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Eurban Update

Vol. 9, July 2015
Dear reader,

in 2012 the Eurbanlab initiative started as a research project that was funded by Climate-KIC. Over a period of two years, a vibrant community of academics and industry leaders developed a unique assessment method for urban innovations, and the collaborative platform that Eurbanlab is today. Since the start of this year, we are a social enterprise with strong partnerships between sustainability leaders. We increasingly support professionals in sustainable construction to discover and learn from urban innovations, and help them to improve new ways of urban renewal.

To match this transition, our website and newsletters have been given a new look and items. 'Featured articles' are introduced to our newsletters, providing in-depth information into current developments or interesting innovations, supporting our goal of mutual learning. Lastly, we are proud to announce the launch of a new service that builds upon our network of stakeholders in sustainable construction; read more about 'Showcasing Urban Innovations' in this newsletter!

If you have something you would like to share with the community in the next Eurban Update, please feel free to send us an e-mail. Thank you for your interest in Eurbanlab!

Kind regards,

Roger Toussaint
Eurbanlab coordinator
In this version of our Eurban Update:

Newsflash Featured article
Overcoming barriers for Innovation


Please find below the latest news from the Eurbanlab community, current topics in sustainable urban development and other short updates.

Launch of a new service: "Showcasing Urban Innovation"

Are you active in the field of sustainable urban development and do you have successful solutions to offer? We believe that your sustainable solutions for the built environment should be shared and applied more often. Eurbanlab can help you to do just that by Showcasing your solutions!

We help you to bring together supply and demand in the sustainable construction market. By showcasing your urban innovation (implemented or envisioned) in our library, newsletters, events and on our website, we increase exposure, create opportunities to connect to ambitious stakeholders and increase your chances of market uptake.

Showcasing provides an exciting opportunity for inspiring and innovative urban innovations:

  • Add your innovation to our library  and be easier to find for investors;
  • Get noticed through our newsletters & social media channels. Reach over 3000 professionals that signed up explicitly to learn about innovations in sustainable urban development!
  • Showcase your solutions on our homepage to reach the 500+ daily visitors that are interested in urban innovation;
  • Expand your network and promote your innovation at one of our events, workshops, seminars or webinars.
Showcasing is a stand-alone service and is also open to non-members.
Receive the full benefits of this service with a 
50% reduction until November 2015!

Launch of a new Tool: "Online self-assessment"

In our previous newsletter we announced the development of a web-based version of the unique assessment method developed by Eurbanlab. The self-assessment tool is now available online!

With the launch of the self-assessment, Eurbanlab now offers two ways to support stakeholders in the evaluation of sustainable (re)development projects:

  1. In-depth assessments by certified assessors
  2. A quick self-assessment with the online tool

Both methods make use of the unique assessment methodology – consisting of 60+ qualitative and quantitative indicators – that has been developed by Eurbanlab over the past three years.

Similar to the in-depth assessment, the tool aims to support the acceleration of successful practices in sustainable urban (re)development projects. The online self-assessment provides stakeholders with a means to determine the:

  • Sustainability impact of proposed or completed projects (People, Planet, Profit);
  • Factors in the development process that contribute(d) to the success of failure of the project (Process);
  • Potential for repeating the methods, ideas, concepts or technologies in other areas (Propagation).
Although the tool is quick to use, it makes full use of the holistic approach to project evaluation and is versatile in the sense that it can be applied to completed projects (as a learning tool), or project proposals (as a guiding tool).
Read more about the self-assessment...
Website update
Our website is constantly being updated with new items and services. Have a look at our new website here.
A growing library
Our library of Urban Innovations provides visitors with an overview of inspiring examples of solutions in sustainable construction. The library now contains over 270 project descriptions and is growing daily.
City of Amsterdam commits to sustainable bus service
The City Council, together with public transportation operator "GVB", agreed to a sustainable bus service. By 2025, the entire fleet should be running on green electricity or hydrogen.
WTC-tower to become the most sustainable office building in Utrecht?
The city of Utrecht (Netherlands) will have its own WTC-tower by 2018. Sustainability ambitions for the new build tower are high, but plans to reach this ambition are not yet clear.
France degrees roofs to be 'green'
The French government recently adopted a remarkable new law that requires all new buildings in commercial areas to be (partially) covered by solar panels or vegetation.
The Exemplar - UK's first zero-carbon community

Introduced to our library of Urban Innovations in 2014, the first phase of the North West Bicester eco-town is now close to completion. Residents are expected to move in to the zero-carbon development later this year. Now known as 'The Exemplar', the development will be a showcase for how sustainable neighborhoods make green living easy and can benefit the whole community.
Ever heard of floating Solar Panels and Wave Power Generators?

by Roger Toussaint (JCsolutions)

Wind and solar are two of the most prominent sources of renewable energy. However, both technologies struggle with issues of intermittency (not being able to create a constant and predictable amount of electricity) and scarcity of land. Recently, the market has started experimenting with floating solar panels and wave power generators, an innovation that might tackle these issues.
Storing renewable energy at home

Storing renewable energy at home can make generating electricity with solar panels or wind turbines even more attractive for households in the near future. Interestingly, the technology to store renewable energy is being developed by car manufacturers, not the likely energy companies.
Google's new company aims to improve cities

The world's internet giant, Google, has launched a new company called SideWalk Labs. The new company has been created to operate at the intersection of the digital and real world, aiming to tackle urban challenged and improve life through technology.
The first solar road: Is it effective?

The idea to have large parts of the road surface in the Netherlands to act as a large solar panel seems remote and far-fetched. It would be great to generate electricity for street lighting, nearby homes, traffic systems or even electric vehicles. In November 2014, "SolaRoad", a 70 meter long cycle path, was officially opened in the Dutch province of Noord-Holland. In this three year pilot project, researchers will determine the feasibility of such 'solar roads'.

Six months down the road, the innovation seems promising and has an energy performance that goes beyond expectation. The path has already generated over 3,000 kWh - enough to power a single-person household for a year, or to drive an electric scooter 2.5 times around the world. However, some issues are starting to show, and doubts about its full-scale applicability are raised.

Featured article

We aim to include a featured article in each newsletter. These articles provide in-depth information into current developments or interesting innovations. If you would like to contribute by sharing your insights, please send us an e-mail and submit your idea for the next newsletter!

Overcoming barriers for Innovation

by Paul Tuinenburg (Innovation specialist at IDfuse)

Together with sustainability, innovation is perhaps the buzzword of the 21 century. However, despite their plentiful use in debates on sustainable development and our increasing knowledge on the interaction between the two, it is still challenging to effectively use our innovation insights in creating a more sustainable society. Why is innovation for sustainability so hard?

Innovation is always some kind of a chaotic process. We increasingly understand the process, but even with this knowledge we can only improve the likelihood that an invention is adopted (...)

Read the full article here...
What is an Urban Innovation?
Eurbanlab defines Urban Innovations as "urban (re)development projects that incorporate systemic innovations, involving new or modified concepts, systems, products and/or techniques, that contribute to low-carbon, climate resilient development, on the scale of a street or upwards.
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