Making visible the invisible

The kick off of AiREAS in October 2012 marked a Milestone for me as founder of STIR and cofounder of AiREAS. It was satisfying to have been able to get to a multidisciplinary  format in which the core value of regional health was leading, not politics or economy. And everyone was taking responsibility together in a Sustainocratic way.

Now, after 3 years, we have installed the basic network and developed some time of experience observing and interpretating air pollution data in relation to our exposure to it. Making visible the invisible was our first mission so we could try to understand the health hazards we were dealing with. We called this phase 1.

This phase was wrapped up with this publication oftered to for inspiration through the global publishing channels of Springer. We offer it free of charge in open access in order to reach an as large as possible audience in the world since air pollution is a major threat demanding our attention at all levels of society.

Enjoy! And hopefully you get inspired to do something with it.

Sustainocratic India?

India announces to invest 50 Billion USD in development of 100 Smart Cities. On Februari 10th 2016 a very first summit is organised in the capital New Delhi with all stakeholders to take on this challenge. But what is “smart”?

When I was invited to speak during the summit I was inclined to refuse. Most Smart City addresses are pure technology based investments that feed the city’s administration with instruments to control and regulate the cities citizens and visitors, creating often an even larger bureaucracy and financial burden for the population . When I announced my doubts to India I also invited the organisation to consider peer 4 sustainocratic city development. The pursuit for core human values creates a vibrant innovative citizen’s response with entrepreneurship and new economic potentia. The organisation and minister of Urban development reacted positively. The path for a Letter of Intent to work together on Sustainocracy in their 100 cities was established.

I am now honored to be able to address the audience with my invitation and help set the tone for the cocreation of health, air quality, safety, local resiliance, education and multidisciplinary cocreation.


Animations and explanation firework peaks Eindhoven 2015-2016

Sustainocratic level 4 `health deal` in Eindhoven with AiREAS

Global AiREAS

Again our partner Scapeler made animations of the air pollution measurements in Eindhoven during the fireworks tradition around newyear.

The animations are projected over town and one needs to know the layout of the city in order to zoom into specifics if interested. Here is the city map without animation:

For orientation purpose For orientation purpose

You see the inner ring that surrounds the city´s center and the C shape motorways that border the outer limits of the city. All but one Airbox (this one is used for background measurement outside town) is locatied within this C. The network of 35 Airboxes is configured to get an as good as possible view of the human exposure to pollution.

Pollution measured in all Airboxes is PM 1, PM 2.5, PM 10. We also measure UFP (ultrafinedust) on 6 locations but no city representative video can be made of this. To get an idea of…

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Sustainocratic wishes


Smart City Expo Barcelona 2015

I was invited to speak in Barcelona and enjoyed the visit back to the city where I grew up as teenager. The Smart City Expo was very well organized on a modern site that I remember geographically in a time of economic decline due to the disappearance of factories to low wage countries and the closure of local screwdriver operations in the early 90’s. Now I came to a modern city development of high rises and exposition buildings. Here you can watch a short video impression:

My own pitch had been placed in the session Society – Technology: driven tools and services for social well-being and aging populations

From minute 50 I talk 10 minutes about the core values and Sustainocracy

At the end of the session journalists remarked that I had been the only one they had met during the entire Expo that had addressed the core human values rather than technology. I sincerely expect that next year there will be many more, as peer 4 societal development (Sustainocracy) will be recognized as evolutionary step to transform city’s vulnerability to innovative strength.

Paul’s Pyramid

On a regular basis I am approached to tell about Sustainocracy, AiREAS, FRE2SH, the key human and natural values and the results of our innovative multidisciplinary approach and society model.

This time it was creative text writer Paul Carremans from Belgium who contacted me. He interviews people with a mission and publishes a free journal for the world wide field of readers of innovative ideas and views. Het publishes in two languages: Dutch and English (curious combination ;-).

Today I received the winter edition and am allowed to share it with you. Hopefully you enjoy it, especially also the other articles, as I did. This table of contents speaks for itself:


p. 3-4 Social Economy


p. 5-6 Leven en maatschappij


p.7-8 Women in Business


p. 9 Cursiefje


p. 10 Social Economy


p. 11 Beroepen in de kijker


p. 12 How can I be of service to you?

