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Sustainable Rotterdam

The city is re-inventing itself

Club Watt, World's First Sustainable Dance Club - Live opening

Friday, September 05, 2008

A milestone towards a more sustainable future was accomplished yesterday evening in Rotterdam when Club Watt opened its doors to the public.

From idea...
It took three years to turn an innovative concept to reality. In 2005, Enviu -Innovators in Sustainability and architect studio Döll Lab partnered to answer the question; how would a sustainable dance club look like? Back then, this was merely an exercice to explore the potential to green the clubbing scene, in which I was invited to be part of.

Check the video interview to Stef van Dongen (Enviu), Michel Smit (SDC), & Ted Langenbach (Watt) over the history behind the Sustainable Dance Club

By October 2006, the concept was mature enough to be publicly presented at Rotterdam club Off_Corso under the title The Critical Mass (video). Reaction from media, club owners, and the general public was extraordinary and brought it to next stage when it appeared very clear to everyone that a market for a dance club that turns environmental efficiency into part of the clubbig experience existed. The final concept is a comprehensive one combining technical solutions and managerial practices that when applied could largely improve the environmental performance of a club while adding value to the overall experience.
As result, the concept turned into a company named Sustainable Dance Club (SDC) which offers solutions to club owners that lead to a reduction in relation to comparable clubs of:
  • 30% energy consumption
  • 50% water
  • 50% refuse generated
  • 30% CO2 emissions
...to realisation
Yesterday, Club Watt was the first one to take the collection of solutions and managerial approach on board and show to everyone that sustainability in Rotterdam means planet, people, & party.

In a world premiere ;-) I broadcasted live the unveiling of this new venue. You can follow the tour given to the press, and have a first-hand experience of the well-known Sustainable Dance Floor (video) by Studio Roosegaarde at the following videos (love my N95 running Qik!). Next week will upload a video covering the opening.

Unveiling of the Sustainable Dance Floor by Michel Smit & Daan Roosegaarde

Watt's Creative Director Ted Langenbach on the club's program

More about the Sustainable Dance Club
Thanks to Jeanette & Lotte from Club Watt, and Vera from SDC for the support provided during the opening.

Disclaimer: since January 2008 I am a part-time business developer for Enviu - Innovators in Sustainability

posted by Oriol P., 2:48 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wubbo Ockels on Enviu's Hybrid Tuk Tuk Battle

Friday, May 30, 2008

Enviu is busy these days with the so-called Hybrid Tuk Tuk Battle. This is a project aiming to find a technical solution to the in-efficient tuk-tuks (also known as auto rickshaws). This would allow a reduction of CO2 emissions and improve the quality of live of tuk tuk drivers. Last evening we had the kickoff party where, amongst others, the Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels expressed his support to this project. More Hybrid Tuk Tuk Battle at Hybridtuktuk.com More innovation & sustainability at Enviu.org

posted by Oriol P., 4:17 PM | link | 1 comments |

Urban Art: Rotterdam Mounted Police Crew

Friday, May 02, 2008

More Mounted Police Art Here

Walking around the city of Rotterdam (NL) is an exciting adventure. I enjoy wondering around and doing some "treasure hunting"; discovering new architectural developments, interventions in urban art, and some times...art made with horse feces!

As a pedestrian, it is not rare to encounter with such artistic interventions in the city environment, performed by the so-called "Rotterdam Mounted Police Crew". If the original The London Police crew bombs cities with their bubbly and enjoyable characters, the Rotterdam Mounted Police bombs the city with aleatory and biodegradable pieces made out of fresh -and sometimes steamy- horse feces.

This form of urban art is specially interesting for the casual urban-treasure-hunter due to its intrinsic characteristics, including unique composition, and evolving nature of each piece;
  • Unique composition: some 12-15 rounded pieces typically organized on a linear way. Alternatively, the pieces may be distributed forming random shapes. This is believed to have a profound artistic meaning, probably linked the unconformity and rebellion.
  • Evolving nature: meanwhile most artists intervening the ruban scene wish to perpetuate their work by making it permanent, the Rotterdam Mounted Police does the opposite. Temporary pieces usually lasting up to 24h, which evolve in shape, texture and volume as time goes. Climate conditions intensify this.
I decided to document such artistic expression with the aim to better understand what its has been popularly named "Mounted Police technique" and the, until now, barely known artistic movement supporting it.

Did you also find Mounted Police technique in your city? Add your pics to the Flickr group for all urban treasure hunters to enjoy and discuss similar discoveries.

For more urban art (graffiti, stencils, stickers, 3D), check the Flickr set "Hunting for Urban Art"

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posted by Oriol P., 10:55 AM | link | 3 comments |

Preparing for Rotterdam Markthal

Sunday, April 13, 2008

photo I - photo II - photo III

Demolition works has started at the Hoogstraat in preparation for the construction of an indoor food market with MVRDV signature.

