From the cultivation of food to the delivery of packages: the “neighborhood center” as an interface in the city of the future

One of the most important changes shaping our relationship with technology is the role that artificial intelligence will play in the urban community. This intelligence promises to contribute to social relationships, efficiency and sustainability. But it also affects the shape of mobility, the way we distribute goods and how we produce food. Will this new life together really be more fun? The question is: how do we design services that can be used by everyone in a city, and what effects does this have on social structures?

These questions inspire research from the Field Lab Cities of Things, part of the multi-year Creative Embassy Amsterdam-Munich program. The leading sector of the creative industries has been working on the formation of a Dutch-German cooperation for several years. The first field lab will start on 11 October in Munich with the signing of a letter of intent by the city administrations of Amsterdam and Munich (the city councilor Everhardt of Amsterdam and the speaker Baumgartner of Munich) with the participation of several German and Dutch partners. This is the beginning of this transnational field laboratory program with German-Dutch partners.

Future concepts for life in the city

Future concepts for urban life are considered together. It examines how solutions might differ in a Munich context or an Amsterdam context. Consider for example the question of the legal status of an autonomous delivery service. Will there ever be? Do you believe.

the questions are good. You have to look for the answers together. If the people involved in Amsterdam and Munich do this, workable solutions can also be found for other European cities.

Some questions to answer at the start of the field lab:

  • How does the idea of ​​sharing cars, but also the number of vans, affect the dynamics of a residential area of ​​a city?
  • Could local food production be organized into vertical “farms” as part of the neighborhood ecosystem?
  • How can city dwellers, young and old alike, benefit from services such as mutual loan of tools or books?
  • And how can such services really foster a sense of community?

This type of “community idea” is well suited to a newly built neighborhood or part of the city. But what is possible in already densely populated areas where space is limited? The cities of Munich and Amsterdam want to learn from each other and exchange experiences. After all, although the infrastructure and ecosystem are different in both cities, the “human” scale is the same.

The neighborhood center as an interface

There are different levels: the level of urban infrastructure, the level of residents and the political level. A “neighborhood center” in a neighborhood could act as an interface for several areas. From shopping to accepting parcels, up to a solution for the “last mile delivery”, the last phase of the delivery of the goods. After all, how many different delivery people walk the same road in one day? Shouldn’t there be a solution for this? Efficiency and accountability can also be looked at more closely. The first workshop of the Field Lab City of Things, which will take place in Munich on the afternoon of 11 October, will also deal with the effects of future developments. Several actors deal with this topic. From mobility solution providers to financial institutions, from logistics companies to energy suppliers and the real estate sector. And above all … The same inhabitants of a neighborhood.

The collaboration between Amsterdam and Munich offers the possibility of sustainable innovations for a future-proof city. Not to stop at fine words, the discussions in the Cities of Things Field Lab begin with a declaration of intent between Amsterdam and Munich.

Build prototypes together

The Field Lab explores the possibilities of future cities where we live with intelligent “things”. This creates new opportunities, but it also has an impact on life in the city and on how society is experienced as citizens. It is hoped that it is indeed possible for the Germans and the Dutch to design prototypes together for some technical and infrastructural challenges of the cities of the future. Creative Embassy partners are working together in the Cities of Things Field Lab to study innovations in cities. Finally, a field lab is a good medium for this type of discussion. Cross-border cooperation and mutual knowledge of German and Dutch characteristics are important when it comes to such a topic. After all, there are many different points of view. The close collaboration between the two cities, their joint research and dialogue could therefore lead to relevant solutions.

Thanks for the cooperation to Iskander Smit (Cities of Things, TUdelft) and Frieke Meijer-Schepman (Munich City Council)

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