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Mediating Innovation for Future-Focused Design: What Boston can learn from Amsterdam

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    Free and open to the public

On May 18, the City of Amsterdam’s Sacha Stolp will discuss how innovative partnerships and working methods between public, private, and knowledge institutions resulted in the design of Project Smartroof 2.0, a revolutionary new “blue-green” urban roof system designed to mitigate the impact of climate change—and what Boston can learn from the process.

Amsterdam’s new Smartroof system “captures and stores rainwater in a drainage layer underneath the soil. The lightweight recycled plastic drainage units are fitted with integrated fiber technology enabling capillary transport from storage to soil to naturally irrigate the myriad of plants species without the use of pumps, hoses, valves, or energy.”

“The partners and institutes worked together with an open approach to develop the smart roof,” describes Stolp. “In an open process we developed the innovation together. This required a completely new approach and is one of the project’s main success factors. We call this role ‘the mediator of innovation.’ This was crucial in this project, and I believe an example of best practices in how we can solve the urban issues our cities are facing.”

Stolp will present an overview of the new “Blue-Green Infrastructure” that resulted from the unique consortium, and offer detailed insight into how new types of partnerships made it possible and how such processes can revolutionize how Boston and other cities approach innovative design.

The evening will be introduced by BSA Foundation chair, Laura Wernick FAIA; and moderated by NatureStructure curator, Scott Burnham.

This event is supported by the BSA Foundation and organized in conjunction with NatureStructure exhibition.

Sacha Stolp Bio

Sacha Stolp is Director of Innovation for Future-Proof Assets for the City of Amsterdam’s “Amsterdam 1000 Years” program. The program is an initiative from the City of Amsterdam’s Department of Engineering and the City’s management of public assets, which include pavements, quay walls, and public green areas. As Director of Innovation, her task is to prepare the existing city for the consequences of climate change and its transition to new energy, materials, and the ongoing development of smart city capabilities.

Sacha is also the “Mediator of Innovation” for AMROR, a collaboration between the engineering firms of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Municipalities of Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Mediator of Innovation is a role she developed to help regular projects adapt to and accept uncertainty and innovation in their assignments. Project Smartroof 2.0 is one of several pilot projects coming from this process, realized in collaboration with knowledge institutions and the business community.

She is the owner of Change the Climate, a start-up that functions as the interface between space, water, and energy to develop, design, and make products that help cities become climate-proof.

Her personal slogan: "Let us immerse ourselves in the mass of people and learn from each other, share knowledge, be optimistic, trust, and cooperate. We can learn not only from nature, but also from technology and each other in the pursuit of one of the greatest technical achievements people are capable of: building fine, ingenious and sustainable cities.”


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