Heb jij ideeën of dromen over de stad van de toekomst? Wonen we anders dan nu en hoe ziet de nieuwe economie eruit? Hoe blijven we gezond in de metropoolregio Amsterdam? Wordt de stad nog groener? Hoe verplaatsen we ons in de toekomst en hoe zal ICT de stad veranderen? Kortom: wat vind jij waardevol?

Kom op 9 september a.s. naar het 2e open atelier Volksvlijt2016 en denk en doe mee!

Volksvlijt 2016

Volksvlijt 2016 is een open platform waaraan iedereen kan bijdragen. In drie ateliers bouwen we samen met ontwerpers, kennisinstellingen, bedrijven, bewoners en studenten aan een nieuw toekomstperspectief op de metropoolregio Amsterdam. Alle ideeën en dromen komen samen in één enorme maquette die vanaf 12 april 2016 twaalf weken lang te bewonderen zal zijn in de Openbare Bibliotheek van Amsterdam. Naast deze tentoonstelling is er een interactief programma over de toekomst van de stad waarbij iedereen welkom is.

Meedoen op 9 september 2015

De stad van de toekomst is opgebouwd uit twaalf thema’s, zoals voedsel, logistiek, media, industrie, gezondheid, toerisme, ecologie, ICT en zelfvoorzienende buurten. In het atelier op 9 september kun je meedenken over de toekomst van deze thema’s samen met vernieuwende ontwerpers, die de ingebrachte ideeën verbinden

Hoe meer mensen meedoen, des te slimmer en aantrekkelijker de stad van de toekomst wordt. Dus, heb je ideeën over de stad of kennis van één van de thema’s? Ben je een betrokken stadmaker, visionair of creatief denker en wil je samen met anderen bouwen aan de stad van de toekomst?

Doe dan mee! De stad van de toekomst maken we samen.

Zef Hemel

Wibautleerstoel, Universiteit van Amsterdam | Amsterdam Economic Board 

Wat:                2e open atelier Volksvlijt

Wanneer:         Woensdag 9 september 2015, van 12.00 tot 18.00 u.

Waar:              Openbare Bibliotheek van Amsterdam (Oosterdok)

Bijdrage:          kennis, ideeën & toekomstdromen

>> Aanmelding (verplicht): via de volgende site: https://tamtam.viadesk.com/do/eventreadpublic?id=14706-6576656e74


Word lid van onze community op Facebook ‘Volksvlijt2016’ om op de hoogte te blijven van Volksvlijt.

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Third Golden Age

On 5 juli 2015, in economie, regionale planning, by Zef Hemel

Heard on 3 July 2015 at the Public Library in Amsterdam:

In 1864 a Christal Palace was erected on the Frederiksplein, Amsterdam. The great tall building of glass and steel contained a huge space for exhibitions, showing all kinds of innovations of the industrial capitalist era. The Jewish entrepreneur and medical doctor Samuel Sharphati initiated it, it was a copy of the Christal Palace in London (1851), the project was wholly crowd funded. After opening, it inspired many young entrepreneurs, amongst them Gerard Heineken, the founder of the Heineken beer company. However, the building burned down in 1929. The RAi on the Southaxis is its successor. Nevertheless, the Palace itself has always been considered a breathtaking building, the iconic start of the Second Golden Age of Amsterdam, which lasted until 1928 (Olympic Games). Many people hope it gets re-built. Therefore, on 12 April 2016 a new, temporary ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’ (Christal Palace) will be opening its doors in Amsterdam. A programme of twelve weeks of discussions and thinking about the economic future of the Amsterdam region is in preparation. A third Golden Age for Amsterdam might follow.

The Public Library on the Oosterdokskade, opposite the Marineterrein, will be turned into a true ‘Paleis voor Volksvlijt’. An inspiring exhibition on the future economy of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region on the ground floor will attract as many people as possible, thus creating an opportunity for schools, universities, companies and  civic authorities to exchange thoughts about the future regional economy. Even the exhibition itself, showing the future, will be co-created. On Wednesday 9 September 2015 there will be the second open forum in the Oba (Public Library) from 12.00 till 16.00 pm. for those who want to contribute. At 12.15 the alderman Eric van der Burg (VVD) will give his speech. In four rounds citizens can share their thoughts with twelve designers who eventually will build the exhibition that will assemble all insights, knowledge and inspiration. All citizens are welcome! Follow Volksvlijt2016 (Civic Economy) on Facebook and become member: http://on.fb.me/1H0Xlcf

