Exhibiting an emission-free future: Amsterdam 2030

The days of gasoline and diesel cars are numbered. Amsterdam is making this happen sooner rather than later, by 2030, all transportation in the city must be emissions free. And since unprecedented challenges and breaking with convention (especially those of the car industry) are two of our favourite things, we decided to investigate what that future may look like.

So, we teamed up with three urban designers from One Architecture, Venhoeven CS and Max Tuinman, asking them to envision a more sustainable, clean city through three art installations.

The results were displayed in a multisensory exhibition "Amsterdam 2030, by Polestar", which was held in our space in, you guessed it, Amsterdam.

“Sliding Doors” by One Architect allowed visitors to see and hear the Amsterdam of 2030. EVs, lower speeds, quieter tires, noise-reducing asphalt, and sound-absorbing greenery all contribute to a more than 90 per cent reduction in traffic noise. Suddenly, people can notice leaves rustle, birds flutter, runner’s feet thump and bicycle tires woosh. Traffic has not disappeared in this modern city, but now the electric vehicles share space with the pedestrians and cyclists.

The second installation was designed by Max Tuinman and is called “Reclaiming Space”. The project demonstrated how rethinking urban design can open public space and create a sense of relative serenity on notoriously busy thoroughfares. Making smarter use of the limited urban space available, while banning non-electric vehicles, this vision of the future saw more space for pedestrians, recreation, and greenery.

The final installation, dubbed “The Breathing City” by Venhoeven CS, aspired to increase the biodiversity in Amsterdam. Even though the natural environment and the cityscape are not sharply separated in Amsterdam, the city streets seem to primarily serve various forms of motorized traffic. Contradictory as it may seem, these designers argued mobility may be the key to a new streetscape. By transforming the city’s infrastructure, the space necessary to give nature a part of urban life could be found. The designers looked specifically at Prins Hendrikkade, a major street in the city centre, known for being dominated by asphalt and parking spaces. The vision of Venhoeven CS turned this zone into a pleasant living environment for people, flora, and fauna.

And when the press voiced their opinion of the exhibition, what they had to say was a resounding confirmation of our view.