We are incredibly proud to be where we are today. For 10 years, we've been creating urban impact in collaboration with our key academic partners (TU Delft, Wageningen University and Research, and MIT) and the City of Amsterdam. We decided to tell our unique story in our latest publication: The Playbook, which we launched at our 10 year celebration. In The Playbook, we identify the seven building blocks of creating meaningful change in cities and document our evolution from a visionary concept to a globally recognized hub so others can learn from our journey.

Over the past decade, we have addressed a wide range of urban issues: from collapsing quay walls and myths surrounding timber construction to solutions to widespread energy poverty, air pollution and obstacles to achieving net-zero goals. The total project portfolio amounts to nearly 250 research projects. In all activities, we have promoted collaboration across borders, trained 163 “urban engineers” in the joint MSc MADE master's program of TU Delft and Wageningen University & Research, and supported the growth of nearly 100 urban tech startups!

Using project spotlights and exploring metropolitan innovation institutes worldwide, The Playbook reveals a tapestry of approaches to urban challenges. We hope that it will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in building urban innovation ecosystems. From city leaders to educators, researchers, and policymakers, the learnings can help address today's major urban challenges, nurture talent as the foundation for sustainable economic development, and promote new mechanisms for innovation and capacity building with and within our governments.

Dive into the Playbook here

“My sense of pride stems from the fact that in 2013, my city took the unprecedented step in launching a design competition for an institute of applied technology that led to the creation of AMS Institute. Founded by core academic partners TU Delft, Wageningen University & Research, and MIT, AMS Institute has developed from a plan on paper to a world-leading institute: a true partnership between academic partners and the city which today is the home of a continuous stream of innovation and talent.”

Femke Halsema, Mayor of Amsterdam

Mayor Halsema received a copy of The Playbook at our 10 year celebration

“We recognize the urgent need for urban innovation globally, as many cities, universities, and corporations want to enhance their initiatives. Together, these seven building blocks shaped AMS Institute, creating a partnership-driven institute and propelling urban innovation with tangible, scientifically grounded impact. Our experience over a decade and these seven building blocks can guide others, which is why we felt it was important to share The Playbook.”

Kenneth Heijns

Managing Director

District chairman Amelie Strens spoke at our 10 year celebration and received a copy of The Playbook

The event was not only a special moment to launch The Playbook, but to also celebrate our 10 years of impact

“Today, AMS Institue's total value exceeds 220 million euros and it collaborates with more than 1,000 private and public partners. It enabled the development of a broad, constantly evolving portfolio of research and innovation projects, based on academic excellence and focused on societal impact. From the Energielab Zuidoost with citizen involvement, to Damsko's Greenhouses [World Vegetable Gardens] in New West and circular solar panels at the Marineterrein: social impact that reaches far beyond the borders of Amsterdam.”

Ron Mazier, chairman of the AMS Institute board and WUR director of Corporate Strategy.

Take a quick glimpse at the seven building blocks:  

  1. True partnership

2. Build on talent

3. The power of permeability

4. Place matters in many ways

5. Solutions that matter  

6. The entrepreneurial state of mind

7. Learning by doing

“Without the Amsterdam design competition and typical Amsterdam guts, we would not be standing here today celebrating 10 years of collaborative knowledge and talent development. We thank the city for this.The complex challenges AMS Institute is working on, from energy transition to climate resilience, cannot be solved in the short term.But from the progress we have made so far, we know that this collaboration works. This institute works. TU Delft is looking forward to the next 10 years.”

Tim van der Hagen, Rector Magnificus/Chair of TU Delft's Executive Board

New institutions can take many forms and functions when working on scalable urban solutions. Now armed with the seven building blocks distilled from 10 years of institute building at AMS Institute, it's up to you to seize the moment and start applying them in your culture, community, and city.

If you are interested in applying these building blocks in your city and community, please be inspired by this Playbook and contact us at playbook@ams-institute.org.

Let’s work together to build a network of initiatives where academic excellence and societal impact merge to create scalable urban solutions for a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive cities!