I visited the Urban Green Cities Symposium at the Junushoff Theatre in Wageningen on Tuesday 3rd of November. Organised by the study associations of the environmental department of the Wageningen University, the evening offered four different speakers talking about their topic linked to the theme of ‘Urban Green Cities’.
Seeing that the development of cities, and in particular their sustainability and influence on human wellbeing, is of ever increasing importance, all speakers focussed on different perspectives that influence these aspects. The fact that the evening was sold out and visited by a diverse and international audience illustrates the popularity of the topic. The speakers in order of appearance were: Klaas Metselaar (WUR), Arjen Wals (Gothenburg University, WUR, UNESCO Chair), Jan Eelco Jansma (WUR, AMS Amsterdam) and Jeroen Apers (Architect De Ceuvel Amsterdam). They respectively focussed on their research on green roofs, sense of place in the digital age, urban agriculture, and the projects ‘Schoon Schip’and ‘De Ceuvel’ in Amsterdamwhereby sustainability was of high importance for this new neighbourhood initiative with living boats. Each speaker provided an explanation of the importance of their topics and the advantages and challenges that they face. Interesting statements were made such as ‘a loss of sense of place can lead to a lack of sense of responsibility for that place’ (Wals), and ‘could urban agriculture feed our cities? No, but maybe it can in a mental way’ (Jansma).
All speakers managed to convey their message clearly. Although they did not present a lot of new information, this was more than compensated by the enthusiasm of themselves and the involved audience. Some time and points for discussion and critical reflection might have contributed to the depth of the presentations.
A compliment should be given to the organisation for the well-managed and successful evening. The change of location, from the Wageningen University to the Junushoff Theatre, also contributed to a good atmosphere. I am curious to see what will be addressed next year.
The presentations can be found on the following page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1470350926607736/1479954888980673/