Ethan Kent

Ethan Kent works at PPS, supporting placemaking organisations, projects, and leadership around the world for a global placemaking movement to build systemic change towards place-led urbanisation.

During the almost twenty years at PPS – founded by his father – he travelled to more than 800 cities and 55 countries to promote and advance the cause of Placemaking and public spaces. He has worked on over 200 PPS projects and led a broad spectrum of placemaking efforts. Utilising his broad experience and knowledge, Kent creates and conducts placemaking training courses for professionals of various disciplines, from city planning staff in Vancouver, to public housing developers in Sweden.

Kent wants to institutionalise placemaking in cities, and therefore initiated and led local Placemaking Partnerships and Campaigns with public, private and non-profit leaders. He has applied his strategy in many cities including Chicago, San Antonio, Seattle, San FranciscoFlint, MIMexico CityQuito, Nairobi, Adelaide, and Mississauga.

This approach has had the most tangible effect in New York City where Ethan co-founded the NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign. The campaign and its projects led to a significant shift in NYC transportation policy including a Public Plaza Program, managed by former PPS staff, that is reclaiming street space for dynamic new public spaces throughout the city.

Ethan also forges major partnerships to advance public spaces and Placemaking, including leading the creation of the “Heart of the Community” program with Southwest Airlines,

He is a Senior Fellow with the Insitute for Place Management.

Ethan Kent will speak about his experiences at the conference Co-Creating the City on Thursday 21 June.

Ger Baron

Ger Baron is the first Chief Technology Officer of Amsterdam. In this capacity, he’s responsible for innovation in the city. He has to make sure new technologies are used in a smart way to resolve problems, such as mobility, connectivity or issues concerning the nuisance caused by parked bikes. In some cases, rules need to be changed and in all cases, it is important for stakeholders to meet.

Ger Baron will share his experiences at the conference Together – Strategies on How to Make the City of Tomorrow on Wednesday 20 June.

Christian Iaione

Christian Iaione is a professor of Public Law at the LUISS University of Rome and has done pioneering research on the city as a commons. Ianione argues the importance of better cooperation between urban stakeholders, in which several parties feel responsible for the city and its public space.

Iaione believes that if several parties take responsibility for this space, the streets, parks, and squares and other public spaces in the city will benefit. Iaione has started several urban projects to promote this idea in which universities, companies, government agencies and social organisations work closely together with residents and initiators. Iaione also advocates new regulations to optimise these collaborations.

He will speak about his experiences at the conference  Co-Creating the City on Thursday, June 21.

Everyone Healthy in the City

The urban environment has a significant impact on the physical well-being of its inhabitants. Living in a small space with a lot of people puts a lot of pressure on hygiene, air quality, open spaces, nature, and opportunities for exercise.

How can we convince people to eat healthily and exercise in the urban environment?

Also, there seems to be a strong connection between aspects of education, income and cultural background on the one hand and health on the other. Looking at postal codes, we can see big differences in health in different area’s. It’s a growing concern in our growing cities.

Measuring the exact impact is a complex task, and it raises several issues. We will look at these issues from different points of view at the conference Everyone Healthy in the City: how can we both understand and diminish the differences in physical well-being? How can we convince people to eat healthily and exercise in the urban environment? How can we decrease loneliness in Amsterdam neighbourhoods? And what are the implications of the advancing digital fabrication – making it possible to fabricate your own products – on the self-sufficiency of patients and their environment?

The conference Everyone Healthy in the City will take place on Thursday 21 June and is co-hosted by AMCGGD, AHTIAmsterdam Economic BoardWaag en de Gemeente Amsterdam.

Toni L. Griffin

Toni L. Griffin is a designer, planner, and researcher with years of experience in combining the practice of architecture, urban design and planning with the execution of innovative, large-scale, mixed-use urban redevelopment projects, and citywide and neighbourhood planning strategies. Design, inclusiveness, and justice are key in her work.

She is the founder of the firm Urban Planning for the American City in New York, and through her practice, she served as project director for the Detroit Work Project Long Term Planning Initiative and released Detroit Future City, a comprehensive citywide framework for urban transformation.

Just City Lab explores the definition of ‘urban justice’ and ’the just city’. What is the impact of design and planning on the inclusiveness of cities and neighbourhoods?

Griffin started her career as an architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in her hometown Chicago, where she was an associate partner involved in architecture and urban design projects in London and Chicago. 

At the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Griffin leads the Just City Lab, which explores the definition of ‘urban justice’ and ‘the just city’, as well as the impact of design and planning on the resilience and inclusiveness of cities, neighbourhoods, and the public space.

Griffin will speak on June 20 and June 21 about her experiences with planning and designing the ‘just city’.

Karl-Filip Coenegrachts

Smart City Innovation Accelerator Karl-Filip Coenegrachts is responsible for the long-term strategy of Ghent smart city strategy, data and information management, and future urban strategies for Ghent Group.

He specialised in European Law and subsequently worked for the Federal Ministry of Justice as coordinator for the European Union, the UN and Schengen in the field of criminal legislation and home affairs. In 2001, he chose a career in local government, in Ghent as a political advisor to the Deputy Mayor responsible for personnel and IT. He co-founded Digipolis which uses ICT to improve living and working conditions in the city, and Gentinfo , the first local government civil service center in Europe.

