How does Eindhoven's ambition of being a smart city relate to the reality of citizen participation? On 23 October, the State of Eindhoven forum at Dutch Design Week will address this question and the conflicts that can arise around the issue.
“By now, we have accumulated more than enough experience to conclude that the reality of the smart city will be more unruly than the triumphant reports and presentations would have us believe. The question of what a new social contract for the smart city will look like is 100 per cent close to my heart (and head), though it will be far from easy to find good and workable answers.”
Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of the philosophy of technology
The State of Eindhoven will serve to publicly launch a multiyear cultural programme of Het Nieuwe Instituut and the Eindhoven city council. The programme will address the changing relationship between government and citizens, and specifically Eindhoven’s ambition of being a “smart city” in a participatory society.
Eindhoven aims to be a smart, healthy, caring, innovative and, most of all, adaptive place. At the same time, like many other Dutch cities, it is facing a number of fundamental changes: the welfare state is making way for the participatory society, and the power of the state is shifting to the cities, which, with more than 60 per cent of the Dutch population, are the premier sites of innovation and economic power. Many cities in the world currently wish to be smart cities, and Eindhoven is no exception. Yet the narrative of the smart city is still in its infancy. A city like Eindhoven, with technology as an integral part of its profile, now finds itself in a position to define or redefine the meaning of the smart city in its broadest sense, and to ascribe new values to the word “smart”, working with citizens, businesses and knowledge institutions.
At the State of Eindhoven public forum, we will install a Smart Council of six trailblazing scholars, thinkers and designers from the Netherlands and abroad who will tackle this subject. They are:
- designer and urbanist Dan Hill, associate director of London design and engineering firm Arup,
- designer Anab Jain, founder of the British-Indian design and innovation firm Superflux,
- Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of the philosophy of technology at Maastricht University,
- public entrepreneur Albert Jan Kruiter, cofounder of the Instituut voor Publieke Waarden,
- Evelien Tonkens, professor of citizenship and humanisation of the public sector at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht, and
- Chris Sigaloff, director of Kennisland.
The Smart Council will critically examine Eindhoven’s ambitions and formulate action points for the multiyear programme. These will constitute the first concrete steps in the partnership between the Eindhoven city council and Het Nieuwe Instituut, broadly shaping the programme around the central theme with the help of citizens, entrepreneurs, institutions and other local parties.
At the meeting, the actors’ group Wunderbaum will bring the participatory society and the smart city up close in a confrontational manner. And the Open Source City data platform will present the first results of its study of contemporary Eindhoven, which has identified existing initiatives that play a role in the participatory society and the smart city. The findings will reveal The State of Eindhoven as it is right now and where it might be heading.
The State of Eindhoven forum and the contributions of the Smart Council will establish a framework for the rest of the programme, which runs through 2017. Local citizens, businesses and knowledge institutions will engage in various activities that will actively help to answer a fundamental question that is simple in essence yet complex in practice: why, how and with whom will the citizens of Eindhoven contribute to the smart city?
The State of Eindhoven
Dutch Design Week
Friday 23 October 2015
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven
Note to the editors
For more information please contact Chantal Defesche, Marketing and Communications Department of Het Nieuwe Instituut via email@example.com or t 010-4401255.