Inspiration from Amsterdam Coalitions

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Coalitions working together to Improve and Innovate Amsterdam…

June 25, 2019

While in Amsterdam, we had the opportunity to met a few organizations dedicated to innovating and making Amsterdam the best city that it can be.  These organizations have hundreds of partners from the private and public sector, as well as thousands of involved citizens. We were inspired by the collaboration and the way Amsterdammers are committed to sharing knowledge to achieve common goals.  It was a great reminder that in Atlanta there are so many great organizations doing great work and by communicating with one another, learning from each other, and working together we can further our missions.

Our visit to Amsterdam coincided with We Make the City (Better) , which is a week long international festival that “invites everyone to make cities more livable, sustainable, just, climate proof, accessible and safe”.  This amazing event included over 600 speakers, 150 locations, and brought together approximately 30,000 participants to discuss how to improve Amsterdam!  That is 3.6% of the population, so imagine what US cities could accomplish with that much resident and maker involvement in solving our metropolitan issues.  

Part of the event involved a tour of Amsterdam Smart City, a coalition consisting of over 6500 members dedicated to sharing information and resources to come up with innovative solutions for metropolitan issues of social, economic, and ecological nature.  The program currently includes hundreds of initiatives, such as “Rooftop Revolution” to utilize the full potential of roofs, whether for solar, rooftop garden, or additional living space, and “City-Zen: Virtual Power Plant” to create a smart electrical grid for resilience and using home batteries and cars to create and trade surplus solar energy, and the “Green Living Lab” where sustainable living pioneers meet to inspire healthier urban living.

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We spent a few hours meeting with some of the key partners who have made the program possible, including NEMO Kennislink (who bridge the gap between scientific research and everyday life) to AMS Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Cities , and  Smart City founders, to begin to understand how they are approaching  the task with programs such as the Living Lab.  

We were also fortunate to be able to attend the official launch of the Living Lab, which has been in the works for almost 2 years since the awarding of the Smart City  EU grant.  “The main goal is to develop scalable innovations that make and keep cities livable. To develop, test and apply solutions to global urban challenges, the partners bring together their expertise, network, and communities in the field of research, innovation, urban development and experimentation at this unique location in Amsterdam.”

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While these two coalitions go well beyond just space utilization of homes, buildings, streets, rooftops, parks, etc., these topics were integral parts of reimagining the most innovative city, which is inspirational coming from a city that already uses space so much better than most US cities.   


  • It takes a village!  

  • There is always room for improvement.

  • Innovation takes bottom up involvement not just top down solutions.

  • Issues may be better addressed in conjunction and not isolation of one another (i.e. digital, energy, social, mobility, government, citizen, and resilience issues are all interconnected and thus might be solved in conjunction better than just individually)

We were reminded our our Innovative Housing Summit on a larger scale, and aspire to partner with numerous local organizations to bring such an inclusive and comprehensive program to Atlanta one day.

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Kim Bucciero