You can read more about Rotterdam Markthal at a previous post from this blog.
posted by Oriol P., 6:16 PM | link | 0 comments |

Enviu visits RDM Campus (Innovation Lab)

Enviu Innovation Lab aims to become a reference in the field of sustainable entrepreneurship & innovation. For this, Enviu is partnering with the Port of Rotterdam, Hogeschool Rotterdam, Rabobank, and Rotterdam Climate Initiative to open on 8-8-08 at RDM Campus.

posted by Oriol P., 6:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

The Endless City

Monday, March 17, 2008

Last year announcement about 2007 being the first time in human history that more people is living now in urban areas than in rural areas, is experimenting a growth in interest.

Just recently, Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic published the massive piece of work entitled The Endless City; An authoritative and visually rich survey of the contemporary city.

"The Endless City is an unparalleled study of the growth of six of the World’s international cities (New York, Shanghai, London, Mexico City, Johannesburg and Berlin), exploring key structural, economic and social factors"

Complementary to the book launching, the authors publish an article at Business Week, and an interview to co-author Deyan Sudjic is available in the form of audiopodcast.

posted by Oriol P., 12:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Video Review Green Challenge PICNIC07

Friday, October 12, 2007

Watch the video

Quick overview of PICNIC 07, where this year Green Challenge was hosted; a 500.000 award for good business ideas. Qurrent -an energy generating & saving system- received the prize from Sir Richard Branson.

Check the live update of the event
Read the post from Bruno Guissani's Lunch over IP
More videos at oriol.tv

Related Posts: - - -
posted by Oriol P., 10:22 AM | link | 1 comments |

PICNIC Green Challenge

Thursday, September 27, 2007

PICNIC, the cross-media event, is here and this year comes with a nice surprise for all sustainability lovers: PICNIC Green Challenge. A contest supporting sustainable business ideas, awarding the best one with 500.000 euros (not bad, eh?). And guess what, the Sustainable Dance Club is amongst the finalists.

On saturday 27th, the award ceremony will take place at the Westergasfabriek (a former gas factory transformed in cultural platform). The winner of the contest will be announced by Sir Richard Branson (Virgin) and we're going to be there to capture the moment.

In case you cannot make it to Amsterdam, you can still follow the event live. I'm planning to send regular updates on saturday prior, during and after the event. To keep updated, simply go to my Twitter page and get automatic updates, including pictures sent from inside the event.

Will the SDC win the contest? Would I be able to talk with Sir Richard Branson? Keep tunned for the video report to be uploaded after the event.

When 29/09/07
Time 12:00-13:00
Where Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam

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posted by Oriol P., 10:49 AM | link | 0 comments |

Blog about the Environment for Blog Action Day

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind - the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Blog Action Day' aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. Here are 3 ways to participate:

Related Posts: - -
posted by Oriol P., 10:21 AM | link | 1 comments |

The 11th Hour is Here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

After the success of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, a new documentary about environmental crisis arrives this summer to the cinemas. This time, is Leonardo DiCaprio who takes the chance to spread the word and make people aware of the current environmental degradation. Welcome to the The 11th Hour.

For what we've read and seen, it seems that DiCaprio goes a step further than Gore. If the previous environmentally centered movie was about rising awareness and did not offer any solution or agenda for action, The 11th Hour presents such solutions.

For this film, Leo interviews some of the most relevant thinkers in the area of environmental sciences. I personally find this a good trigger to spend some euros at the theater since the list includes, amongst others; Paul Hawken, Bruce Mau, Stephen Hawking, and William Mcdonough.

Meanwhile we wait for the film to be released in Europe, you may check the oficial site, or the "action" site where you can leave your suggestions and send your own movies, and finally, the YouTube site.

Related Posts: - -
posted by Oriol P., 5:08 PM | link | 0 comments |

TNT zero emission trucks

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Today, Ivo Opstelten (Mayor of Rotterdam and Chairman of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative) and Peter Bakker (CEO of TNT) presented the two Smith electrical trucks which will be piloted in the Rotterdam area as part of the Rotterdam Climate Initiative. The vehicles, a 3.5-tonne Smith Edison EV and a 9-tonne Smith Newton EV, will operate emission free in congested areas. The pilot is a significant step to contribute to the objective to reduce CO2 emissions by half in Rotterdam by 2025 compared to 1990.

Via TNT Press Release

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posted by Oriol P., 11:47 AM | link | 1 comments |

Dune 4.1 by Studio Roosegaarde

Monday, July 02, 2007

Watch the video

Within Rotterdam 07 Year of Architecture, Studio Roosegaarde presented the latest version of the interactive landscape Dune 4.1.

