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Future Cities is a collaboration between Skift and MasterCard exploring

how major destinations are using smart design to meet the needs of
rapid urbanization.

Introduction
Amsterdam is experiencing a population boom due to its draw as a progressive and central urban hub in
the European knowledge economy. According to the Amsterdam City Council, as many as 150,000
inhabitants are expected to migrate into the city between now and 2040. This can place great burdens on a
cityeconomically, physically and sociallyif city planners dont develop an all-encompassing city master
plan to prepare for that influx of new people.
Central Amsterdam is already busting at the seams due to its tight geographic footprint rimming the citys
famous canals. Adding to the population surge, according to MasterCards 2015 Global Destination Cities
Index, Amsterdam welcomes the fifth highest number of international passengers in Europe to Amsterdam
Schiphol Airport.
In order for Amsterdam to expand intelligently, the Amsterdam City Council developed the comprehensive
new Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 city master plan, integrating innovative urban design and
neighborhood rejuvenation strategies, myriad smart technology systems, and more advanced mobility
options for residents and visitors. The overarching goal is to densify existing communities and build new
suburban business, commercial and residential districts that maximize space as efficiently as possible
within the A10 ring road encircling the city.
In the space between the urban core and the ring road, Amsterdam is populating huge swaths of postindustrial riverfront real estate and the outlying Amsterdam Noord and Zuidas districts to create a new
Metropolitan Amsterdam Area and the smart city master plan of the future.

Densifying, Redeveloping and Repurposing


Space
Redeveloping underserved urban areas into bustling multi-use, live-work innovation districts is common
today in cities around the world, but it has never been attempted on such a large scale as Amsterdam is
planning. The results from the Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 megaproject will serve as a model for
cities of all sizes, in terms of advanced planning for rapid urban growth. Additionally, the abundance of new
modern architecture is elevating the Dutch capital into the pantheon of global design cities, which is a
powerful asset to attract knowledge industry professionals and corporations looking to relocate their offices.

The master plan outlines seven Spatial Tasks designed to accommodate the citys population growth and
improve the citys overall user experience. The number one spatial task is Densify. A total of 70,000 new
dwellings are proposed between now and 2040, along with required infrastructure including schools, retail
and sports facilities, so from a street level perspective theres a high priority focusing on efficient land use
and multi-purpose building construction.
One way to maximize land use, the city is redeveloping business districts into mixed-use
residential/commercial communities, such as Amsterdams sprawling Port-City. By 2030, the waterfront
facility will have as many as 19,000 new residential dwellings and businesses integrated into the
commercial maritime activities.
From an overarching citywide perspective, all of the many different municipalities within the ring road
presently exist mostly as self-contained autonomous communities, including the historic core, so its a
challenge for both locals and visitors to travel among them. The Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 master
plan ties the individual townships together to create the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.
To do that, the City Council is investing in infrastructure along the major connecting arteries such as
Bilderdijkstraat and Beethovenstraat. The 2040 plan reads: The social atmosphere in the major streets will
be further improved by increasing the quality and diversity of the shops and food services and by
refurbishing edifices and street-level frontages.

The Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 plan also calls for:

More public green spaces to better connect adjacent communities

The redevelopment of the IJ Waterway bisecting the city

The continued growth of the Zuidas business district south of central Amsterdam near
Schiphol Airport

Two different urban design options to potentially host the 2028 Summer Olympics

In Zuidas, top architects are building the smart city of the future. Rem Koolhaas is designing the new
Amsterdam RAI Hotel, which consists of giant cubes staggered around a vertical access, near the curvy
new RAI Convention Centre expansion. Nearby, The Rock, The Edge and other amazing new architecture
is positioning Zuidas as a magnet for design-savvy professionals.
Likewise in the Amsterdam Noord district, located north of the main waterway, the new EYE Film Institute
and Kraanspoor Building are spurring the rise of Noord into a creative hotspot. If Amsterdam can expand its
metropolitan footprint like this while beautifying the cityscape and connecting all of it together, it will become
a global beacon for smart, stylish and sustainable urban growth.

