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AUIW: Reinventing Cities by Grassroots Innovation

How to foster a new wave of innovation in cities through the new, emerging grassroots platforms, stakeholders and projects next to the traditional way of city planning and smart city approaches?

Participate in this exciting closing session of the Amsterdam Urban Innovation week. A range of international experts of grassroots (bottom up) innovation projects will address how to integrate this new stream of urban innovation activities into ‘regular’ city planning. As an example of grassroots civic innovators, the first fellows of our Code4EU fellowship program, will share their experiences. We will discuss:

  • How it feels to code temporarily for a city and share the code among other cities?
  • Experiences on how these change agents can change the way of governing cities.

The Amsterdam Urban Innovation Week addresses in 2013 the theme “redesigning growth” in cities. Cities are currently struggling with severe budget cuts and reconsidering or even often calling off some city (neighborhood) renewal plans. At the same time an important layer of creativity and voluntarism is appearing in cities that is often still untapped; however this could bring a new wave innovation cycles in cities, with different resources. The main problem is that city governance and bottom up/grassroot initiatives are not always having an intersection, mutual recognition or conversation at all. Therefore we are opening this discussion freely here.

Questions that will be covered during this session:

  • How city governance and the new, self-organizing platforms, grassroots activities could interact with each other?
  • Are the cities able to start a dialog and count on these grassroots movements? Will there be a shift in ownership? Who can plan and redesign public spaces?
  • How can grassroots city innovators voice up next to the traditional stream of ‘corporate driven’ smart city stakeholders and traditional top down city governance?
  • What are the best practices of ‘grassroots inspired city innovation’ projects?


Moderator: Frank Kresin (Research Director of Waag)

  • 14.00-14.30 - Introduction
    Amsterdam welcomes innovation and empowers creative citizens (R. van Ark, director of Economic Affairs, City of Amsterdam)
    Welcome – by city of AMS (K. Gallyas) Economic Affairs, city of Amsterdam (Open Innovation in AMS in snapshot)
    Outlines of Civic Grassroots innovation and Open Innovation as an important city redesign tool (prof. E. Almirall, ESADE)
  • 14.30-15.45 - Session 1 - Grasstoots innovation patterns from New York till Helsinki
    Keynote I (20 min) - Ayen Tran: How Change By Us Platform does speed up civic innovation in New York, Phoenix, Seattle - The bottom up city redesign driven by Change By Us platform? (Local Projec ts, New York).
    Keynote II (20 min) - Peter Corbett, CEO iStrategy Lab, Washington – Hacking the Physical World with Real –Time Data.
    Keynote III (15 min) - Martijn Arnoldus, Kennisland – The case of Voor je Buurt, citizen engagement platform
    Panel Interview (20 min). The underestimated forces behind Grassroots - Experts (City and innovation agency representatives) are discussing the impact of bottom up innovation experiences on cities such as Helsinki, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Barcelona. Francesca Bria- Imperial College London
  • 16:00-17.30 - Session 2 - Amsterdam Smart Cities and Civic Innovation Landscape in Amsterdam
  • 16:00-16:15 - Smart Cities AMS – How local Smart Cities program is adapting the Citizens as new enabler for civic innovation? – by Viviene Bolsius (Smart Cities Amsterdam)
  • 16:15-17:15 - In the spotlight – A Demonstrator Grassroots Project: Code4EU (2012-2015)
    Opening Up Traditional Governance structure with Change Agents Code for Europe as a demonstrator project to work with (bottom up) App Developer Change Agents that are temporarily contracted by cities
    Concept of Code for Europe - Suzanne Heerschop, Waag- 5’
    Elevator Pitch of Coders: Showing the Apps the first Code Partners were working on 6 different cities (10 x 2’) - 20’
    Code Partners and City hosts are looking back on first fellowship: interview form
    Thanks from the project lead to the active engagement of the first fellows (ESADE, Barcelona)
  • 17.15-17.30 - Call voor new Code Partners (for the following fellowship periode in 2014) - New Coders and Cities are welcome to join (Anne-Jan Zieleman, from City of Amsterdam en Giovanni Maggini – Code Partner Code4EU )
  • 17:30-18.30 - Marketplace for grass root innovation projects and enablers(free interaction with public between the different grassroots stakholders and public) Code4EU, Open Cities, CitySDK, Smart Cities Amsterdam?, Stadslab, …Open State Foundation, Europa Horizon 2020 program, ENOLL, ForumVirium, Dotopen, Activa@22)
  • 19.00-22.00 Exclusive Dinner with keynotes and Code4EU representatives
    Organizer: Katalin Gallyas (Policy Advisor Open Innovation Economic Affairs City of Amsterdam) 




Waag, Nieuwmarkt 4, Amsterdam