Podsafe Music:
Carlsblad by Aaron Acosta
Formats available
: MPEG4 Video (.mp4), Flash Video (.flv)
, , , , , ,
posted by Oriol P., 2:05 AM | link | 1 comments |

Sustainable Dance Club does Amsterdam

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Enviu & Döll are doing it again! Check the press release:

The night of 1st June 2007 will be the informal kick-off of the ‘Sustainable Week in Amsterdam’ with the first Amsterdam sustainable dance night in Club 11. If you think sustainability is dull, think again! This special edition of the Sustainable Dance Club has a strong line up with DJs, VJs and promises to be a great club night. By offering an array of events for the visitor and the launch of Trees for Dance, 11 hopes to save 30% on water, energy and waste. This sustainable dance night is an initiative of Energiebureau ARC in cooperation with 11 and the Sustainable Dance Club.

See you tomorrow (ups!) at Club 11
22.00 – 05.00 uur
Tickets: € 12

Bonus Track: SDC gets social and now you can find it at MySpace, Hyves, and YouTube. Don't forget to add it to your subscriptions!

SDC @ MySpace
SDC @ Hyves
SDC @ YouTube

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Powered by ScribeFire.

posted by Oriol P., 10:40 PM | link | 0 comments |

Droog Design Contest: The Climate

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Droog Design is known for simple, yet amaizing products. This time, the Dutch firm is organizing a contest under the theme The Climate. At their site we read:

Ranging from ideas about food, heating, music, literature, fashion, architecture...anything you like in any form you wish.

The 10 best design proposals will be published on our website; the public will be invited to choose one favourite and vote for an overall winner.

What are you waiting for? The deadline for participation is June 30, 2007.

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posted by Oriol P., 1:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Visual Earth Guide

The Japan Science and Technology Agency has developed a complete guide of planet Earth.

Earth Guide is an excellent educational tool using the power of infographics to answer eight questions which cover the basics of Earth functioning:

1. Where is the Earth located in the Milky Way galaxy?

2. How is the earth different from different planets?

3. Where does the sky become space?

4. Where does the sunlight that hits the Earth go?

5. How do water and carbon circulate?

6. What type of substances is the Earth made of?

7. What kind of land areas exist on the face of the Earth?

8. How big are the oceans of the world?

Check Earth Guide

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posted by Oriol P., 12:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

5 Ways to Admire Rotterdam's Fire Limits

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Picture credit by Mothership

On Monday 14 May, in the evening, Rotterdam 2007 City of Architecture will illuminate the fire limits of Rotterdam’s city centre with over one hundred light beams. The fire limits mark the areas of the city that were destroyed by the bombing on 14 May 1940 and the ensuing fires that broke out. From 10.45 pm a blaze of light beams on these boundaries will light up the skies, making the true impact of this devastating event visible throughout the entire city.

5 ways to admire Rotterdam's Fire Limits:
  1. Go to Coolsingel and check the piece "Struisvogels -Ostriches- on the Coolsingel" from Theatre Company Bonheur. At 6.30 pm, 7.30 pm, and 8.30 pm
  2. Get ready for a unique performance by the French Mécanique Vivante and the Nieuw Trombone Collectief, with a firework display plus a composition for warning alarms and trombones. At 10.10 pm (Schouwburgplein)
  3. After the concert, The Blossoming City by landscape architect Adriaan Geuze, will be unveiled at the Schouwburgplein.
  4. Take a holistic view of the fire limits from the Groot Handelsgebouw (the roof terrace of Café Restaurant Engels, on Stationsplein 45), and the Euromast (on Parkhaven 20, entrance fee 5 euro) and the Witte Huis (on Wijnhaven 3). Fire limits running from 10:45 - 2:00.
  5. Combine all the above with a bunch of friends, and the enjoyment is ensured!

via: Rotterdam 2007 City of Architecture

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posted by Oriol P., 2:29 PM | link | 0 comments |

City Survey from The Economist

Monday, May 07, 2007

Picture credit by David Haberlah

2007 is the first year in human history that more world population will live in cities, as opposed to rural areas. And this week, The Economist has decided to take a special look into the subject.

An ongoing migratory movement is presenting new challenges for urban planers, architects, and society in general. Last June, we were reporting about the matter due to the launching of UN-Habitat State of the World's Cities Report 06/07.

Catch up the audio interview to Johnny Grimond, and get a glimpse of this week's issue at The Economist site. For the full version, you may need to subscribe, or face to the kiosk.

posted by Oriol P., 8:38 PM | link | 0 comments |

RDM Achitecture'07 Opening

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This 2007, Rotterdam is a celebration of architecture. The agenda is full of activities and it all started last night (5/4/07) with an opening at Stationplein. Follow the coverage of events at SustainableRotterdam.com
This 2007, Rotterdam is a celebration of architecture. The agenda is full of activities and it all started last Thursday night at Stationplein.

