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Pressure on the City of Amsterdam is Increasing

Within a decade, Amsterdam is expected to surpass the one million inhabitants mark, further increasing the pressure on the city. With more people sharing the same space, the housing issue becomes increasingly acute. Finding affordable and suitable housing in the city is becoming a growing challenge for many, resulting in a persistent housing crisis.

Amsterdam aims for responsible growth within its borders by focusing on five strategic pillars: growth within limits, polycentric development, promoting sustainable and healthy mobility, rigorous greening, and co-creation in urban development. Various densification strategies have been developed and are under consideration, but one central question remains dominant:

How can the municipality of Amsterdam contribute in a responsible and well-considered manner to the living and housing pleasure of both current and future residents amidst urban growth and densification?

Complexity and Densification Strategies Translated so Children Can Participate in the Thinking Process

ConsultingKids has translated the essence of the issue into a story that is understandable for children aged 8 to 12. The story is told like a fairy tale and contains all the core elements of the adult issue. It takes place in the fictional world of the Gompies, with main characters such as Reinier (the alderman), Rick (Strategic Advisor), ‘The Builders,’ and ‘The Smart Ones.’ Through these translations, we let the children look at the issue as true ‘external advisors,’ making it possible to address even the most complex adult themes.

See below for an impression of how we introduce the main characters.

The real Reinier and Rick, the inspirations behind our main characters, were also present at some sessions where we involved over 125 children in thinking about the issue. For the children, the guest lesson was not only about the issue but also about learning problem-solving skills. Skills that many professionals encounter later in their careers, but which we secretly wish we had discovered at a young age! A great win-win for both the municipality and the children.

Outcomes Lead to Motions and the Right Internal Discussions

Based on the ideas of the children, translations have been made back to adult directions of thought for Amsterdam’s housing vision. Consider concepts like: neighborhoods on the water and living underwater, traveling train homes, living on the roof, Urban Screens, Pop-Up uses for parking spaces, underground facilities, and moreā€¦

Would you like to know more? Please send an email to info@consultingkids.nl, and we’ll be happy to share more information.

“The feedback on the outcomes was very positive and contributed to the council submitting a motion for research into ‘living on water’. It also greatly facilitated the right conversations with partners and various directorates. Simplifying complex material into the language and ideas of children makes the content more accessible and manageable. Moreover, it encourages the right dialogue about alternative uses of public space.

The collaboration was very pleasant, with a great process for us as a municipality & the children and an excellent final product. Our expectations were indeed exceeded!

This project is a fine example of proper participation and citizenship development, demonstrating how complexity can be simplified so that children can really think effectively (regardless of the complexity of the matter), leading to beautiful results. And a nice feedback to the children is underway!” says Rick Vermeulen, strategic advisor/urban planner at the Municipality of Amsterdam.

Interesting for your organization?

Would you like to explore what ConsultingKids can do for your organization without obligation? Contact us via the contact page or email us at info@consultingkids.nl

Why work with us?

Discover innovative solutions for your most complex problems

Open doors to change with our unique, resistance-reducing approach

Experience professionally organized participation that matches your real substantive challenges!

Inspire the next generation and helpdevelop problem-solving skills

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Bas Warmerdam Founder and advisor
Published on: December 8, 2023

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