Smart city solutions at WeMakeThe.City Festival
Last weekend we took part in the first ever WeMakeThe.City Festival! A four day festival celebrating and asking questions about the city of Amsterdam through hundreds of events happening all over the city, this was a great chance for us to pilot a couple of different activities. Here’s how it all went!
Our highlight of the week was a demo session and workshop on smart city solutions. The event was coordinated and led by our member Tom van Arman of CITIXL, who work with cities around the world to help them identify problems, co-develop solutions, and find technology and social impact to make real positive change for city residents. We started with demos from Felyx, Lightwell, 2getthere, our wonderful members Roger Bacon, and CITIXL themselves.
We then took all that inspiration and had a workshop session, brainstorming ideas for both the inner city of Amsterdam and the surrounding region. Ideas for more green space (city gardens, green roofs), better transport (autonomous boats, dynamic parking systems, e-scooters), and more were discussed. Great ideas that we hope to see around Amsterdam in the future!
Junior Bicycle Mayor of Amsterdam
We had the opportunity to host this great initiative by the (senior!) Amsterdam Bicycle Mayor, BYCS and Designathon Works last Sunday! Primary school ‘bike heroes’ from around Amsterdam built prototypes for their innovative ideas to improve cycling in their schools and local areas. These kids were selected from loads of different primary schools around
The finalists in the competition to become Amsterdam’s new Junior Bicycle Mayor had some great ideas, including:
- A mini solar panel device mounted on your bike, to charge phones and other devices as you pedal.
- A proposal for all cars to become electric, to improve the air quality for cyclists.
- A gamified app to motivate more children to cycle to school
- A hands-free umbrella for cycling in the rain
The winner was 8 year old Lotta Crok, whose idea is to introduce public transport bikes (OV-fiets) that can accommodate children, as well as special tandem bicycles. Amsterdam currently has a very successful public transport bicycle (OV-fiets) system, but this mainly serves adults. Lotta’s idea would make cycling more accessible to kids and families, and she’ll be working with Amsterdam’s (senior) Bike Mayor Katelijne Boerma, who developed the idea for this project as part of her election campaign last year.
BYCS is an Amsterdam-based social enterprise promoting cycling, with a vision for a world where 50% of city trips in 2030 are by bike. And Designathon Works is another wonderful social enterprise, this time with an educational focus: they run ‘designathons’ where children imagine and design better futures using new technologies (and the kind of creativity that only kids have).
Make Your City
Our members Imagination of Things and Studio Egle Tuleikyte led this playful session on improving the city of Amsterdam, using lego as a tool to design and discuss potential new additions to the city. While only a small number of people signed up to this session, we love the format of the workshop, and hope to see it again in future events.
Over the four days of the festival we also put on a small exhibition of our members’ work in the foyer of our building, showcasing Atmospheric Wood, Niceworks, Guus Folkel, Polimeer, M.E.T.A. Cafe, Roger Bacon, T Magpie Design, and Imagination of Things. While we’re our members’ biggest cheerleaders and love to show off the amazing work they do, in all honesty we’re not sure that exhibiting examples of their work in this way did justice to their creativity, drive, and skills. But experimenting, prototyping, and iterating is as important for us as it is for our member community of makers, so it’s always good to try things!