to and from the city. It was the whole point of the canals in the first place, so let us use them! That is what the team behind Mokum Mariteam thought when they decided to start transporting goods and simultaneously waste by boat. The boats they use are clean, quiet and energy efficient. Mokum Mariteam hopes to take off some pressure on the centre of Amsterdam that is created by the transport of goods by automobiles.



>> containers to collect your plastics. In Amsterdam, we

have around 160 of those containers. After collection by the Municipality, the plastic is checked for quality, sorted, and pressed into large bales. These bales are offered to recycling companies, who turn it into (sauce) bottles, crates, and toys (like the plastic yellow ducks). However, thinking about solutions to produce alternatives for plastic packaging (or non-packaging) instead of solutions for recycling our existing stack is what should be a responsibility to all - especially the industry. We all read about the plastic soup that is dispersed in our oceans. And it is not solely our plastic bags and packaging that ends up in the water.


MICROPLASTICS ARE BAD BAD BAD! Worse still, the cause of the problem is mostly due to the microplastics you can’t see with your bare eyes. Microplastics are omnipresent; from your clothes to your washing dispenser, in your cosmetics and even in your toothpaste. This was actually one of Bahram’s conclusions: ‘Plastics. Are. Everywhere.’ And the smaller, the more dangerous to our health and planet: you can’t filter them all out. >>



>> The largest part of my waste is rest waste, which mostly

consists of food leftovers, vegetables, and fruits. In Amsterdam, organic waste is the largest part of the rest waste. Surprisingly enough, there is not a separate collection scheme for this yet. Though, the municipality and the Amsterdam Waste-to-Energy company (AEB) are experimenting with different possibilities. One of the small municipal experiments takes places in the Eastern Harbour District on Cruquiseiland. Six families in the neighbourhood bring their fruit and vegetable waste to a special underground container; an urban compost heap where 4,000 worms reside. These worms turn the waste into compost that the families can use in their gardens. If the pilot succeeds, more of these containers will be placed in Amsterdam over the next years and we can start separating our fruits and vegetables as well.

Comeback of the ‘schillenboer’

At the moment, my own rest waste goes directly to the AEB. Here, it’s burned and combusted into energy; district heating. Around 20,000 Amsterdam households depend on the heat produced by the AEB. This means that AEB needs a steady supply of resources to burn. At the same time, households in Amsterdam have been separating their waste in increasing quantities, and because of the economic crisis, Amsterdam businesses produced less waste. AEB is having a hard time receiving enough rest waste from the Amsterdam region to meet the heat demands. Alderperson Abdeluheb Choho (Sustainability) wants to complement the waste policy of Amsterdam by using additional machinery to separate our rest waste. This machine will be built at the AEB and should be up and running in the fall of 2017. The machine can separate >>

COMEBACK OF THE ‘SCHILLENBOER’ Until the late 20th century, a waste food collector used to ride around the city with horse and wagon to collect the leftovers of the city’s households. In Rotterdam, the schillenboer is back. Twice a week he rides his electric bike and container through Oude Westen, where he picks up the vegetable, fruit, meat and coffee waste from the households in the neighbourhood. The municipality plans to pilot the project for three months. If it works, in 2017 more neighbourhoods in Rotterdam will have their own schillenboer. Other cities like Haarlem and Hengelo are experimenting too. In Amsterdam, Sytze van Stempvoort started Peelpioneers, turning citrus waste - of which the Dutch throw away 250 kilos on a yearly basis - into value added products. Right now, Peelpioneers is working on the technology to turn the waste into essential oils, pectin and fiber-rich grains.



Pretty Plastic Plant

>> different types of waste after collection and can process

300,000 tons of waste per year. With the machine, AEB is heading in the direction of becoming a resource factory rather than a combustion company. The machine is expected to add another 9 percent to our amount of separated waste, bringing the total to 36 percent. If Amsterdam would also invest in extra underground containers in our streets, it would bring the total up to 49 percent.

We are not quite there yet, but Amsterdam waste seems to have a great potential in making our future city become more self-sufficient - if we can find the right ways to reduce, sort and reuse. We just need to reset our mindset. How can we reinvent the system and give ‘waste’ a new meaning? What if we think of waste more as a potential resource than as something we solely throw away as (separated) garbage? Maybe I should just start my own Plastic Plant Factory to kick things off. •• Renee Bijvoets intern programme maker Sustainability

© Milad Pallesh

PRETTY PLASTIC PLANT The architects and designers of Bureau SLA and Overtreders W see plastic as a valuable resource to build something new. Three years ago, they created a plastic pavilion for the Noorderpark in Amsterdam-Noord. With the Pretty Plastic Plant, a research project and factory consisting of six mobile machines, they first turn plastic waste into a thick paste. The paste is used to make tiles, turning up-cycled plastic into a useful building material. The plastic waste is collected by neighbourhood laboratory WASTED. Not all types of plastic are suited; they specifically look for Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and High-density polyethylene (HDPE). To give you an idea: with six to seven Chinese take-out boxes, you can make one tile.


Š Michiel Landeweerd


HET NIEUWE STADMAKEN THE CITIES LEARNING NETWORK IN CITY-MAKING Since the start of the City Makers network in 2012, the movement of City Embassies expanded from Amsterdam to Rotterdam and Berlin, up to more than eighty City Embassies all over Europe today. Together, we have mapped thousands of initiatives, interviewed over hundred City Makers, and shared events on social innovation on the online platforms and City Makers exchanged knowledge and know-how during Dutch City Expeditions, European Metropolitan Field Trips, and the City Makers Summits in February and May 2016 in Amsterdam. All which led to the great result of putting the City Makers movement on the local, national and with The (Im)Pact of Amsterdam - a call for social innovation and collaborative city-making, even on the Urban Agenda for the European Union.


The next step of the movement is putting this collaborative city-making into practice, providing a sustainable fundament for small scale initiatives, adjusting obstructing rules and regulations, and creating new structures. Within the Netherlands, after the King’s speech by King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands in 2013, we see the proclaimed participatiesamenleving (participation society) only partially being adapted by local authorities today. In the meantime, the bottom-up movement, accelerated by the increasing digitalisation and tools as crowdfunding, established ideas expeditiously into practice. These two worlds are not quite yet connected to each other, and even with experiments as Living Labs and City Labs - trying to give an answer to this change - a real substantial shift is still missing. >>


A crowd-generated toolkit for city-making

>> City Makers overmuch depend on personal ambitions of

administrators, civil servants, and alderman, with the high risk of accumulated collaborations and trust disappearing because of changing local authorities every four years. The wheel must constantly be reinvented instead of building a playfield that is sustainable. Providing a continual fundament for this strong bottom-up movement calls for structural change. It requires new alliances and cooperations between (active) people, (social) entrepreneurs, government, research institutions, civil society, and other stakeholders in the city. Collaborations that are evident to achieve real impact and requires different decision-making processes, new financing models, and so on.

WE NEED TO INVEST IN A SUSTAINABLE PLAYFIELD The next two years, in addition to the City Makers network Nieuw Nederland, a core group of City Makers from different cities in the Netherlands starts working on this new step under the project name Het Nieuwe Stadmaken. Focusing specifically on learning, experimenting, exchanging knowledge, know-how and expertise, and together developing and setting the agenda of structural and fundamental changes in terms of new process designs, legalisation, organisational and financial models, measurement and evaluation methods. The project is based on actual cases from the participating cities. For instance, Haarlem with participatory budgeting, where the expenses in the neighbourhood are published to give residents and business owners a voice in prioritising these expenses. A similar case is Stadsfonds (City fund) in Leeuwarden. Within cooperative development, Vlaardingen brings in an interesting case, where a nature and leisure area (covering 25% of the city) will be developed by a membership cooperation with stakeholders managing and developing the area instead of a top-down governed construction. Every city brings in several cases on different topics, to analyse and develop new models for city-making together. For city-making, the involvement

of the national government from the beginning of the process is of great importance. The collective analysis of cases is a significant step in making some headway towards changing rules and legislation. The end result of Het Nieuwe Stadmaken is a crowd-generated toolkit for city-making, applicable to cities in the Netherlands. In January 2017, Het Nieuwe Stadmaken starts with a set of ten cities - each represented by City Maker(s), a couple of civic servants, and a pioneering alderman with Pakhuis de Zwijger as the connecting platform. Strengthened by the knowledge of more than thirty-five connected cities from the Dutch City Makers network, who are invited to participate in this extracurricular project as well. Het Nieuwe Stadmaken will be shaped by programmes at the City Embassies of the participating cities, collective workshops, public events, and summits, and the existing City Expeditions will be enlarged with additional activities for City Makers participating in Het Nieuwe Stadmaken. •• For a complete overview of the participating cities and more info on how to participate yourself, see: You can find The (Im)pact of Amsterdam here:

Quirine Winkler

project leader Nieuw Nederland at Pakhuis de Zwijger



Habitat III

FABRICA CIUDAD CITY-MAKING AT HABITAT III, QUITO Quito - Ecuador’s capital, 2850 metres high up in the mighty Andes mountains - is perhaps not the first city that springs to mind when thinking of global urban challenges, innovation, and sustainable development. Yet, it was chosen as the host city for the Habitat III Conference in October 2016, UN-Habitat’s major congress on urbanisation which takes place only once every twenty years. The mission of Habitat III was the adoption of a New Urban Agenda: an action-oriented document which will set global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development. Rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private sector. In the words of Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, the third edition of Habitat meant to bring forward a paradigm shift in which urbanisation should be seen as a tool for development, rather than an accumulation of problems. >>


© JAM visual thinking



Fui Reciclado

>> As Habitat III’s mission of an agenda for better cities

- emerging from the joint efforts of multiple stakeholders - immediately spoke to our imagination, Pakhuis de Zwijger was keen to go to Quito and asked JAM Visual Thinking to come along. And as is our style, we took a somewhat reversed approach to the New Urban Agenda than most of the institutions did. We started with the people that are rooted in the neighbourhoods and work daily to improve the livability of the city: City Makers. We established Fabrica Ciudad, a platform for City Makers in Quito, to meet their peers and establish international connections throughout the days of Habitat III. We partnered with the Human Cities Coalition, working on the showcase Ruta de la Experiencia, a pedestrian friendly street with public space interventions like vertical gardens, street furniture of recycled material, bicycle parking, permeable green surfaces, and newly planted native trees - designed with the residents of the neighbourhood. Together we took off to Quito to meet and capture as many inspiring stories of pioneering City Makers as possible. Weeks ahead of Habitat III, we organised events in the monumental Centro Cultural Benjamín Carríon, our beautiful temporary City Embassy, to show the world - and the Quiteños - the innovative approaches to city-making that emerged from Habitat III’s host city and all around the world. Together with an ambitious group of Architecture and Urbanism students of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, we had interviews with City Makers, and visualised the stories one by one. And we learned a lot!

QUITO FACES CHALLENGES EXEMPLARY TO CITIES IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH Quito happened to be an excellent location to discuss the adoption and implementation of a New Urban Agenda, as the city faces many of the challenges exemplary to cities in the Global South. The last decades, the city is confronted with rapid growth as a result of rural to urban migration. The city however has difficulty with its outward expansion, because it is caught in between two mountain passes to its East and West, in the four kilometres narrow valley below the majestic volcano Pichincha. Expansion is therefore only possible towards the South and North - which transformed the city’s plan into a highly inaccessible and segregated seventy kilometres long corridor. Alternatively, people move to the suburban valleys behind the mountain passes, the suburban farmer’s villages of Cumbaya and Tumbaco. These are now popular destinations for the middle classes, who are en masse fleeing the deteriorating inner city for the suburban dream of a house with a garden, enough space to park their multiple cars, and where American-style shopping malls and drive-in fast food joints abound. And to be honest, life isn’t bad in ‘The Valley’, as hip restaurants, food trucks, and coworking spaces - such as Pata de Gallo in the creative La Tejedora district - pop up almost weekly now, turning it into an increasingly urban environment. >>

FUI RECICLADO Fui Reciclado is a studio and design store founded in 2008 and specialised in recycled accessories made by local craftsmen that share a conscientious, environmentally friendly, and fair trade philosophy. The project combines recycling with social welfare projects and their collection varies from clothes and jewelry to decoration and furniture. Their first product Mercadito, a shopping bag, was initially made by a group of female inmates in the Inca Rehabilitation Center in Quito. The team has expanded over time and now includes ecologists and industrial designers, who all brought their knowledge into the project and products. After shopping, you can enjoy a drink at the in-house Café Botanica.



El Japi-Awer


© Juan Sebastian Cardona

Japi-Awer (‘Happy Hour’) was created in Quito in 2015 by a multidisciplinary group of environmental professionals. Their monthly free public events promote environmental awareness and sustainable urban systems through open, accessible, and inclusive discussions and by applying interactive methods - such as drawing, writing and playing. The meetings take place at neutral and informal spaces like coffee shops, bars, co-working places, and municipality offices and carry on typical Quiteñan traditions such as a café de la tarde, where family and friends meet after work for coffee. They have held several Café del Barrio in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund, to promote local sustainable development. Neighbours, community members, and children meet and create collaborative solutions regarding issues like garbage management and recycling, liveable communities, alternative mobility, sustainable entrepreneurship, and urban agriculture. El Japi-Awer is our City Embassy in Quito and will keep Fabrica Ciudad ongoing.



Diego Guayasamin & Sergio Alvarez

DIEGO GUAYASAMIN & SERGIO ALVAREZ ‘ L O C A L D I G I TA L P R O D U C T I O N I S N O W A C C E S S I B L E F O R A L L O F U S .’ Diego Guayasamin and Sergio Alvarez, company, such as the democratic use CITY EMBASSY two 29 and 30-year-old architects, of technology for social good, product merged their two companies to create prototyping, architectural design, a place where anyone can produce machinery development, and open their own unique projects in order to source development of technology for make a better society and place to live. social use. All of Bacteria Lab’s projects Bacteria Lab is the first digital fabrication are produced by an interdisciplinary QUITO laboratory in Ecuador, founded in co-working team of professionals that 2010 to revolutionise the concept of want to make a real change and open construction and design in Ecuador. All operations doors for everyone who shows initiative. ‘The team goal are directed by Diego and Sergio, who are pioneers is to share our knowledge to people passionate to change in digital research and production in the country. ‘We the world’, says Diego, ‘so citizens can start believing think architecture and design aren’t just about places to that great things can be done here in Ecuador.’ live, it’s something that gives us memories and sensitive experiences. Combining sustainable materials and systems could make our living great’, says Diego. They incorporated FabLab principles and themes in their



Jaime Izurieta

JAIME IZURIETA ‘ T H E O N LY WAY T O C O N N E C T T H E C I T Y, I S G E N E R AT I N G C U LT U R E .’ Jaime is an architect, town planner, ‘For me, a museum is a place where CITY EMBASSY and urban designer, as well as a lover people learn the meaning of art and its of contemporary art concerned with ability to transform the city’, says Jaime. the prosperity of the city. Jaime Through social media, El Museo Nómada identifies four main elements of urban engages with locals and independent development: culture, design, economic artists to set up artistic experiments in development and the environment to different neighbourhoods. Jaime and the QUITO ensure healthy growth. Together with other founders do not want people to go artist Rosa Jijón and curator Ana María to museums as a ritual, but instead want Garzón, he observed a need for a contemporary art to convert the city into a place to experience art and museum in Quito. Although they lacked a physical then view the city in a different way. ‘To connect the space, they created El Museo Nómada - with both city the only way is generating culture,’ he says, ‘and to temporary and permanent exhibitions to impact the generate culture we have to use art.’ The unconventional structure and experience of the urban fabric. With the confrontation with art in public space is meant to evoke museum, Jaime aims to change people’s perception of critical thinking about the development of the city, and art and the city through citizen participation. In contrast transform passers-by into City Makers. with conventional museums, it connects the city with contemporary art by using it to activate public space.



