Sustainable Cities™

Amsterdam: Smart City

The Amsterdam Smart City project is soon on its third year. During this time, Amsterdam Smart City has initiated a large number of innovative projects aiming to create a more sustainable and energy efficient city. Sustainable Cities wanted to take a closer look at the achievements, to analyze what has been produced and what other cities could learn from the project.

2012_02_16_AMSTERDAM_SMART_CITY
Picture gallery City of Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Smart City project is soon on its third year. During this time, Amsterdam Smart City has initiated a large number of innovative projects aiming to create a more sustainable and energy efficient city. Sustainable Cities wanted to take a closer look at the achievements, to analyze what has been produced and what other cities could learn from the project.

Background:
Amsterdam Smart City started in 2009 as a collaboration project between Amsterdam Innovation Motor and the grid operator Liander, in close collaboration with the municipality of Amsterdam. Today, the project involves over 70 different partners, and Amsterdam has become known as a Smart City all over the world.

The idea of the Amsterdam Smart City is to go from a traditional "knowledge-silo-thinking", to a holistic information community, where synergies are created through cooperation. Amsterdam Smart City stresses the importance of the Smart City as an inclusive process, where the strength lies in both the quality and quantity of the information shared.

Projects:
In a Smart City perspective, Amsterdam is focusing on the challenge of saving energy to reduce CO2 emissions. To do this, Amsterdam Smart City has during its years introduced and tested a vast amount of energy saving projects, divided into four areas: Sustainable Public Space, Sustainable Mobility,  Sustainable Living and Sustainable Working.


People biking on the Climate Street, Picture provided by Amsterdam Smart City - Kenneth Verburg

Sustainable Public Space include projects such as Smart School and the Climate Street. Smart School is a project where children in primary schools learn about saving energy, while their school competes with other schools in energy efficiency. The Climate Street is another public space project where a city street works as an incubator and testing place for new climate friendly innovations and experiments.

An example of a Sustainable Mobility project is the Moet je Watt, where special electrical battery chargers are relocated all over the city. The special part of this project is that the charging stations, apart from providing easy use services to electrical vehicles, also prevent over charging, creating less energy waste.

Under the label Sustainable Living, one of Amsterdam Smart City´s largest projects is found: Onze Energie. Onze Energie, Our Energy in English, is a project aiming to supply 8.000 households with renewable energy, mostly through windmills.

Sustainable Working is an area where Amsterdam Smart City has initiated a lot of projects. In the densely populated Netherlands, commuting is very common. To create a more sustainable environment, Amsterdam needed to tackle the many daily trips made by car. A first attempt was made by creating drop-in work places in areas where there where often traffic jams, but due to many factors this was not successful. Today, a very successful project with drop-in offices within 5 minutes biking everywhere in Amsterdam is creating flexibility and reducing car-traffic within the city.

What has been achieved?
It is clear that Amsterdam Smart has led to a vast amount of innovative projects during its initial years. The projects are all in different scales and phases, and it is difficult to see exactly what impact they will have on long-term sustainability in the city. What is apparent is that Amsterdam Smart City has functioned as a platform and an inspiration for small and medium enterprises in the search for sustainable options, and this alone makes for a good foundation for a broad change in the way of thinking about city development.

Another thing that should not be belittled is that Amsterdam Smart City has succeeded in branding Amsterdam as a forward thinking city with smart ideas, and has made Amsterdam an international example in which other cities can find inspiration.

The future of the project:
The challenge now for Amsterdam Smart City is to keep this momentum, and to be able to scale up the projects to a scale where they can make a true impact on the energy efficiency in Amsterdam. Spokespersons for Amsterdam Smart City; Joost Brinkman and Ger Baron, stress the importance of inclusiveness in a Smart City. To be an even smarter Smart City, it is important to find ways in which the inhabitants for whom the new technology is not available can participate and be included in shaping the Smart City.


Image by udo geisler, Flickr, Creative Commons

Read more about Smart Cities:


>> Boulder - Smart Grid City
>> Smart Cities - When Communication Technology Creates Sustainable Cities
 

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014

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