Rotterdam 2007 City of Architecture

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posted by Oriol P., 2:39 PM | link | 1 comments |

Lunch with Prof. B.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes

In this second episode of the Sustainable Rotterdam Video Series, Prof. Brezet reviews current activities at DfS, its connection with Rotterdam, and his view on the future of sustainable product design.

Professor Han Brezet pioneered the field of sustainable product design with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) "Promise" Ecodesign Manual. Since 1992, "Prof. B." has been the head of the Design for Sustainability program at Delf University of Technology (NL), where sustainable product design is holistically researched.

Related Posts: - -
posted by Oriol P., 10:29 PM | link | 0 comments |


Monday, March 26, 2007

Prepare for the night; dress your best outfit, call your friends, and meet them at the Sustainable Dance Club. We know, it's not there yet, but things are moving fast at Döll Lab and Enviu and the latest news announce the launching of the official website. What are you waiting for? All you wanted to know about the Sustainable Dance Club and never dare to ask, is served here.

posted by Oriol P., 10:21 PM | link | 1 comments |

Interaction Meets Sustainability

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Subscribe to the Podcast via iTunes

It's amazing how connections are made here in Rotterdam. Yesterday I visited the space that Enviu recently acquired to set up the future Creative Hub of Rotterdam. This will be a flexible working space where social entrepreneurs can develop their professional activities and interact with like-minded people.

While visiting the space, I met Daan Roosegaarde; an interactive artist interested in the relationship between body and the surrounding. Roosegaarde recently set up an interactive landscape in Amsterdam named Dune 4.0 of which an adapted version will be displayed at the Hub. In this short interview, he is also talking about the latest developments regarding the energy generating dancefloor.

Watch the interview at
Google Video (iPod download)

posted by Oriol P., 5:55 PM | link | 0 comments |

Cost-effective Recycling

Thursday, March 15, 2007

We read at Springwise:

Going green has gotten a lot more enticing to consumers in communities served by Philadelphia-based RecycleBank. Households can earn RecycleBank Dollars, redeemable for discount coupons at select retailers, just for putting their recyclables out to be collected. But the incentives don't stop there. It's also great promotion and community recognition for participating businesses. Sound too good to be true? Well, you may be surprised to learn that it's even more cost-effective than most traditional recycling programs. Read more

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posted by Oriol P., 1:09 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sustainable Rotterdam Google Group

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Things are getting busy here, so I didn't have the opportunity to update the blog as often as I would like to. Moreover, I just set a Google Group in order to extend the conversation in a more dynamic way.

The idea just came from a Lazy Sushi Sunday at Stef's van Dongen apartment. It has been an amazing evening with excellent food from Taji “the Chef”, touchy tunes from Charlie Dee, and good conversation with all sort of creative professionals.

The Sustainable Rotterdam Google Group is a great tool to interact amongst those interested to provide their view regarding sustainability and cites, especially Rotterdam. So, subscribe to the group, check what others have said and add your own comments.

Check the Google Group

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posted by Oriol P., 11:23 PM | link | 0 comments |

Graffiti Research Lab does Rotterdam

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"Calling all writers, street artists, prankster, bikers, protesters, citizens and untouchables! The Graffiti Research Lab will be in Rotterdam from February 7th through the 10th" That's how it reads the announcement made by this innovative graffiti crew.

The event is taking place within the Art Rotterdam festival, which it is defined as a show in the area of topical, contemporary art and is being held for the eighth time in the Cruise Terminal, in the ‘Kop van Zuid’ quarter of Rotterdam.

Graffiti Research Lab is taking control of the Renzo Piano KPN Telecom Building and turning the Kop Van Zuid into the People’s Revolutionary Green Laser Light District.

Visit the site to learn how to submit your work and display it on a 37 x 72 meter screen for everyone to see.

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posted by Oriol P., 11:55 AM | link | 0 comments |

Landscape Observatory

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A landscape is an area, as perceived by the pubic, the character of which is the result of the dynamic interaction of natural factors - such as the relief, the rivers, the flora and fauna - and human factors - such as financial activities or historical heritage.

Why are landscapes important?
  • Because the quality of life of people depends on them
  • Because it reflects the good or ill health of the relationships between society and the land. It is an excellent indicator of environmental quality.
  • Because it is another factor in well-being. The European Landscape Convention makes the quality of landscape into a right; the right to enjoy agreable, harmonious landscapes, not degraded, which transmit various cultural and territorial identities
  • Because it offers pleasing sensations; aesthetic, sensory, emotional
  • Because it identifies us with the land, with the country. Landscape is a reflction of past lifestyles and, specifically, our history, and thus it has value as part of our heritage.
This is how landscapes are defined by the Landscape Observatory; an advisory body of the Catalan Authorities and for awakening society to matters of landscape. It studies landscape, monitors it, prepares proposals and sensitises society to the appropiatness of better protection, management and planing of the landscape in Catalonia in the context of sustainable development.
posted by Oriol P., 10:10 AM | link | 0 comments |

Sustainable Tokyo

Monday, December 18, 2006

Check the pictures at Flickr

The largest sustainable product design fair is held annually at Tokyo's Big Sight. In a country like Japan with high density of population, limited natural resources and land; sustainability is a strategic need rather than collection of add-on policies. Japanese society is aware of that fact and this is visible in everyday live; from street campaigns to human powered electronics.

