Innovative Parks and vibrant cities throughout the world

City Parks Alliance hosted a conference on urban parks, and everything related to it

Urban parks, it might be something many of us take for granted, although it takes a lot of investments, cooperation, urban planning, maintenance and dedicated communities. It was the main topic during  Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities, a conference that was organized by City Parks Alliance and took place in San Francisco last week.

An impression of the opening of the conference:

The conference hosted over one thousand global park leaders, city planning and design professionals, and urban park advocates. An important theme that was addressed during the several sessions that experts from all over the world attended, was the ways in which urban parks enrich our lives: they provide room for exercise, recreation, a place to play with kids and pets, a place for social interaction, space to connect with nature. all in all urban parks create greener, healthier and more pleasant cities.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote this interesting editorial, and confirmed the need for more attention to urban parks:

“Yet our parks are not just a nice amenity woven into the city landscape in the early days (Golden Gate Park was started in 1868). They play an outsized role in the city’s economy and are critical to healthy and happy urban life.”

Impressive Dutch representation
The Consulate General of the Netherlands in San Francisco supported this conference, and Consul General Hugo von Meijenfeldt moderated a session about resilient parks where he spoke after Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsom. Last Wednesday he hosted the international forum where experts from Saint Petersburg, Beijing, Reykjavik, Toronto, Delft, London and New York shared experiences as they work on the creation and development of greener cities in their own country.

There were two Dutch speakers: Nico Tillie, adviser to the city of Rotterdam on energy, green water, and resiliency strategies. During the conference he shared his insights into how Rotterdam is taking resiliency planning beyond flood prevention and management to use water as an asset that improves the quality of parks, neighborhoods, housing, and even transportation systems.

Cecil Konijnendijk van den Bosch is a Dutch national based in Sweden, where he holds the post of Head of the department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. During the international forum he showed parts of his research results. One of the facts attendees learned was that urban parks have several economical assets: houses close by urban parks have a higher value than similar homes elsewhere, since buyers are willing to pay more for a home close to a piece of nature in a city. One of the very good reasons for scientists and urban planners to learn more on the added value of well maintained parks in cities.


April 20th, 2015 by

Valent Power becomes 24th member of Coast 2 Coast at Long Beach e-Prix

23000 spectators and 16 million tv-viewers were drawn to the iconic racetrack of Downtown Long Beach last Saturday, where the city hosted the first Formula-E race in California. Instead of mimicking the success of Formula 1, the FIA Formula E decided to go for a totally different set-up in which the rules are based on the dynamics of an electric powertrain. For instance, instead of regular pit- stops the race-drivers switch racecars in order to avoid the charging time-delays that electric vehicles are currently facing.


Given the ambition of the FIA Formula E to become a breeding ground for clean automotive innovations, Coast to Coast Smart E-Mobility (C2C)  together with the Advanced Transportation Center (ATC) located a stand inside the e-Village. At this location in the middle of the race-track Mr. Hugo von Meijenfeldt, Consul General of the Netherlands, hosted the signing ceremony in which Valent Power became the 24th member of C2C.

‘A new energy ecosystem’ 
Corwin Nichols, CEO and founder of Valent Power:

‘We are pleased to join the Coast to Coast e-Mobility initiative and welcome collaboration with the Dutch Government in promoting our shared vision of a new energy ecosystem based on electric transportation and fast charging’.

Next to the signing ceremony Hugo von Meijenfeldt welcomed the 11 year old Ms. Alicia Ledesma, who won the ‘Design Challenge’ for the new Stella Solar Powered Car. The challenge was organized in collaboration with NXP, Solar Team Eindhoven and the Rio Linda Preparatory Academy. Alicia:

‘I had so much fun the entire day with my mom and I cannot wait to see the new Stella come to our school next year’.


The Consul General was willing to pose with one of the racing cars:


Cherry on the cake of this event was the victory of Nelson Piquet Jr, he won his first e-Prix, 35 years after his father won his first Formula 1 race.

April 6th, 2015 by

Secretary Rodriquez learns about state-of-the-art smart e-mobility solutions in Holland

Mr. Matt Rodriquez, Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was invited by Wilma Mansveld, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment to visit the Netherlands early March, and learn about state-of-the-art smart e-mobility solutions. Joined by a delegation of key stakeholders from California, Secretary Rodriguez enjoyed every minute of the Holland e-Mobility Tour.

Rodriquez E-mobility visit Netherlands

Ellen Hiep of HiePRactief and Peter van Deventer, Program Director of Coast to Coast e-Mobility, organized and hosted the Secretary and his delegation for a week. The Tour was a follow-up of the very successful Holland e-Mobility Tour in October 2014 with CEC Commissioner Janea Scott resulting in a formal agreement to share information and develop projects in the energy and transportation space.

The Tour consisted of high-level and in-depth meetings with Wageningen University and Research, PROOV, QBuzz, Berenschot, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, Formula-E Team, APPM, Spijkstaal Elektro, Netherlands School of Public Policy, APM-Terminals, Province of Noord-Holland, SolaRoad, Eindhoven University of Technology, Solar Team Eindhoven, Automotive Campus, NXP, Rotterdam University/RDM Campus and Alliander/Allego.

‘It’s like stepping into 2030′

The fieldtrips to the induction electric busses of PROOV in Utrecht, the fully electrified APM terminal in Rotterdam and SolaRoad by the Province of Noord-Holland were mind-blowing: “It’s like stepping into 2030” says Josh Boone, Director of the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative.

As part of the Tour, Secretary Rodriquez and Minister Mansveld extended the existing Letter of Interest and recognized the tangible results on e-mobility and climate change cooperation since 2013.

During his visit the Secretary invited Minister Mansveld as well Vice-Governor Post to move forward with Californiaon an international agreement reducing Greenhouse Gas Emission by 2030.

Secretary Rodriquez also invited Minister Mansveld to set up an Governmental e-Mobility Alliance connecting leading global states on policy alignment, innovation and market development. California, Germany, China, Japan, France and the Netherlands are expected to join forces in this innovative e-Mobility cooperation.

All-in-all, an excellent tour with many useful insights for California stakeholders and great opportunities for e-Mobility business development between California and the Netherlands.

March 30th, 2015 by

Consul General to attend the Formula-E race in Long Beach

Is Consul General Hugo von Meijenfeldt considering a career in electric racing? Only time will tell. One thing that can be confirmed is that von Meijenfeldt will attend the Long Beach e-Prix in Los Angeles on April 4, 2015, the first electric car race to take place in California.

by Jeroen Aerts, trainee Coast-to-Coast Smart E-Mobility 

Long Beach

The FIA Formula-E has chosen the iconic streets of Downtown Long Beach to demonstrate that electric racing has the potential to become a breeding ground for automotive innovations, just like the Formula 1 has always been. The Long Beach e-Prix therefore provides an excellent platform for E-Mobility enthusiasts from all over the world to meet each other. This is also the reason why the Coast to Coast Smart E-Mobility Connection (C2C), in cooperation with the Advanced Transportation Center of Southern California (ATC) decided to allocate a stand along the racetrack. At this stand inside the e-Village, C2C and ATC will display how both consortiums stimulate smarter and cleaner mobility solutions.

Hugo von Meijenfeldt will host signing ceremony of Valent Power

Between the race-events Hugo von Meijenfeldt will host the signing ceremony of Valent Power, who will become the 24st member of C2C. Here the Consul General will sign the agreement on behalf of the Minister of Economic Affairs.

In addition to the signing ceremony Von Meijenfeldt will welcome the 11 year old Alicia J. Ledesma who won the Design Contest for the new Stella Solar Powered Car. This design challenge was organized by C2C in collaboration with NXP, Solar Team Eindhoven and the Rio Linda Preparatory School, in their shared ambition to inspire next generations in their search for smarter and cleaner mobility solutions. Feel free to join Hugo von Meijenfeldt and C2C at the e-Village in Long Beach.


March 30th, 2015 by

The California-Netherlands Sustainability Summit

A leadership meeting at the intersection of water and energy

The California-Netherlands Sustainability Summit, a major seminar about water and energy, took place on February 17 and was the main event during the Netherlands’ economic mission to California. Several objectives were addressed: networking; matchmaking; understanding of the Bay Area’s problems; understanding of the specific issues in the Bay Area; understanding of the Dutch Approach and exchange of knowledge between US and NL partners.

Henk Ovink,Henk Ovink, Principal Rebuild by Design and senior advisor to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and former Director General of the Netherlands’ Spatial Planning and Water Affairs, on the summit:

“The Summit was a special mix with a wide range of goals. That complexity brought enough comfort, informality and opportunities for networking. At the same it was tough to get enough depth in these connections and conversations.”


Photographer: Heidi Alletzhauser,

Take a look at a photo gallery of the network reception in Davies Hall here. Images of the opening reception at the TransAmerica Building can be found here.

March 23rd, 2015 by

Page 1 of 3612345...102030...Last »
    Website by