Eurbanlab Winter Conference 2014
Attendees EWC29 January 2014

In the heart of London at the historical Victoria Docks, Eurbanlab organised her successful first open conference in the Crystal. After welcoming the attendees from all Europe and giving a short introduction to the very meaning of Eurbanlab, the more than 50 attendees listened to some inspiring speakers.

Click here for the overal presentation of this day: Eurbanlab Winter Conference

‘I liked the insight to the development of the Eurbanlab business model. It is exciting to see it progressing on several strands.’

Jeremy Bourdon (World Cities Network)

Raphaëlle-Laure Perraudin (Jourda Architectes Paris) – “Finding new ways of construction”

Raphaelle-Laure PerraudinRaphaëlle-Laure Perraudin works at JAP, an architect’s firm specialized in energy efficient construction. Raphaelle took the audience through how the “Halle Pajol” in Paris, France was reconstructed. The building is directly connected to the railroad, but the main challenge was to reconnect it to the city. The architects were able to realise a functional interaction and mixed uses within the building, which is now home to an auditorium, a youth hostel, a public library and a range of retail outlet and offices. The main ambition was to unify people with various backgrounds. The solar plant on the roof completed the whole picture.

Her powerpoint presentation can be found here: JAP presentation

Following  this inspiring story of a successful innovation, members of the Eurbanlab team elaborated on the ambitions and goals of Eurbanlab, the Eurbanlab library, the assessment method and the community building of Eurbanlab. The participants joined the conversation with many interesting questions and some good advice. Also in the morning programme, Julie Alexander of Siemens, briefly explained why Victoria Docks are the ideal place for Siemens’ urban innovations department and why the Crystal is just the right place for this conference.

After this explanation, the participants joined the conversation and discussion concerning the Eurbanlab library (Ed Metcalfe — Institute for Sustainability), the assessment method (Peter Bosch — TNO) and the community building of Eurbanlab (Anne-Marie Spierings — ARCADIS).

Click here for the presentation concerning the library of Eurbanlab: Eurbanlab Project Library

After lunch the conference participants enjoyed a  tour of the Crystal, where Siemens has an exhibition explaining the risks of Climate Change and the ways in which technology can help us achieve a sustainable future.

‘It was good to see the open minded characters, the willingness to receive feedback and (constructive) critics to the B4U and gallery of innovations.’

Anonymous (from the survey)

Julie Alexander (Siemens) — The CrystalThe Crystal
The Crystal, owned and operated by Siemens, is a 18.000 m2 large building on Royal Victoria Dock in east London that contains a permanent exhibition about sustainable development. It is part of the Green Enterprise District policy that covers much of East London. The surrounding landscape was designed to be a sustainable urban landscape to help encourage a shift in the broader social ideology, making ‘sustainability’ more attractive and allowing people to participate in social activities within the site, which includes local food programs and community gardens to help foster this principle. New opportunities are crucial for revitalization of this part of London.

The Crystal building is a showcase for sustainable building technologies. At the heart of this are the Building management system and KNX infrastructure, a standardized network communication protocol for intelligent buildings. The building control devices, such as lighting, windows, blinds and heating, are connected using the KNX protocol. Using solar power and ground source heat pumps to generate its own energy, it has set a high benchmark for sustainability. That means no fossil fuels are burnt within the building. The building is the first to achieve the highest sustainable building accolades from the world’s two leading accreditation bodies, LEED and BREEAM, Platinum and Outstanding respectively.


At the heart of the Crystal is an exhibition which showcases global trends and challenges, and also existing technological solutions to build environmentally sustainable, liveable and prosperous cities. Across ten zones, the exhibition encourages us to change the way we think about our cities, now and for future generations. Siemens always have been eager to innovate and share gained knowledge,. Talking to other cities about experiences with sustainable technologies, gives Siemens’ ambitions an additional dimension.

Simon Mills (City of London) — “We are all bitizens now”

bitizensSimon Mills is the head of Sustainable Development of the City of London, a district which houses 7,500 residents and 9,000 businesses. ‘We live in a resource constrained world’, says Simons Mills. In cities, new products and services are the driving force behind urban life. According to Simon governments should have an enabling role in the development of these new products and services. A good example is the electronic circuit boards in street lighting. This simple technology makes it possible to automatically switch the lighting off and on, which saves money and provides improved amenities for residents and businesses.

Mini Assessments of urban innovations

mini assessments.JPGAn exciting element of the conference is the demonstration of two live Eurbanlab Mini Assessments. The Mini Assessments gave the participants a good grasp of how an assessment looks like. In addition, they provide Eurbanlab a chance to gain some feedback on the assessment method. The Justus van Heffen project, a project with 154 dwellings in Rotterdam and Aeropolis, an office building, new built, near Brussels, have been used as the two examples. After the break, the attendees were asked to vote upon the project, and the results of the Mini Assessments were given.

Daan Roosegaarde (Studio Roosegaarde) — “Show your sustainable ideas to big companies”

daan roosegaarde roadDaan Roosegaarde delivers unimaginable technology to the world, in the most literal way. With studio’s in Rotterdam and Shanghai, he develops innovative, interactive landscapes that are accomplished through the objective of pulling technology ‘out of the screen’. He uses technology to make places more human. During his impressive presentation, he told about the ‘Glow-in-the-Dark Road’ example which replaces energy consuming street lighting. Together with BAM, Studio Roosegaarde is developing this road now.

The Eurbanlab Winter Conference ended with networking drinks and a good diner. Attendants who were present at the Eurbanlab community event in May 2013 said they were impressed and delighted about the progress  the Eurbanlab project had achieved in the last eight months.