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About six months after the official incorporation and launch of Future Islands, we were already in the fortunate position to organize our first official webinar, titled “Opportunities to make the Caribbean more sustainable”. This was something we looked forward to a lot, and we want to specially thank our distinguished guest speakers Joost Meijs, CEO at the Aruba Airport Authority, and Dr. Craig Lee Martin, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of the world-renowned TU (Technical University) Delft for their valuable contributions. Besides that, a big Caribbean thank you to all of those who tuned in to help make this first Future Islands webinar a success and a major motivation for us to keep working on such content.
As a way of highlighting the wisdom and the experiences that were shared during the webinar, we have decided to publish a series of quick recaps. In this first instalment, we’re looking back at Dr. Martin’s introduction of The Roadshow Team and the opportunities he sees for the revolutionary initiative. Also, even though Dr. Martin was the one to speak at our webinar, he collaborates with a talented team without which there would be no Roadshows today: Dr. Riccardo Pulselli (University of Florence), Prof. Dr. Andy van den Dobbelsteen, Siebe Broersma, Dr. Leo Gommans (all from TU Delft), and Prof. Greg Keeffe (Queens University Belfast).
What is the Roadshow initiative?
The official name of the project is City-zen Roadshow (the words “City” and “Zen” combined to form a variation of the word “Citizen”), which is already a big hint in itself as to what the initiative entails. The City-Zen Roadshow was created to emphasize the importance of sustainable practices in urban environments, and the need to consider these from both a technological and a social perspective. The goal: creating awareness around the importance and the opportunities of sustainable development amongst all stakeholders, including lawmakers, commercial players and, of course, citizens.
During the Roadshows, these stakeholders get the chance to interact with Dr. Martin’s team of experts in different fields, such as urban design, carbon accounting, and mobility. Through sharing knowledge and experience, storytelling, and highly visual and fun activities, they demonstrate within the heart of communities that cities can be enjoyable, socially connected AND zero carbon at the same time. The Isla Sostenible “Menorca” Roadshow (Sustainable Islands Menorca), for example, worked with locals from the Balearic Island on plans for the creation of a sustainably powered, car-free, and biologically connected urban environment for the town of Mahon. These plans included constructing bicycle routes throughout the area, creating rural spaces that can directly accessed from the city, and investing in sustainable energy sources (wind, solar, rainwater).
One of the main reasons for Dr. Martin presenting during the first Future Islands webinar is the fact that the islands of the Dutch Caribbean are by definition high-potential communities for City-zen Roadshows. Over the past years, Dr. Martin and his team have worked in dozens of areas of the world, such as previously mentioned Menorca in Spain, Nicosia the capital of Cyprus (see header image), and Amsterdam. The concepts and principles of building trust between people, city, and the energy transition, of engaging communities with innovative design and technological solutions, and of creating spatially inclusive positive energy districts can have a particularly meaningful impact on (smaller) remote islands that boast an abundance of natural potential.
“The Dutch Caribbean islands have unlimited potential for becoming energy neutral”, says Dr. Martin, “They are so close to enjoying the benefits of being free from a fossil-fuelled economy. Solar energy isn’t the only reason why this is within reach. The islander’s passion for sustainability and their family’s future is a game changer. It’s as intense as the sunshine that greets them each day! Our roadshow team would love the opportunity to learn from the islands’ communities and people. We’d enjoy exchanging knowledge and sharing our ideas for homes, facades, streets, and communities. Let’s reimagine the island together and move closer to a carbon neutral Caribbean”.
For more information about the City-zen Roadshow initiative, you can always get in touch with Future Islands here. We are more than happy to provide more info and to refer you to members of the project!