Opus la Mariscal & Al Borde

OPERACIĂ“N URBANA SOSTENIBLE OPUS LA MARISCAL What started as a Business Improvement District in the entertainment district of La Mariscal to retrieve the security, has grown into a laboratory for the selfgovernance of the neighbourhood. The initiative started when a group of concerned citizens got together to collectively invade an abandoned house that was held hostage by criminals for more than a decade. The invasion transformed the house into the first community policing station in the country. Community-action so far included the revival of another abandoned property into a Casa del Barrio and art gallery, a communityrun vegetable garden with an educational programme for school kids, the planting of more than 200 native trees, the installation of the first drinking water tap in the country, and the launch of a community-app for direct democracy. The initiative is meant to complement the work of the government, by reframing responsibilities on the local level.


Al Borde was founded in 2007 by four architects who aim to redefine the role of architecture, looking for new ways to address human needs while bypassing a formal monetary economy and using minimal resources. They give lectures, workshops and present their work in various countries around the world. Collaboration and community integration are recurring principles in their installations that often engage visitors in the construction of such productions. To translate their principles into practice, Al Borde works on Casa en ConstrucciĂłn, the redevelopment of a UNESCO heritage building with experimentation and do-it-yourself techniques at its heart. No material costs nor paid hours are being made in the transformation of the decaying house into 14 low-cost apartments, as the process is a sequence of internship semesters of live-in students from Quito and Tokyo, working with recycled goods. The result of the joint efforts is amazingly beautiful and delivers a model that could be replicated to address the challenge of decay in urban centres around the world.



THE AIM IS TO REVIVE THE CITY AND MAKE IT MORE INCLUSIVE TO ALL >> The problem is, however, that the car-dependent

residents of the valleys are further clogging the streets of Quito, since most of them commute to work in the city, and public transport is as good as non-existent. Meanwhile, the beautiful historical centre of Quito, one of the first two UNESCO heritage sites in the world, is depopulating. Due to the restrictions that come with the heritage status, the necessary restoration of the inner-city is too costly, especially considering the current economic crisis the city is situated in since the global decrease of oil prices - one of the biggest drivers of the Ecuadorian economy. The result is an almost vacant historical centre, with the most beautiful colonial mansions used as storage room for retail on the ground floor, which makes this part of town better to be avoided after office hours. Public life in the streets is almost absent at night, which goes hand-in-hand with the car dependency, polycentrism, and low temperatures at night - due to the high altitude. Joan Clos’ words may particularly be true for the way Quito is governed at the moment, where urbanisation is mostly seen as a challenge to be addressed and regulated, rather than an opportunity for development - much like Northern European cities in the 1970s. Luckily, progressive City Makers think differently and take up initiatives to bring live back to the neighbourhoods they hold so dear. They definitely see opportunity in a crumbling 1930s villa in La Mariscal and insist on making the city more bicycle friendly, walkable or green by starting a community garden.

New Urban Agenda

Their concerns are in line with those of the government, aiming to revive the city and make it more inclusive to all, the different approaches are just seemingly conflicting at the moment. In a city that needs quite some work to be done, issues seem to arise around the question whether a do-it-yourself mentality is desirable, or if this would further evoke the development of an informal or parallel society - much seen in cities in Latin America. Therefore, the response of the government is often to fall back on controlling mechanisms, rather than a collaborative stance. Although the New Urban Agenda is an ambitious step in the right direction, as a formulation of common goals for better cities worldwide, it is non-binding and so far fails to provide an action perspective on how exactly to execute multi-level governance, and in particular how to include civil society and City Makers into the policymaking process. And from what we’ve seen in Quito and cities throughout Europe, those happen to be the first to disappear off the table when things become difficult or matters too politically sensitive. However, we believe that a successful implementation of the New Urban Agenda depends to a large extend on its efforts to create a certain level playing field for public, private and civic stakeholders to be at one table. With Fabrica Ciudad, we hoped to have sparked the incentive to do so! ••

Charlot Schans

project leader New Europe

Herman Weeda

designer and visual storyteller



Festivals powered by renewable energy? Solar-Energy on shared roofs? Schools that share their generated energy locally in their community? There are numerous possibilities to accelerate the energy transition in the Netherlands. Many initiatives are born from local ambition, and that is not a coincidence! Local collaboration is the key to successful realization. Establishing a renewable ambition with all involved stakeholders, making the right technical, legal, financial and organizational choices and ensuring mutual benefit, that’s what signifies LOcal COLlaboration. Together, today

Renewable energy from your own community or municipality is within reach today by teaming up parties that need each other! This is possible by creating marketplaces to connect local energy-cooperatives with companies or institutions with a large roof. There are multiple initiatives throughout the Netherlands facilitating this. This way cooperatives will realise solar projects, companies or institutions will generate profit by leasing out their roofs, and communities gain access to local renewable energy.

In local collaboration

Lasting collaboration with stakeholders on a structural basis increases the chance of success. This way it is proven that involving residents/renters is essential to achieve sustainability in housing corporations. Currently, several collaborations of housing corporations (Duurzaamheidskringen) are working together with their residents to realise the installation of solar panels on their housing stock, to increase sustainability as well as comfort of living.

Mutually beneficial

In order to fulfil an ambition and to sustain an ‘all hands on deck’ mentality during the exploitation of sustainable services, a mutual benefit is of major importance. In the case of the energy transition for festivals and public events, ensuring a near-constant energy cost for festival organizers as well as operational reliability for the owner is essential in order to be successful and to contribute to the sustainability goals of the municipality.

Working together with all stakeholders, sharing knowledge and proven practices and creating local value accelerate the renewable energy transition.

Locol connects and guides parties in the journey to reach collective local sustainable energy goals, benefiting all involved. Locol is committed to local and regional governments, housing corporations, residents, energy cooperatives and owners/operators of (event) sites and large buildings. In 2014 Locol has been initiated as a social business with a cost neutral business model by the Netherlands’ largest energy network company Alliander. Let’s get in touch! Call Justine at +31 6 155 807 12, e-mail us or check out


Urban planning projects

UN URBAN LABS URBAN PLANNING PROJECTS DRIVEN BY DESIGN AND PARTICIPATION UN Urban Labs is a project initiated in 2014 by UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, coordinating interdisciplinary and international design laboratories to set up collaborative planning projects in 40 to 50 cities around the world. There is a growing demand for planning and design in rapidly urbanising regions across the globe dealing with questions concerning urban renewal, slum upgrading, climate change, post-disaster and post-conflict circumstances. ‘This specific facility of UN-Habitat provides planning and design expertise and the frameworks and processes that cities need to have these plans implemented’, explains Rogier van den Berg, project leader of UN Urban Labs. As part of this programme, UN-Habitat and the Creative Industries Fund NL began a collaboration to support 20 designers and architects based in the Netherlands to work together in 5 urban labs in Ghana, Mexico, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Palestine.

‘There are many other countries that are experts in urban planning,’ Rogier says, ‘but what these Dutch teams brought was a vision of the city driven by design. This principle of Dutch planning is not common in many cities, where planning is primarily sectoral policy such as water or infrastructure. It is the ability to turn this design into a process combining all the stakeholders such as landowners, developers, citizens, and politicians.’

