CITY IN TRANSITION SPRING/SUMMER 2016
EU 2 016
EU CAPITALS MAYORS’ MEETING THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER BUIKSLOTERHAM FABCITY - MAKERSPACE FOR URBAN INNOVATORS LOCAL INITIATIVES AMSTERDAM iCAPITAL ISSUE E 3,95
EXCHANGE GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL! CONNECTING PEOPLE, COMMUNITIES AND CITIES WORLDWIDE Summer has not even started, but for us, it’s already harvest season. After fertilising our local, national and European grounds with ideas, knowledge and best practices, things are starting to blossom. As the director of Pakhuis de Zwijger and one of the cultural intendants of the EU2016 Arts & Design Programme Europe by People, it feels like a great reward to witness the fruits of our immeasurable joint efforts. The Europe by People programme probably shows the most visible and physical result, manifested in art on and around The Wall, cultural events as part of On Stage, and above all, the sustainable, temporary FabCity, capturing the future of everyday living. We are crossing borders when bringing people together; connecting people from different disciplines, backgrounds and countries, co-creating, experimenting in a sustainable way, working on solutions for urban challenges, and (re-)making our cities on a human scale. Less tangible, but nonetheless just as rewarding, is Amsterdam’s official participation in the international network of Fab Cities, the first City Makers Summit in Amsterdam at the end of May, and Amsterdam’s election as the European Capital of Innovation - where Pakhuis de Zwijger was rewarded for its role in being the local platform on city-making and in inspiring the bottom-up movement. It is about connecting people, communities and cities, which has been our aim for over a decade now. Over the past two years, we have been committed to developing a movement of City Makers. We started off locally and ever since we have connected City Makers on a national and subsequently a European level - resulting in founding City Embassies and taking part in co-designing both the Dutch
and European Urban Agenda. The City Makers movement embodies our ambition to physically connect creative people in making cities all over the world. In August, we will partake in Fab12, the 12th International Fab Lab Conference in Shenzhen, China the first time that the Fab City Movement will set foot on Asian soil. In September, we will join the Amsterdam Cultural Mission initiated by the City of Amsterdam to New York, adding our ideas and opening a City Embassy in the Big Apple. And in October, we will be part of the Dutch delegation joining the Habitat III Conference in Quito, Equador - a global summit taking place every 20 years, where the worldwide New Urban Agenda will be decided. All these achievements are worth mentioning and sharing, but foremost, they give us the opportunity to intensify and upscale our ambitions, crossing the European borders and international waters. As one of the main platforms for the City Makers movement, we are growing rapidly on local and national level and at the same time going global! dezwijger.nl citiesintransition.eu europebypeople.eu
Egbert Fransen director Pakhuis de Zwijger and EU2016 cultural intendant
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New Amsterdam #09, Spring / Summer 2016
Local initiatives at the forefront of our city in transition
13 CITIES IN TRANSITION A platform for a European City Makers movement
16 IF MAYORS RULED THE WORLD EU Capitals Mayors’ Meeting
20 FABCITY Makerspace for urban innovators
From industrial site to interesting neighbourhood
CO NT EN TS
Creating a movement
37 AMSTERDAM BOOKS & APPS/WEBSITES
39 AMSTERDAM LOCAL GOODS
40 EDITORIAL / NEXT ISSUE
Cover: Great Places The map used for this New Amsterdam’s cover is a co-creation between animation studio in60seconds, illustrator Lienke Raben and I know this great little Place in Amsterdam. It is an overview of Great Places in Amsterdam, from bars and museums to shops and coffee places. Not your average hotspots, but a map that helps tourist to find the best alternative places and also looks great on the wall of your Amsterdam apartment. A time-bound image, since some of the initiatives unfortunately already disappeared when the poster came back from the print shop. According to newspaper Het Parool, maybe that's also the beauty of it: in 20 years time, you will look back at all the favourite spots you loved to visit in 2016. You can buy the map as a Limited Edition silkscreen (A2, €99), Riso print (A2, €29) or foldable map (€9). © Lienke Raben / in60seconds
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 www.eigenhaard.nl and search in Dutch for:
housing association tenants reduce their energy consumption,
â€œword energiecoachâ€? (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
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 www.trime-eu.org/nl.
Investing together in sustainability
WE STP OO RT
C E NTR U M
O O ST
Z U ID
BOTTOM-UP Z U ID O O S T 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 (New Amsterdam) shares the stories of these initiatives and brings them together to show the impact and greatness that they achieve. Nathalie Angenent
We call initiators and pioneers who use this bottom-up approach City Makers, an honourable title. Every borough in Amsterdam contains many of these inspiring City Makers and their initiatives. Together, they are determined to make their neighbourhood and city a better place. Amsterdam is continuously in transition. By reading the daily City Reports posted on the online platforms Nieuw Amsterdam and New Europe, you can stay updated on the newest developments, places, events, City Makers and publications of the Dutch capital city and beyond.
Rosa de Jong intern editors Nieuw Amsterdam
3D PRINT CANAL HOUSE © Marije van Woerden
The 3D Print Canal House is an exhibition, research and building site for 3D Printing Architecture. It is a unique project where an international team of partners collaborates in ‘research & doing’, linking science, design, construction and community. This all comes together by printing a 3D canal house at an expo-site in the very heart of Amsterdam.
© Ernst van Deursen
This community space facilitates initiatives by and for neighbourhood residents. De Meevaart works together with the Indische Buurt Balie to host events and workshops by these bottom-up initiatives. During the day, the neighbourhood living room opens its doors to everyone who likes a cup of coffee and having a chat.
HET BREEDSCHAP © Vera Bartels
© Nico Boink
Het Breedschap raises money, supplies and manpower for the deprived neighbourhood Plan van Gool in the north of Amsterdam. This fund gives local residents the opportunity to start their own initiative. Het Breedschap really listens to the wishes, needs and demands of the neighbourhood!
BUURTMUSEUM INDISCHE BUURT How well do you know your hood? The neighbourhood museum in the Indische Buurt provides insight into the colourful and interesting history of this vibrant quarter of Amsterdam. Various spaces within the area host exhibitions. As well, 23 information signs in just as many locations provide background information on the places' history.
Amsterdam-Oost & Zuid
HOOST © Lian Priemus
TRUST © Rachel Joy Baransi
Unknown makes unloved. Large-scale refugee centers in which refugees are taken out of society results in resistance. HOOST - an initiative by Gastvrij Oost - tries to turn this tide by providing small-scale shelters within neighbourhoods, where residents help permit holders. In this way, residents and refugees can take control of the situation and exceptional connections can be made.
WIJ KRIJGEN KIPPEN
Since April 2014, the We Are Here Academy offers university-level courses for undocumented individuals. The voluntary teachers uphold the rights of any person, whether or not they have been granted legal status, to pursue an education. At the same time, the academy is a form of protest, which criticises the shortcomings for refugees under current Dutch policies.
Under the label 'Wij krijgen Kippen', numerous initiatives emerged to get a CO2-neutral energy supply in the city. Wij krijgen Kippen helped the initiatives with financing, expertise and other resources to get started. In cooperation with neighbours, business owners, employees and civil servants in Amsterdam-Zuid, clean energy is produced with local resources.
© Wij krijgen Kippen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
WE ARE HERE ACADEMY
Come as you are, pay as you feel! The initiators of lunchroom Trust do not run their business as usual, but let their customers decide on the price they want to pay for their coffee or sandwich: a Heart to Heart business model. Apart from their lunchroom, they also have a gallery and event space with various activities, which can also be rented for your own purpose.
© Harry Brieffies
BROUWERIJ DE PRAEL
RED LIGHT RADIO The Red Light District is transforming steadily from a shady prostitution zone to a vibrant and creative district. From a former prostitution window, the online radio station Red Light Radio broadcasts daily shows with local and international artists. Take a look at their livestream to enjoy the most advanced music of the city!
