Today, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), the new institute for applied urban technology and design, opens officially in the building of the Royal Tropical Institute. The first three projects, one on flood resilience, one on sustainability strategies for urban metabolism, and one on smart solutions for urban mobility, are lined up and ready to start.
Launched on 20 June 2014, AMS now has its own premises in Amsterdam. The first three projects, Rain Sense, Urban Pulse, and Urban Mobility Lab, will start this year. All three match the key criteria for AMS projects: they involve the residents of Amsterdam besides institute partners, they will benefit the local population, and they are internationally recognised as innovative.
Rain Sense will make Amsterdam more resilient to flooding, and to damage from severe weather conditions like those experienced several times this summer, not least the torrential rainfall on 28 July. Thanks to smart innovations such as monitoring stations on lampposts, umbrellas that double up as mobile rain gauges, and an app that residents can download onto their phones, the researchers can track the rainfall in Amsterdam right down to street level. People with the app can report problems by uploading photos, noting the location of the rainfall, and remote-checking that their own home is dry. This will enable partners like Waternet to visualise potential problems in good time and take appropriate precautions to contain any damage from heavy downpours.
Urban Pulse generates the knowledge required to build sustainability strategies for energy, water, food, and natural resources in the city. A fresh approach to ‘urban metabolism’ can ensure that Amsterdam will be spared shortages of energy, water, food or natural resources in the future, and will ease the environmental pressure from the urban comings and goings. This can only be achieved by acquiring a clear and precise understanding of the flow patterns of these essential elements in the city and visualising them on the city map. Here too, the researchers use a combination of technology, models, and information from local residents, and team up with partners in the city.
Urban Mobility Lab analyses and predicts traffic flows – an extremely complex task in a metropolis like Amsterdam, given that transport and traffic are the result of millions of major and minor decisions. Will I take the car? Or the tram? Or will I walk? Where will I live and work? How do businesses get their deliveries? What’s the best place for that new station? Everything is interconnected in a complex web. AMS plans to build a unique laboratory to explore questions like these and the way they interact. The municipal organisations, businesses, and residents can work together in the Urban Mobility Lab to create new, cleaner, and more reliable mobility for everyone.
Renée Hoogendoorn, Director of AMS, is proud of these initiatives. She explains further: ‘These projects will make a deep impact on the city. What could be better than working to enhance the living and working climate in cities, improving the quality of life, containing damage, reducing traffic jams and pollution, and helping to make essentials – like energy, water, and food – available to everyone? There are more projects in the pipeline. And people will soon know what AMS is offering in terms of education and data platforms. AMS is now up and running. This office in Amsterdam was much needed, but we are also very happy with it. It is an interesting location where we can expand and develop AMS in the years to come.’
AMS is an international institute dedicated to developing and implementing solutions to metropolitan issues by applying a multidisciplinary approach. Residents participate as testers, users, and co-creators of products and ideas designed to improve the living and working climate in the city. Effectively, Amsterdam serves as the ‘living lab’ for AMS.
AMS is a combined initiative consisting of TU Delft, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Wageningen UR in partnership with the Municipality of Amsterdam. AMS is an open platform which anyone can connect to. It is already working with key partners such as Accenture, Alliander, Cisco, IBM, KPN, Shell and Waternet, Amsterdam Smart City, ESA, TNO, Waag Society, the Port Authority of Amsterdam, and the city of Boston.