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Circular Buiksloterham II


Investigates a number of possible locations for biorefinery to be built by the water company in Buiksloterham.


Amsterdam, the Netherlands

1 Session with 40 Participants

In this game session, diverse experts working for Waternet gathered in Buiksloterham to investigate a number of possible locations for the biorefinery station to be placed in that district. Four teams working for different Waternet departments created possible scenarios testing two locations in the neighborhood. The aim of the game is to develop an integrated plan that looks at location, context, finances and potential partners who can be involved in the project. Players responded during the various rounds on questions such as, how do we prepare the site? How do we engage the stakeholders? How do we get financing?

Upon entering, the players were met by a table measuring four by four meters, with a 3d map of the district on it. The Play the City team has already placed a block at two locations. In addition, the main pipes and cables are indicated on the map.

First test location is located on the water of the Johan van Hasselt Canal, and is close to already built plots. Not much further is the second possible location. Across the water, where the canal flows into the IJ, is a still undeveloped and undetermined piece of land. But there is also a third "resource station block" in play. A so-called wildcard is available for participants who would like to step outside the existing frameworks. It does not have a predetermined location, so it can still be placed anywhere.

Team Location 1

plans to turn their location into a beautiful, attractive place, in which the raw materials station is central and visible. "Experience" is the key word. The location must make visible what a resource station entails for opportunities. For example, there is a greenhouse that is powered by the energy generated by the station. The team deliberately chooses not to plan the entire lot. By designating part of it as a park, space remains to also accommodate future innovations. Moreover, the park makes the area around the station a real front garden for the residents of the surrounding houses. The team expects the project to be completed around 2020. In addition to the costs of the station (€ 1.2 million), approximately € 500,000 is needed to furnish the area. Although this plan does not become the absolute day winner, the team receives many points for the layout of the area and the integration and location in the neighborhood.

Team Location 2

is initially confronted with the major disadvantage of the location to be developed by them: the surrounding area cannot exactly be called alive. That is why this team also focus on attracting people to the refinery. A neighborhood center is to be built, containing an accessible restaurant that runs on the raw materials recovered by the plant and the urban agriculture to be organized. With lots of greenery and a harbor, people from outside the neighborhood are expected to the area. The team partners with a project developer who will realize homes there. Because of the integral plan the costs are higher. Waternet invests € 1.4 million in the area, the project developer about € 9.5 million. In addition, an investment in infrastructure is required of € 300,000. What is special about this project, however, is that it will partly earn itself back by producing its own building materials. Concrete can be produced from the residual sludge from the waste water, which should pay back the infrastructure investment of € 300,000.

Team Wildcard

proposes to realize a social hub on the border of the existing city and the new Buiksloterham. It is decided to develop two locations, both in existing buildings. Therefore, direct cooperation is sought with local players instead of negotiating with the municipality. These buildings must become the living rooms of the neighborhood, where local residents can do and learn. The existing buildings (a waste collection and a garage on a traffic square) are located close to existing infrastructure, so that not too many new pipes need to be laid. The waste collection must become a research location, where the waste flows that run the station are combined with other waste flows in order to arrive at new innovations. Placing the raw material station in multiple locations and using it as education for the community was clearly translated in their design by this team.

This team also focuses on the return on investment: the € 800,000 needed to transform the locations is recouped through a restaurant in the old garage.

Team "Energy Booster”

has mainly focused on what a sewage pumping station at this location can yield for the residents without having to develop too much around it. The team came with an innovative concept of biorefinery to recover heat via heat exchangers. The focus is on generating energy for the entrepreneurs and residents in the district. Due to the large amount of wastewater that collects here, sufficient energy can be generated to fuel all kinds of interesting initiatives. This can be done in two ways: 1) generate electricity from the produced biogas via micro-CHP 2) can be used directly as heat in the nearest office buildings. A lot is happening in the surrounding area, so plenty of opportunities. All neighbors are involved in this project. So they are also looking for an opportunity to work directly with local parties. For example, the team has set up a film production house. The most special thing about this project, however, is that it does not have to stop with this one case. Sewage pumping stations are located throughout the city. All those sewage pumping stations can be transformed in the same way into an "energy booster". The costs for this team are somewhat difficult to estimate, because such projects do not yet exist elsewhere. The investment will therefore be somewhat larger (around € 4 million), but by selling energy to customers nearby, this investment can be recouped in about 15 years. This solution is seen by the entire Waternet team as a fast and cheap alternative to a stand-alone raw materials station and thus earns many points.

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