Brouwerij de Prael proves that it is possible to have a successful company that incorporates a social mission in its business model. This tiny Dutch brewery on the Oudezijds Voorburgwal brews Dutch, Belgian and German style beer and employs people with disabilities, who cannot easily find work elsewhere. Cheers!
STADSDORP GRACHT EN STRAATJES
© Emilio Brizzi
Does someone need a cup of sugar? The mission of this stadsdorp is to create a village-like atmosphere where all neighbours get to know each other. To achieve this, the association organises different activities such as informal get-togethers, neighbourhood dinners, a book club and gardening plots.
© Iris Rijskamp
LENA THE FASHION LIBRARY
After several scandals involving large fashion chains, this boutique library wants to shift the fashion industry to a rent and trade-based system. LENA carries a carefully curated collection of designer and vintage clothing that you can rent with a LENA library card. Change your wardrobe without contributing to an exploitive supply chain!
BROODVERGISTER © Oski Collado
With the BreadDigester, Cascoland addresses issues around food waste, food preservation, and energy production. It converts surplus bread into biogas, which is used by locals to cook delicious dishes and share knowledge, experiences and tastes in the Kolenkit neighbourhood kitchen. You can find a mobile version of the BreadDigester on the FabCity campus.
© Demi Koen
DE HALLEN cascoland.com pinkponyexpress.nl
JAN EVERTSEN BUURTCOÖPERATIE © Sara Mohammadi
STICHTING KOSTGEWONNEN © Rob Bollen / MA Architecten
Residents, entrepreneurs and shop owners of the Jan Evertsenstraat are united in a neighbourhood cooperation. For every new shop proposed, co-op members consider whether it meets the neighbourhood’s needs. It is unique in the Netherlands for a non-governmental body to have the power to decide on shop diversity. They have provided a fruitful environment to initiate the first two-year freezone pilot, where rules and regulations are eased to support entrepreneurs and social initiatives.
An old monumental tram depot has been transformed into a vibrant centre for media, culture and local entrepreneurs. Both day and night, De Hallen is a lively destination. Visit the Local Goods Store, read a book in the public library, watch a movie in the FilmHallen and make sure you put your taste buds to the test in the Foodhallen.
Along the Kosterverlorenkade, a former school and squat was acquired by a group of kostgangers (lodgers), who turned the building into attractive cultural workspaces. Each lodger pays a monthly fee, which makes them a co-owner of the building. This set up makes it possible to offer cheap accommodation for artists. Kostgewonnen has also opened a studio space for refugees who are professional artists.
WOW AMSTERDAM The WOW Amsterdam Foundation transformed a former Polytechnical School into a hostel and spaces for young artists to live and work in. The fashion designs and works of art made by the residents are displayed throughout the building. The courtyard is home to PlantageLab, an experimental laboratory that works to find new ways of urban farming and gardening.
© Melanie Lemahieu
BUURTWERKPLAATS NOORDERHOF © Rufus de Vries
© Mira de Graaf
LUCAS COMMUNITY How can we make neighbourhood initiatives both environmentally and socially sustainable? The Lucas Community was established in order to involve residents with their immediate surroundings and share the responsibility of maintenance together. The neighbourhood cooperative is based on the former Lucas School and is home to various initiatives by and for residents.
Three social designers decided to use design to engage with social questions. They initiated a neighbourhood workshop, where an informal economy based on reciprocity evolved. There, local residents can exchange their knowledge and talents. By making something physical, strong social ties are being established.
© Anna Stolyarova
STREET ART MUSEUM AMSTERDAM Over thirty murals have been painted throughout the area of Geuzenveld-Slotermeer. Inspired by Latin-American examples, these works of art depict the history of the neighbourhood and the diverse backgrounds of its residents. Explore the extraordinary murals and the hidden stories of this quarter during a walking tour with a local guide!
KLEIBURGKLOOSTER © Michiel Wijnbergh
© Anja Robertus
Within Kleiburg, one of the old honeycomb flats in the Bijlmer, potential buyers can find flexible spaces for DIY-housing. Here, one or several apartments can be converted and transformed according to the buyer’s wishes. The Kleiklooster found freedom in this building to create their own modern monastery and start their own brewery.
WORLD OF FOOD Zuidoost is home to a lot of different cultures, best experienced through food. In a derelict indoor parking space, the World of Food took up residence. From Sudan to Suriname, streetfood that found its way to Amsterdam from all over the world is presented by 25 local gastronomic entrepreneurs in this unique marketplace.
© Lilian Dibbets
HEESTERVELD CREATIVE COMMUNITY
This cultural incubator provides temporary living and working spaces for artists in Zuidoost. In the H-LAB, artists in residence try to capture the sense of the Bijlmer. Social entrepreneurs are based on the ground floor, with for example cafe Oma Ietje providing cake and coffee as well as room for events. H75 is also a community space for neighbourhood initiatives and residents.
BLOEI & GROEI By women and for women, this ecological organisation with a social mission empowers women in Zuidoost and beyond. Bloei & Groei has its own garden plots where (exotic) plants, vegetables, and herbs grow. They also provide creative workshops for women from all walks of life, connecting them with each other and with nature.
CITIES IN TRANSITION
Who makes the city?
NEW EUROPE CITIES IN TRANSITION
© Jitske Schols
A PLATFORM FOR A EUROPEAN CITY MAKERS MOVEMENT In our cities, the question ‘Who makes the city?’ persists. Over the past couple of years, Pakhuis de Zwijger has fueled the City Makers movement that aims to create a more liveable, beautiful, sustainable and inclusive Amsterdam. With these urban innovators, they have worked tirelessly to carve out more space for new initiatives that shape cities according to the needs of their users and stakeholders. According to Joachim Meerkerk and Charlot Schans of Pakhuis de Zwijger, European cities can benefit from a solid network for local social regeneration. Moreover, an interlocal network could help establishing a paradigm shift in ideas about how cities are made. ‘Experimenting. Constantly reinventing and making new connections.’ That gets to the heart of the spirit in Amsterdam which, according to Joachim, increasingly began to manifest itself around five years ago. ‘In the city there was a buzz of people starting urban agriculture projects, building their own homes, strengthening social ties and the local economy by introducing their own local currencies, and more of that kind. A diverse range of initiatives set up by stakeholders from various backgrounds sprang up.’ During the Amsterdam Transition Town festival
at Pakhuis de Zwijger in 2012, different kinds of new local projects came together. He noticed that all these initiatives had similar core objectives: ‘Pioneering, thinking in networks, and the importance of ownership and control. They demonstrated the desire to shape their own lives in a different way, and thereby the city.’ According to Joachim, this was a promising emerging movement that needed space to grow and flourish. After that, Pakhuis de Zwijger became the beating heart of this movement in Amsterdam. >>
CITIES IN TRANSITION
WE WANT TO SHAPE OUR OWN LIVES, AND THEREBY THE CITY, IN A DIFFERENT WAY
politicians, and so on. ‘Now, we see that we are entering a new phase’, says Joachim. ‘When we started, there was a group of innovators and early adopters that attended our programmes to get to know and inspire each other. Jointly they started the quest on discovering and inventing new ways of city making. These innovators expect more specialised, niche orientated meetings now. But at the same time, there is a growing group of newcomers (the early majority) that want to know about the innovation that has been developed over the last couple of years. And they want to get connected to the existing movement. We are going to further diversify our programme and will work on further online support and documentation, in order to serve a diverse learning community.’