PLANNING DRIVEN BY DESIGN SHOULD NOT BECOME A TEMPLATE The designers spent a year collaborating with an international, multidisciplinary team on urgent assignments that are formulated based on recommendations from the related city or urban area. >>



Ghana & Mexico

>> The labs formulated an answer to a local demand, with a

political commitment to the question and project. The selected cities are very different in many respects, but the planning strategy proposals are often developed around similar obstacles and challenges. Planning driven by design should not become a template which is why each team’s work is locally embedded, resulting in an area-specific framework rooted in existing structures and anticipating future developments.

The participatory process is an important principle of the Urban Labs and key to the success of the next phase: the implementation process. ‘Participation is not a worn-out topic,’ Rogier emphasises, ‘and the structure of a plan is crucial to how well participation is integrated. This is why we involve locals and other key stakeholders in the design phase, rather than just citizen consultation at the end of the process.’ Additionally, the future implementation will depend on political support and the development of adequate legal and financial instruments required to apply the ambitious designs drafted at the drawing board. ••

Floortje Opbroek editor New Europe - Cities in Transition



SCHEDULED URBAN EXPANSION IN METROPOLITAN ACCRA NINGO PRAMPRAM Accra faces immense (informal) sprawl, unbridled population growth and regular flooding, like many of Ghana’s coastal cities. The Ningo-Prampram district will accommodate this expansion while dealing with a lack of capacity, resources, and data to adequately choreograph this growth. The rapid growth rate makes timely legislative adaptations or generation of resources nearly impossible. Urban Lab Ghana proposes a locally rooted grid system following the limited but available existing infrastructure. Working with local parties and flexible use of space, this system mitigates the biggest risk - regular flooding - while providing basic services and allowing for spontaneous development and a gradual, natural adaptation to changing needs in the future. The team intends to take the next step with local planners and policy makers, where they act as advisors once the budget is approved.


Urban renewal is becoming an increasingly relevant development strategy in Mexico, as growing commuting costs have forced many residents to move out and relocate to more remote areas. Doctores, a central neighbourhood in Mexico City, is slightly dilapidated and has a low population density, like most of central Mexico City. Urban Lab Mexico aims to draft a design to densify and revitalise Doctores, allowing for more residents to profit from its proximity to jobs and infrastructure. The local government created an SAC (Sistema de Actuación por Cooperación), a mostly economic-juridical instrument, along which the Urban Lab formulates different densification scenarios: densification and intensification of green space with organic and flexible growth; a mixture of existing and new inhabitants from different social groups; and co-creation with different stakeholders.


Philippines, Myanmar, Palestine


Tacloban – a city of over 200,000 inhabitants – suffered severe damage after the 2013 Haiyan Typhoon. The government evacuated the population to a safer settlement site 15 kilometers outside of the city, in newly constructed housing units with limited facilities, isolating people from their familiar surroundings and networks. Unlike in many other developing countries in Asia, detailed studies of the area were made possible by extensive data sets provided by the government and different military agencies. The Philippines Urban Lab helped to draft guidelines for more sustainable urban growth and post-disaster reconstruction and addressed emergency, recovery, and long-term rehabilitation needs. Moreover, the Urban Lab observed the need for post-relief planning, as several rehabilitation structures and mechanisms had emerged from elaborate efforts of relief organisations, volunteers, and local government. The outcome was a comprehensive and structural landuse plan integrating the numerous newly constructed settlement sites and infrastructural works.


NEW ECONOMY AND NEW PARADIGM, YANGON Myanmar has been witnessing a transformation towards a socially and economic liberal climate since 2011 and rapid urbanisation is an inevitable result. The proposed Htantabin city extension site as a new sub-centre of Yangon is currently mainly agricultural land with a few villages, limited infrastructure and a projected population of 2.4 to 2.7 million. Its proximity to central Yangon causes pressure from growing industrial sites, (private) residential developments and informal urban sprawl as a consequence of ruralurban migration. With an integral master plan, Urban Lab Myanmar addresses several challenges such as flooding and insufficient water provision, polluting solid waste management, traffic congestion and (illegal) land speculation. An important principle is switching from a reactive to a proactive planning practice.

BUILD BACK BETTER IN KHUZA’A Khuza suffers from post-conflict challenges, resulting from the Israeli occupation, such as extensive destruction of housing and infrastructure, displacement and insufficient shelter, scarcity of land and territorial fragmentation. The conflict displaced over 500,000 people, of which many reside in refugee conflict camps, temporary shelters, or the ruins of their towns. Urban Lab Palestine assists a local team of planners in designing the best possible master plan for restoration and densification with a participatory design approach. The different proposals addressed a rapidly growing population and a lack of a coherent urbanisation strategy while dealing with a damaged road, water, waste, and electricity infrastructure. The team also proposed the restoration of part of the Wadi Gazi, the only river in Gaza and an essential water source for households and agriculture, but currently filled with waste.


Piet Heinkade 179 | 1019 HC Amsterdam | 020 624 63 80 | |

Ook komend seizoen vinden er weer Tegenlicht Meet Up’s plaats in vele steden in Nederland. Bij ons in Pakhuis de Zwijger, tijdens de nationale Tegenlicht Meet Up, praten we verder over de uitzending op de volgende data:

wo 1 feb - wo 8 feb - wo 15 feb - wo 22 feb - wo 1 mrt di 7 mrt - wo 15 mrt - wo 22 mrt - wo 29 mrt - wo 5 apr wo 12 apr - wo 19 apr - wo 26 apr - wo 3 mei Voor updates over de onderwerpen en aanmelden: Lokale Meet Up’s in: alkmaar - almere - amersfoort - assen - breda bredevoort - bussum - delft - den haag


den bosch - deventer - doetinchem - eindhoven enschede - haarlem - groningen - leeuwarden lelystad - maastricht - middelburg - nijmegen oss - rotterdam - tilburg - utrecht - winschoten zaandam - zeeland - zwolle Voor meer info over de lokale Meet Up’s in andere steden zie



Embracing grassroots creativity


Pansodan Street, Yangon images © Future Cities

THE RISE OF EMERGING CITIES The world has heard enough about booming megacities like Shanghai and Mumbai. Our hunches led us to Kinshasa, Lima, and Yangon – three examples of cities escaping poverty, armed conflict or political censorship to embrace their grassroots creativity. Pansodan Gallery is housed on the second and third floor of an old colonial building in the heart of Yangon, the biggest city in Myanmar. The paint is peeling, the walls are full of paintings, prints, and photos and the windows are wide open - it is as if you are standing right next to the throbbing busses in the street below. There is no air-conditioning, and that is a conscious decision. ‘Otherwise, the Burmese would think it’s a place for foreigners’, Aung Soe Min says. The owner of the

first Burmese gallery for modern art explains how the country’s socialist leaders cracked down on art. Now, after fifty years of suppression, he believes that the time has come when art should be for everyone again. ‘Art helps us come together,’ Aung says, ‘capitalism with its winner-takes-all mentality just widens the gap.’ The moment we hear him say this, we light up inside - we’ve found another main character for our web documentary! >>



The stories behind

>> Since 2014, we’ve been travelling to up-and-coming

emerging cities for our multimedia project Future Cities. For our research, the economic and demographic growth of a city is always the starting point but the stories of pioneers such as Aung are what really fascinate us. It’s good to know that, since the start of the democratisation process, Yangon’s economic potential is being recognised around the world. But what does it say about a city if you don’t know who lives there? What motivates its citizens and what are their dreams? With Future Cities, we tell the stories behind the urbanisation and growth statistics. We are looking for what makes a city authentic and what can be found in the DNA of its people. Aung’s story is about ambition, progress, and hope - a refreshing counterpoint to the familiar stories about the negative consequences of urbanisation and growth. But what appeals to us most of all is that Aung’s work goes further than just the production of art. He sees art as the basis for a new society; a catalyst for social inclusion and a way of rebuilding the city’s identity.