How Amsterdam Is Connecting All of Its


Moving Parts
The metropolization of Amsterdam connecting different urban districts together requires an entire
rethinking of the citys walking, biking and public transportation routes, and a shift in mindset among local
and visitors to adopt these new smart systems. Therefore, part of the Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040
master plan emphasizes the need to develop more public transportation routes, more public parks and
more bicycle lanes to dissuade automobile traffic as much as possible.
The report reads: At the moment a number of important links in the regional public transport system are
lacking. Through to 2040, the necessary network-wide leap must be achieved. That includes building a
network of new car/train transfer points for people to access the rail system more easily throughout the city.
This is especially true for the surging residential and commercial development in Zuidas and AmsterdamSoutheast, which are located between the urban center and airport.
Amsterdams southern flank is a succession of massive projects, explains the 2040 plan, all of which is
anchored by the expansion of Schiphol Airport. In the heart of Zuidas, the new Station-Zuid train station
under development is going to be the second largest rail transport hub in the city, linking all of Amsterdams
neighborhoods with each other, the rest of The Netherlands and much of Western Europe.

Meanwhile, private companies are developing dozens of new mobility initiatives. Yeller, for example, is a
new app with chat functionality that helps visitors meet other visitors to share a cab. WeGo is a peer-topeer car sharing platform where non-car owners can rent cars from car owners in their neighborhood. And
Mobypark is a sharing parking app platform that displays all available parking places in real time, so cars
emit less exhaust because drivers arent aimlessly roaming the streets.
It is expected that green electricity generated by windmills, solar panels and biomass power stations will
power 60% to 90% of all car travel in Amsterdam by 2040. Also by then, only quiet, electric boats will be
allowed to ply the canals, which aligns with the master plans mission to combine both old world European
charm and future smart technology.

Rethinking Urban User Experience: The


Amsterdam Smart City Project
The Amsterdam Smart City project is one of the most innovative and comprehensive city-wide
sustainability platforms in existence, which defines the spirit of co-creation between private and public
sectors imperative for any smart city.
If the Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 plan represents the hardware development of the burgeoning
metropolis, the Amsterdam Smart City project is its intellectual software. Also formulated by the
Amsterdam City Council, the Smart City initiative is a collaboration of over 100 local municipalities,
businesses, residents and academic institutions partnering on more than 75 smart city projects to date.
Organized into five verticalsincluding mobility, economics, residential living, social wellbeing and
placemakingthe projects are designed to seamlessly integrate with each other to create the most efficient
urban user experience possible. The smart city projects range from the worlds first 3D-printed canal house
to the redevelopment of the industrial Buiksloterham neighborhood in Amsterdam Noord.
Another example, the new City-Zen pilot program includes the development of sustainability-themed virtual
gaming networks and neighborhood-sharing networks where residents can trade surplus green energy with
each other.
Through 2016, the Amsterdam Smart City ecosystem is running a project called the iBeacon and IoT
(Internet of Things) Living Lab. It features a series of live installations and several beacon networks
connected along a 1.5-mile urban street path. The sensors are wired to test and experiment innovations in
designing public wayfinding, developing popular tourist routes, promoting hyper-local points of interest, and
augmenting existing apps with additional proximity data.
The Amsterdam Smart City initiative also crowdsources data from the local community through its Smart
Citizen project. Residents can purchase low-cost sensors to share air pollution and noise levels with the
citys open data program. Because citizens are directly engaged in that knowledge sharing with the city and
more aware of sustainability challenges, thats inspiring more residents to ride their bikes and public
transportation versus driving cars. In Amsterdam, a big part of developing a smart city is engaging smart
citizens in the process to make such an innovative city master plan a reality.
Watch our video on How Amsterdam is Building the City of the Future here.

Future Cities is a collaboration between Skift and MasterCard, exploring how major destinations
are preparing for the new age of urban mobility. From connected infrastructure to smart
technologies, this series explores how global cities are creating seamless and personalized
experiences for visitors and residents.