Ecoproducts is a good manifestation of Japanese response to sustainable solutions, showcasing the latest developments from large companies, SME's, NGO's, and intergovernmental organizations. Since I had the opportunity to attend the EcoDesign 2006 Asia Pacific Symposium organized by the Union of Ecodesigners, I decided to check the "eco-style fair".

What an experience! More than five hundred organizations developing sustainable products and services under the same roof showcasing electric and fuel cell vehicles, bamboo applications, energy efficient electronics, clothing, and housing amongst others. In addition to product demonstrations the fair is a good platform for educational proposes; school kids are eager to take quiz, answer questionnaires, and attend educational presentations in exchange for freebies.

Since an image it is worth than thousand words, check the 97 images at the Flickr Set

Are you aware of similar Ecoproducts fairs? Let us know by leaving a comment.

For updates check the Ecoproducts 2007 Blog

posted by Oriol P., 6:40 PM | link | 0 comments |

Solar Mini-Symposium

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Design for Sustainability and the Delft Design Institute are organizing a mini-symposium entitled The future of Photovoltaic (PV) Powered Products, on the 19th of December 2006.

14:00- Welcome by the Chairman - Dr.ir. S.Silvester (DDI)
14:05- Integration of PV technology in products - Prof. dr. ir. H. Brezet (DfS)
14:30- The future of PV technology - Prof. dr. W.C. Sinke (ECN - Utrecht University)
14:55- Advanced policies for the acceleration of renewable energy implementation - Prof. dr. Th.B. Johansson (IIIEE - Lund University, Sweden)
15:20- Tea Break
15:45- Discussion (Lead by Dr.ir. S.Silvester)
16:45- Drinks

The future of photovoltaic (PV) Powered Products
from 14:00-17:00 in Hall B (AULA)
Delft university of Technology
Mekelweg 5, Delft

For more info, contact DfS

Related Posts: -
posted by Oriol P., 11:50 AM | link | 0 comments |

Citybike - free bike system

Check the Flickr set for more pics

Talking about bikes, in Vienna we saw the free bike system Citybike combining sustainable transport solutions and product branding. Users can register directly at the terminal or at the site. "For hiring a bike you need a credit card, either from Master Card or Visa". Alternatively, Tourist Card holders may use Citybike without a credit card.

I also found free bike systems in cities like Trondheim (NO) and Copenhagen (DK). This systems differ with Citibike in the hiring aspect; those use a coin-return system similar to the one of supermarket carts, making it accessible to a larger scope of citizens.

Up to what extent it's necessary to request private data to use a free bike system?

posted by Oriol P., 11:31 AM | link | 3 comments |

Electric bicycles for young & healthy commuters

Caspar van Roosmalen is an student of Industrial Design at DUT currently working on his master's graduation project. The challenge is to make electric bikes attractive for the youth in a context (NL) where such artefacts are generally used by handicapped and elderly.
Here are some thoughts from Caspar;

The electric bicycle is available for several years now and in the Netherlands best known as a solution for elderly people to be able to cycle longer. If the current problems of the electric bicycle are solved it could well be a valuable new means of transportation for commuters.

The average Dutch commuter travels 17 km from home to work each day, a trip that takes about 30 minutes. For distances under 5 km 24% of the Rotterdam commuters use their car and a large number walk or use their bicycle. For distances above 5 km 65% use their car.
An electric bicycle could be a useful alternative to the car and has advantages in urban traffic for various reasons. Cycling can be a relaxing way to go to work. An electric bicycle takes little space and therefore is fast in dense traffic. It decreases parking problems. There is no air and noise pollution. And not the least the support mechanism enables you to cycle a longer distance (5-17km) easier.

There is also a counter side to this story. The Netherlands has great cycling facilities. Its flat geography makes it easy to ride a bicycle and the country has a long bicycle tradition. These factors make it more difficult to introduce an electric bicycle for young people since it is associated with elderly and disabled people - after all why use peddle assistance if you are fit?

A new design of an electric bicycle could only be successful for commuters if its image is improved and the price is low.

How could the image of the electric bicycle be improved to make it attractive to young, healthy commuters?