Although the work of pioneers such as Aung is certainly bearing fruit, in Yangon it’s yet too early to draw such firm conclusions. Lima, on the other hand, is a paradigmatic example. Peru’s forgotten cuisine has become the basis of the nation’s identity. As a consequence, tourists are flocking to eat in Lima; the locals have something to be proud about and their self-confidence is building by the day, and chefs, business leaders, and politicians are joining forces to make their city even more attractive. ‘Fifteen years ago, the university was a bastion of dissatisfied youth and extreme ideology’, says Gaston Acurio, the chef responsible for the incredible revival of Peruvian cooking. ‘Now, you will find young people there who want to be doctors, architects, musicians or chefs.’ ••

WHAT MOTIVATES CITIZENS AND WHAT ARE THEIR DREAMS? Like in Yangon, we also met changemakers who are turning the tide in their cities in Kinshasa (Congo) and Lima (Peru). Although these cities are completely different, they are undergoing a common development. In all three cities, the real soul of the city could not thrive under repression, a bad economy or bad governance. Economic growth, political stability or the green shoots of freedom are allowing the qualities people there always have had to flourish. In Africa, the Kinois’ sense of style has been legendary for decades. Peruvian culinary traditions go back to the Incas, and in Yangon, political prisoners just keep on painting - even in prison. A population that is discovering and embracing its cultural identity, in turn, leads to a broader development of their city. ‘Culture isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity’, Unesco researchers recently wrote in a global report on culture for sustainable development. ‘Urban heritage and culture can play a fundamental role in enhancing cities’ identities and providing a platform for social and economic development.’


Stephanie Bakker journalist

Yvonne Brandwijk photographer Future Cities is supported by: the Volkskrant Stimuleringsfonds, the Fonds Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten, Freepress/ Dutch Postcode Lottery Fund for Journalists, Creative Industries Fund NL and the ‘Innovation in Development Reporting Grant’ programme of the European Journalism Centre (EJC), financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


YANGON NEW YORK OF THE EAST 2040 On the surface, Yangon doesn’t look much different from fifty years ago. But look past the neglected colonial buildings and you’ll find a vibrant cultural scene thriving in the townhouses, courtyards, and countless home studios. After half a century of oppression and extreme censorship, punks, painters, poets, and rock stars are all ‘coming out’ in a mass personal renaissance, sharing this moment of freedom and exciting possibility. Since the start of the democratisation process, Myanmar’s economic promise has been acknowledged around the world. It is predicted that the city will have ten million inhabitants by 2040 (compared to 4.4 million in 2010). Although this growth raises serious challenges, it is also reviving Yangon’s cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Home studio of artist Min Thu Rein The punk and the monk

‘THE WORLD IS TEACHING US HOW TO DO BUSINESS, BUT BUILDING A NEW SOCIETY IS ABOUT MUCH MORE THAN JUST MONEY.’ Aung Soe Min, gallery owner and artist Under the military regime, every single poem, song or movie had to be submitted to the scrutiny of the censors, and almost all cultural events had to happen underground. Now, the vibrancy is much more out in the open and for everyone to see. During the past five years, dozens of galleries have opened. The first openair art festival took place, and the LGBTI community now has its own film festival. The first museum can only be a matter of time. The fact that space is at a premium in Yangon and freedom is relative, is not stopping the new generation of artists. Drawing on a rich cultural heritage, they are pushing the frontiers of innovation. Fifty years of hidden creativity, ideas and stories bursting to get out. No one knows exactly how, when or where these will emerge – and this is what makes Yangon one of the most exciting future cities of art.





Sapeur in the streets of Kinshasa

On the African continent, everyone has always looked to Kinshasa for the latest fashion trends. And now that the economy is growing, Congo’s capital is becoming a real metropolis de la mode. In 2012, the first ever international fashion event on Congolese soil took place: Kinshasa Fashion Week. Through Reuters news agency, the world found out that Congo accommodates designers and not just rebels - and they are good at it. In their shows, the designers seem to be saying that Kinshasa is not all about politics and poverty, but a city of stylish people who work hard to get ahead.


Backstage at a fashion show in Kinshasa Fashion designer Louison Mbeya

Kinshasa has all the prerequisites to become Africa’s next fashion hub. From creative entrepreneurs who can draw on a huge cultural heritage to the only public fashion school in Central Africa – not to mention an incredible potential sales market. In its report Global Cities of the Future, McKinsey’s Global Institute predicts that in 2025 twenty percent of the 14.5 million Kinois will be earning a middle-class income. The promise of such a boom is bringing more and more international companies and investors to Kinshasa. Dutch company Vlisco, renowned for its coloured wax prints, has an office and flagship store in the city centre and a Lebanese investment company recently opened the first shopping mall.




LIMA GLOBAL CITY OF GASTRONOMY 2021 In just fifteen years, Lima transformed from a modest city, known for its squares full of shoeshine stalls and guinea-pigs on spits, into the proud home of the world’s culinary vanguard. Here, gastronomy is linked to big words like ‘gastro boom’ and culinary revolution. Not only because of the jobs this sector is creating – 5.5 million Peruvians profit from the gastro boom, directly or indirectly – but mainly because of its social impact. The success of Peruvian chefs being in the international spotlight and the new appreciation of local cuisine is giving back the pride and confidence the Peruvians lost after years of governmental failure and terrorism.

Gastronomy connects Peruvians from different backgrounds and economic classes

‘SHARING AND CONNECTING ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN FIGHTING OVER POWER.’ Gastón Acurio, chef, explorer, writer and national hero What started with just one chef deciding that quinoa was not only good for chickens and replacing foie gras with ceviche is now the bedrock on which the new identity of a whole population is based. In 2021, Lima aims to have reached the status of the gastronomic capital of Latin America. However, to become an irresistible city where everyone wants to be takes more than great food and beautiful restaurants alone. A clean sea, good transportation, safety, and an enterprising atmosphere where innovation can flourish are equally essential. Gastronomy has laid the basis for a new Lima and recent successes are a good indication that change is possible. Everyone has their sleeves rolled up, as shown by the action plan drawn by chefs, business leaders, and politicians in the run-up to 2021.

Chef, explorer, writer and national hero Gastón Acurio

Mistura, Latin America’s largest foodfestival



The motherland of the Polis

METROPOLITAN FIELD TRIP THESSALONIKI EXPLORING THE CITY MAKER MOVEMENT IN THE MOTHERLAND OF THE POLIS Yiannis Boutaris, the independent mayor of Thessaloniki, has seven tattoos, is a recovering alcoholic and does not fit into the distinction of left/right wing politics. His ideas seem - although not without opposition - promising to many. In the midst of continual criticism of Greece’s politicians, he approaches city government with a progressive and businesslike perspective, demonstrated by his support for the LGTBQ festival Thessaloniki Pride, his plans to privatise waste collection and involvement with 100 Resilient Cities. The future success of his approach will be reflected in his connection to those in Thessaloniki who find innovative ways to strengthen their communities and new ways to shape their city and make their neighbourhoods more liveable.