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From the bottom up

On 29 juni 2015, in economie, innovatie, by Zef Hemel

Read in ‘Emergence’ (2001) of Steven Johnson:

OESO’s Territorial Review of the Netherlands 2014 advocated the making of a holistic strategic urban policy framework for cities by the Dutch government. Such a framework is lacking now. The Ministry of Interior Affairs started an open process this year for developing an ‘urban agenda’, which might become the agenda for a national policy for regional growth, equity and environmental sustainability the way the OESO suggested. Thus the discussion on agglomeration economies in the Netherlands became political. Political means: facts play a minor role, research gets biased, opinions rule, economists take over. From the very beginning there was a tendency to frame the whole discussion in the sense that socalled ‘borrowed size’ solutions between cities would solve all problems of lacking agglomeration economies in “a country in which no single urban area or region dominates over the others.” Economists suggested fast connections between cities would be a way out.

We need more common sense here. A bigger picture. In ‘Emergence’ (2001) the New York based writer Steven Johnston wrote about ‘the connected lives of ants, brains, cities and software’. All these organisms, he explained, change and develop from the bottom up. “When enough individual elements interact and organize themselves, the result is collective intelligence – even though no one is in charge.” In chapter 2 he explains how this bottom up process leads to the complex order of big cities. This complexity is the result of many local interactions. Then he criticizes one of his friend’s ode to LA freeway culture. While travelling by car, he writes, the potential for local interaction is so limited by the speed and the distance that no higher-order level can emerge. “City life depends on the odd interaction between strangers that changes one individual’s behaviour: the sudden swerve into the boutique you’ve never noticed before, or the decision to move out of the neighborhood after you pass the hundredth dot-com kid on a cell phone.” For innovation there has to be permanent subtle feedback between agents. Fast transport is no help in that sense. So stop thinking in terms of borrowed size. This will not lead to greater complexity, collective intelligence, innovation. Also read Gerard Marlet’s advice in ‘De aantrekkelijke stad’ (The Attractive City, 2009, p. 384-385): “Urban networks are counterproductive”.

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The creative gap

On 3 juni 2015, in economie, by Zef Hemel

Read in The Atlantic of 28 May 2015:



In 2003, at the opening of Westergasfabriek, Richard Florida visited Amsterdam for the first time. That was only one year after his ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ (2002) first was published. I remember. All Dutch cities wanted to become creative after that great performance. More than six years long each of them tried to surpass the others in its ambition to become a creative hub. Now, twelve years later, Richard Florida writes an article in The Atlantic in which he presents new data on the creativity of American cities. In ‘One Reason It’s So Hard to become a Creative Superstar City’ he reveiles that only 19 out of 364 U.S. metros have fully formed sustainable creative economies. That is no more than 5 percent. His sobering conclusion is based on new research of Shade Shutters, Rachata Muneepeerakul and Jose Lobo of Arizona State University. They took a detailed look at the growth and development of the creative economy between 2005 and 2013, so before and after the recession. Florida: “This small group not only outperformed the rest across several key economic measures, but the creative gap between them and the rest grew over the eight years studied.”

The researchers found that the small group of creative metros follow a general trajectory towards a creative economy that requires them to increasingly specialize in every economic domain. “In other words, the places with the most creative economies also have the highest overall diversity of occupations and specialities – by a wide margin.” That means, you cannot build a creative economy, at least it will be “quite daunting”. A diversity of occupations and specialities – also in the non-creative sectors – is needed. Its talent pool must be deep with all the skills, creative and otherwise, required for economic growth. Boston stands out, then follow Washington and San Francisco. Florida concludes that it is extremely difficult for the other cities to break into the small club of creative leaders. So what about the Netherlands? All those cities wishing themselves to be ‘creative’. All those creative ‘hotspots’, museums, factories, breeding places. Also without research one could expect that from the more than fifty Dutch cities – all rather small – only one or two might be called creative. The rest is not and will not easily be. The gap will become even bigger.

