Photo 1: Iamsterdam logo at Museum Square, Iamsterdam 2016
The developments discussed in my blogposts show the transition of Amsterdam’s linear flows of material mobility, water and energy into a circular process that has made waste become a resource within of itself. Economically, Amsterdam’s sustainable agenda also provides the city with up to 50,000 jobs and 7 billion in revenue in the long run.
Hence, the city’s success in creating a win-win scenario underlines the potential of urban areas in driving sustainability and fighting climate change:
Being responsible for over 67% of total global energy consumption and more than 70% of greenhouse gas emissions urban domains offer great potential for reduction of environmental impact of humans around the world.
United Nations University
URBAN UTOPIA? NOT SO FAST…
As with all UPE assemblages, socio-natural processes are influenced by political structures and on the conditions provided by local actors and authorities (Griezen and Roemers, 2014). These hindrances form the ‘invisible’ flows within urban metabolisms. This includes the unequal structures set in place in negotiating the environmental impacts of the development of Schiphol Airport. Furthermore, the city’s prominent focus on the port areas around the Ij has meant that innovation and smart schemes have ignored large parts of the city (including the historical centre and various garden suburbs) wherein most of the population resides.
The successful provision of preconditions in the Northern regions of Amsterdam thus demonstrates an isolated development, but nonetheless highlights the potential that exists in using technologies for the interests of creating equitable development in other regions of Amsterdam (Nam and Pardo, 2011).
Figure: The city’s wider circular initiatives and smart technologies focusing on the port regions of the River Ij (Where Noord and Buiksloterham lie) and Schiphol Airport – Metabolic Amsterdam
Being an indecisive person, I explored many cities around the world. However, it was when reading through UPE readings that I realized how many of these metabolic flows related to Amsterdam. My posts only cover a small subset of the UPE linkages of Amsterdam, and if word limits allowed, I would gladly explore the manmade natures at the Amsterdamse Bos, as well as the sand dunes that prevent the city from submerging.
This task has allowed me to learn about the metabolism of Amsterdam, and I am glad to have used this opportunity to showcase the flows that form unique the city that I call home.
Photo 2: Amsterdam streets at night, Shutterstock 2017
Giezen, M. and G. Roemers (2014). Metabolism in context the metabolic Planner: Reflection on Urban Planning from the Perspective of Urban Metabolism.
Nam, T., and T.A. Pardo (2011). ‘Conceptualizing smart city with dimensions of technology, people, and institutions. In technology, people and institutions. In Proceedings of the 12th annual international digital government research conference: digital government innovation in challenging times, pp. 282-291. ACM