Leave your thoughts here or send an e-mail to Caspar,
casparspost [at] hotmail [dot] com

Related Posts: -
posted by Oriol P., 11:11 AM | link | 4 comments |

Going Urban

Little is known about Future of Cities World Congress to be held in Copenhagen (Sept'07; 23-26) but it seems the organizers decided to set up the scene by showing us a timeline where the transition from urban and rural rates is dynamically illustrated. We'll keep an eye to the newsletter to get the program and updates.

posted by Oriol P., 11:07 AM | link | 0 comments |


If visiting Barcelona, you shouldn't miss Offjectes; concepts and designs for a change of century, featuring the work of Azuamoline, Curro Claret, Marti Guixe, Nani Marquina, El Ultimo Grito, Vaho, and many more Spanish designers.

15-11-2006 - 15-04-2006
Museu de les Arts Decoratives

Related Posts: --
posted by Oriol P., 11:03 AM | link | 0 comments |

Find me at

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The upcoming days you can find me at
If you plan to attend any of these events, let me know and let's start a conversation.

Related Posts: -
posted by Oriol P., 3:45 PM | link | 0 comments |

Get a World-class Branded City in 5 Steps

Saturday, November 04, 2006

How does the city contribute to make citizens' life meaningful? How does it serve as a tool to develop their activities? Shoot-&-run doesn't work here. Branding requires long term commitment to the story and values of a product or service.

It is what you have to offer that counts, and a bit of communication:
  1. Identify core values of your city. What does it stand for? It is about accepting reality and extracting those values that unify every single citizen.
  2. Define your personality. Every city has its own characteristics that make it unique; some are classic, contemporary, or eclectic. Can you clearly define yours? Act consistently.
  3. Develop a consistent imagery. If branding is about telling a story that adds value to the product, it helps when there are recognizable visual elements attached to it. Design a logo, font type, colors, and style. Stick to it and apply to any media support. Additionally, exploit local imagery.
  4. Preach by giving example. Translate values into actions when practicing city management and policy making. (I.e. don't spend money publicizing the economic penalization of littering and at the same time allow it in public events)
  5. Be open to ideas and contributions. Let the community build into city values. Provide communication channels; make it easy to speak out and always provide coherent feedback.
Note: Landmarks definitely contribute to build city brand, as long as it adds to the story and it is appropriate for the context.

I bet that if for your city, you're able to tick each element of the list with the mark done & in place, then we are talking about a world-class branded city. Citizens become fans when high level of engagement with the story is achieved.

Proposal: For your city or town, name two examples for each element of the list. How many can you get on a scale of ten? Use the result as yardstick and act accordingly.

Related Posts: -
posted by Oriol P., 12:26 AM | link | 0 comments |

International Sustainability Competition

Monday, October 30, 2006

As seen at The Economist by Marga (thanks!)

Science City is a ETH university campus near the center of Zurich which serves as a model for sustainability. Science City, is much more than a conventional university campus; it represents a culture of thinking and dialogue.

The International Sustainability Competition is a global competition for interdisciplinary teams to provide ideas for how Science City can realize its vision of a new model for the sustainable integration of science and society. Teams from academic institutions are particularly encouraged to participate.

Entrants will be asked to combine competencies from different fields, for example spatial planning, urban development, mobility, sociology, arts and culture, economics and management, and must demonstrate sound knowledge and experience in sustainability-related topics.

posted by Oriol P., 11:16 PM | link | 0 comments |

Issue-driven Entrepreneurship

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Check the pictures at Flickr

This post is about the Idea Lounge organized by Enviu that I attended yesterday. But first, I'd like to share with you some thoughts I've got about a Do-it-yourself Guide to the Organization of Social Networking Events.

DIY Guide to the Organization of Social Networking Events

1. Gather some peers.
Use your network to gather like-minded people and engage them in the conversation. Meet at the bar, occupy a classroom, or ask at your neighbor association for space.

2. Set up and an agenda. In advance, define what issues are to be addressed and order in which will be presented. If the space you occupy has limited usage time, you may need to define a timeline accompanying the agenda and attacht to it.

3. Define goals for output. What do you aim to achieve with it? The pure act of opening the mind and exchange ideas is rewarding enough to justify the event. Still, you may want to be able to describe tangible and clear goals that may contribute to your own interests. This aplies for orgnizers and attendants. As in #2, plan in advance.

4. Reward contribution. Social networking is all about open contributions by all participants. Contribution is encouraged when acknowledged by peers.

5. Enjoy it. Have fun with it and speak out your thoughts! That's the best reward you can get.

After a complete day at the DDW 06, Saturday could not be less intense and exciting. My good friend Stef van Dongen organized together with the Enviu team a social networking event entitled Idea Lounge. Some forty issue-driven professionals from a variety of backgrounds discussed ideas and presented proposals, while having a drink.