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Tourists under attack

On 2 juni 2015, in toerisme, by Zef Hemel

 Read in Agora 2014 nr 4:


Amsterdam is questioning its success. How regrettable. It’s a troublesome discussion. All the anger of some part of the local population now is focussed on foreigners, of course. Too many tourists, they say, are visiting the inner city. They refer to riots in Barcelona last summer, when tourists misbehaved, they want to curb Airbnb and think their city’s future will be a kind of Venice. Stephen Hodes, an expert in culture and tourism policies, stirs up the masses by forecasting a doubling of tourists visiting the city in the coming ten years. He even launched a special magazine in which all contributors agree, more or less, with his disturbing message. The managing director of the Rijksmuseum, Mr. Pijbes, who lives in Rotterdam and loves to agitate, complains about the dirt in the streets. Amsterdam, he wrote in a national newspaper last summer, is ‘dirty, vile and replete’. Meanwhile his own blockbuster ‘Late Rembrandt’ was criticized because it was too crowded. The Utrecht based planning magazine ‘Agora’ dedicated a special issue to the subject of tourism. Is it makeable, the editors asked themselves? Some facts: in 2001 12,4 million people spent a day or weekend in the inner city of Amsterdam, in 2014  its number was 14,6 million – a growth of 25%.  “In Amsterdam the balance between living, working and recreating seems to be lost.”

Was there any strategy to attract all those tourists? Of course there was not. Tourism is a international bottom-up movement, just like global migration. And yes, if you build or refurbish more than thirty cultural venues in your city at the same time audiences will come. Listing the canal district as a Unesco World Heritage site is also no help. But the ‘I AMsterdam’ citymarketeers love to boast on their performance, so they are under attack now. The same holds for the city’s department of Economic Affairs who launched an ambitious program for building extra hotel rooms in the city. They all wanted to profit, without doing serious planning.  All parties are panicking now. They seem to agree on one thing: we should decentralise tourism, spread it, no matter how. How ingenuous. The whole country envies Amsterdam and wants to profit. To no avail. Mass tourism is a phenomenon that is highly spatially concentrated. You cannot prohibit people to enter the Anne Frank house. Dispersal will always be spontaneous. Which is a blessing. Another hopeful thing: more and more tourists in Amsterdam are renting bikes now. They spread. And Airbnb is a decentralised system of temporary sleeping accommodation. Hope blinks.

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Learning from the UK

On 1 juni 2015, in bestuur, wonen, by Zef Hemel

Read in The Independent of 29 May 2015:

So that was reveiling news. In The Independent of 29 May 2015 Jon Stone wrote on poverty in London and Great Britain. Its message: "The most wealthy areas in Wales and Northern Ireland are on average poorer in terms of disposable income than the most deprived areas of London." The Office for National Statistics had released figures for household disposable income in different regions of the UK. Barking, Dagenham and Havering in London showed a disposable income more than double poorer the richest area in the capital, but the wealthiest areas in Wales and Northern Ireland still had lower incomes than London’s poorest areas. Of course, housing costs in London are significantly higher, so higher incomes here go to expensive rental and property markets. So how inequal are Great Britian and London then? It’s difficult to say. The picture gets disturbing, inequality should be judged more and more locally. So here it is: “The Government has brought forward plans to devolve power to cities and metropolitan areas in a bid to give regions more control over their local economies.

In the Netherlands the same process of rising local and regional disparities is discernable. Poverty in Amsterdam is not the same as poverty in Groningen or Drenthe. Even without powerful global cities like London or New York the economic landscape of the Low Countries is showing traits of the same growing spikyness. Even though the Dutch love sameness, which they think is democratic, (and the Dutch always used to fight differences), they can no longer deny its existence. What the Dutch government therefore should do is radically decentralise the fiscal system. That’s what also Jaap Modder, Jeroen Saris and Wouter Veldhuis pleaded for in De Volkskrant of 2 February 2015. “The main spatial issues are no longer national, but European and local.” Regional VAT, they wrote, would give city-regions the means to invest in their own economy, more than in the existing system where the Dutch state distributes huge amounts of money according to principles that are no longer just. The regional disparties have grown already too big, the power of the Dutch state too weak.

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Back on the map

On 28 mei 2015, in economie, stedenbouw, by Zef Hemel

Seen in Belgrade, Serbia, on 23 Mai 2015:

What is the difference between Belgrade waterfront and Rotterdam Kop van Zuid? Not much. Both are proud cities. Both lack a powerful economy. Both want something special, some icon, something new, to let the world know they are still attractive. Both developed bold plans that consist of glamourous highrise development on the waterfront in an area that could be described as a brownfield situation where the land value is low. Everything looks unreal, too expensive, too big. In Rotterdam (600.000 inhabitants) planning started at the end of the seventies, in Belgrade (2 million inhabitants) around the same time. Both plans need costly public infrastructure: bridges, metro, land clearance, otherwise it would never work. Because Dutch government was willing to pay, Rotterdam could start building its Kop van Zuid in the early nineties. Belgrade had to wait for the end of the Balkan war. Now it seems to have found its private money. Developers from the United Arab Emirates pour in. Everybody knows that this could not be done without the help of promises, tax reductions, soothing gifts, special laws. Citizens will have to pay for it anyway.