During New Europe’s Metropolitan Field Trip to Thessaloniki on 6-9 October 2016, the ‘city of youth’ is presented by 27 year-old Lina Liakouto as ‘lively and friendly, walkable and delicious’. She is the recently appointed Deputy Mayor of Thessaloniki in Urban Resilience and Development Planning. She is in charge of the city’s connection to 100 Resilient Cities, an international programme of the New York-based Rockefeller Foundation which offers a framework in which the municipality works on social and environmental resilience. ‘However,’ she says, ‘Thessaloniki is a city in transition and has been facing difficult challenges as a result of the crisis and the European austerity measures effective since 2011.’ Within the office of Resilience and the collaboration with 100 Resilient Cities, participation and co-creative processes are emphasised as an essential component of Thessaloniki’s current and future transition. >>


Thessaloniki Allios

THESSALONIKI ALLIOS THESSALONIKI One of Thessaloniki’s most important free-press magazines since 1989 has been Parallaxi. In 2010, Parallaxi decided to put their motto ‘Ideas, Stories, Trends, People, the City’ into practice by organising Thessaloniki Allios (Thessaloniki Otherwise), one of the biggest urban festivals in the city. It involved a great deal of the city’s creative initiatives in order to bring attention to the public and open space, to buildings that remain vacant and to the people ready to take on action. Thessaloniki Allios developed into a network of creative practices and an active movement influencing the city.

>> Thessaloniki as a city in transition was a recurring theme

throughout the programme of the Metropolitan Field Trip and became most apparent through conversations with locals who are actively engaged in neighbourhood initiatives and community projects. An excellent example of the potential of Thessaloniki’s City Maker movement is George Toulas. He is the director of Parallaxi Magazine, a free-press magazine started in 1989, which grew out to be an organisation involved in urban festivals, projects in public space, transformation of Thessaloniki’s many vacant buildings, and arranging housing for refugees and Roma in the city. George and the Parallaxi network combine the free-press magazine and their local activities to engage the city and its inhabitants in finding collaborative, bottom-up solutions to Thessaloniki’s challenges. Their relationship with the Municipality is difficult, as they attempt to maintain a certain distance while writing critical articles about local governance daily.


This cautious attitude and often outright aversion of municipal involvement was emphasised by many of the City Makers involved in this Metropolitan Field Trip. A young girl named Vasiliki Soultani’s reaction to the question if she ever considered being politically active is telling. Vasiliki is involved in a youth collective formed by the volunteers of Thessaloniki European Youth Capital 2014 (EYC2014), and now organises a wide range of projects and traineeships throughout the city that help young students develop their skills and network. She has strong ideas about how youth can influence Thessaloniki. ‘Politically active? Here it sounds really bad. We try to avoid it!’, she says. ‘We try to change things around here as a non-governmental organisation, without politicians.’ Olympia Datsi, co-founder of the Creativity Platform, a non-profit, collective, interdisciplinary platform of exchanging creative ideas, actions, research and applications, and mentor of the EYC2014 youth collective adds: ‘I guess we have to reimagine the meaning and role of politicians. Even today politicians still pass their jobs on to family members, and there are no structures for young people to socialise and organise their own activities.’ >>




>> Government budgets are very much restricted in

challenging times like these, but the issue goes deeper than a lack of available funds. There is a general distrust in anything related to government, politics, and bureaucracy. Although a sense of community seems to be the driving force behind many of Thessaloniki’s City Makers’ activities, collective action towards a common purpose seems to be a recent reality. Periklis Chatzinakos of the Svolou Neighbourhood Initiative experienced this first-hand when he initiated his first Spring Dinner in the Alexander Svolou neighbourhood in 2013, to increase social cohesion in the area. Together with his informal team of volunteers, they distributed flyers throughout the entire neighbourhood, only to find just twenty neighbours showing up at the table on the day of the dinner. Periklis explains: ‘The reason for the low turnout? The neighbours assumed a political party was behind the organisation of the event and had no interest in participating. It took quite some effort to convince neighbours of the non-partisan nature of the event before people started showing up to other activities.’

Spring Dinner is now a well-known phenomenon with an influence reaching far beyond just a yearly event. The square on which it is organised has been activated and revitalised and neighbours who connected at the dinner feel a stronger sense of community and ownership over the space around them. The troubled relationship with local government has taken on a visible result. When the original pedestrian crossings started to fade and requests for renewal were left unanswered, volunteers from the neighbourhood painted their own. The organisation was kindly requested by city officials to remove it, but since the team has no official registration or affiliation and works with an informal network of volunteers, no individual could be held responsible and the pedestrian crossing remains as is today. >>

APODEC THESSALONIKI ApoDec was founded in 2012 by two students finding their way around the mid-crisis Greek labour market after their graduation. Rather than giving up, they collaborated with other creatives and came up with a diversified business model to create ApoDec. It is a multifunctional space that combines various concepts and is open to all who are looking for possibilities to develop their own ideas. The co-working space and project-room, which extends over two floors, is an open environment for creative pioneers and hosts workshops, exhibitions, and book presentations as well. The initiative works with a team that organises open debates and also hosted the first two events of the crowd-funding initiative Feast Thessaloniki, an anti-narrative performance.



I’M JUST TRYING NOT TO BE AN IDIOTIS >> Cautious forms of civil disobedience are found at PER.KA, a community garden founded by ‘surburban cultivators’ on an abandoned military camp. The informal network of volunteers does not engage with the Municipality but their activities go beyond mere horticulture. Co-founder Antonis Karagiorgas explains: ‘We’re not just happy cultivators, we have our political beliefs. There is way too little green space, while we’re not officially allowed to make use of the many vacant military camps around the city.’ Would Antonis consider the team to be squatters? ‘I would describe myself as an active citizen. Nothing more, nothing less. In Ancient Greek an idiotis is someone who is too stupid to be in public affairs and be part of what is happening in his city. I’m just trying not to be an idiotis.’


Five hundred kilometres south, Synathina - the Municipality of Athens’ platform for civil society managed by Vice Mayor of Civil Society Amalia Zepou strives to encourage and facilitate these forms of active citizenship through processes of co-creation. Following the Metropolitan Field Trip Thessaloniki, the first steps towards the second City Makers Summit in Athens on 17-20 May 2017 were made with Synathina. Aside from Amalia’s close involvement with the last City Makers Summit in Amsterdam initiated by Pakhuis de Zwijger last May, the organisation is an ideal partner to continue the exploration of the City Makers movement across Europe in general, and a demonstration of current developments and challenges in Athens in particular. With their online platform mapping citizen’s initiatives and workshops, walk-in coaching sessions and meetings with local City Makers and council members, the organisation is at the heart of emerging social innovation in urban development in Athens. >>



Navarinou park


© Stan Jourdan

Navarinou park is a co-created community place in the heart of Athens. Open to various local initiatives, it aspires to be a physical manifestation of the neighbourhood’s social life. Residents are encouraged to participate in meeting and communicating ideas related to organising events, but also the administrative work.

THE YOUNG GENERATION IS UP FOR RADICAL CHANGE >> Another source of inspiration on the road to the next

City Makers Summit in Athens is Vouliwatch - a nonprofit parliamentary monitoring organisation that engages Greek citizens with legislative politics. With their online applications Votewatch, Policy Monitor and a moderated platform where citizens engage directly with Members of Parliament, the organisation offers an opportunity to communicate, evaluate, and hold elected representatives in the Greek and the European Parliament accountable. As Panos Vlachos, co-founder of Vouliwatch, explains: ‘In the heyday of Ancient Greek democracy, citizens actively participated in political dialogue, and we aim to revive this essential aspect of a democratic society through the use of digital technology.’

Both in Thessaloniki and Athens, City Makers experience that co-creation and initiating local activities are not a natural direction for most Greeks. This is changing among younger generations, as demonstrated by the many City Makers that were part of the Metropolitan Field Trip and preparations for the Athens City Makers Summit. What is needed is a facilitating government with accessible tools and methods to participate, meet other City Makers and start own projects and initiatives. A process to which the City Maker Summit in Athens will provide a strong impulse. ••

Floortje Opbroek editor New Europe - Cities in Transition



Different cities, different challenges

METROPOLITAN FIELD TRIP VIENNA AND BRATISLAVA WANTED: CREATIVE BUREAUCRATS ‘We are living in a well-tempered, well-functioning welfare city, where activism becomes redundant’, say the Viennese. ‘We have to fight for basic structures in the municipality that would represent the needs of this city’, is the tenor amongst City Makers in Bratislava. The Metropolitan Field Trip between the 17th and 20th of November was an exploration of urban life and active citizens in Vienna and Bratislava. While meeting different people, initiatives and districts one can feel like a little boat in a storm of perspectives. Yet, especially the contrast of these two cities helped to understand the different challenges and stages of city development.

