Inspiration, interaction, and innovation for urban challenges are the goals of a festival in the capital of the Netherlands. Between 20th and 24th, June 2018 takes place the largest city festival in Europe, named We Make The City. Urban living and new dynamics are the key concepts discussed during the four days to address city challenges in the metropolitan region of Amsterdam. The festival elects a future-focused approach asking what kind of city do we want to live in, in five, ten or fifteen years time. Collaborative meetings, events, and workshops are expected to bring new and fresh answers to possible and collective solutions, as well as a way to share experiences and knowledge.
The event nourishes a sense of identity and belonging, and intends to trigger action by all city owners described on the website: individuals who are pioneering, persevering, playing, designing, teaching, creating policies, enforcing, developing, trying, breaking, building and rebuilding, dreaming, working, intervening, talking, parenting, and enjoying urban spaces. In other words, making the city.
During the festival, there will be 600 local, national and international speakers, 150 locations, 25 theme conferences, 30 urban talks, 50 workshops, 30 city expeditions, 15 special events, 10 exhibitions, and 30.000 participants.
WeMakeThe.City is an initiative of Amsterdam Municipality, Amsterdam Economic Board, Pakhuis de Zwijger, Waag Society, Amsterdam Smart City and AMS Institute. The main partners are Rabobank Amsterdam, Nuon and ABN AMRO.
Urban growth can be seen both as an issue or an opportunity to explore new solutions for urgent themes like safety, housing, health, community, and climate. The festival creates the time and space for discussing urban challenges with all audiences and engaging them in being an active part of its progress. Amsterdam is often considered one of the best cities in the world in terms of quality of life; nevertheless, it keeps reinventing itself with critical thinking and fostering positive impact for as more publics as possible.
Positively changing behaviours and relations between different stakeholders, public and private. The friendly approach, attractive visuals and tone of voice frame the festival as more a place to be and have fun while talking about serious themes than a formal and structured meeting. The themes of the event: The Healthy City; The Smart City; The Sustainable City; The Lively City; The Constructed City; The Creative City; and The Social City.
- Bringing together different people (also of different ages), organizations, and institutions for healthy and relevant exchanges;
- Enhancing the sense of identity, regardless of origin and neighbourhood, as well as the sense of pride, belonging and community;
- Defining clear metrics to follow up on the co-created initiatives;
- Projecting together the city in different future time-spans;
- Encouraging crossovers and potential partnerships;
- Identifying new urban spaces for place-making activities;
- Building a digital platform for continuous project and idea developments, beyond the festival;
- Inspiring other Dutch and European cities with similar challenges and benchmarking from each other with “twin” festivals.