So in the end there remains this one big question: does it work? Can it boost an economy? Does it make the city any better? And does it improve the lives of its citizens? We don’t know. There will be a shopping mall, so people will start consuming, but shops in the inner city will go bankrupt. Tourists and visitors from abroad will come to spend their money. Belgrade might even become a regional centre in Southeastern Europe. You never know. Air Serbia is in arab hands now; its new owners are introducing transfer traffic, turning Belgrade airport into a minor regional hub. Was it really worth all the public money? Time will tell. Kop van Zuid at least costed a fortune (a bridge and metrostation of 500 mio euro, a palace of justice, a harbour office tower, subsidized housing etc.). In the end the most important goal was to put the city ‘back on the map’. A kind of global citymarketing. Just want to remind you of John Friedmann’s words: “Sustainable development is never bestowed from the outside but must be generated from within the regional economy itself.” This, the American planner wrote in 2004, was the key point in Jane Jacobs’s analysis with which he was in full accord. So am I.

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Troef van formaat

On 22 mei 2015, in economie, energie, by Zef Hemel

Gelezen in ‘Inventarisatie en analyse campussen’ (2014) van BCI:

Eind 2014 publiceerde Buck Consultants International (BCI) haar nieuwste inventarisatie van campussen in Nederland. Opdrachtgever was het Ministerie van Economische Zaken. In 2012 was de laatste inventarisatie gedaan. Wat is er in die twee jaar gebeurd? Nederland beschikt op dit moment over liefst 58 campussen, waarvan 39 ‘echte’. Twaalf verkeren nog in de idee-fase. Niet meegeteld zijn de campussen waar bedrijfsvestigingen weliswaar ruimtelijk zijn geconcentreerd, maar waar een bedrijfsverzamelgebouw ontbreekt of waar relaties vooral bestaan uit onderlinge leveringen of onderlinge dienstverlening. Ook onderwijs- en zorgcampussen zijn door BCI niet meegerekend. In werkelijkheid telt Nederland dus vele honderden campussen, maar Buck registreerde alleen concentraties van R&D en innovatieve bedrijven met sterke onderlinge relaties.

Opvallend positief is BCI over het fenomeen campus. "In de internationale concurrentiestrijd om R&D-centra en kenniswerkers kan een goede campus een troef van formaat zijn." Maar wat is goed? Onder goed verstaat BCI dat de campus als een magneet op bedrijven werkt en dat ze ook arbeidsplaatsen creëert. Achttien campussen bleken goed te zijn. Tussen 2012 en 2014 groeide het aantal bedrijven daar met ruim 13 procent, het aantal arbeidsplaatsen met 22,5 procent. Het campusbeleid is decentraal beleid dat wordt gemaakt op provinciehuizen. Vandaar dat het rapport cijfers levert per provincie. Buck’s opmerking dat "in bijna alle provincies" de werkgelegenheid daalde maar dat die op de volwassen campussen juist groeide, moet bedoeld zijn voor provinciehuizen om vooral door te gaan op de ingeslagen weg. Slechts in één provincie daalde de werkgelegenheid niet. Dat was Noord-Holland, zeg maar Groot-Amsterdam. Die metropool beschikt door zijn grootstedelijkheid over voldoende innovatief vermogen. Die is pas een troef!

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Elektronisch trekpaard

On 21 mei 2015, in economie, energie, by Zef Hemel

Gelezen in Het Parool van 11 maart 2015:

Alweer bijna vergeten. Op 27 maart 2015 legde een stroomstoring een groot deel van Noord-Holland plat. De oorzaak was een probleem in een hoogspanningsstation van Tennet in Diemen. Verkeerslichten werkten niet meer, mensen zaten vast in de lift, treinen vielen uit, vliegtuigen bleven aan de grond, geldverkeer was onmogelijk, ziekenhuizen schakelden over op noodstroomvoorzieningen; datzelfde gold voor de radio en televisie-studio’s in Hilversum en …. datacenters. Een miljoen huishoudens in en rond Amsterdam had urenlang geen stroom. Nog maar kort daarvoor, op 11 maart, had het Parool een bericht over de snelle toename van het stroomverbruik in uitgerekend deze regio geplaatst. Dat kwam, aldus de krant, met name door de vele nieuwe datacenters en ICT-bedrijven die zich op dit moment  in en rond de hoofdstad vestigen. Tussen 2010 en 2013 was sprake van een groei van liefst 15,8 procent. 

