25 June 2018
Amsterdam, 23 June 2018
In what kind of city do we want to live in the future, and how can we attain it? This question was the central theme of the ‘Liveable Smart Cities by Design’ conference organised by Geodan, together with the Johan Cruijff Arena and the Municipality of Amsterdam, as part of the WeMakeThe.City festival. To answer this question, collaboration, along with the exchange of knowledge and spatial information, is required. With this in mind, during the conference collaborative agreements were signed between cities and the United Nations. In addition, Geodan also launched tools to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and spatial information: the digital twin of the city and the game Ecocraft.
Geodan has assembled all the digital information that is publicly available, and in doing so has constructed a digital copy of the city that can be visited virtually. In this digital twin, the impact of all kinds of processes and future plans can be calculated and visualised using smart models. This enables us to experience in advance what various scenarios will look like and what the consequences of different processes will be. What is the impact of a new apartment block on the local environment? Or of redirecting a road on the throughflow of traffic? This digital twin of the city helps the city’s residents and those with decision-making authority to assess and understand the different processes more easily, and share ideas with each other in a much more dynamic way. But how do you engage children in the city that they live in? How can we encourage them to think together with us about the city of the future? For these younger urban residents, Geodan has developed the game Ecocraft, based on the game environment of Minecraft.
In Ecocraft, a copy of the real world (a digital twin) is placed in the game environment of Minecraft. Every building, every road and every tree in the Netherlands has been included in this virtual reconstruction. When you data about such aspects as energy, mobility and population, you can create a digital environment in which the impact of planning proposals on the city is immediately visible. For instance, all publicly available energy data in the Netherlands is also available in Ecocraft. This enables children to think along with us and to devise solutions for the energy transition. How many solar panels need to be installed in a street to meet the local energy demand? Or would it be cheaper to install a wind turbine for the entire neighbourhood? The outcome of the different scenarios can be calculated instantly. Ecocraft is both an educational resource and a citizen participation tool that has the support and commitment of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
One hundred and ninety-three countries have signed up to the sustainable development goals set out by the UN to achieve more sustainable use of energy and raw materials. To accomplish these goals, collaboration between government, industry, knowledge institutes and citizens is necessary. However, perhaps most important is communication between the generations: the children of today are the decision makers of tomorrow, so it is essential that they are prepared. Ecocraft facilitates this. On 23 June, UNEP and the EduGIDS Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding. In this they pledged their commitment to increasing the amount of information widely available that is needed to create a more sustainable world, and to enable this to be linked to Ecocraft. We are embarking on this venture at home in Amsterdam Southeast, with Warsaw being the first large European city to get involved.
For more information, visual material or interview requests, please contact Bas Heller, via email@example.com or 06 14458529.
Digital Twinning for livable Smart Cities from Geodan PR on Vimeo.
Part of the We Make the City festival
This conference was part of the We Make the City festival, which took place between 20 and 24 June in Amsterdam. Urgent challenges for daily life in the urban environment were addressed, with contributions from the public and experts. For more information: wemakethe.city