During the City Makers Summit local, national and European City Makers were able to experience the citizen-driven initiatives in their local habitats. On the second day of this Summit the city of Eindhoven opened it’s doors and invited all City Makers for a City Expedition along innovative projects and initiatives in their town. A report of a day in the Brainport and Design City of the Netherlands..

The spokesman of alderman Mary-Ann Scheurs welcomed the City Makers from Helsinki, Berlin, Lviv, Ukraine and many more on behalf of the municipality of Eindhoven. He started off by warning the European City Makers, because the data of the citizens of Eindhoven had been under attack during our opening session. Commissioned by the mayor, an official company was hacking the municipality of Eindhoven, in order to ensure the safety of their data system. This matter was emblematic of the identity of Eindhoven and a perfect prelude to the rest of the City Expedition.

Clean air an a lot of light

In the morning programme the municipality showed what technology can do for citizens. Relevant technology is based on cultural choices; design thinking is leading the way to make it work for people and create societal impact. Smart solutions reduce costs and resource consumption and improve contact between citizens and governments.

© Peter Both

A good example during this morning session at the city hall was intelligent lighting: Eindhoven experiences that it is possible to influence the mood, orientation, attention and self-consciousness of the public. The former director of Philips Design, Marco Bevolo introduced the possibilities of designing civic innovation using lighting technology.

Furthermore, Eindhoven showcased a totally new way of regional development. Jean-Paul Close; introduced the term ‘sustainocracy’, whereby co-creation is the key option for resolution for climate issues in society. In the AiREAS initiative citizens are working together with the institutions on the air quality of Eindhoven. They showed a new aspect of governance; from a health perspective. At the end of the morning session elderman Mary-Ann Schreurs walked in and told the European City Makers about Eindhoven as city of experiment and the power of City Makers in this story.

“You City Makers are the local government, you’re in charge, it’s fundamentally your town.” – Mary-Ann Scheurs

Going outside

At the City Hall of Eindhoven the European City Makers learned about the identity of Eindhoven, which is the vibrant centre of technology and innovation of the Netherlands. Eindhoven is well known not only because of the technical innovations, represented by Brainport, but also by its creative social identity. Young designers start their own companies after graduation and cooperate with each other in new founded communities or ‘breeding places’ like Sectie-C, Cornerspot and Nul Zes at the NRE-terrain. We visited those inspiring bottom-up hotspots in the afternoon program of the City Expedition.

Sectie-C is an incubator for new visions, products, and solutions. Four former factories have been transformed into a workspace for around 180 creative companies and entrepreneurs.

© Peter Both

At Sectie-C we met an unquestionably inspiring artist; Massoud Hassani who founded Hassani Design BV. He is working on different DIY prototypes by designing robotic solutions to landmine detection and figuring out ways to make detonation safer, faster and cheaper than existing technologies. It all started as an art object: the Mine Kafon, but it has evolved into an important tool in the raising of global awareness of a neglected topic: landmines.

“Mine Kafon is not only an anti-landmine device; it opens a discussion of global awareness.” – Massoud Hassani

Hassani’s aim is to work with top humanitarian organisations and industry leaders to clear the world’s landmines quickly and systematically with reliable results. This is a huge challenge, but he told us during that it’s possible with the right technology and showed us his last technological invention: a 3D-printed drone which is a landmine detection- and detonation device.

© Peter Both

Cornerspot is a temporary and interdisciplinary workspace for co-creation where people that are interested in projects that run in the area can meet and co-work. Corner Sport focuses on the creation of local and social influence by using design thinking and is working together with local professionals and citizens.

© CornerSpot

The work of Atelier NL translates the convergence of environment, history, and human experience into objects and systems that enrich everyday life. Atelier NL uses design as a method to reveal hidden informational patterns and stories that lie beneath the mundane.

© Peter Both

Nul Zes is an inspiring collective of designers and thinkers that share knowledge, skills and a network. The collective operates from an open space on an industrial site in Eindhoven.© Peter Both

All in all, visiting Eindhoven was very inspiring. Seeing different ways the municipality and local initiatives are working on improving the city, and beyond, using design-thinking definitely showed the attending City Makers a new way of thinking about city making!

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