In 2019 the WeMakethe.City Festival in Amsterdam featured the theme “Better for All of Us”. It is a week-long festival that expanded out from the city centre to include the wider metropolis of Amsterdam this year. The number of events enables the 4 Voices of the City to attend from morning to night exploring a plethora of topics – embracing Metropolitan and Urban Conferences, Talks, Expos, Specials, Movies, Expeditions and gatherings.
Opening night was an extravaganza of staging at Amsterdam Theatre – featuring music, interviews, multiple generations and lively moderation. Every contribution was tagged with a memorable quotation and we left inspired to see the rest of the week’s events.
One of the Festivals’ most provocative multi-media displays was set out on the first floor of the Amsterdam Public Library. There an exhibition of Future Cities surprised me with – not futuristic urban landscapes – but with cities in the developing world seizing new opportunities driven by the imagination and activation of many millennials.
Kinshasa featured itself as the new fashion Paris of Africa.
South America featured Medellin IT and Lima’s prowess in food and restaurants.
Addis Ababa sounded a clarion call for its music scene.
The Yangon display was still being mounted as I walked through.
Integral City participated in 2 other events – one took us to the south-east of the city to De K-Buurt – a community – there we met a local team organizing a community gathering to plan for a Community Master Plan. The K-Buurt faces the challenges of old apartment blocks fighting poverty, literacy and economic deprivation. Residents want to discover new purpose and intend to create an inclusive, livable neighbourhood.
This half-day afternoon event was organized around Toni Griffin’s The Just City Index – a set of Social Justice Values (presented at 2018 WMTC festival). Experts from cities around the world gave us short energizers on each value and then moved us to break-out tables. There we joined lively discussions anchored around 2 of the values and explored with the experts, community representatives and visitors (like me) how those values could show up in the Master Plan.
I sat at a table focused on Connecting and Unexpected Emergence – hosted by an Amsterdam facilitator and with visitors from Milan, USA, and community members originally from Ukraine and Azerbaijan.
At the end of the afternoon we had energizing reports from 10 tables with ideas linked to all the Just City Values and commitments to take the next steps.
The second event Integral City enjoyed was the delivery of our Green Sustainability Manifesto. We joined Oleg Lega and his team to visit DeCeuvel – a waterside neighbourhood in North Amsterdam committed to incubating social enterprises. It was a perfect location for us to deliver our messages of personal, organizational and urban change.
On the wall of our meeting room 3 posters were displayed, illustrating the material flows of the globe, DeCeuvel and a Dutch citizen.
Our small but attentive audience cheered on and joined our commitment to personal and organizational change that makes urban change possible.
You can read the manifestos here: