Amsterdam and San Francisco Seek Solutions to Common Urban Challenges
A group of 50+ entrepreneurs, students, urban planners, government officials & private sector executives gathered at the Dutch Consulate of San Francisco yesterday to compare notes on U.S. and Dutch solutions to shared urban challenges.
Excited for today's Roundtable Discussion on Urban Solutions with Amsterdam's Deputy Mayor at the Dutch Consulate in SF. #urbansolutions
— Steven Tiell (@stiell) January 21, 2013
The event featured both American and Dutch speakers - Bas Boorsma from Cisco Systems presented a series of urban innovations that have brought Cisco directly into the life of Amsterdam, how he and his colleagues developed and implemented these projects, and why Cisco undertook these initiatives in Amsterdam. Smart Work was one of those featured projects. Perhaps the most important one of these projects showcased by Bas was "IP-enabled Public Lighting" for the city. This white paper - written by two of Cisco's IBSG team and one Philips executive - describes the underlying ideas behind the Amsterdam "IP-enabled Public Lighting" initiative.
During the "2012 Meeting of the Minds" the lighting projects in Amsterdam were showcased during a presentation by two of those white paper authors. The video and the transcript provide a helpful overview.
The event was moderated by Gordon Feller, co-founder of Meeting of the Minds and Director of Urban Innovation at Cisco Systems, who also spoke about the importance of Amsterdam and San Francisco as hubs for emerging companies and technologies.
The three P's of urban innovation are commonly thought of as Public Private Partnerships, but Deputy Mayor Carolien Gehrels spoke about three other P's that have been key to Amsterdam's success - People, Prosperity and the Planet. As she said, Amsterdam "made mistakes" in the past - particularly in the 1970s, when she says Amsterdam turned it's focus away from fostering a healthy middle class in the city. One of the keys to Amsterdam's resiliency has always been it's ability to learn from past missteps, and Gehrels says they learned from this one as well. She warned that a prosperous, livable city needs a strong middle class and detailed steps Amsterdam has taken - such as investing in young, urban entrepreneurs - to pursue this goal.
The key to finding innovative solutions to urban problems, he says, is reframing the challenges, breaking paradigms and seeking out-of-the-box ideas. Verhart separated the group into working pairs and asked them to discuss the urban challenges that they are most passionate about, and to find solutions with techniques that might help them reframe the problems.
Some of the issues discussed included affordable urban housing, self-reliance, declining education, cultural isolation of minority groups, climate change & universal access for the visually impaired. Each pair worked together to reframe the problems and the resulting conclusions were presented to the group. Conversations continued throughout the following reception.
— John C. Fox (@djembe) January 22, 2013
Many thanks to Bart van Bolhuis, Consul General of the Netherlands, and to his entire staff at the Dutch Consulate of San Francisco for a successful and enlightening event. Je weer te zien!
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
Blockchain has the potential to create countless smart networks and grids, altering how we do everything from vote and build credit to receive energy. In many ways, it could be a crucial component of what is needed to circumvent outdated systems and build long-lasting solutions for cities.
Take, for instance, electricity. With the help of blockchain, we can turn microgrids into a reality on a macro scale, enabling communities to more easily embrace solar power and other more sustainable sources, which in turn will result in fewer emissions and lower healthcare costs and rates of disease.
Growing numbers of cities, utilities and governments are recognizing the benefits of smart lighting. In addition to energy efficiency, these advantages include reduced carbon emissions, improved public safety, improved data insights and more, leading more and more cities around the world to incorporate smart LED lighting into their automated ecosystems.
Right-sized living is far from a new idea. The architect Le Corbusier was a pioneer, from his cabanon at the Cote d’Azur to the super-efficient and well-designed density of Unite d’Habitation. This was a good idea then, as it is now. This is a classic case of the importance of the underlying rules of the game – the land use regulations, zoning, and building codes that guide our built environment. These more technical matters aren’t nearly as sexy as the shelter porn in Dwell magazine. But you can’t have one without the other.