Montreal, San Francisco, Singapore, Barcelona, Stockholm, London, New York City: many metropolises now rely on new information and communications technologies (NICT) and smart grids to support an urban renewal policy that is economically and socially sustainable. Among these cities, Amsterdam appears to be a trailblazer. Until 2013, the city will be the launch and demonstration site for the World Smart Capital Initiative. Amsterdam owes this status to its Amsterdam Smart City (ASC) initiative.
The ASC platform was established in June 2009 by the Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM) development agency, Liander electrical distribution network, and the Municipality of Amsterdam to facilitate initiatives designed to promote its policy energy. Amsterdam Smart City is a project incubator that connects and supports partnership collectives from all backgrounds prepared to test innovative services in the heart of the city. Amsterdam’s experience suggests promising avenues of discussion and exploration with respect to the governance of innovation and mobilizing private investment.
What is the purpose of these local projects? To contribute to the objective of reducing the city’s CO2 emissions by 40%. Currently, ASC oversees 71 partners involved in over 20 pilot projects covering a wide range of concerns, including the installation of smart meters in homes, raising awareness among schoolchildren, and raising community funding for seven wind turbines in a northern district of the city.
Among these initiatives, in Utrechtsestraat (a shopping street) presents projects that touch on all aspects that are targeted by ASC: housing, businesses, transport infrastructure, and public spaces. The project, known as Klimatstraat(Climate Street), aims to bring together over 100 entrepreneurs and merchants to achieve its objectives.
Even if initial results are not up to the city’s expectations (0.5% of CO2 emission reduction objectives), ASC is exhibiting an original governance approach in efforts to give rise to projects led by groups consisting of a variety of players, including businesses, public agencies, municipal services, university institutions, and others.
ASC is not a project developer, but rather an initiative accelerator and lever for raising private funds.
The platform brings together players who wish to test innovative services in the field. It studies local needs and develops concepts in response to them. Once a pilot project has been selected, partners are free to act. They establish a partnership agreement dedicated to the project, which allows them to devise custom management practices for each situation. In conjunction with the municipality, project locations may be granted a more flexible regulatory status. Partnership collectives take on financial responsibility for their projects in order to guarantee its financial viability; they also assign their own human resources to the project. ASC allows the various partnership collectives to share their experience in the form of feedback.
Next step : to associate the residents, as users of the services being tested by ASC.
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