Almere NL, a city of 190,000 is getting ready for a “scale jump” to double in size by 2030. Seeking guidelines to renew and transform itself, in 2008, it invited Cradle to Cradle authors William McDonough and Michael Braungart to craft principles by which the city could grow sustainably in balance with its unique polder environment and with its challenge to settle people and grow jobs that contribute to an ecologically, socially and economically sustainable future.
The seven Almere Principles are intimately connected with “an act of culture and the expression of an optimistic approach of the future (1)”. Like the Integral City intelligences the Principles describe the need for Contexting, Capacity Building, Strategy and Evolution. Using the Integral City sequence, but quoting verbatim from the manifesto (1), here are the Almere Principles:
Connect Place and Context: To connect the city we will strengthen and enhance her identify. Based on its own strength and on mutual benefit, the city will maintain active relationships with its surrounding communities at large.
Combine City and Nature: To give meaning to the city we will consciously aim to bring about unique and lasting combinations of the urban and natural fabric, and raise awareness of human interconnectedness with nature.
Empower People to Make the City: Acknowledging citizens to be the driving force in creating, keeping and sustaining the city, we facilitate opportunities for our citizens to pursue their unique potential, with spirit and dignity.
Cultivate Diversity: To enrich the city we acknowledge diversity as a defining characteristic of robust ecological, social and economical systems. By appraising and stimulating diversity in all areas, we can ensure Almere will continue to grow and thrive as a city rich in variety.
Design Healthy Systems: To sustain the city we will utilize “crade to cradle” solutions, recognizing the interdependence, at all scales, of ecological, social and economic health.
Continue Innovation: To advance the city we will encourage improved processes, technologies and infrastructures, and we will support experimentation and the exchange of knowledge.
Anticipate Change: To honour the evolution of the city we will incorporate generous flexibility and adaptability in our plans and programs, in order to facilitate unpredictable opportunities for future generations.
Since their inception The Almere Principles have a provided strong framework within which to make difficult decisions related to infrastructure development, green space management and re-negotiating relationships between the municipality and the residents. As the new “scale jump” for the city comes on stream, it is hoped the principles continue as the backbone for minimal critical structure that enables the full blossoming of the city coming of age.
Feddes, F. (Ed.). (2008 ). The Almere Principles. Almere, NL: The Municipality of Almere.