Having worked in a team of social innovators on the 2012 Social Safari case for the Environmental and Building Department (DMB) of Amsterdam. We are challenged to look into ways to make the Albert Cuyp market greener, and raise awareness of the issue of environmental sustainability among the people interacting with the market such as locals, salespeople, tourists. The Albert Cuyp Market is a great place to increase environmental awareness and can become a pilot to make markets more sustainable. At markets, much of the merchandise is sold off in plastic bags and there is a problem with litter at the end of the day. 

We decided bring representatives from the municipality to the market for a pop up think tank, where market vendors, customers, locals and tourist could come and brainstorm innovative solutions for linking profitability with sustainability. Our intervention is process in three stages:
  1. The representatives from the local authority would stand in a market stall helping sell market products. The aim is that this will help them understand the situation of the vendors better, as well as building relationship and understanding by taking part in the life of the market.
  2. The representatives from the municipality will sit on an table in the middle of the market brainstorming solutions with stakeholders in the marketplace. 
  3. The experiences and learning from the day pop up think tank would then be feed back to other colleagues at the municipality via videos, photos and stories from the brainstorms.

We found that by taking the discussions out of the office, and into the streets an entirely different dynamic was taking place between our main stakeholders. The results was a day of engaging, open and constructive brainstorming sessions between  representatives from the municipality, market vendors, local residents, tourists, local business owners and customers.

Find the Social Safari website here. 
Find the presentation here.
Find the blog here.

"Eco-cities: fad or a sustainable (development) option?" The eco-city concept can, by no means, be considered a fad. A fad, by definition, is limited in its duration and its influence on thinking and human behaviour. The term “eco-city” dates back to the 1970s and has been gaining ground, albeit unevenly, ever since. The concept is generally attributed to Richard Register, the co-founder of Urban Ecology (1975) and the eco-city movement, later to become Ecocity Builders (1992). While these dates coincide with the emergence of the concept of “sustainable development” (Stockholm 1972) and its global action plan (Agenda 21 - Rio 1992), the two concepts have different origins and intended outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to briefly describe the genesis of the various city movements including the eco-city movement, how the latter compares with other movements and initiatives, and where we stand today in terms of meeting the sustainability challenges facing our increasingly urbanised and rapidly urbanising world.