Economically speaking, Bratislava is the most important area of Slovakia. Despite its often rundown appearance, it is not a poor city. It is a massively privatised one - 95% of the real estate and ground is in private hands. Alongside comes something that could be expressed by ‘private wealth, public poverty’. There is a lack of responsibility to invest into the maintenance and visual quality of the city environment. >>



>> Small groups of dissatisfied people, however, are

stimulated by this negligence. Matúš Čupka started on a small scale, collecting garbage in public space with his family. After a mix of throwbacks and micro-successes, it became obvious that the Municipality would not support them and volunteers got demotivated. Due to the former socialist structures, collective voluntary work and civic engagement became unattractive. Citizens, as well as civil servants, are used to a rigid system where hierarchical structures would decide and determine direction. Still, Matúš continued and his activities grew into a movement called Zelená Hliadka (Green Patrol). Despite its success, Zelená Hliadka faces the limits of impact created by bottom-up activism. Matúš will now move towards a more strategical level - politics. He is representing a growing group of young professionals working in bottom-up initiatives in Bratislava, choosing for this shift.


Yet, shifting the whole system is a slow process. The current lack of leadership and infrastructure stimulates a brain drain towards the well-organised city of Vienna, just an hour away. The Austrian capital is young, lively, growing rapidly, and scores well on safety, social housing, and investment climate. The generally high quality of life in Vienna sets a base for themes as upscaling inclusive alternatives and implementing smart city elements into daily life. In contrast to Bratislava, where for example community gardening is struggling with acceptance on a basic level, Vienna experienced a boom of over 60 urban gardening projects in the past three years. One of the pioneers was the Karlsgarten in the city centre. Aiming at up-to-date relevance they set new mottos and research aspects for every season. Their collaboration with the agricultural and technical universities brought in smart beds, fine dust research in city grown vegetables, and the possibilities of a large-scale food supply within the city. >>

BOCKWERK VIENNA ‘Klar lungerns’ nur herum, die dürfen ja nicht arbeiten’, says Ute Bock about the problematic state of refugees in Austria. The 80 Ute Bock houses provide shelter for 400 refugees that were rejected during the asylum procedure without the means to return. Christian Penz, working at a Ute Bock house, created an additional value to their life structure: a wood-workshop called Bockwerk, offering work, and communal activity. The collaboration with architects and designers takes it to a level of meaningfulness and professionalism. The challenge how to create a legal format for their work remains. Yet, this project enables the employees to make steps out of their illegal state.

© Christian Penz



Cyklokuchyňa & Cyklokoalícia


© Jaap Modder

TEACHING LOVE FOR BIKES BRATISLAVA ‘I wasn’t aware that riding a bike can be an activist act’, said one of the Dutch participants during the Metropolitan Field Trip. What is self-evident for the Dutch with a strong cycling culture, is charged with a different atmosphere in Bratislava. Biking through Bratislava demonstrates the lack of safe infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists. This fact brought to life the Cyklokuchyňa (BikeKitchen) and the Cyklokoalícia (BikeCoalition). They offer a DIY bike workshop, an open source bike sharing system and infrastructure research - teaching love for bicycles. Their motto: ‘If you can’t fix it - you don’t own it’. What counts on a small scale for the bike, goes for the whole city structure. By now, their association grew to an expert organ for the municipality.

A big shortcoming was revealed in the political system fanned by the refugee crisis, starting one and a half years ago. It highlighted the inflexibility of the bureaucratic system. Viennese citizens were pushed to action. Projects like Bockwerk or Magdas Hotel are innovative social businesses that operate on a highly professional level for the integration of (former) refugees. The association Purple Sheep provides shelter for refugees and advises them in legal matters. They seek to continue the disclosure of governmental deficits. ‘Many families that come to us can sleep without feeling in danger for the first time in a long while’, says Karin Klaric, the founder of this association. ‘After fleeing from their home countries, they fled the rigor of the Austrian government. That’s absurd.’

Vienna, being the well-structured city, portrays an illusion of overall perfection. Bratislava in contrast apparently struggles with their drawbacks, where innovation would currently mean linking the NGO’s to a strategic political level. In both cases the necessity of bottom-up and institutional layer listening to each other is obvious. ‘We must work both ways - connecting to the community and working towards the decision makers', adds Dominika Belanská, placemaker and our vibrant host in Bratislava. And something else I personally take with me from this Field Trip: where there is a big bureaucratic machinery, whether well or whether badly functioning, there is a need for creative bureaucrats! •• Amelie Schlemmer intern New Europe - Cities in Transition





What began as design competition in the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, has transformed into an innovative process that involves local communities and civic leaders to generate implementable solutions for a more resilient region. This book offers a window into the competition, including its participants, process, and the innovative designs that it generated.

What is the significance of sex work for the architecture of the city, particularly in red light districts which are designated for urban renewal? With reports from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Hong Kong, Montreal and Taipei, this book reveals that every red light district is different and a specific outcome of the morphology of the city, the legal status of sex work, cultural understandings, city planning, and market forces.




To research how people protect their physical and mental well-being when their assets and health are continually threatened, Roanne lived in ‘Bantaran Kali’: a slum in Jakarta, built on the banks of a river that is flooded several times a year. She participated in the daily lives of her informants and experienced some of the risks that are inherent to it.



In Merchants of Men, Napoleoni explores how human trafficking became such a big industry after 9/11. She discovers that the destabilisation of Syria and Iraq coupled with the rise of ISIS offered new business opportunities in the Middle East, from selling Western hostages to jihadist groups to trafficking in refugees.

Democracy is in bad health. The original purpose of elections was to exclude the people from power by appointing an elite to govern over them. Yet, for most of its 3000-year history, democracy did not involve elections at all. Based on studies and trials from around the globe, this manifesto presents the practical case for a true democracy - one that actually works.

Today’s socioeconomic and environmental dislocations cannot be fully understood in the usual terms of poverty and injustice. They are more accurately understood as a type of expulsion. The sophisticated knowledge that created today’s financial ‘instruments’ is paralleled by the engineering expertise that enables exploitation of the environment.





Soon, most of the world’s population will live in metropolises. As much as they inspire us, the unbridled growth of megacities raises fear at the same time. This book provides an overview of urban development around the world and through the centuries. It tells us how cities grow, how they work, and why urban growth is so important.

The completion of iconic buildings such as the Market Hall, De Rotterdam, and the new Central Station has put Rotterdam in a spotlight and attracted interest across the Netherlands and beyond. The revival of the city also has a downside. It’s like your favourite underground band is suddenly playing in Ahoy. Didn’t we just love the rawness and ugliness? Will the city’s identity withstand these dynamics?




What do you do when it is as if your profession has been abolished and you would like to know whether what you have built is actually any good? Architect Marlies Rohmer revisited 25 of ‘her’ buildings and talked with commissioners, residents, and users. A moving, hilarious ánd informative exploration of what really counts in architecture.

The rapid rise of online platforms such as Facebook and Uber has inspired many to euphoric stories about the participatiemaatschappij and the sharing economy. What is often neglected is the role they play in the organisation of the society. How can we safeguard ‘public values’ in a world where social, economic and civic interaction is increasingly mediated by digital platforms?

Over one-third of Londoners were born abroad, with half arriving since the millennium. This has utterly transformed the capital, for better and for worse. This is London explodes fossilised myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it's like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now.