De gegevens waren opmerkelijk. Dit is wat ik las: de totale ICT-branche in Nederland verbruikte in 2013 in totaal 2,7 miljoen kilowattuur aan stroom – evenveel als het verbruik van 900.000 huishoudens. Bijna de helft daarvan (43%) werd verbruikt in de provincie Noord-Holland. Ter vergelijking: in Zuid-Holland is dit aandeel slechts 12,7 procent. In Rotterdam, Den Haag en Utrecht daalde het nota bene, in Den Haag zelfs met een vijfde. Brabant werd niet genoemd. Van alle stroom die Noord-Holland verbruikt gaat nu al 9,4 procent naar de ICT-sector. Het verschil met de rest van Nederland wordt snel groter. Aan de cijfers van het veranderende stroomverbruik zie je dat de Amsterdamse regio binnen Nederland steeds meer als het economische trekpaard fungeert en hier en daar zelfs de trekken krijgt van een Silicon Valley. De grote gangmaker is de Amsterdam Internet Exchange, een van de belangrijkste internetknooppunten ter wereld. In dit licht bezien is de kwetsbaarheid van de stroomvoorziening zoals op die 27ste maart 2015 een majeur punt van aandacht. Nu nog glasvezel. En, vanwege de opslingering, een grotere maatvoering van de stad.

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On 4 mei 2015, in economie, politiek, ruimtelijke ordening, by Zef Hemel

Gelezen in ‘REOS Internationale vergelijking’ (2014) van Deltametropool:

REOS Vergelijking: Thema Economic Future Europe

Najaar 2014 publiceerde de Vereniging Deltametropool op verzoek van de rijksoverheid een cahier over economische concurrentiekracht van stedelijke gebieden in Nederland. Het gaat hier om de regio’s Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag en Eindhoven: het zogenaamde REOS-gebied. Die concurrentiekracht valt danig tegen. De Organisatie voor Ontwikkeling en Economische Samenwerking, de OESO, schreef dit euvel toe aan gebrek aan agglomeratiekracht. Anders gezegd, de Nederlandse grote steden zijn te klein. Centrale vraag was dus: hoe kan de concurrentiekracht van dit dun verstedelijkte landsdeel worden vergroot? Het Rijk is op zoek naar een gezamenlijke strategie. Om de vraag te beantwoorden deed de vereniging een internationale vergelijkende studie van een aantal Europese stedelijke gebieden die met de genoemde Nederlandse steden zouden concurreren. Echter, alles deed ze eraan om te voorkomen dat het ontwikkelen van één grote stad zou worden geagendeerd. Want wat rolde uit de studie?

Zoals zo vaak: wat je erin stopt rolt er ook weer uit. De vereniging koos vier thema’s: polycentrische variëteit, smart delta, economic future Europe en ‘place to be’. Zeg maar: woon- en leefkwaliteit, technologie en innovatie, mainports en connectiviteit, internationale uitstraling. Bij elk thema figureerden telkens vier vergelijkbare Europese steden. In totaal werden 20 steden geanalyseerd. Scores in deze quick scan zijn zowel kwantitatief als kwalitatief. Wat blijkt? Zes steden (Londen, Parijs, Kopenhagen, Stockholm, Berlijn, Wenen) scoren goed op alle vier de thema’s, het REOS-gebied echter niet. Wat kenmerkt die zes? Ze hebben één grootstedelijke kern. Omdat die configuratie in Nederland ontbreekt, aldus de vereniging, lijkt het haar raadzaam te kiezen voor regionale specialisatie en REOS eerder te meten met steden als Grenoble, Frankfurt en Zürich: "De onderzochte regio’s maken duidelijk dat niet alleen de grote steden steeds de winnaars, maar ook kleinere steden dingen mee op specifieke onderdelen." Laat me raden: Eindhoven krijgt smart delta, Rotterdam economische toekomst Europa, Den Haag polycentrische variëteit en Amsterdam ‘place to be’. Weer het oude Randstadliedje. Overigens, een stad als Detroit laat duidelijk zien dat regionale specialisatie op termijn ook weer tot verval leidt. Nooit doen dus! Het mogelijk maken van een echte grote complexe stad blijft in dit land ook in de 21ste eeuw kennelijk onbespreekbaar.