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Design platform What Design Can Do & Ikea Foundation recently launched the Clean Energy Challenge in 5 cities – São Paulo, Delhi, Nairobi, Mexico City and Amsterdam. This global competition calls on designers and creative entrepreneurs to rethink how we produce, distribute and use energy in metropolitan areas. The University of Amsterdam participates in this challenge with the 'University Quarter'. We challenge students, employees, the people from the neighborhood and Amsterdam to think about the city's sustainable future, in specific in the University Quarter. Since September many ideas have been shared, but to give more designers the opportunity to participate in this challenge, the initial participation deadline has been extended.

Image What Design Can Co Energy Challenge
Image What Design Can Co Energy Challenge

Clean energy for all

Burning fossil fuels is the primary cause of climate change, yet this is still our main source of energy.
Most of this energy is used in our ever-expanding cities. Cities therefore offer a huge opportunity to
transform the way we generate and use energy. We have worked closely with researchers, experts
and designers in 5 globally influential cities – São Paulo, Delhi, Nairobi, Mexico City and Amsterdam
– to craft challenges specific to these localities.

How can we embed clean energt in the Amsterdam cityscape?

Transitioning away from fossil fuels with today’s technology means changing our cityscapes: retrofitting existing buildings to reduce energy consumption and integrating energy infrastructure more seamlessly across the metropolitan landscape, in our neighbourhoods and
in our homes. But strict regulation, a lack of space and the perceived ugliness of clean energy interventions have become a barrier to the adoption of these in Amsterdam’s metropolitan region.

University Quarter

Participators now have an opportunity to rethink how energy can be generated, transported and stored in a way that aligns with the cultural and historical values of the city and its surrounding landscape. This is why, for the historical University quarter which will be redeveloped untill 2025, we are calling for creative spatial interventions, products, services, systems and stories that reconcile liveability with the need to transition to renewable energy.

Join the challenge

There are separate tracks for students, creative professionals and start-ups. 25 winners, selected
from 5 cities by an international jury, will have a
chance to win a production budget and a tailor-made acceleration programme aimed at making the winning ideas, prototypes or start-ups market and investment ready.


 4 September – 5 December 2018  Call for Participation
 5 December 2018 – 25 January 2019  Selection of the Nominees
 25 January 2019 – 10 February 2019  Refinement of the Nominated Ideas
 6 March 2019  Announcement of the Winners
 March – June 2019  Acceleration Programme for Winners
 July onwards  Implementation