>> In this former warehouse, new approaches to urban
development have been gathered and developed since then. ‘The idea is that we make the city together,’ says Charlot. ‘We facilitate a platform for people who dare to take a new path. Whether it be people who build their own communities or civil servants who stick out their necks and try to realise a new sustainable neighbourhood.’ In the Netherlands, starting an energy cooperative or influencing a neighbourhood budget was something only a small group of innovators could think of a few years ago. ‘Therefore,’ adds Joachim, ‘the initial goal was to showcase all the innovation taking place in the city. To create a platform that the pioneers, City Makers, can use to improve their ideas and projects, to talk about their initiatives and to inspire others. It is clear that there is a great need for new solutions and new forms of cooperation in the city. In order to shape a new city in which there is room for social innovation, the involvement of everyone is required. Pakhuis De Zwijger is an open platform that welcomes more than 65,000 people every year who want to know more about social innovation and also contribute to this new city: citizens, entrepreneurs, civil society organisations, civil servants,
INNOVATORS ARE NOW EXPECTING MORE SPECIALISED KNOWLEDGE An example of this next step is the New Democracy series. This series focuses on researching fundamental questions such as our system of governance and the role of citizens in their city related to the ideal of democracy. ‘In Pakhuis de Zwijger, we organise altogether more than five hundred programmes annually. In many of those meetings, such underlying issues come forward, but are not always explicitly addressed,' says Joachim. The programmes spark conversation with ripple effects, with >>
ec.europa.eu/icapital #iCapital Research and Innovation
© European Service Network, GDL
EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF A place to bring INNOVATION ideas to life
On the 8th of April, the European Commission awarded Amsterdam the title European Capital of Innovation (iCapital), out of the nine cities that were shortlisted for the award. The European Commission initiated the award in 2014, to encourage urban innovation. In July 2015, more than 36 cities (>100,000 inhabitants) applied. Next to Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Torino and Paris, also Berlin, Glasgow, Milan, Oxford and Vienna made it to the finals. The bid, co-written by Waag Society, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Gemeente Amsterdam, Amsterdam Economic Board, AMS Institute and Kennisland, boosts the Amsterdam ecosystem, which is about embracing a bottom-up approach based on smart growth, startups, livability and digital social innovation. ‘This award is all about speeding up change: we must encourage cities and regions to tackle burning societal challenges by jumping on the innovation train and spreading bottom-up experiences’, says Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of the Regions. Appointing a Chief Technology Officer at the City of Amsterdam or Pakhuis de Zwijger’s City Makers movement were mentioned in the feedback from the commission. A great compliment for all City Makers of Amsterdam! Amsterdam now - after Barcelona - will carry the title for two years. ec.europa.eu
CITIES IN TRANSITION
>> an undercurrent of questions relating to a more
fundamental change in the city. ‘With New Democracy, we pick up these questions and search for answers that address a fundamental systems redesign. It is a way to identify what the fundamental problems are and thus influence the way we organise decision-making in the city. That can help the practice of building a new city together.’ In the coming period, Pakhuis de Zwijger will focus more often on delving deeper into certain issues, but without forgetting the large group that wants to be inspired by City Makers’ ideas and projects. ‘We see that people are at different stages and we want to continue to engage with all those groups. This calls for more diversity in our programming’, says Joachim. Meanwhile, Pakhuis de Zwijger also has engaged internationally. ‘Over the past two years, we have been developing a network of local City Embassies, through increasingly making connections to existing platforms and City Makers in Europe. During our Metropolitan Field Trips to other European cities we explore the social innovation in those cities. What kind of bottom-up initiatives take place in Dublin or Sofia? What can we learn from Bucharest or London? 'It is remarkable that a solid network of City Makers was missing on the level of European institutions,’ says Charlot, ‘we are creating and expanding upon that network now. The platform New Europe - Cities in Transition is grounded in that network.’ Charlot has noticed the vast emergence of local initiatives during her visits to other European cities. ‘In Italy, Hungary and Spain, people are also busy shaping their cities in new ways. People there are just as concerned with urban agriculture as we are, are trying to strengthen local democracy, or think of solutions to fight poverty. But it is often the way these projects are carried out and how they interact with the institutional sphere that slightly differs per socio-economic context. Therefore, it is opportune and important that we learn from each other. By bringing these projects and their initiators together, we can share experiences and learn from each other,’ she says.
City Makers all over Europe are connected by the platforms Nieuw Nederland en New Europe with over 30 City Embassies in the Netherlands and 28 City Embassies in the European capitals. The number is growing and expanding beyond the boundaries of Europe. Time for a New World!
International platform for City Makers
It is important that local initiatives that already exist in European cities are made visible and gain acknowledgement for the crucial role they play. There are many City Makers actively reshaping their local social environment, but their work remains unnoticed or even contested by government institutions or society at large. Forming a network and creating a movement helps to create a more widespread recognition. In some countries, this visibility is also important to gain a foothold according to Charlot. ‘It is not always normal for citizens and administrators to work together to improve the city. And for residents, control over their own environment is not always obvious. A great lack of trust between residents and authority can exist. In those places, engaging with like-minded people in other cities can give new ideas and inspiration to continue. Additionally, successful examples from abroad can help local administrators make a shift in the way they support City Makers’ projects and cooperate with local citizens. In the Netherlands, we can also learn a lot from new initiatives and governance models in other countries. Just think of what has been experimented with in the Big Society programme in England, and has inspired others to rethink the way they are making the city. Throughout Europe, we can benefit from these experiences, and build upon the do’s and don’ts.’ New Europe - Cities in Transition plays an important role in inspiring European City Makers in the exchange of knowledge and cooperation. ‘We will continually work on the City Makers Agenda that is reflected in this magazine, highlighting the importance of local, custommade and integrated urban solutions that should receive more attention. That's a blind spot. Europe spends a lot of money on research and pilot projects, but facilitating a network that builds upon existing initiatives and City Makers that are genuinely engaged in reshaping their cities, does not seem to fit the institutional agenda yet. It is high time that we change this!’ ••
dezwijger.nl stedenintransitie.nl citiesintransition.eu
Joost Zonneveld independent journalist
Network of Solidarity
IF MAYORS RULED EU CAPITALS MAYORS’ In April, Mayors of European capitals gathered in Amsterdam for a day-long conference about the issues European cities are facing. Within one day, they all agreed upon creating a Network of Solidarity.
© Roger van Zaal
‘I will not refer to Benjamin Barber anymore’, said Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard van der Laan to the gathered press in Het Scheepvaartmuseum. ‘But for this last comment: if mayors would rule the world, we would solve the problems we are facing a bit sooner.’ It had been a long day for Van der Laan, who admitted to being tired. He had been presiding over the fifth Direct Dialogue between >>
Urban Agenda for the EU
THE WORLD MEETING >> the Capital Mayors and the European Commission all day. A major conference, attended by twenty-seven mayors or vice mayors, the European Commissioner for Urban and Regional Policy Corina Crețu and Dutch Minister Ronald Plasterk of Interior and Kingdom Relations.
MAYORS ARE IN CONTACT WITH CITIZENS EVERYDAY It has been a fruitful gathering, said Van der Laan, explaining that the Mayors have agreed to a ‘Network of Solidarity,’ between European cities. This means that cities will join forces to solve the problems that cities are all facing. The refugee crisis, the growing shortage of affordable housing, air quality, radicalisation and mobility, complex issues that need smart answers and persistence. Within the Network of Solidarity, cities will exchange knowledge, use each other's experiences and send experts if necessary. But most importantly, it is a symbolic pact, showing that cities are more willing to join forces than European countries are. That Mayors feel the solidarity between each other, that presidents and prime ministers seem to be lacking. ‘We understand each other’, says Van der Laan. ‘Mayors are working with practical everyday problems all the time. It is what we do. We are in direct contact with the people in our cities. That is a huge difference with national leaders. They have to worry about macroeconomic questions, about shortages on the state budget and elections. We don’t. We just try to solve the problems that our citizens and our cities are facing.’
