AMS Wrap up Stimulus Projects 2017

The aim of Stimulus Projects is to give new and existing AMS partners support to innovative research that has a strong upscaling potential. Stimulus Projects realize short-term research output, which can act as a catalyst for a new solution direction, concept or approach. The projects may quickly assess the feasibility of ideas, or seek for a completely new and promising avenue of research and innovation. This year six projects were selected for the stimulus call. The most important research results of the projects are presented below.

  1. The Healthy Urban Route Planner (HURP)

Get somewhere quick, or get somewhere healthy? Contemporary route planners offer people an array of route choices for getting from A to B. But with pollution rates varying from street to street, what about the most healthy route? Cities are subject to urban heat islands and poor air quality, which is a burden to the health of those who live in cities. The project worked on developing a route planner algorithm that – instead of the shortest route – also offers the coolest route with minimum urban heat and the most healthy route with the least air pollution exposure. Currently, the project is in search of academic and non-academic partners to examine how the HURP can be extended with other environmental parameters and finer spatial detail.

  1. Think Fast, Go Slow

The urban population is growing and cities are promoting active modes as a healthy and sustainable means of transportation. However, the space available to accommodate these active modes has not grown accordingly. As a result cities are now facing over-crowded spaces, congestion in the bike lanes and safety issues at points of conflict between modes. There is an increasing need for accurate simulation models and analysis tools to support better planning, design, and management of urban mobility infrastructure for active modes based on empirical insight and behavioral theories. In ‘Think fast, go slow’ the suitability of MassMotion software was assessed as a platform for simulating walking and cycling behavior in shared spaces. Based on video footage of an existing shared space situation, a simplified social force model (SFM) was proposed to describe the behavior and interaction between two types of traffic agents, representing pedestrians and cyclists. The research developed a proof-of-concept tool that is able to simulate a plausible movement of pedestrians and cyclists.

  1. Automatic reconstruction of simulation-ready 3D city models

Computer simulation models are very important to assess the impact that environmental factors have in a city and will have in the future. Traditionally most environmental simulations have been performed by abstracting the 3D world to a 2D ‘flat’ representation (thus on a macro-level, not taking urban 3D characteristic into account), and this while we know that most environment processes are better modelled in 3D because they behave and interact in 3D: noise, air pollution, and temperature are a few examples. The research project resulted in improving the algorithms (and their implementation into a software), to automatically reconstruct semantic 3D city models from publicly available datasets and ensured that these contain as little errors as possible. A valuable improvement of simulation software to successfully assess the impact of environmental factors in a city. As a proof of concept, the project carried out a turbulent wind field analysis for assessing the air quality and pollution effects in Amsterdam.

  1. Circular Components in the Built Environment

Creating a circular economy (CE) within the built environment is one of today’s big societal challenges. Currently, the emphasis is on ‘recycling’ materials whilst a main principle of CE is to first maintain, reuse, and remanufacture products. The objective of this research was to develop a proof of principle for two exemplary ‘circular components’: The Circular Kitchen and Circular Central Heating Boiler, initially for adoption by Dutch housing associations. The proof of principle of the Circular Kitchen applies a plug-and-play concept and shows high potential for further market development. The kitchen consists of a docking station in which modules can be plugged in and out. The kitchen modules themselves are also divided in a long-life frame to which function modules (kitchen appliances, closet interiors) and style packages (e.g. front, countertop, handles) can be easily attached, using dry, click-on connections. The Circular Boiler, due to the uncertainties of the Dutch gas transition and characteristics of the current supply chain, requires re-iteration of the co-creation process to further develop the proof of principle.

  1. A Circular Supply Chain for the City

The main aim of the project was to demonstrate the feasibility of producing and making sustainable products out of biomaterials grown locally, using resources accessible within the metropolitan area of Amsterdam. Seaweeds – as the biomass of choice – was used as a research topic. The results demonstrated that seaweeds could be grown in the city, with only locally derived resources. However, doubt remains around the transport of an important input – namely seawater – to a culturing installation further land inward. It was concluded that steps should be undertaken to change to mariculture in the North Sea within relative proximity of the Amsterdam metropolitan area. Besides that, it was tested if and how seaweeds – combined with various mixtures of materials – could be extruded into functional 3D-printing filaments. The results showed that after improvements in the material’s ratio and extrusion process, filament properties improved significantly. It showed that pre-processing seaweed biomass to eliminate unwanted characteristics will enhance the filament properties for 3D printing.

  1. Amsterdam Reloaded

Amsterdam Reloaded addressed heritage vacancy and dilapidation, as a tool to also solve the challenge of un-affordable housing in Amsterdam. New, innovative business-, governance-, financing-, and partnership-models are needed to enable affordable renovation, maintenance and adaptive reuse of heritage buildings. A baseline study identified key stakeholders, obstacles, and enablers for adaptive reuse of heritage for residential purposes in Amsterdam. Research results showed that Dutch and international case studies show different approaches to user-led adaptive reuse of (heritage) buildings and the different financial, business, and governance models that could be applied. Although Amsterdam indicates not to have vacant or obsolete heritage, some newer heritage buildings and industrial heritage could be interesting for adaptive reuse.

For more information on the Stimulus projects contact stimulus @ams-instiute.org