In Centrinno, nine cities including Amsterdam are working on new strategies and work methods for inclusive and sustainable urban development. As a partner, Waag coordinates these pilots, including the one in our home city Amsterdam - which makes for a 'test bed' to try out newly developed strategies before we transmit them to other cities. Centrinno is closely connected to Waag themes such as making culture, heritage, urban development and the Fab City agenda. 

In many places in Europe, over the last few decades we have seen how new creative economies, located at former industrial heritage sites and surrounding digital technology, have helped cities become more attractive towards innovators and entrepreneurs. In most cases, this is led by the idea of economical growth, without taking into account the costs, and without connecting to local cultural and societal contexts. More often than not, the communities living on these sites are only allowed to be present temporarily. The sites are to be taken over by project developers and land owners eventually. This results into the desertion and exploitation for financial gain of industrial areas with a lot of historical value for Europe, without ever relating to local knowledge and without creating value on the local level.

At the same time, we see the ways Maker Spaces, Fab Labs, Creative Hubs and other kinds of third spaces are enabling digital technologies to stimulate creativity, while at the same time creating local impact related to questions and needs on the local level of the city.

In Centrinno, we research the possibilities to connect these, currently separate, developments in nine pilots. How can we turn industrial, historical heritage sites and areas into creative, cultural production centres called Fab City Hubs, that:

  1. work with the ecological challenges of our time
  2. stimulate a diverse, inclusive, innovative economy for the city
  3. and use heritage as a catalyst for innovation and social inclusion?

How do skilled workers, makers, small businesses, Fab Labs, Food Labs and Maker Spaces become valuable players in our future cities? How do we create places where all these stakeholders can meet each other, while being offered innovative forms of learning, in order to develop new skills? We aim to promote social inclusion and economic growth in European cities, by (re-)valuing craftsmanship and culture as the engine for innovation.

In co-creation with local stakeholders, the Centrinno project maps out how urban industrial heritage sites can accelerate the development of fundamentally sustainable and inclusive EU cities. From 2021, the Amsterdam pilot will take place in the Buiksloterham area. This area is rich in both material and immaterial heritage connected to craftsmanship and industry. It already has a lively and creative culture today. But in this area and its direct surroundings, creative education programmes are not sufficed to connect with their outside world. This leads to creative craftsmanship not fully being able to bloom, despite the inspiring local context. During their education, students have unlimited access to extensive sets of tools for (digital) fabrication. But after graduating, it is challenging for them to still access this often expensive machinery, a communal work space and the network of the creative industry and its stakeholders, in order to create blooming businesses. With its approach, Centrinno aims to connect these facilities and practices. We aim to create an alternative to further gentrification of the Buiksloterham area, as a site for living, learning, creativity and productivity.

The other European Centrinno pilots are following similar approaches on themes such as local food systems, textiles, fashion and furniture. They are taking place in Barcelona (Poblenou), Milan (ex-Ansaldo), Paris (Mouzaia, Jardin des Traverses), Copenhagen (North-west), Geneva (Zone Industrielle de Charmille), Tallinn (Kopli), Blonduos (Kvennaskólinn) and Zagreb (Sesvete).

Comune di Milano and the Institut d'arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya are coordinating the full European Horizon 2020 project of Centrinno. In The Netherlands, Waag is collaborating with Pakhuis de Zwijger, the Hout- en Meubileringscollege, Metabolic Institute, sQuare, Imagine IC and the Amsterdam University of the Arts. Check out the full overview of all European partners in Centrinno.

Project duration

1 Sept 2020 - 29 Feb 2024




  • Pakhuis de Zwijger
  • Hout- en Meubileringscollege
  • Metabolic Institute
  • sQuare
  • Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten
  • Imagine IC
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The Centrinno project is financed by the research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 of the European Union under grant no. 869595.