And these problems are big, emphasised EU Commissioner Crețu; social exclusion, poverty, pollution. On May 30 the Urban Agenda for the EU will be launched, a project that is also very much about collaboration, and that has a budget of one hundred billion euros. In the run-up to this launch, it is important that all mayors will sign the Declaration of Amsterdam. Four hours later, Van der Laan took his seat on the stage at Pakhuis de Zwijger. He was joined by Giorgos Kaminis, Mayor of Athens. A man who has earned the admiration of his counterpart from Amsterdam. ‘Athens has faced a huge economic crisis and is now at the forefront of the refugee crisis, but during the conference he has not complained once. Just like the Mayor of Berlin didn’t complain about the million refugees in the city. They accept this as a fact and try to find the best possible solutions.’ And ask for solidarity from their European counterparts. There was a breakthrough moment this afternoon, he said, when Mayor of Riga, Nils Usakovs in all honesty said that eighty percent of his citizens simply do not want to accept any refugees in their city. ‘But he did want to show his solidarity, so he offered to give financial support to other cities for sheltering refugees.’ A gesture that was followed by mayors from other Eastern European cities. Although Giorgos Kaminis of Athens agreed that it was an important moment, he also saw hypocrisy in the trade off. ‘It is a way to buy off their responsibility. In my opinion, leaders should show the way, give the right example, even if their citizens object.’ >>
>> Jay Assad, a refugee, entrepreneur and managing director
of Refugee Company shows how leadership can make a difference. Refugee Company is a venture capital fund that helps refugees start their own businesses in the Netherlands. ‘We are building a network of investing partners, and hope to raise ten million euros to invest in companies started by refugees.’ Assad fled Syria a year and a half ago, stayed in a refugee camp for a year, and received a residence permit four months ago. When he arrived in the Netherlands, he quickly started to learn the language, rules, regulations and business possibilities. He shared his knowledge with other refugees, to whom he gave a high-speed course Doing business in the Netherlands. ‘Among Syrian refugees are many, many very talented people. It is a whole slice of the Syrian society, doctors, professors and entrepreneurs. I spoke to someone who had a chain of factories in Aleppo, which was all destroyed. But instead of feeling defeated, he was extremely energetic and optimistic about building a new business in the Netherlands. Sixty of this former employees were now in Europe and he wanted to employ them again.’ Many refugees are not the kind of people that want to wait for someone to tell them what to do and stand in line for a handout, they want to start as soon as possible. So don’t let them wait in camps, where their life just passes them by. Let them go out and build a new life in the real world.
The need for discourse
That is exactly what Lieke Thesing has done. She started Gastvrij Oost, a project that focuses on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for those who arrived in Amsterdam after fleeing from their home country. It is carried out by a group of residents from AmsterdamOost who help organise language lessons, internships and building a network. The project is supported by the city government. In February, Gastvrij Oost opened HOOST, a temporary housing project on the Mauritskade for refugees awaiting judgement on their status. It is a warm and welcoming home that accommodates thirty people. A human substitution for the big, impersonal camps in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and other European countries. ‘You see how they flourish,’ says Thesing, ‘within a few months they are able to communicate in Dutch, they organise everything themselves.’ The neighbourhood helped to paint the new homes, they helped to find a sports club, they created a real sense of community. ‘A great example’, says Van der Laan. ‘We all agree that the current camps are way too big. The ideal situation would be if the camps would host 200-300 people. But that is a matter of the national government. Small camps are expensive and the national leaders in The Hague are not willing to pay for them.’ His colleague Kaminis agrees. In Athens, there are many comparable civilian initiatives. The people of Athens have done so much, he explains, in welcoming and helping refugees. Some families have opened their own homes >>
© Anke Teunissen
NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS NEED TO MAKE FUNDAMENTAL CHOICES
he said angrily. ‘It is only yes or no, nothing in between. This attitude makes it impossible to have a real conversation. We need this discussion, we need to go deeper, but the political parties PvdA and the VVD refuse to dive into the matter.’ Afraid to get burned and loose voters.
>> for families from Syria. Including the Vice Mayor Amalia
It is exactly the problem he mentioned earlier. The reason why Mayors can create a network of solidarity within a day, without fighting, without playing games, while the leaders of national governments can’t seem to agree on anything these days. ‘Mayors are not looking for conflict but for collaboration. That is what Mayors do.’ ••
Zepou. ‘That is great. I applaud it. But it is not a real solution for the large number of refugees that come to Europe. We need the help of the national government and international organisations. We need a realistic approach.’ Van der Laan continues: ‘The Dutch national government needs to make a fundamental choice.’ Do we invest in small camps, in making refugees feel at home, stimulating integration and creating chances? Or do we play cheap, keep refugees in huge camps, where they fade away, lose hope and feel their lives slipping through their fingers? ‘The last option may look like the least expensive one,’ says Van der Laan. ‘but by choosing this direction, in the end we will pay for the troubles we caused and for the talent we lost.’ His comment was followed by a question from the audience: ‘Why don’t the Mayors of the four large cities in the Netherlands start a public and political national discussion about this matter?’ Van der Laan sat up straight and put on a serious, restrained face. ‘Because in the Netherlands, there is no discourse, no debate at all’,
amsterdam.nl cityofathens.gr refugeecompany.com gastvrijoost.amsterdam
Floor milikowski independent research journalist and programme maker
The Future of Everyday Living
EU2016 ARTS & DESIGN PROGRAMME
FABCITY MAKERSPACE FOR URBAN INNOVATORS What does a sustainable, self-sufficient city of tomorrow look like? The only way to find out is to wander around its premises on Kop van Java Island. Itâ€™s a trip into the future, a down to earth and viable one. Homemade, locally grown, developed and created by real people. The walk or ride across the bridge spanning the IJ river makes you feel like you are about to enter a new world. Which you are, once you pass through the impressive entrance, built from containers. White flags everywhere symbolise the blank pages of our future, which is being written in FabCity.
FabCity, on the Kop van Java Island
Building Tiny Houses
>> Written, or better yet, 3D printed if it was up to some of
The first honorary citizens of FabCity, minister Jet Bussemaker and mayor Eberhard van der Laan, are showing off their 3D printed chains at the official opening of FabCity on April 11.
© Anke Teunissen
the participants, like BAM, producing parts for Jan Jaap Ruijsenaars Landscape House with their 3D concrete printer. Or the people from MX3D, who are working on a steel bridge for the centre of Amsterdam. Welding lights spark in their container, where they print parts for the bridge and research the impact of weather and other forces on the joints of the structure. High tech and just as impressive is the massive machine occupying a nearby hangar, where elements for the Wikkelhouse are being fabricated. If you’re in luck, you can see the actual wrapping of cardboard around an enormous mould - the most spectacular part of the production of these sustainable buildings. In the end, these technological innovations are not so different from what their neighbours are doing - Flo.Co is hammering and screwing together a mobile home on the spot, completely made out of waste materials: steel beams and wooden bars all obtained from demolished properties.
You can find tiny, sustainable houses all over FabCity. The Wikkelhouses - occupied by students and start-ups and Porta Palace - developed by woonpionier Jelte Glas. Their neighbour is Sustainer Homes - totally self-sufficient and showcasing sustainable accessories - with in its ‘backyard’ the four sturdy looking blocks of Finch Buildings and the luxuriously furnished Heijmans One. This apartment could >> easily house two and has a multi coloured, glow-in-the-
Fab City Network
AMSTERDAM PART OF THE WORLDWIDE FAB CITY NETWORK
Tomas Diez (Fab Lab Barcelona), Marleen Stikker & Frank Kresin (Waag Society / FabLab Amsterdam), Deputy Mayor Kajsa Ollongren (City of Amsterdam), Egbert Fransen (Pakhuis de Zwijger / EU2016 cultural intendant), and Vicente Gaullart (IAAC Barcelona).
>> dark terrace, made out of old Nike trainers. The charming
© Jitske Schols
Tiny Tim - finished with purposely burnt wood - looks much more modest, but boasts the first wall to recycle water through plants, cleaning it to drinking water standards. Inside or around the houses - all connected with each other via network company Alliander’s smart energy grid - you can find their proud owners or inventors, who will gladly tell you the story of their creation.
© Jitske Schols
On April 20, the first FabCity Summit took place in Pakhuis de Zwijger and at Kop van Java. As part of the Amsterdam EU2016 Arts & Design programme Europe by People, representatives from Barcelona (initiator Fab City Network), Cambridge, London, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Bologna, Shenzhen, and Amsterdam came together to co-develop the Fab City Manifesto, a roadmap to self-sufficient cities, locally productive and globally connected. After a day of hard work the Summit ended with a festive touch, officially connecting Amsterdam as the ninth city to the global network of Fab Cities.