The participative session started with an introduction to issue-driven entrepreneurship by Stef, followed by a presentation of the Escama case by myself. Attendants expressed their views on specific issues of their interest, of which three were selected as working material. In groups, isses were discussed individually and later on proposals aiming to increase sustainability and business value were presented on an elevator speech format.
  • How to ensure long term business sustainability for a product and a business model like Escama?
  • How to maximize efficiency in the current system of second hand cars sold to emerging economies?
  • How to maximize efficiency in office space use
Entrepreneurial minds can provide powerful insight, and this exactly what happened at De Loft. Snacks and drinks provided the perfect ground to interact with many interesting people; at the end of the day it's all about getting engaged in the conversation regarding sustainable solutions.

I'd like to thank everyone who participated at the Idea Lounge and made possible a creative Saturday afternoon. Stef, as soon as I finish Small is the new Big, I'll grab Cradle to Cradle, thanks for the book!

Last Minute Update. Stef reports that "All together we generated more than 200 ideas that were rapped up in three short presentations of each group. Another great day! If you would like to join us next time just check the Enviu website"

posted by Oriol P., 9:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Dutch Design Week 2006

Check the pictures at Flickr

It was exactly a year ago when the Onsustain crew landed at the Dutch Design Week 2005 with an exhibition-shop about sustainable product design. So, the link with that event is sort of special and brings memories of creativity and enthusiasm. Last Friday, after a day of meetings and work we decided to relax and enjoy the current edition held at the city of light; Eindhoven.

The DDW is the best demonstration of current trends in industrial, textile and human design developed in the Netherlands. Recognizable design figures mix their work with novel designer who are ready to finish their master's at the Design Academy. This year we could appreciate an increase of projects presented, however we rapidly spotted what was going to be our favorite project; a set of urban furniture that doubles functionality as playground elements. Unfortunately I cannot recall the name of the designer, and I cannot find it at the catalogue. We also liked the work of Daniel Schipper and his urban greenhouse project.

Just across the street, Flick_Off repeated location at the Admiral presenting the work of a variety of designers and as usual, a selection of products from Buro Vormkrijgers, including the delightful Pong Clock. We were happy to encounter with designer Emily Hermans who we met last year at TAC. Her new collection of viscose clothing is just great, introducing traditional Palestinian patterns to create outstanding pieces.
Tof Design presented a collection of artifacts (suitcases, stereos, fans) made out a composite of wood residues.

Next stop was the Temporary Art Centre (TAC) which this year transformed into Go Tac; a drive in cinema holding performances, restaurant, and rooms. Debbie Does held another interesting installation with video and interaction. But what best after some cultural and creative immersion that enjoy a meal in a unique setting?

La Boller fulfills the definition of unique setting for a restaurant; a former brothel which keeps all its original design and characteristic elements as pole, mirrored walls and ceiling, exotic bath tubs, sauna, and the flexible space fitting up to 18 people. If the setting is unique and spectacular, the service and food are top quality. A group of young enthusiasts transformed this squatted house (we're there last year the very first time a party was held) into a top memorable experience. At the kitchen, chef Malotaux masters the art of cooking even when he does it as hobbie.

The evening ended up at The Little League party held by Vice magazine we were delighted with the electro beat of Matik, an excellent and revolutionary discovery for me. These guys made us jump like crazy just as the great bands can do. You should definitely check out their music; pump your computer speakers up and jump, jump, jump!

Related Posts: -
posted by Oriol P., 8:49 PM | link | 2 comments |

Defining Urban Spam

For some days now I can see from my apartment that the Pathe cinema at Schouwburgplein has been covered with an immense printed advertisement of Nike picturing Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal. Finally, today I decided to check it out and take a closer look - even when that's not really necessary since it can be spotted from the distance. The values in which we foresee a sustainable Rotterdam clash with this kind of practices, the ad is simply an outrageous piece of urban spam as annoying as receiving 120 unsolicited e-mails on a day, with the difference that this one will be there for several days.

There's nothing wrong about branding the public space as there's nothing wrong in using e-mail to extend the message of a brand. Actually, I believe that clever branding can be as meaningful in public space as urban art is. But tha's exactly what marketers, agencies, and local authorities should ask themselves when deciding to cover an entire building with a printed ad: how meaningful and appropriate is this for the context - the city - and citizen-market?

Yelling doesn't make your message and experience better or outstanding. For a printed ad in public space to be relevant it is about meaningful content using the appropriate format for your target group or niche.

1. Content
Functionality of printed ads is purely informational and unidirectional; there's none - or limited - room for interaction limiting engagement with citizen-market. Basically what I have observed are three versions of content:
  • Priced sales and special deals
  • Presentation of a new product, collection or service
  • Announcement of events; concerts, parties, local festivals
How relevant are these informational messages within the context of a city and how the citizen perceives them? Personally, I may find practical to encounter announcement of events because those are relevant pieces of information for me when taking the pulse of the city and writing this blog. Yet, other channels are available to get the same information, extended, and right up to date delivered to you which results more efficient and meaningful - i.e. e-mail newsletters, Google Calendar. The same applies to priced sales and presentations of new products/services; it rarely happens that those are shown when looking for them and being prepared to experience the unidirectional message.
  • Who thinks that by purely sticking a picture and a text line on my nose, that I didn't choose or aimed to get, I am going to get a positive attitude about the brand?
2. Format
Printed advertisement in public spaces takes a variety of formats, mainly differentiated by size, materials and supporting elements. Ranging from few square cm in flyers to several hundred square meters in building coverings, the general perception of printed advertisement in public space - at least here in Rotterdam - is lack of consistency in formats.
I would like to catalogue and capture visually the variety of formats that can be encountered around Rotterdam and create a Flick set. Send us your pictures and I will add them to the set, alternatively you can use the tag 'sustainablerotterdam'.

