Smart Cities op de Correspondent

Afgelopen week schreef Maurits Martijn een artikel naar aanleiding van de eerste Godwin-lezing gehouden door Hans Zwart, directeur van Bits of Freedom. In dit artikel haalde hij ook smart cities aan. Maurits Martijn schreef: “Naast een naïef geloof in de maakbaarheid van de samenleving gaat het hele ‘smart city’-denken, en de meeste andere toepassingen van Big Data, voorbij aan een ander cruciaal feit: je kunt het nemen van goede beslissingen niet overlaten aan algoritmen die dit doen op basis van zoveel mogelijk data.” In een reactie gaf ik de volgende kritiek op deze visie op smart cities:

Inderdaad, je kunt het nemen van goede beslissingen niet zomaar overlaten aan algoritmen, maar dat is niet waar het idee van Smart Cities over gaat. Er bestaat een heel scala aan definities van smart cities, en sommige organisaties/bedrijven (zoals IBM) richten zich inderdaad op de ontwikkeling van een gebouwde omgeving die ‘denkt’, waarbij beslissingsbevoegdheid gedelegeerd wordt aan ‘dingen’. Een stad is echter geen stad zonder inwoners, en een slimme gebouwde omgeving maakt nog geen slimme stad. Continue reading

Vrijheid van nieuwsconsumptie

Sinds een paar weken lees ik weer de krant. Misschien is dit wel de eerste keer dat ik actief nieuws bij houdt door middel van de krant, hiervoor was dit toch vaak de tv of schreeuwerige websites. Wat maakt het verschil? De krant valt niet via een abonnement op de deurmat, maar elk artikel is voor een paar cent 24/7 beschikbaar op m’n tablet of telefoon. Blendle heet dat. Een digitale krantenkiosk of leestafel, waar je niet betaald per krant, maar per artikel dat je leest.

Naast dat alleen betalen voor watje leest natuurlijk prettig is, zie ik het grootste voordeel in het brede aanbod. Mijn nieuwsaanbod wordt niet meer in een bepaald kader gestopt door de hoofdredacteur van NRC, Telegraaf, NOS of RTL. Ik lees Telegraaf, Volkskrant, Elsevier en NRC door elkaar, en voor wat luchtigers is er nog de Viva, Story of Autoweek. Nu maar hopen dat de eindbazen van blendle geen grappen uithalen met een persoonlijk aanbod op basis van je vorige interesses. lk blader het liefst door het brede aanbod, zonder iemand die denkt te weten wat ik interessant vind. Anders was ik prima tevreden geveest met een gewone krant op de mat, onafhankelijk van de internetverbinding.

Philosophy of… ?

Philosophy of… Science, Technology and Society. It’s a long name. It’s not pure philosophy. It’s not pure science, or engineering, or sociology.

So what is it?

It’s thinking and discussing the fine line between technology and science on the on side, and society and people on the other.
This is the master program I chose to study. During my bachelor education I faced several questions. How does this design affect people? How does it affect society?
Should we, as designers take this into account, and can we do this?

From my point of view, designers, engineers or planners should take these questions into account, but most of the time they can’t. Not because they don’t have the knowledge to do so, but because these questions don’t have priority. We do what we’re educated for, design, engineer or plan, and then there’s a deadline, or budget, or new project.

I do want to think about and focus on these kind of questions, preferable linked to practice. We face these situations everywhere in daily life, but do not always recognize them.
My ideas and questions related to the tension between technology and society in daily life can be found in this blog.

Spring Agora Enschede

After having organized many different projects, I had the opportunity to work on a last huge challenge in student organizations. European student association AEGEE focusses on integration between European citizens, by means of its network of 12,000 members in 200 antennae and international activities.

Twice a year, 1,000 students from all over Europe come together to discuss the future of Europe and AEGEE in an event called an Agora. In may 2012, the Agora was held in Enschede.
With a board of six members and two sub-committees, Foundation ICE was responsible for the organisation of this agora. My role in this organisation? I was president of foundation ICE, and therefore main coordinator of a five day conference with 800 participants.

What it has brought me? It thought me skills on so many different levels. The logistic challenge; communication with people from all over Europe, and therefore the troubles on digital meetings and the interesting things of cultural differences; managing and supporting a team of volunteers all undergoing their own learning experience and giving a speech on commemoration day on may 4th for 800 students, to underline the importance of the meaning of these two minutes of silence.

My team managed to succesfully organize this conference, with many compliments by all the participants, dealing with small crisis situations, without big problems. We delivered a very succesfull conference, there are many things we might do otherwise the next time, and these are all the things we learned from it.
I’m proud of what my team managed to do, the role I played in this success, and I would never want to miss this experience.

Urban Communication Pavilion

For my bachelor graduation project, I worked on the design of the Urban Communication Pavilion in Rome, Italy. The project took place at ENEA, Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development. In an individual project during three months, the Urban Communication Pavilion was designed to introduce Italians to the smart city paradigm. Next to designing, this project had a large focus on the design research, linked to the spatial planning in the surroundings of the design.

Designed for ENEA - Smart City Project

In our daily lifes, we are confronted more and more with ‘smart’ products: laptops, smartphones or automatic floor cleaners. This development is also taking place in urbanism by the development of the ‘smart city’ concept. Developments in this field are currently mostly on theoretical and technological aspects. In my bachelor assignment I worked on the design of a multifunctional interactive object to introduce italians to the smart city paradigm.
The project resulted in a conceptual design of a communication pavilion, designed for squares in Italy. Through the Urban Communcation Pavilion, users can share media (text, images, videos etc.) in public space. The different pavilions are connected to create a network, and media can be added by the use of mobile phones, the internet or at the pavilion itself.

Speech commemoration day – may 4th 2012 – Spring Agora Enschede

This is the speech I held for the 800 participants of Spring Agora Enschede, coming from all over Europe. The respect they showed during the following two minutes of silence, but mostly after these two minutes was impressive and touching.

Today. it has been 67 years since World War 2 ended in the Netherlands. After  the war, European leaders gathered to start a European cooperation. This was the start of the unification of Europe and therefore the beginning of a development that eventually enabled the birth of AEGEE.

Each year at the 4th of May, everybody in the netherlands is silent for 2 minutes to remember all war victims since world war 2. In recent history and even now, there are still countries in confict. Recent examples are the situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, and even conflicts in Europe, on the balkans or the caucasus.
In a few moments, our trompetist will predecent the two minutes of silence. We would like to ask you to respect these two minutes of silence.

Remember all victims of military conflicts, remember what we as Europeans strive for. Especially in AEGEE, an organization that is looking ahead.
We have to take in mind the lessons of the present and the past in order to be able to look ahead. To be able to move AEGEE towards the future of Europe.

Remember the victims, praise the freedom you have to be here, the freedom to contribute to a peacefull Europe.

AEGEE-Enschede

During my bachelor Industrial Design Engineering, I spent a year as board member of student association AEGEE-Enschede. Being responsible for Internal Affairs, this year has learned me loads, from working in a close team and human resources to my personal experiences in management and organization.

I look back at this year as some of the best experiences of the last years. I’ve learned so many things I couldn’t have learned with just studying, but it also brought me a lot of fun and the joy of organizing. One of the most important things for me to do all these extra activities, is the reactions of the people you do it for.