The small houses give you an idea of an alternative way of living - off grid, flexible, environmentally friendly, mobile, and affordable. But the makers will tell you that there are some struggles, of course. Legislation has not kept up with the developments - rules around the Tiny House are still unclear or even non-existent. Now, most of the buildings are in demand as holiday houses, like the house made of hemp - which not only demonstrates hemp as a building material but also offers a platform for all manufacturers of new hemp products like clothing, tasty snacks, teas, and medicine. The Hemp Collective is one of the participants promoting alternative building materials. Although hemp might be new to some of FabCity’s visitors, it was used centuries ago. Something that cannot be said about the other popular new building material: recycled plastic. The Pretty Plastic Plant shows you in easy steps how used plastic packaging can be turned into a raw material. No rocket science here - it is a matter of shredding, pressing and colour-sorting the plastic. It looks like a fun thing to do, in the same way the creatives at Makerversity are going about their business - inventing useful, but also simply entertaining things. An example is a computerised >>
>> marble run, made out of thick copper wire by a happy
professional, who in his daily life solves computer problems and here rekindles his love for crafts.
Pretty Plastic Plant
That is what FabCity is about - making and creating seemingly simple solutions, which appeal to a wide audience because of their feasibility. It brings a better world almost literally to people’s doorstep. Rainproof’s basic container, which on one side is decorated with a colourful garden wall, shows how easy it can be to prepare our cities for the climate changes that are already happening. You can look at open tiles and a water collecting-and-distributing-system on the roof, accessible via a staircase built of reused pallets, what else? The temporary vegetable and herb garden next door are irrigated by the Water Tower, an attractive wooden structure, based on the simple ideas of height and pressure. But here looks deceive again, as it is designed as an easy to assemble and transport device, which can be used for water storage and supply in remote areas or at any off-grid festival.
FABCITY BRINGS A BETTER WORLD TO YOUR DOORSTEP Although FabCity can be easily explored on foot, cyclists are more than welcome. CycleSpace, who is trying to transform cities all over the world, created some cycle paths around this particular innovative city. Not just for getting from A to B, but to examine the physical and psychological impact of different kinds of surfaces for cyclists. You can take a brand new electric bike for a spin, or gaze at inventive systems for storing bicycles. CycleSpace is not the only participant promoting urban cycling. Luud Schimmelpennink came up with a bicycle and car sharing system in the seventies. It didn’t quite work as well as he hoped, but decades later, his ideas have materialised in cities all over the world and Amsterdam might be ready for his shared cars and bicycles. The aged Provo can be found in the vicinity of the eye-catching steel structures, which are to mark underground storage of his car sharing system in Dutch cities in the near future.
Luud Schimmelpennink's Witkar
Other key elements on FabCity might be easier to overlook, such as the floating solar panels of SunFloat, which are hidden behind Flo.Co’s open air workshop. These dapper floaters are the result of a co-operation built on a shared love for the water or, to be more specific, sailing it. The two owners of SunFloat met on a sailing boat and are now ready to cover the Dutch wetlands with their floating panels. It is easy to share their enthusiasm for the invention. The product is easy to make, weatherproof and highly efficient, without the begrudged side effect of >>
>> horizon pollution - which is an often used argument by
© Jitske Schols
FAb cafe, Ons eten
At the edge of FabCity, you can find a tiny, mobile home. Its attraction lies not in innovative accessories or smart technology. It is the pied a terre of the Java Island locals and FabCity supporters of the first hour. Bringing together people from all kinds of disciplines and backgrounds, contaminating each other with curiosity, ideas, positivity and creativity, some of the main principles of FabCity. This is exactly what is happening on the Kop van Java Island. Not only between the participants who are meeting each other naturally, even thought they were a little bit shy at first, eying up each other's innovations or borrowing some tools or organic herbs. The Meet the Locals community members gather around a homemade bowl of soup, make music, debate, inform and invite their temporary neighbours, all in the spirit of FabCity. And in the Learning Lab, you can find students collaborating with each other on solving both very real, existing problems in Amsterdam areas and universal issues that need urgent solutions all over the world. Students, makers, creatives, professionals, and artists all find each other at
© Jitske Schols
opponents of windmills. An argument which cannot be used against the cute windmill on top of Hans Kalliwodo’s Future Pollination Lab, a mysterious and colourful tent, hiding his self-sufficient art project. It is meant to be used for collecting and telling stories, like the innovative stage / stand of theatre collective Wunderbaum. The enormous round arena, which on warm days also serves as a huge bench and look out for wandering visitors, shows the Holland Festival production The Coming of Xia. And Over het IJ Festival is shipping its sea container programme (a creative incubator for theatre talent) to FabCity - the high level of innovation and creativity will definitely find fertile grounds.
a certain point at the FabCafe, run by OnsEten, or in the greenhouse, which of course serves dishes from locally grown ingredients. Laptops are covering the wooden tables - the work never stops. In front of the cafe, the trailer of Gewildgroei - promoting edible and useful weeds, which spontaneously grows in our city - adds a nice touch of urban wildness. ••
FabCity is alive, its participants are kicking. You can meet them in their natural habitat, at least until the end of June.
Nicole Santé editor Europe by People
© Adam Nowek
Regeneration of a neighborhood
BUISLOTERHAM: HOW A POLLUTED INDUSTRIAL SITE
BECAME AMSTERDAM'S MOST INTERESTING NEIGHBORHOOD Just across the River IJ from central Amsterdamâ€™s waterfront sits an old industrial area that once was left for dead. The area known as Buiksloterham was home to a Fokker airplane factory, a Shell oil laboratory, a large shipbuilding industry and other manufacturing activities. Over time, most of the companies here either died or moved out of the area. They left behind a waterfront wasteland where the soil in some areas was polluted. After years of hoping for an industrial revival that never quite came, city leaders concluded about ten years ago that it was time for Buiksloterham to move on. >>
>> That’s when things got interesting - and when
Buiksloterham became a model for any city wrestling with what to do with a decaying industrial zone. The standard approach in the Netherlands for an area like this would have been to buy out whatever businesses remained and turn the site over to a big developer. Instead, city leaders opted for a more organic approach. They changed the zoning to allow for a mix of uses. And they created a relatively hands-off path to allow Buiksloterham to slowly fill in with residences and offices on whatever land was safe to inhabit. This allowed any surviving industrial uses to leave on their own, over time. A decade later, it seems clear that Amsterdam made a choice that other cities can learn from. Bit by bit, the neighborhood is turning into a lively area just a short ferry ride from the city centre. Meanwhile, it’s evolved into a creative hub for the so-called circular economy, attracting devotees of the idea that renewable power, rainwater harvesting, recycling and other techniques can allow an urban neighborhood to handle all of its own energy, water and food needs without creating waste. The incremental approach to redeveloping Buiksloterham also proved to be the only viable way forward when the economy crashed in 2008. ‘At that time, organic development was also a practical solution,’ says Abdeluheb Choho, Amsterdam’s alderman for sustainable development since 2014. ‘The municipality did not have the money to buy out the industries that were polluting the area.’