Shenzhen has been raising eyebrows for years: its fast urbanisation process causes many social and ecological problems such as a massive floating population, a shortage of land and water resources, and deterioration of the environment. What will be the next step?








CARL GOES AMSTERDAM In Amsterdam we are spoiled. In every part of our city, there is something creative and interesting going on. That’s why Carl, presenting you city guides for entrepreneurs, creatives and the generally curious with popular editions of Berlin, London, and Detroit, goes Amsterdam.

Via her blog, Debra shares the stories of people she photographs in the streets of Amsterdam. A colourful variety, from born and raised in Amsterdam to just visiting. The most beautiful, exciting and touching stories are compiled in this book, published by National Geographic.

The pictures in this book tell the story of Amsterdam over a period of 42 years. In this book, the Amsterdam street scene changes slowly from 1895 to 1937. From horse-drawn to electric tram, from pushcarts to the appearance of the first T-Ford.




Discover Amsterdam like a local with the tips from the popular blog Your Little Black Book! From the best coffee bars to concept stores and restaurants, this guide shows you the way to more than 400 personal favourites off the beaten path.

Roaming the streets of Amsterdam, photographer and copywriter Annes comes across the most intriguing passers-by. From the woman who only wears pink to the man on his crusade against jeans; they all make their appearance in the Amsterdam Characters book.

Rothuizen visits cities all over the world. As he walks around he jots down what he sees, thinks and feels, resulting in a unique form of topographical journalism or so called ‘soft’-cartographies. In this book, he sketches his hometown Amsterdam. He walks around in various neighbourhoods and across famous squares; he even walks with the Mayor on his way to work.



EL JEFE Do you know what revolution tastes like? After spending six years in Texas, the maker of El Jefe thought is was about time to bring hot sauce to Amsterdam. This high-quality Mexican salsa is handmade and all natural with no artificial ingredients.

Why do you always go out in style, except when it rains? Why not make rainwear part of your everyday wardrobe? Waterdicht does just that and makes fashion functional with their high quality, chic and refined raincoats. Let your raincoat become a fashion statement!

TOLHUIJS Design company Tolhuijs creates innovative home objects, each with their own story. Every piece is unique and made from recycled waste from Dutch factories. They are put together by detainees and in social workplaces under the guidance of professional carpenters and designers.




Genever might be an old-fashioned drink that you associate with your grandfather, but Kever Genever is all but old and grey. The drink is distilled completely by hand by four young locals, who wrap it in unconventional packaging and put nifty cocktails on their website to make genever a drink of their generation again.



Sometimes looks do matter! In a retro-looking bottle, you can enjoy the purest and best soda water that Amsterdam has to offer. When the water is finished, you simply exchange it again for a re-bottled one at a number of locations throughout the city.

The guys of Stad&Vat make barrel aged whiskey cocktails such as Dutch Old Fashioned, Big in Japan (with ginger) and Older and Wiser (which contains elderflower). Their first own single malt is on its way, but to use a common saying that definitely goes up for this one: ‘good things need time’.

© Demi Koen


TWEE JONGENS Jord and Melle are two creative guys with a love for graphics. They decided to take the process of turning blank shirts in cool items into their own hands, and started their own environmentally friendly screen print shop in Amsterdam-Oost.

Iris Nijenhuis is an Amsterdambased designer with a passion for laser cutting and a wide interest in experimental shapes and structures. She makes jewelry out of laser cut puzzle pieces, to leave you with a design item with tons of possibilities to make little changes for your own personal piece.

Beautiful alpaca scarfs and other (home) accessories with a good story, fairly made by craftsman in Ecuador. Made of Alpaca wool, a natural and strong fiber, light and hollow at the same time. It is shiny and insulates against both heat and cold, so not only ideal for harsh Dutch winters but all year-round!

These wooden robots are made from the crates that used to protect the treasures of the Rijksmuseum during their journeys all over the world. Now, they are to be used as toys or decoration, some with their own whiteboard or lamp. Always standing by your side!

© Demi Koen

© Gaby van Ingen



© Studio Aico

© Demi Koen


ROZE BUNKER A journey into the world of taste - expanding the boundaries of your tasting palate. Roze Bunker makes syrup from the freshest ingredients. Their knowledge of beer brewing gives the syrup a unique character. Not only suitable as lemonade for children but also as a substitute for soda or an addition to your cocktail!

STIGER WOODS Amsterdam-based artist Martijn Smulder combines photo transfer techniques with a high-gloss epoxy coating, turning old pinewood into artworks. He first transfers the photos manually on the wood, and with the finish he creates the effect of old ceramic tiles. You can buy one of his own prints or ask him for a custom-made one.

10 n e k e w r voo o! r u e 5 1

Lijfblad voor kritische geesten Probeer de aanbieding


HACKITY APP Hack your city and make it better! Are you full of ideas on how to improve your neighbourhood? Hackity App lets you improve public space by sharing your ideas, solutions, and problems. After all, you know your own hood better than anyone. A tool to reimagine your city, create a community and collaborate with your neighbours.

ABEL Making transport more fun, social and affordable: Abel is a door-to-door service in region Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. Other than your usual A to B transport services, Abel offers you the option to share your ride with other passengers. The more flexible you are, the lower the costs. To ensure minimal impact on the environment, they use electric vehicles only.



This global group of researchers and practitioners thinks about fundamental urban problems that have received little attention and put forward ideas not to make cities smarter, but dwellers happier. Like Chatty Maps, the first urban sound dictionary made with a new methodology that relies on tagging information of georeferenced pictures.

Is the line in front of the Rijksmuseum too long or are you located on the other side of the world? You can now not only explore different art collections but take an actual virtual reality tour in different musea worldwide, step inside a creation by a famous street artist or even fly back in time to look around in the ancient Greek temple of Zeus.

DIY APP DIY is an online community for kids to discover new passions, level up their skills, find new friends and keep a portfolio. DIY has more than 140 skills to try including Animator, Backyard Farmer, Minecrafter, Fashion Designer and Illustrator. You can do anything, become anyone, and DIY is the best way to learn how.

180AMSTERDAMMERS With 180 nationalities, Amsterdam is scoring high marks on diversity. From Norway to Australia, from Gabon to Tajikistan. This multimedia project found them all and shares the stories of these 180 Amsterdammers about their life in Amsterdam and about their memories of their motherland in pictures and on video.



New Amsterdam #10

This publication is made possible with financial support of:

Publisher Egbert Fransen

Gemeente Amsterdam / Amsterdamse School, Alliander, Eigen Haard, De Key, European Cultural Foundation, de Kunstenbond, Nuon and Waternet.

Stichting Pakhuis de Zwijger Piet Heinkade 181b, 1019 HC Amsterdam phone: +31 (0)20 62 46 380 Editorial team Dymphie Braun and Kim Hagenaar

Contributing editors Amelie Schlemmer, Charlot Schans, Christel van de Craats, Debra Barraud, Demi Koen, Egbert Fransen, Eva Kassaye, Floortje Opbroek, Herman Weeda, Ieva Punyte, Jennifer Aardema, Jira Wong, Joachim Meerkerk, Katayoun Arian, Khashayar Ghiabi, Maartje Rooker, Michiel de Lange, Nicole Santé, Peter Both, Quirine Winkler, Renee Bijvoets, Simea Knip, Stephanie Bakker, Thomas Diez, Vincent Bogers. Art Direction, Design & Cover together with xpublishers, Amsterdam Printed by Veenman, Rotterdam

© 2016 - Stichting Pakhuis de Zwijger

This magazine is an in-depth extension of the online platforms and, where we gather and connect people that make the city. We call them City Makers, which is an honorary title. They are the heart of the stories about new initiatives, testing grounds, city labs and creative breeding grounds in the cities and in the programmes of Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam.



Piet Heinkade 179 | 1019 HC Amsterdam | 020 - 788 44 33 | |