As head of the Department of Strategy, Co-ordination and International Relations of the City of Ghent and Chief Strategy Officer in 2015 he is responsible for the long-term strategy of Ghent smart city strategy, data and information management, and future urban strategies for Ghent Group (local government and government agencies in Ghent). He has a special interest in urban trend watching and foresight and founded the City of People concept.
He is currently expert on the Board of Directors of Digipolis, Ghent representative in the Executive Committee of Eurocities, and Member of the Board of the Knowledge Centre Flemish Cities.

Karl-Filip Coenegrachts will talk about his experiences at the conference Co-Creating the City on Thursday 21 June.

Sheila Foster

How do we ensure both environmental benefits and environmental taxes are fairly distributed?

Sheila Foster is a professor in Government Policy and in Law at Georgetown University. Foster has written several publications about land use, environmental law and anti-discrimination legislation. Much of her work is about environmental justice: how do we ensure that both environmental benefits and environmental taxes are fairly distributed? Especially in New York and New Jersey, Foster has worked with many communities on the issues raised by this environmental justice.

Foster has received several awards for her work on environmental justice and urban development. Her most recent work focuses on the legal and theoretical framework in which the decisions regarding land use are made, especially in urban contexts.

Foster is a speaker at the conference Co-Creating the City on Thursday, June 21.

Anni Sinnemäki

Anni Sinnemäki is deputy mayor of Helsinki, being responsible for real estate and city planning. From 2017 onwards she’s the deputy mayor for Urban Environment. She pushes for public transport; in 2020 an autonomous bus line will be piloted as part of the FABULOS project which focuses on how cities can use self-driving minibusses in a systemic way, which should stimulate people swapping their cars for public transport.

Anni Sinnemäki was elected to the Finnish parliament in 1999 and was the Minister for Labour from 2009 to 2011. In 2009 she was also chosen to be the chairwoman of the Green League. She as also been a member of the city council of Helsinki since 2004. She studied Russian literature, wrote two collections of poetry and lyrics for the band Ultra Bra. Her biggest political disappointment is the decision on nuclear power in 2002.

Sinnemäki is one of the speakers at Co-Creating the City on Thursday, 21 June.

Co-Creating the City

How does co-creation function in the urban practice? What are the innovative mechanisms cities around Europe experiment with in order to enhance co-creation?

The notion of co-creation as a means to address complex urban challenges is here to stay. There is a growing awareness of the fact that a collaborative approach to city-making, where knowledge institutions, businesses, start-ups, SMEs, welfare organisations, social innovators and the government are equal partners, enhances social innovation leading to a more successful,  sustainable and inclusive city.

Organising a level playing field in which these stakeholders can truly work together is the greatest task awaiting many cities. How does co-creation work in the urban practice? What kind of innovative mechanisms do cities around Europe experiment with in order to enhance co-creation? And how can these experiments be eventually effectuated into governance models?
We will talk to practitioners and city representatives, and exchange experience with a variety of approaches, ranging from co-creation to participatory governance and decision-making. We will share best practices and processes, discuss the necessary preconditions and aim to identify and explore opportunities to overcome bottlenecks in how we co-create our cities today.

Charles Landry

Charles Landry is an international authority on the use of imagination and creativity in urban change. He is currently a fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. He invented the concept of the Creative City in the late 1980’s. Its focus is on how cities can create the enabling conditions for people and organizations to think, plan and act with imagination to solve problems and develop opportunities. The notion has become a global movement and changed the way cities thought about their capabilities and resources.

Landry helps cities identify and make the most of their potential by triggering their inventiveness and thinking and by opening up new conversations about their future. His aim is to help cities become more resilient, self-sustaining and to punch above their weight.

Acting as a critical friend he works closely with decision makers and local leaders in the short and longer term. He stimulates, facilitates and inspires so cities can transform for the better. He helps find apt and original solutions to seemingly intractable dilemmas, such as marrying, social creativity, innovation and tradition, or balancing wealth creation and social cohesiveness, or local distinctiveness and a global orientation. His overall aim is to help cities get onto the global radar screen.

Landry facilitates complex urban change and visioning processes and undertakes tailored research often creating his own projects. These include the Urban Psyche test developed with Chris Murray and the ‘Creative City Index’ in collaboration with Bilbao and developed with Jonathan Hyams. It is a strategic tool that measures, evaluates and assesses the innovative eco-system of a city and its capacity to adapt to radical global shifts and adjustments. So far 23 cities have taken part from Helsinki to Adelaide, Krakow to Taipei, Mannheim, and Plymouth.

Landry is a speaker at the conference Co-Creating the City on Thursday, June 21.

Martijn de Waal

Martijn de Waal (1972) is a writer and researcher focussing on the relation between digital media and urban culture, with a specific interest in public space. He is currently working as a senior researcher at the Lectorate of Play and Civic Media at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. De Waal formerly worked as an assistant professor in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Some of his recent activities and research projects include The Hackable City, a research project on collaborative city making in the Network Society.

Waternet is Committing to Climate Adaptation in the Metropolitan Region

How to design and transform the built environment in order to handle climate extremes?

The water company of Amsterdam Waternet is programme partner of WeMakeThe.City. At the festival, they focus on the huge task of including climate adaptation on a regional scale on the agenda.

Issues that will be key at the special conference of June 21 are: How to design and transform the built environment in order to handle climate extremes? Apart from the several water boards and regional municipalities, how can we get companies, societal organisations, and citizens involved in these urban tasks? In Amsterdam, a lot of experience on this topic has been gained through the programme Rainproof Amsterdam – now it is time to extend it to the region.