FROM ECONOMIC DEVASTATION TO A CIRCULAR ECONOMY HOTSPOT
The recent history of Buiksloterham began about ten years ago. At that time, creative designers and architects began taking over some of the area’s empty industrial buildings and transforming them into shared office spaces. The municipality owns some of the land here and wanted in on the action too. Amsterdam put out a tender to redevelop four locations into offices, dictating high sustainability demands for these new buildings as part of the deal. Then in 2008, the financial crisis hit. As the economy slowed, any hopes of rapid redevelopment in Buiksloterham vanished. One place where plans ground to a halt was the former shipyard known as De Ceuvel. Developers backed out of a redevelopment project here, but municipal leaders wanted to find a way to keep some momentum going. ‘There were all kinds of complaints from the neighborhood about illegal waste dumping in this area,’ Choho says. ‘We had to do something.’ In 2010, the municipality decided to put out a tender for a ten-year lease of the De Ceuvel land. The idea was to use the waterfront location for temporary uses until the market picked up. City leaders also wanted to see creative approaches to sustainable urbanism. The winning idea, put forward by a group of young entrepreneurs, fit both of those goals. It also set a tone for the bottom-up energy and ambitious environmentalism that would come to define the new Buiksloterham. One signature feature of De Ceuvel are its workspaces. These are basically retrofitted houseboats that have been pulled up onto land. They’re connected by wooden walkways, elevated to keep pedestrians above the polluted soil. Special plants seeded in the area are able to absorb the pollutants and are expected to clean the soil within ten years. The busiest new place is a waterfront cafe. In warm weather, the cafe turns into a popular hangout place for young urban hipsters, as well as neighbors and tourists. The De Ceuvel team organizes regular parties, concerts and cooking events here, creating a spontaneous atmosphere that draws people to the area. They also use the restaurant as a testbed for sustainable practices. For example, they grow mushrooms on re-used coffee grounds and use a biomass gasifier to turn food waste into energy that is used by the houseboats. The building itself is made from recycled wooden materials. De Ceuvel’s backers call the whole site a clean tech playground. Throughout the area, solar energy is used for heat and electricity. Green roofs and rainwater storage systems help clean the water and save it for when it is needed. >>
>> One of the partners in this plan is Metabolic, a consulting
and clean tech development firm. Metabolic CFO Sanderine van Odijk was closely involved in these projects. ‘The development of De Ceuvel has been incredibly important for the further development of Buiksloterham,’ she says. ‘It started a movement. There were people who seized the opportunity, and an interest in creating a circular economy started to develop.’ Quite unexpectedly, De Ceuvel became the new hotspot in Amsterdam. It attracted a whole new crowd that for the first time crossed the river. As Van Odijk says, ‘It’s these little seeds you need to foster.’
AMIDST A HOUSING CRISIS SELF-BUILDING SUCCEEDS Another key to the organic development unfolding in Buiksloterham is housing. In 2011, the municipality decided to sell off a small number of housing lots not too far from De Ceuvel, in an area where pollution was not an issue. The goal was to attract people who wanted to build their own homes using sustainable building practices such as using recycled materials and generating their own electricity. This was a unique opportunity in Amsterdam - or anywhere in the Netherlands. Housing development here is usually in the hands of social housing corporations or commercial developers, not individuals. Frank Alsema was one of the first pioneers to buy and start building here. He lives in a camper as he slowly builds a home out of cast-off building materials he finds on the internet. In the beginning, he says, there was not much interest in living in a ‘cold and windy wasteland’, as he describes the area then. The lots sold for a fraction of what they would be worth elsewhere in Amsterdam. ‘The first people who started building were all creative people who really couldn’t afford their own house unless they did a lot of work themselves’, Alsema says. ‘Some of them were architects that didn’t have a lot of paid work at the time, so they invested in building their own sustainable house as a showcase of their talent. This created a special kind of energy. People knew they were part of a story that was being created.’
Alsema became the social glue connecting the small but growing community of people moving into the area. He set up a foundation called City Lab Buiksloterham to create, among other things, a digital platform connecting everybody in the area - it’s a sort of Facebook for the neighborhood. Since everybody here is into sustainability and is either building or supervising the construction of their own home, it has become a robust community of people who have a lot of ideas to share. ‘The whole circular economy narrative started to spread’, Alsema says. ‘More and more people began showing interest and are discovering the area: individuals, developers, researchers, public utility companies.’ By 2015, land sales here had become an event. People camped out for six weeks to make sure they got their plot. Nowadays, there’s no longer a Buiksloterham discount - the plots sell for about what they would elsewhere in Amsterdam’s hot housing market. Which means another crowd is moving in, one with a bit more money to spend. Bigger housing developers are moving in too and they’re picking up on the cultural shifts they see unfolding here. For example, the social housing corporation De Alliantie, which owns a lot of land in the area, is using more recycled materials in its buildings and finding other ways to develop according to circular economy principles. ‘More smallscale and bottom-up development, more people choosing to share things instead of buying them, and the general demand for a more sustainable city were all trends we couldn’t ignore’, says Marieke Top, an area developer with De Alliantie. ‘So when we had to decide what to do with the land we owned, it was obvious that we should connect to what was already going on.’ >>
© Adam Nowek
Buiksloterham wants to be energy efficient and rainproof: 73,000 m3 of drinking water can be saved per year, and 9,000 kg of phosphate (fertilizer) can be recovered from the waste water . rainproof.nl © Merlijn Michon
CREATING A LIVING LAB >> About a year ago, De Alliantie, the public utility company
Waternet and the municipality joined with many of the citizens, designers and architects involved in redeveloping Buiksloterham to put their sustainability ideals to paper. The result was the Manifesto for a Circular Buiksloterham. ‘We must re-imagine how cities function’, the manifesto says. Buiksloterham is practically a ‘blank slate’ that can
‘serve as both a test bed and catalyst for Amsterdam’s broader transition to becoming a circular, smart and biobased city.’ As part of the manifesto, Metabolic made an urban metabolism analysis of the area, essentially to take stock of the neighborhood’s current and anticipated flows of energy, water, waste and mobility. The manifesto also pledged to turn Buiksloterham into a Living Lab where traditional city rules regarding such things as utility hookups or parking requirements could temporarily be set aside. This leaves room for experimentation with new ways of handling old problems such as how to handle wastewater or transport. >>
>> The Living Lab is not an official status - and the manifesto
is not a binding document. But Metabolic’s Van Odijk says it has an important symbolic meaning: ‘You need an analysis of the current situation and a vision for which direction you are heading in’, she says. ‘That story binds parties together. From there, you look for cooperation. You try things. And of course, you make mistakes.’ In practice, this is not always easy. Marieke Top of De Alliantie says the different stakeholders don’t all feel the same sense of urgency. ‘The city bureaucracy,’ she says, ‘is not always equipped for this new, experimental way of working. For example, reducing car traffic is one of our shared mobility goals. That means creating fewer parking spaces, improving public transport, car sharing and better facilities for cyclists. Most of these are dependent upon the municipality, but they don’t make the necessary decisions. In the meantime, we want to start building, but our designs are dependent upon these decisions. Do we have to incorporate parking spaces in our buildings or not?’ Buiksloterham’s evolution has brought the neighborhood to an ironic turning point. The city’s hands-off approach up until now is part of what allowed this area to flourish organically from the grassroots. Now that market forces are coming into play, however, there are increasing calls for the municipality to take a more active role in setting clear policies. As Van Odijk says: ‘It’s good that they leave room for initiatives, but you need a clear set of guidelines.’ Van Odijk is concerned that as more traditional developers move in, the enthusiasm for cutting-edge sustainability practices will wane. Alderman Choho is not as worried about that. He thinks Buiksloterham has already shown that there is a great demand for more environmentally responsible living. ‘If demand changes to more sustainable houses,’ he says, ‘then it becomes more interesting for the market to develop them.’ Choho says the municipality’s role is to set high expectations and to leave room for experimentation. ‘We talk to all parties involved about our sustainability ambitions, and if necessary, we can set demands for the development of plots that we own. However, our general attitude is: be open to what you don’t know and give room to new developments, without strict guidelines.’
Be open to what you don't know
For his part, Alsema wants to see the city set high standards for sustainability that can challenge people to come up with cross-disciplinary ideas to meet them. ‘By constantly lifting these standards, the circular story remains interactive, and people will continue to feel part of the narrative that is developing’, Alsema says. ‘It’s like a game. People like to be constantly challenged to find ways to go around existing barriers and to play with or even hack the rules. That keeps the special vibe in Buiksloterham alive. And up to a certain point, that will prevent old systems from taking over again.’ ••
buiksloterham.nl deceuvel.nl metabolic.nl de-alliantie.nl
Letty Reimerink urban researcher and freelance journalist
reimerink.com © Hans van Dormolen
This article first appeared in Citiscope, a nonprofit news outlet that covers innovations in cities around the world.
THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER
THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER CREATING A MOVEMENT THAT SPREADS LIKE A WILDFIRE
I have been asked countless times, what is a City Maker? While many people try to define this umbrella term for active citizens and professionals, I will not give you a concrete definition of the term, but a glimpse of the wonderful and passionate people I am honoured to meet every day as I work for Pakhuis de Zwijger. On this journey, I hope to inspire and awaken the City Maker in you! >>
Creating a movement
It is Pakhuis de Zwijger who introduced me to the term Stadmaker, a phrase that refers to active residents, (creative / social) entrepreneurs, urban professionals, civil servants, and scientists. ‘Anyone who is actively engaged in their urban surroundings and who is shaping the city in transition,’ our director Egbert Fransen told me. Only later would I find out that he is one himself - but let’s keep that quiet. It made me wonder what drives a City Maker. What is their role in society and how do you become one? How do they maintain their enthusiasm and dedicate so much time to their initiatives, especially when they are often times unpaid? Where does this drive come from?
CITY MAKERS ARE THE ONES THAT ARE SHAPING THE CITY IN TRANSITION
>> On May 26 2014, I was waiting for the ferry to go to the
north of Amsterdam. I had only worked at Pakhuis de Zwijger for a few short weeks when I was asked to help organise a city expedition through Amsterdam. City Makers from all over the Netherlands were invited to see the inspiring and innovative citizen-driven initiatives our city harbours.
Still waiting for that ferry, I wondered if I could recognise the City Maker by their appearance. But as Amsterdam is quite crowded, all I could see was the whirlwind of everyone running to work, school or trying to get their children to daycare on time. And then Cees Donkers arrived. Cees, who worked for the local government of Eindhoven at that time, is most noticeable by his constant smile, notable glasses and notorious blouses. He told me that twenty years ago, he was active in the preservation of De Witte Dame - a former Philips factory building where light bulbs were made. Residents of Eindhoven, Cees being one of them, wanted to preserve this unique building in their city. ‘If you have such a big mouth, show us that you can do it’, the government told him, and so he became a civil servant for city development. Throughout his career, he has always focused on young people within the city. He has recently helped young graduates pursue their passion by setting up a studio where they spend half of their time working at a coffee bar to earn money and the other half being engaged in their passion. When I visited Eindhoven, he introduced me to City Makers from different cultural hubs, like Renee Scheepers and Nienke Bongers from NulZes and Anne Vanst from the Corner Spot. ‘People who give a new identity to the city’, Cees explained. ‘If you have students within your city, that might be the manna you were waiting for. They should be much more involved in the process of city-making and the city should be used as a laboratory. Therefore it is crucial that local governments and universities work together. >>
THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER
Struggling in the city
© Paul Scala
The last supper as an icon for the new generation? A situation where students have completed their studies but face trouble finding a job, calls for greater collaboration between the government, educational institutions and of course entrepreneurs.
>> Over the past two years, I noticed every city has its
‘guerrilla officials’, from Groningen to Maastricht and from The Hague to Enschede. They are particular people within the local government who dare to allow for experimentation within their work. They trust and give space to initiatives, and assist them in exploring the boundaries beyond traditional, rigid governmental policies.
LOOK FOR THE GUERILLA OFFICIALS THAT ARE EXPERIMENTING AND BENDING THE RULES After the ferry, we walked to NDSM - a former shipbuilding yard, which was squatted during the 1990s and now is one of the largest cultural hotspots in Europe. To preserve this place, Eva de Klerk co-authored the manifesto Stad als Casco (City as Casco) and focused on creating a lively community within the building. The
creative community is central to the project, which also has extensive environmental ambitions including circularity. Eva helped create this community that is home to many creatives, crafters and youth, including skateboarders and theatre-makers. In her inspiring Boekman lecture in the spring of 2015, Eva described the relation to the city. ‘What a beautiful image. The city is sleeping. Maybe she lost her poles. Nothing or no one can awaken her. Then comes the artist with a gift for the city. A kiss. A soft delicious kiss on the mouth. A flowery kiss that brings back radiance, vitality and breath. A kiss is a very powerful metaphor. But I believe it takes two for a really good kiss. Must an artist do all the kissing or does the city kiss back? And what is the nature of their kiss?’ I have witnessed this struggle a lot during the past two years: City Makers reform former industrial buildings, dockyards and create meeting places within neighbourhoods whose value cannot always be captured in monetary terms.’ Those big, rough industrial buildings inspire City Makers who see them as opportunities to create new life in an area. Often times, with a vision in mind, they think outside of traditional regulations. As Mark Slegers from >>
THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER
>> BlueCity010 explained, ‘When you're innovating you
do not necessarily follow the rules’. Therefore, we need extraordinary control zones. ‘We really need new rules! New ways in which initiatives arising from the civil power in a formalised way can solve societal problems,’ Marte Kappert explained recently in an interview about city lab Marconia in Rotterdam. That you don’t have to wait, but can always do something, I learned from Frans Kerver from Tuinindestad in Groningen and Gooitske Zijlstra of Zwolle. Something that Frank Alsema of Buiksloterham truly agrees with. In this circular hotspot, he showed us the place where he is building his house out of secondhand items that he has collected.
TALK WITH OTHER PEOPLE. AND LISTEN City Makers are pioneers and often work on a local and small scale. However, the significance and impact of their work can have reverberating effects. Something became clear when we arrived at the Noorderpark and met Floor Ziegler with her red curly hair and sparkling energy. During the financial crisis, the pompous plans for the Noorderpark were halted. Starting with a small pavilion in the middle of the park as a meeting place for artists and residents, Floor wanted to revive the space on a small budget. Not everyone in the neighbourhood liked it. ‘I was an intruder’, she says. 'The reason that the Noorderparkkamer became a success was because I started to talk with the people in the park. The elderly people, the homeless, the loiterers, and so on.' Listening to people in the neighbourhood is essential, as Amal AbassSaal of BuurT-Thuis Akwaabe in Almere affirms. ‘What do people find important? What makes them happy? What gives meaning to their lives? That is what we try to discover together.' Floor uses her years of experience and know-how now to connect people in cities like Nijmegen, Leeuwarden, Deventer and Dordrecht. ‘It's like magic. I listen to the people, see their talents, connect them and they flourish.' I tell Floor stories about Tieneke Versteegen from Venlo or Sara Vermoolen from Zaanstad. In the meanwhile, Floor shares stories with me about other connectors like Angela Verkuilen from Nijmegen and Masja Ottenheim from Dordrecht. When Floor asked Masja why she works and spends voluntary hours in DOOR, Masja answered: ‘I was just born this way’.
I was just born this way
After walking through Noorderpark and passing by DUS Architects (who are nowrelocated at the Asterweg), we took the tram to the west of Amsterdam. There, we met Mostafa el Filali, one of the founders of the Lucas Community. Mostafa explained how the Lucas Community arose out of dissatisfaction and aims to support the creation of local enterprises. More than twelve enterprising neighbours are now located in the former school, including the Lucafé, a bicycle repair shop and Lucas Zorg, which focuses on formal and informal care. This is an good example of City Makers responding to local needs. 'It is important that citizens in Amsterdam take responsibility for the public tasks in their neighbourhood’, says Mellouki Cadat, senior consultant Community Development at Movisie. Great examples of healthcare-focused initiatives range from Austerlitz Zorgt in Utrecht - that helps elderly people to live longer in their homes - to Xenia Hospice in Leiden, where youth people with limited life expectancy are taken care of in a warm environment.
