AMS Learning by doing in Buiksloterham

Just do it: working towards the realization of the circular city of the future. AMS partners TNO, Wageningen UR, Deltares and ECN are working with the AMS Institute, Metabolic, and Stadslab BSH towards the realization of a circular Buiksloterham in the Adaptive Circular Cities (ACC) research project. The goal: for the municipality of Amsterdam, all of the other parties involved and residents to develop innovative circular solutions for the provision of energy, food and water.

Taken together, cities are jointly responsible for the consumption of 75% of the planet’s natural resources and produce 60–80% of all greenhouse gas emissions. There is an urgent need for circular cities. Given this fact, the municipality of Amsterdam has earmarked the Buiksloterham district as a Living Lab for the circular city. On 5 March, the parties involved* signed the ‘Circular Buiksloterham’ manifesto.

Living lab
During the AMS Circular City event on Wednesday 27 May, Frank Alsema, concept developer for Buiksloterham, said the following about his personal ambition: “I am building a house for myself in Buiksloterham, based on my own circular approach. I’m sourcing many of the articles I need from the Marktplaats advertising site for new and used goods. However, I’m not alone: housing corporations in Buiksloterham are starting to introduce circular building principles too and are now incorporating waste into building materials, for example. It’s one big living lab.” Wim de Haas from the Adaptive Circular Cities research project agrees: “We could, undoubtedly, come up with wonderful goals for the next 30 or 40 years. Instead, developments are actually being achieved in Buiksloterham right now. And I’m helping Frank,” he ends, with a wink.

Sharing knowledge
Amsterdam alderman Choho is also enthusiastic about the Buiksloterham project. “It is speeding up the transition from ‘possession’ to ‘use’ and from ‘sole possession’ to ‘sharing’. What’s also important for me is for this academic exercise to ultimately benefit everyone in Amsterdam. People who live in Amsterdam are not always inclined to apply circular thinking, so it is good to make opportunities and advantages more transparent for them. However, we also shouldn’t forget that other cities could benefit from the result of this project as well. We have to be able to share the knowledge we gain. It will be important to make sure that the wheel isn’t continually being reinvented elsewhere and make our knowledge usable for other cities in the Netherlands and the rest of the world.

Knowledge springboard
The AMS Institute promotes knowledge development about the Circular City, through the Adaptive Circular Cities project, amongst other things. For example, how CO2 emissions can be reduced through the introduction of better regulations for new-build homes. Saving drinking water. Smart waste collection technology or the recycling of (building) materials. A rain-resistant district. These are all ambitions for Circular Buiksloterham and, as such, subjects about which the Adaptive Circular Cities project is developing knowledge. This is all knowledge from which the municipality of Amsterdam, its residents and users of Amsterdam will benefit and that will be possible to apply to other cities too in the future.

* On 5 March, the manifesto was signed by:
Waternet, Alliander Duurzame Gebiedsontwikkeling, De Alliantie, Eigen Haard, Metabolic, DELVA Landscape Architects, Studioninedots, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), Stichting Schoonschip, Vereniging de Ceuvel, Beleef Buiksloterham, Afval Energie Bedrijf Amsterdam, Amsterdam Economic Board, Westpoort Warmte, Zelfbouwers Buiksloterham, Waterschap Amstel, Gooi en Vecht, Pakhuis de Zwijger, the municipality of Amsterdam, NUON and New Energy Docks.