25 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, held on Saturday 23 June and jointly organized by the Johan Cruijff Arena, the Municipality of Amsterdam and Geodan. The event was part of the WeMakeThe.City festival, the biggest urban festival in Europe. The key words were collaboration and the smart use of the latest technology to create a city that is pleasant to both live in and work in.
A brief summary of the most important elements of the conference:
If we continue to live like we are now, in 40 years’ time we will need three planets to supply all the raw materials we currently consumed by human beings. Clearly, we have to approach energy and raw materials in a more sustainable way. To achieve the sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations, collaboration is essential. Collaboration between government, industry, knowledge institutes and citizens. Plus, collaboration between all the different players within government and within industry.
Easy access to and the exchange of knowledge and information significantly enhances this process of collaboration. Geodan has developed various methods and tools to support this. Cities can learn a great deal from one another about how to use this smart technology most effectively. That is essential; after all, in 2030 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities. With this in mind, on 23 June, Amsterdam and Warsaw set up the Liveable Smart City Alliance.
With all the digital information publicly available today, Geodan has constructed a digital copy of the city that can be visited and experienced virtually. In this digital twin, the impact of all kinds of processes and future plans is calculated and visualized 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.
It is also possible to link with real-time data in order to gain a clear picture of the current processes, both in 2D and in 3D. With the help of this digital twin of the city, the city’s residents and those with decision-making authority can more easily assess and understand the different processes, and are better able to consult with one another. This in turn leads to better decisions, and therefore, a better city!
Geodan has also recreated the real world in the virtual environment of the popular computer game Minecraft. Every building, every road and every tree in the Netherlands has been included in this virtual reconstruction. And not only that: Ecocraft – as the game has been named by Geodan – is linked to all kinds of information needed to consider, for example, how you can make your neighbourhood more energy efficient.
As a player in Ecocraft, you can design and test solutions for making the world more sustainable. Ecocraft can already be used to work on the transition to more sustainable energy, and in the future it will be extended with all the available public data and models. For instance, it could be used to facilitate a smarter approach to food production and transport, or to gain a clear picture of waste flows and to increase the recycling of raw materials. Ecocraft was launched on 23 June. The United Nations is working on plans to deploy Ecocraft worldwide; for now, we have embarked on the venture in the Netherlands and Poland.
Amsterdam is said to be one of the smartest cities in the world. But what does it take to become ‘smart’? And what does that actually mean? What goals does a ‘smart city’ strive towards and how can these be accomplished? The Johan Cruijff Arena took the initiative to write a handbook which all explains all of these issues. Various other parties also contributed to the book: the Municipality of Amsterdam, KPMG, the Spatial Informatics Lab of the Free University of Amsterdam, Geodan, PlayTheCity, and of course the innovation centre of the Johan Cruijff Arena itself. The handbook was presented on 23 June.