Due to continued urbanisation and responsibility for impending environmental deadlines, many European cites are creating long-term targets for smart city development. Amsterdam City Council expects as many as 150,000 inhabitants to migrate into the city before 2040. This prediction has pressured urban planners to reassess Amsterdam's economic, physical and social structure in order to best accommodate the steady stream of new residents.
For intelligent expansion in the famous Dutch city, the Amsterdam City Council put together the wide-ranging new Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 City Master Plan, applying innovative urban design and neighbourhood rejuvenation strategies, a broad portfolio of smart technologies, and more advanced mobility options for the city’s residents and numerous visitors.
The overarching goal is to increase population density in Amsterdam’ communities and build new suburban business, commercial and residential districts that make best use of limited space within the A10 ring road that encircles the city.
The city is working on the Amsterdam Climate Programme in accordance with the principle of Trias Energetica, an approach that aims to achieve an optimum reduction of CO2. The plan also in line with recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which proposes a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 80-90% by 2050 for developed countries. Amsterdam will strive to achieve a 75% reduction in CO2 by 2040, and with that gain the additional benefits of smart development.
“The steps that cities take to shrink their carbon footprints also reduce their energy costs, improve public health, and help them attract new residents and businesses,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change after releasing a new report that recommends all cities commit to low-carbon urban development strategies by 2020.
It also recommends cities commit to the Compact of Mayors, a global coalition of mayors and city officials pledging to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, enhance resilience to climate change, and track their progress transparently. More than 130 cities, representing more than 220 million people, have already committed to the Compact of Mayors and will be setting ambitious emissions reduction targets and reporting publicly.
In Amsterdam, making buildings more sustainable is already an important focus of the activities as part of the Amsterdam Climate Programme. Heating and electricity in buildings use as much as 70% of the energy consumed in Amsterdam. Creating energy savings and increasing the sustainability of buildings will be a difficult but potentially very rewarding challenge. Activities along all three pathways of the Trias Energetica will be necessary to achieve the appropriate reduction; Energy savings, maximisong use of sustainable energy, and increasing the sustainability and efficient use of fossil energy.
Plans are being made with housing corporations to make 50% of all rental accommodation more energy efficient and sustainable. The local authority is setting the example for offices, business premises and schools. A citywide improvement programme has been set up for all existing schools and an energy helpdesk has been set up to help SME realise energy savings.
From 2015 onwards, only climate-neutral buildings will be constructed in Amsterdam. All existing buildings will be made more sustainable by fundamentally improving their energy efficiency through insulation, double-glazing and the implementation of solar energy. The city’s district heating network will be expanded one neighbourhood at a time, not only for newly redeveloped districts but also with a specific focus on established neighbourhoods. Furthermore, heat and cold storage will be introduced in an increasing number of locations, making solar energy progressively more visible in across the city.
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In order to achieve the ambitious 75% reduction target in CO2 by 2040, the current building stock must attain a minimum energy efficiency of “Certificate B”. Additional innovative measures such as smart networks and control engineering will also be necessary to ensure the optimum use of energy. By 2040 the use of solar power is expected to have become particularly beneficial for both houses and commercial buildings, and approximately 200,000 houses will be supplied with heat from the district heating network.
The ‘Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 City Master Plan’ also intends to revolutionise the city’s transport sector. Historically Amsterdam has been known as an innovative pioneer of urban mobility through its comprehensive canal network and famously high percentage of bicycle use.
Despite pursuing a traffic-limiting policy, paid parking, encouraging the use of bicycles, public transport and clean conventional vehicles, modern day traffic and transport sector is still responsible for a considerable proportion of the CO2 emissions in and around Amsterdam. Cars, lorries and boats not only generate CO2 emissions but also produce fine dust particles and nitrogen dioxide emissions.
By 2040 the Amsterdam City Council intended to have 200,000 electric cars and scooters on the road, while only electric boats will be allowed to travel along the canals. Innovative concepts on the outskirts of Amsterdam for the distribution of goods to the city will provide additional benefits. The Port of Amsterdam will become one of the smartest and most sustainable ports in Europe. Components for wind turbines will be stored for further transport and biofuels will be transhipped on a large scale. Optimum use will be made of the available space in the port for wind energy and solar power.
The "Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 City Master Plan" has been assessed as part of Future Cities, a collaboration between Skift and MasterCard, exploring how numerous major destinations are preparing for a smart and sustainable, new urban era.