The driving force behind community enterprises is that ‘we do not simply accept services moving out of the neighbourhood, we prefer to do it ourselves’. It is a quote of City Maker Erwin Stam, describing his drive to start BewonersBedrijf Poelenburg in Zaanstad. The residents of Hoekwierde in Almere and BewonersBedrijf HeechterpSchieringen in Leeuwarden manage the green space in their neighbourhood themselves, taking better care than the local government might do. This has resulted in the fact that budgets are now managed by these community enterprises and the money flows back to the neighbourhood and the local less privileged. All of these City Makers operate by the motto ‘don’t ask, just do’. >>
THE SPARK OF THE CITY MAKER
EVERYONE CAN BE A CITY MAKER >> Seeing the terms Stadmaker and City Maker pop up in a
multiplicity of forms - from stad maker and stadsmaker to city maker - and in a variety of places - including being officially used by the Government - means that the City Makers movement has landed. We, as Pakhuis de Zwijger, started using this term in our vocabulary over five years ago. While there may not be a single definition of City Makers, I hope everyone who is actively engaged in changing their urban surroundings and shaping their city in transition embraces this honourable title. And together, we inspire others to act as City Makers as well, creating meaningful cities that acknowledge and are driven by urban innovators. â€˘â€˘
The movement has landed
nulzes.info fb.com/cornerspoteindhoven evadeklerk.com bluecity010.nl marconia.nl detuinindestad.nl gooitz.nl noorderparkkamer.nl inspiratie-inc.nl fb.com/LucasCommunity movisie.nl austerlitzzorgt.nl xeniahospice.nl bewonersbedrijven.nl stedenintransitie.nl/stadmaker citiesintransition.eu/citymaker
Quirine Winkler programme maker Pakhuis de Zwijger project leader Nieuw Nederland
AMSTERDAM BOOKS & APPS / WEBSITES
ALDO VAN EYCK, SEVENTEEN PLAYGROUNDS ANNA VAN LINGEN & DENISA KOLLAROVÁ
OPOA EN OPOE PLUISIE OP SE MOKUMS DICK BRUNA / MIEKE UNTERHORST
ATLAS OF AMSTERDAM NOORDHOFF ATLAS PRODUCTIONS
Aldo van Eyck has undoubtedly left a mark on the city of Amsterdam. His exceptional design of playgrounds has become part of the life of multiple generations of children growing up in the city. This pocket sized tour guide, made by graphic designers Anna and Denise, brings you to his seventeen remaining playgrounds in the centre of Amsterdam.
In 1963, the first English translation appeared of Dick Bruna’s Nijntje better known as Miffy outside of the Netherlands. Now, you can also enjoy Nijntjes adventures in Mokums, the language of Amsterdam. In this book, she visits her grandpa and grandma to drink tea and eat lots of cookies!
Want to know more about Amsterdam’s inhabitants, administration and education, the dance scene, ferries and trams, old and new beliefs, and buildings and gardens? The Atlas of Amsterdam covers everything you have always wanted to know about the city in maps, images, graphics and graphs.
This initiative turns your neighbourhood into a restaurant! With Kitchen Roulette, you step inside an unknown house and eat wonderful dishes with strangers. As a host, you prepare one course with a teammate at your own home for four unknown people. As a guest, you may step into a majestic canal house or a cosy apartment and enjoy a meal and engaging conversation.
Omapost connects your online life to your offline grandmother (or -father). Once a month, you can select one of your social media photos and send it to your grandmother on a real postcard, with a personal message and your phone number. A great way to keep a conversation running! Omapost aims to fight loneliness amongst the elderly in the Netherlands by encouraging real contact with your real - or adopted - grannie.
Are you short on time to walk the dog or do the shopping? Do you need some help in your garden or just want to drink a cup of tea? Ask you buuv! BUUV is a neighbourhood market place, created for and run by residents. Through BUUV, neighbours can ask for help or offer their services, without necessarily needing anything in return.
AMSTERDAM LOCAL GOODS
LEPELBOOM Bold and interesting combinations are what define the flavours of this Amsterdam food producer. Lepelboom dries, marinades, pickles and smokes according to old conservation techniques to give you the best homemade table relishes in Amsterdam.
THE MACHINERY The Machinery sells laser-cut art prints, for example of Amsterdam. Every city map is cut out completely by laser. They come in all sorts of colours, from simple black or red to rainbow or faded. You can also contact The Machinery for all your personal laser-cut requests!
BRANDT & LEVIE Three friends traveled through Italy to learn the craftsmanship of making sausage. Now they produce the best quality sausages for restaurants and shops in the city. To avoid waste, they make soap from the residual lard. In their factory in Amsterdam-Noord you can also join a workshop!
Withstanding harsh winds and rains, Unbegun collects old market stall canvases after they are thrown away and turns them into beautiful, coloured bags. Messenger bags, tote bags and wallets: undeniably Amsterdam and full of stories!
Always looking for that perfect pair of jeans? Made from certified organic cotton and in fair factories, Mud Jeans makes quality essentials for your wardrobe. Become part of their â€˜Lease a Jeansâ€™ programme and trade in your old pair for a new one when they are worn out. Your jeans will be recycled and will have a second life in a new Mud Jeans fashion item.
These boys love crafting beer. They make a day's work out of testing, tasting and general awesome saucery. You might see it as a man-kettle-wedlock! Their beers are available on tap in a number of bars and cafes as well as bottled at select shops.
All the Amsterdam books and goods you can find in the Local Goods Store! localgoodsstore.nl
New Amsterdam #09 / New Europe #01 Stichting Pakhuis de Zwijger Piet Heinkade 181b, 1019 HC Amsterdam phone: +31 (0)20 62 46 380
dezwijger.nl Publisher Egbert Fransen
Chief editors Dymphie Braun and Charlot Schans
Senior editors Sheila McGraw and Floortje Opbroek Contributing editors Simone van den Akker, Nathalie Angenent, Melisa Argañaraz, Michel Bauwens, Jaakko Blomberg, Vincent Bogers, Peter Both, Marisa Denker, Egbert Fransen, Antonina Ilieva, Rosa de Jong, Ronald Kleverlaan, Sharon van Kouwen, Markku Markkula, Joachim Meerkerk, Floor Milikowski, Naomi Murphy, Stefanie Nijenbandring de Boer, Simon O’Rafferty, Daniela Patti, Ines Péborde, Levente Polyak, Letty Reimerink, Nicole Santé, Quirine Winkler, Amalia Zepou and Joost Zonneveld Art Direction & Design josschoonis.com together with xpublishers, Amsterdam Covers New Amsterdam: Lienke Raben / in60seconds New Europe: moovel Group GmbH / OpenStreetMap Printed by Veenman, Rotterdam This publication is made possible with financial support of:
Gemeente Amsterdam / Amsterdamse School, Alliander, Eigen Haard, De Key, European Cultural Foundation, FNV KIEM and Nuon. © 2016 - Stichting Pakhuis de Zwijger
This magazine is an in-depth extension of the online platforms stedenintransitie.nl and citiesintransition.eu, 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.
NEW AMSTERDAM 10 AUTUMN/WINTER 2016 WITH: 10 YEARS PAKHUIS DE ZWIJGER: FROM SQUAT TO INTERNATIONAL INDEPENDENT PLATFORM FOR CITY MAKERS HOW TO STOP THE DUAL SOCIETY KOERS 2025: HOW THE CITY OF AMSTERDAM WILL DEVELOP IN THE NEXT YEARS AMSTERDAM PUBLIC LIBRARY AS MAKERSPACE FOR LOCAL CITY MAKERS FAB12 SHENZHEN: MAKER CITY OF THE WORLD FABCITY MOVEMENT: TOWARDS A SELF-SUFFICIENT CITY, LOCALLY PRODUCTIVE AND GLOBALLY CONNECTED KICKING OFF CITY EMBASSY NEW YORK HABITAT III QUITO - ECUADOR NEW URBAN AGENDA LEADING FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS ‘MIJN AMSTERDAM’ EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME THE NEXT STEPS IN NEW DEMOCRACY GLOBAL PARLIAMENT OF MAYORS BENJAMIN BARBER’S INITIATIVE HOSTED BY MAYOR VAN AARTZEN IN THE HAGUE CIRCULAR AMSTERDAM SUCCESSES BUIKSLOTERHAM BROEDPLAATS ONDERTUSSEN ART HUB FOR REFUGEES
Published on May 23, 2016