Thursday 7th 2016 we hosted a workshop on ‘Thinkering Government’ during the Border Sessions festival in The Hague, a city hack to engage citizens in a dialogue about matters that concern us all. After a short plenary introduction by Rob Ruts, the participants were divided into two work groups, one hosted by Martine Zoeteman and one hosted by us. Our session focussed on using the ‘Zuiderpark’, one of the biggest parks in The Hague as a place to start a dialogue. The session yielded insightful and very useful ideas how to go about this.
April 1th we travelled to Sint-Niklaas in Belgium to do a talk and host a workshop on the Internet of Things. The setting was exiting, because we were invited to the Forum DaVinci, a comprehensive school (state college or middle school) to engage the students in exploring and thinking about the possibilities of IoT. We spoke abut the history of the internet, the early stages of IoT, socio-economical implications and future scenario’s. After the presentation the students selected a workshop and participated in brainstorms and discussions about how they could shape the future. We were amazed by the striking insights and engagement of the students, and to us it proved how useful introducing a concept as IoT as early as possible to young people could be.
The Schilderswijk (or Painters district) is a stone and asphalt dominated area in The Hague, the Netherlands. In this neighboorhood you’ll find al lot of low income households and imigrants. But it is also a resiliant neighboorhood, with very engaged people fighting against the negative stigmatisation and for a better living.
We live in this neighboorhood, and we wanted to do something to make it better.
So we launched a new project: The Hanging Gardens of the Schilderswijk.
A project which aims to make the Schilderswijk a greener and better place to live, and to connect and engage the citizens through gardening.
On June the 27th we organised a pilot workshop together with community center ‘De Mussen’.
During the workshop children made their own miniature gardens, helped by their parents, people of ‘De Mussen’ and alderman Joris Wijsmuller, who turned out to be a skilled carpenter.
Today was the official opening of our new initiative:
ICX, The International Centre for Civic Hacks in The Hague.
In this initiative we’ve joined forces with Arn van der Pluijm, Gerrit Jan van ’t Veen en Nathalie Stembert.
Together we’re going to push boundaries, disrupt systems, and breach patterns to hack the city in order to invent and build community challenges to make our city better, more sustainable, and liveable for everyone.
Well, here we go…
Today we’ve pitched our Paperboat project before the 12-headed TedX jury.
Watch our pitch:
Read the full text:
The power of imagination
Before we begin our story, we want to share with you where our adventure started:
You might wonder why we’re giving you these blank pieces of common A4 paper
Because you could say there’s nothing special about them
Quite a logical response, because you do see loads paper every day.
In fact you use about half a kilo of paper per day.
And we throw more than half of it away again, about 125 kilos of paper per household in the Netherlands each year.
Paper is the second biggest part of our annual waste production, we throw more paper away than plastic.
We humans produce so much waste,
we buy enormous amounts of stuff and at the same absurd pace we throw it all away again.
We produce mountains of garbage, heaps of waste paper, floating isles of plastic soup.
It might seem impossible to reverse this environmental catastrophe.
Because what can one small person do for a global waste problem?
Well, don’t say something is impossible too quickly.
We want to show you what happens if you unleash your power of imagination on a topic like waste.
Our imagination was triggered while staying in a remote part of France. It was January and it had been raining for weeks. The whole area was flooded. We were confined indoors with nothing more than a stack of old paper to light the fire.
So what do you do when you’re bored to death with nothing more than old paper?
You start to fold paper boats.
And we did.
Heaps of them, and on a dry day we went outside and set them asail in the drowned lands.
But when we watched our little armada float away, we started to imagine what a great adventure it would be if we could sail away in a paper boat ourselves.
As I’ve said before, there are mountains of trash everywhere, heaps of waste paper.
All that waste still has a value.
You could think of paper as a sort of wood, so we thought why not?
Why not build a boat out of paper?
So we set out to build paper boats.
We collected old cardboard boxes, newspapers and magazines and bravely started building.
The first ones sank.
Of course, what do you expect when you throw a cardboard box into the water?
But we went back to the drawing board and tried again and again.
The third one finally stayed afloat.
And now more than a year later, this little paper boat still floats.
Our success fuelled our imagination.
So we pushed it a little further.
Would it be possible to build a biodegradable paper boat?
Our last boat BINCKIE a 5 m long boat that can seat 6 persons, is fully bio-degradable, so you can toss it on the compost heap after use. And who knows, next year, it might become a beautiful flower.
So we hope you might reconsider what you throw away in the future, because it just might become a boat.
We help people, companies, students to discover the power of their imagination and creativity.
Imagining something that seems impossible is a dream. To do what seems impossible is an adventure.
Sailing in a paper boat, something that is destined to sink, is a fantastic experience.
The paperboat has proven to be a powerful tool to get the message across that your waste is valuable.
All our passengers now have a different view on garbage.
They felt it.
We didn’t put an idea in their mind, but we put it in their hearts.
We turned our blank piece of paper into a live-sized paper boat.
Which by the way took only a fraction of the 125 kg, so image the amount of boats you can build with that.
we’ve turned our paper into a boat
maybe you’ll turn the paper into a flower, a car or a poem
use the paper to visualise your dream
Because if you do what you dream
nothing is impossible
The brave journalist Willemijn de Koning from Den Haag FM joined us during the maiden voyage of Binckie as our first passenger. She was later joined by Sabrina Lindeman who organised the I’M BINCK festival and Hassan El Houari, district director Laak for the festive commissioning of Binckie.
Unbothered by the fact that she was sitting in a paper boat she took this interview:
See the whole article (in Dutch) here:
After 2 months of intensive building we finally launched our new paperboat Binckie at shipyard ‘De Haas’ during the I’M BINCK festival in The Hague, the Netherlands on October 11th 2014. Binckie (Paperboat 5) is part of the Paperboat project and was built for the festival to act as a ferry. Binckie is 5 m long boat that can seat up to 6 persons and is fully bio-degradable, so you can toss it on the compost heap after use. And who knows, next year, it might become a beautiful flower. So we hope you might reconsider what you throw away in the future, because it just might become a boat.
Marsel Loermans made this great little movie about the memorable moment Binckie first went into the water:
Den Haag FM devoted an article on Binckie.
Read the whole article (in Dutch) here: