Alderman Choho: ‘Schoonschip is an icon’
16th of february 2017
Being the alderman for sustainability Abdeluheb Choho (D66) has ambitious plans to make the city of Amsterdam more sustainable. We asked him for his opinion on our project :
‘For me, Schoonschip has the function of an icon. You simply need a few front runners to get the whole peleton into action.’
In her Agenda Duurzaamheid the city has stated to really get going with making the city more sustainable. How are you proceeding?
Before summer the ‘Staat van de Duurzame Stad’ will be published. This will give a state-of-the-art overview of sustainability in Amsterdam, at the end of 2016. Together with the inhabitants of Amsterdam we have taken big leaps in order to turn our city into a more sustainable and therefore more future proof metropole. But what inspires me the most is the fact that the interest and will to be more sustainable is rising enormously.
Which steps will you take in the nearby future?
As a city we have prepared huge strategees. For example, in collaboration with partners, we plan to make Amsterdam a gas free city. And also we take concrete measures to help our Amsterdam citizens. Think of a subsidy for example for initiating sustainable projects like a solar cooperation.
In the Johan van Hasseltkanaal in the North of Amsterdam-Noord will start the construction of the most sustainable floating neighborhoud within Europe: Schoonschip. To what extent does this project add to your ambitions?
To me, Schoonschip has the function of an icon. You show that making your own living area more sustainable is feasible, although that can be pretty challenging at times. The succes of a sustainable city is really dependent on its citizens and entrepreneurs who have guts and will power, and who inspire others by simply doing it. You simply need a few front runners to get the whole peleton, or in your case the ‘fleet’, into action.
Schoonschip will not only be a residential area. Being a pilot project for innovative, sustainable housing solutions Schoonschip will take action to inspire and motivate others. Does that fit into your policy vision?
As alderman I frequent a lot of international meetings in the field of sustainability. For example I am the chairman of Eurocities, a cooperation of European cities in the environmental field. There Amsterdam is perceived as a sustainable frontrunner. I am often asked what we do so well in Amsterdam. One of the reasons I give is that as a city we try to provide as much of space to initiatives like yours, although I do realise that sometimes this could be even better.
We want to share the knowledge and expertise that Schoonschip has collected over the past ten years. Schoonschip is open source. Do you perceive that as a surplus in the realisation of the project?
Absolutely. I hardly speak people who don’t believe in sustainability. Now it comes to accelerating the speed of sustainability. But at the same time I think that this bears a responsibility for you: share your experiences and lessons as much as possible, so that everything you have learned can be applied on other locations in the city and even in the world. Because that is what we really need. And there is where I see your added value: You contribute to the image of our city.