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Sustainable Cities - Places Worth Living

Sustainable Cities - The Stad Amsterdam in Boston Harbor KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_0308KSwC

Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Studies recently teamed up with MIT SENSEable City Lab for a conference on sustainable cities and held it on board the Stad Amsterdam – a full rigged, three-masted clipper ship. Taking place in Boston Harbor, this unique conference demonstrated the power of collaboration, creativity, a grand bit of fun, and the fact that the concept of the real-time city is now very real.

Sustainable Cities - Carlo Ratti, Director of SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT ©KeithSpiroPhoto CARLO RATTI Director of the SENSEable City Laboratory at MIT

The new MIT SENSEable City lab studies changes to our built environment. It taps into handheld and wearable electronics to aid design tools and uses real time data to measure impact on physical structure.

In April of 2013, the City of Amsterdam made an award to TU Delft, Wageningen University and MIT as the “convincing winner of the AMS design contest." The city proposed a research institute that would foster the creation of urban solutions for water, energy, waste, food, and data management. The result is a collaboration of academic and research institutions, enterprise, municipalities and local residents.

Sustainable Cities - Carolien Gehrels of Amsterdam awards Carlo Ratti of MIT with AMS gear KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_0358KSwC Carolien Gehrels, Deputy Mayor of the City of Amsterdam and a founder of AMS, awards Carlo Ratti with a branded hat and sweatshirt.

Ms. Carolien Gehrels, the Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam, is the founder and driving force behind the 50M Euros awarded to create AMS and she is as unique as her city.

With the goal of turning Amsterdam into a living laboratory, Ms. Gehrels intends to establish and improve relationships between the internationally important cities of Amsterdam and Boston. She believes that interaction between cultural and institutional entities will improve life in cities for everyone. She quotes Oxfam as recognizing the Dutch as the #1 food system in the world. Dr. Jan Willem van der Schans, of Wageningen UR, supported her points with research showing that the Dutch utilize short food chains and provide support for local urban farms. Rather than push farms out, they integrate them into the city as they have done at Schipol Airport. This supports the hyper local direction I have increasingly seen and the tremendous growth in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA farms), here in the USA.

Here are some fun facts about Amsterdam:

  • More bicycles (881k) than inhabitants (811k).
  • 58% of population bike daily

Sustainable Cities - Boston cityscape from aboard the Stad Amsterdam, Rowe's Wharf ©KeithSpiroPhoto DSC_0320KSwC Rowe's Wharf in Boston Harbor where the livable cities meeting took place.

The city contains:

  • 8 windmills
  • 75 museums
  • 22 paintings by Rembrandt
  • 207 paintings by Van Gogh

Amsterdam believes the future will be determined by 20-30 world class cities where clusters create innovation…and they fully intend to be on that list.

Sustainable cities - AMS Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions staff photo KeithSpiroPhotoDSC_0528KSwC


Sustainable Cities - Deputy Mayor Carolien Gehrels of Amsterdam, Yaniv Turgeman of MIT aboard the Stad Amsterdam ©KeithSpiroPhoto Yaniv Jacob Turgeman of MIT with Deputy Mayor Carolien Gehrels on the Stad Amsterdam, Indeed I AM DE SMART

Keith, for the team at Kendall Press

Filed Under: Celebrate Community
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