by Tom Bosschaert

Jan. 14, 2016

Tom Bosschaert

Dear friends, colleagues, and partners, Winter is coming and just before the end of the year we like to update you on what we've been up to. We've revamped our internal organization, and launched no less than six new content programmes. Meanwhile, we've released some neat new infographics on wind energy and wastewater, are working on agriculture on sustainable islands, developing software for circular economies, and hosted talks and lectures around the world on systemic innovation and resilient sustainability. As always, we couldn't do this without the support we are receiving from all over the world. A big thanks to our supporters and partners, and great holidays wishes from all of us.

Our biggest news is the launching of six new development programs. Each program has a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of experts working on furthering the agenda of that topic.

The programs are:

  • Urban Renaissance - Transforming cities and neighborhoods into resilient communities
  • Future Proof Buildings - Transforming buildings and wastelands into profitable social hubs
  • Industry & Food - Circular economies, bio-based industries, and food solutions
  • Strategic sustainability - Transitioning companies to sustainable powerhouses
  • Knowledge Management & Software - From big data analysis to online communities
  • Communication & Training - Engage audiences through visuals, training and workshops

Expect to hear more about each of these programs in the near future as we're partnering up with organizations around the globe to solidify them. Interested in partnering or more information? Let us know where your interest lies, and we'll connect you with the program manager.

This infographic visualizes local impacts of wind turbine development. The graphic is used in conversations with local stakeholders, and guides the conversation to address all topics and impacts.

By providing honest and complete information Eneco Wind aims to increase support for wind energy from local stakeholders.

The Opportunity Map Wastewater invites local governments and inhabitants to find sustainable solutions for wastewater management. The map contains examples of sustainable solutions like energy from wastewater, hydropower, wind, and solar.

The opportunity map is presented at the Hier Opgewekt congres to the state minister Wilma Mansveld. We collaborated on the Roadmap Wastewater management towards 2030 with: The Association of Regional Water Authorities, Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten, and Det Norske Veritas (DNV).

How to feed an island sustainably? We're exploring how Polydome can be integrated with island communities to provide fresh and healthy food, but also provide work and education.

We're excited about the possible collaboration with TU Delft's Ocean Thermal Energy project in Curaçao. An OTEC side benefit is chilled soil agriculture created by cold seawater flowing through underground manifolds, chilling the soil and condensing moisture. The temperature difference makes plants grow like crazy, further boosting Polydome's high productivity.

Tom was invited as a guest speaker and panel member at the World Forum for Natural Capital in Edinburgh (see #NatCap13). Business leaders from around the world joined an accelerating debate around natural capital, and moving to put the first measures into place in policy and business.

Putting a price on nature is extremely difficult, but both business and government leaders agree that it should be accounted for one way or another, and fast! As a response, we set up a new themed program on Natural Capital to support it with SiD and software tools. Want to collaborate on moving NC further? Let us know.

Last autumn's Grid Night was in the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, attended by some 80 people. Our guest speakers tickled, challenged and inspired the audience around three main City of Tomorrow topics: "Future Foods", "Future Cities" and "Future Life". Missed it? Here’s a wrap up of the night with videos. A new Grid Night is planned for an inspiring 2014, look out for an invitiation! #GridNight

Elke rocked the stage at TEDx Leiden, linking architecture, environmental psychology, evidence based design, and healing environments. Within the ‘Circles of Life’ theme she presented Urban Renaissance as a smart urban redevelopment system. As guest lecturer, Elke also inspired over 90 students about transformation of cultural heritage at Avans Hogeschool during the sustinability minor week.

Tom and Piero presented Urban Renaissance to 100 city planners in Milan at KCity's City Making event. KCity is an inspiring city planning team, and our newest partner for the Urban Renaissance program. We look forward to collaborate on projects such as the Expo 2015 and social housing transformation in Italy.

  • The old developer-way of building our cities is bankrupt. What's the next step? Cobouw published our article about urban redevelopment (Dutch).
  • Kenniscafé Emmen hosted an enthusiastic crowd of 180 people for Tom’s lecture on integrated sustainability. Many questions and discussions emerged to develop a more sustainable region. See the video here (Dutch). The DvhN newspaper interviewed Tom in advance of the Kenniscafé (Dutch).
  • Over 75% of the organizations indicate that sustainability is not integrated well within our education system, this poses a threat to our future competitive advantage. Check the results of Walter and the Groene Generatie's research.

  • Caroline fuels our projects with the latest eco-innovations in green tech and urban development.
  • Laurina is a social entrepreneur, and builds on social and environmental value for island communities.
  • Chris focuses on business, technology and the challenge of sustainability as a world-savvy business developer, and works on new food systems.
  • Copper8 is a young consultancy organization that focuses on sustainable projects. You might have met them on the City of Tomorrow Grid Night where they were guest speaker. We partnered up and look forward to collaborate on projects in the near future.
  • KCity, (spoken as "Capacity"), is an innovative city planning team, based in Milan. Piero and Tom presented at their event City Making, and formed a partnership in the Urban Renaissance program.

Six people from the Except team share their recent insights.

"Change happens when you give it a chance."

"I learned that change needs a spark, an idea, and a vision that cannot be forced. It cannot be planned and pushed into structured processes. Change occurs when you step back and leave people free to run with it. This is also the key to empower local communities and business: to provide the ideas and tools for them to activate their own change." - Aki Ackerman

"Use the power of storytelling."

"During the preparation of my last presentation at TedX, I was lucky to be coached on creating ‘the story’. Normally I describe processes using visualizations, but now I learned how to tell a story. A story that people can relate to, remember, and repeat to their friends. How? Use short sentences with descriptive examples. Present like you talk to your friends, and explain why it is important to you. This way you keep your audience close and will spread the word." - Elke Miedema

"Master your own patterns in time."

"I noticed patterns in time, where projects would be busy or quiet. I learned that not every moment of my life will be creative and busy. I can just let go sometimes, and it will always come back to me. Feeling and being aware of the rhythm of these periods helps me to create a durable working life." - Noémie Benoit

"Get a child, or pretend to have one."

"I noticed that a colleague, who is a single dad, has a great balance between work and life. It's exactly his duties as a father that force him to take a step back from work. Good has to be good enough, because his responsibilities consist of more than just work. Ever since, I try to spend some hours home each day, not working. I succeed more and more often." - Walter Faaij

"Spread contagious enthusiasm."

"I've been working on my project in Brazil; a 75 hectares restoration agriculture farm that mimics the model devised by Allan Savory. I'm learning how to create a profitable, ecologically sound farm producing nutrient dense food while regenerating soil, biodiversity and water tables. I hope it'll be a model for other farmers in the region, too, and spread the word with a knowledge partner." - Marcos Spinella

We’d love to hear your adventures. Get in touch via Twitter_USA, Twitter_NL, Facebook, or Linkedin. With the entire team we already wish you happy holidays and all the best in 2014.

Jan. 14, 2016