Regarding format, the questions that should be asked are:
  • How does the format of the advertisement add value to the experience of perceiving the content and the public space?
  • Does large mean better or more appropriate?
  • How do these formats and supporting elements cope with the original design of the urban space?
3. Target group
When an informative message is literally placed at the middle of the street, we may say that it lacks focus and takes an arbitrary strategy; by definition a limited rate of citizen-market may feel that the message is meaningful and appropriate for their own interests and needs. Additionally, it can be observed the doubling of roles in the target group;
  • How can the individuals that experience the urban context be defined; citizens, 24/7 foreseeable consumers, both?
  • On what basis is the trade off citizen-market managed?
  • How do local authorities balance the always welcome cash-flow of revenues of commercially exploiting the public space and its appropriateness?
The combination of the above described elements may lead to either appropriate or inappropriate use of the public space, the latest it's what I call urban spam; the ultimate plague of the dense urban space. Would you like to contribute to the discussion and answer any of the above questions? Leave us a text comment or voice message at Odeo.

posted by Oriol P., 5:32 PM | link | 0 comments |

It's Great to be an Enthusiast

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

As follower of Seth Godin work, I'm currently reading the compilation of columns and blog posts at his latest book Small is the New Big. So today, during lunch time, I was reading the post titled Enthusiast (the original blog post is entitled "Are you an enthusiast?") and I have to say that I saw myself reflected there. I felt that at last someone understood me!

The following paragraph reflects the essence of Seth's message:

Enthusiasts are ENTHUSIASTIC! This means we want to spread the word. It means we want other people to "get it" as well. We want the organizations we buy from to be one of us, to care as much as we do about the experience and the products and the process. We want our friends and fans not just to buy us a stick-shift warmer for the Ferrari, but to research it first, to compare the different warmers, to understand the trade-offs and make the same (obvious) choice that we would.

I don't know if I can be entitled as enthusiast, but one thing is for sure; I'm eager to let others know and get excited as I get with any new discovery. That's why sustainablerotterdam.com exists; to let everyone know about it.

So, are you also an enthusiast? If so, what does it take for you to be enthusiast?

Related Posts: --
posted by Oriol P., 2:09 PM | link | 1 comments |

Sustainable Dance Club - Video Premiere

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Thanks to Jessy van Os for the video!

posted by Oriol P., 4:48 PM | link | 1 comments |

Sustainable Dance Club: What a Night!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

If you follow regularly this blog (is anyone out there?) you may know that last night Rotterdam held The Critical Mass. We have been continuously reporting about this open source concept in previous post, and Saturday it all materialized in a unique experience mixing live performances, fashion, food & drinks, and sustainable glam. The base of the program focused to show the audience what the "eco chain of clubbing" can entail.

The evening started with a presentation of the sustainable dance club concept by Alijd van Doorn (Doll lab) and Stef van Dongen (Enviu) accompanied by comments videoprojected of actors in Rotterdam's innovation and clubbing scenes.

The expectation created paid off with an overwhelming assistance of public; 1200 people crossed the door of Off_Corso to dance and enjoy a sustainable evening. From the great line-up we personally enjoyed the acoustic sounds of Dutch songwriter Charlie Dee, and Belgium electro duo The Subs (make me jump again!). Urbi et Orbi created amazing visuals that where projected all over the place.

Since January 2006, Doll & Enviu managed to gather a large group of enthusiastic professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Those came with a series of proposals to design a sustainable dance club from an architectural and experience perspective, and as Alijd & Stef claimed "the question now is not where is it going to be, but who is going to be first?". By Saturday, the first were people like Kuyichi and its re-made fashion corner, Oke and The Garden of Delight, or the LED Philips wall and its energy efficient animations, and the delicious recycled food restaurant that contributed -amongst others- to make it a success.

The sustainable beat was up till sunrise, many things happened and many details to cover them on a Sunday evening post. Let me tell you a secret; we could sneak in a video camera and soon you will be able to check it all by yourself. Keep tuned and be the first to know (sorry CNN!)

For a full list of acts, performances and sponsors, check the official announcement, or read what The Washington Post is saying about all this at the article Going Going Green

posted by Oriol P., 9:55 PM | link | 8 comments |