Blog

Setting the Urban Agenda: 2016 Study Programs

Amsterdam is internationally recognized for its high quality urban development.  In the first half of 2016, Amsterdam will take a leading role in shaping the future of cities while hosting the EU Presidency.   The key goal is to adopt a declaration creating an European Urban Agenda with a focus on air quality, housing, urban
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Transport Day at COP21: Time for a new vision?

Last month I spent some time with transport professionals in Paris at COP21 for Transport Day.  Here are my thoughts on the event and the way forward. Why transport matters Transport already accounts for a quarter of global energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and is the fastest growing consumer of fossil fuels worldwide.  Much of this growth
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Sustainable Amsterdam Study Tours in 2016!

After successfully piloting a number of study tours in 2015, Sustainable Amsterdam is now offering eight different tours.   All tours discuss the six areas defining a sustainable city: people, governance, environment, economy, mobility and living, in the context of different themes as described below. Note that there will be no public tours in January 2016.  Email cornelia@sustainableamsterdam.com to schedule a
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Reguliersbreestraat

Reguliersbreestraat has long been a busy commercial street leading to Rembrendtplein, Amsterdam’s historic butter market.  Its current design is an acknowledgment that people are better at shopping than cars – although many cities maintain the false notion that parking is good for business.   This redesign illustrates how busy streets can be used to experiment with reduced car
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Maasstraat

Maastraat shows how wider streets can be made safer and more social by adding bike lanes and traffic calming elements.   Particularly wide streets common in North American cities should be seen as an opportunity to create vibrant streets that accommodate many different types of users and activities.  Where there is will, planners and engineers
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Museumplein

Museumplein is the cultural heart of Amsterdam.  Its redesign in the 1990s has turned this space in a true urban “living room”, with many events and festivals now taking place here, along with lingering, relaxing, people-watching and sun-bathing.   The current situation resonates with Jan Gehl’s observation that “a good city is like a good party –
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Haarlemmerplein

At Haarlmeeerplein, traffic was choked and the additional space used to enlarge an existing square.  A weekly market now takes place here on Wednesdays, illustrating the range of functions streets can serve, not just for moving cars, but also as places for human exchange and interaction. Haarlemmerplein ca. 1970s (Amsterdam Archives) & 2015 (Thomas Schlijper)
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Plantage Middenlaan

Plantage Middenlaan illustrates one of the most dramatic street redesigns in Amsterdam in recent years. The current situation is the result of several iterations that incrementally took space from cars and reallocated it to pedestrians and cyclists, until cars were banned completely.  The change from asphalt to grass also helps capture storm water – an
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Livable Cities Campaign

Some of the most harmful problems that cities face today are the result of car-centric development leading to chronic congestion, local pollution, and loss of public space with negative effects on economic development and citizens’ quality of life. Sustainable Amsterdam is about sharing the innovations that make Amsterdam a livable city and learning from others
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SmartR City Tour

There’s much talk about “smart cities” these days, and many people think that technology lies at the center of these discussions.  But what makes your smart phone smart is not the technology per se, but the way its applications make your life more easy, productive, and fun.  In the same way, smart city claims should
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