Hoe kan ik u van dienst zijn?

Here you can download the full paper: PP Winter 2015

Feel free to subscribe to Paul’s work directly. He will appreaciate it.


STIR at Smart City expo Barcelona

This year I was invited to the Smart City Expo in Barcelona as one of the 440 speakers. Various media channels had contacted me to meet and talk about this strange word and concept “Sustainocracy”. After finishing off our first phase in Eindhoven of level 4 regional development and our first price in the Vinci Innovation Awards for Europe it became of interest to globalize views. After all the growing instability in the world was crying out for new views and Sustainocracy does provide answers to most issues. The problem is not just to understand that we have a choice, it is the powerful old reality that caused all the problems that is doing its best to remain in control at all cost. This reality is one that has captured us all. When I arrived at Barcelona I wondered what I would find and how my speech would be received? “You are the only speaker in the entire expo who addressed the core values of human life” people exclaimed after hearing me speak. Media representatives reacted positively as my message was enlarged through camera interviews and personal chats. But then they react positively to anyone sharing a talk. Key is to see what happens between now and the next few month. The seed of awareness will land only in fertile grounds of the mind and come to blossom when sustainocratic initiatives find space and support to develop. This is unpredictable and time will provide us with the surprises. I had nothing to sell, a lot to say and more still to invite to. In that sense an Expo is a strange place. But Barcelona was “different”.

Congress site in Barcelona

Congress site in Barcelona

I grew up in Barcelona and saw the city develop from a dirty harbor into a unique lively pearl on the Mediterranean coast. I was a 17 year old youngster when Franco died in 1975 and post graduate student international business studies at Nyenrode, worried about my family in Spain, when the military coup of Tejero tried to restore the dictatorship in 1981. I was tourist guide during the world soccer championships in 1982, general manager Philips Spain during the Olympic Games and Seville Expo in 1992. Barcelona hence is in my genes.

When I got to the airport of Barcelona it was a home coming. The signaling at the airport needs serious attention. It is confusing to find one’s way around. When I finally found the bus to the Expo it took us to the old region that I used to know as “Zona Franca” which had gotten into decline after industries like Philips Lighting decided to close their manyfacturing there. The development since had been enormous. Huge modern hotels and large expo buildings now decorate the scene. I was used to the expo at Plaza España but this was a surprisingly new environment.

After a lifetime as executive in the world of industrialization and trade I have developed a natural aversion against the circus of expo’s. Stands full of bored sales people waiting for someone to show interest in their stuff. Their boredom so obvious that no one dares to even show interest. If their offer does not arise their own enthusiasm how would they transmit it to potential customers? Then there are the groups of young “professionals” that gather among colleagues, having fun together with their first real experience abroad. Their conversations must be so interesting that customers interrupting are seen as a clear burden. They are however mixed with expert “expo contact gatherers” hunting for business cards for the follow up at a later stage. It was like this 30 years ago, and it is still like this today.

Yet the Barcelona Expo had a different flair too. The 400 odd stands were mingling technology with regional representations of cities displaying themselves as Smart. Interesting to see expressions of new city development based on quality of life with living green in urban places, new mobility and energy usages, architecture and lots of technological goodies using the Internet of Things for all kinds of applications. Somehow offer and demand seemed to unite in a single space even though all were present with a sales pitch, not one of common challenge and purpose.

Maybe the most interesting part was the enormous offer of speakers grouped in thematic blocks throughout the three days. I was placed into a group with a mixture of speeches. As always I found the presentations just one way informative. The public patiently listened and I had no clue what they wanted to get out of it nor what the expectations were of the speakers. I feared that I would become just one of many. My 10 minutes of glory came and went. I had the opportunity do get a little interaction going by asking those present to try to pronounce “sustainocracy”. They actually did a serious effort which comforts me. At least they will remember when seeing it one day in one of the videos taken that day.

When I asked how many find the core value of “health” important the majority rose their hand, the same when referring to the “health” of their children. My open question asking “how smart Smart Cities really are that remain unhealthy due to pollution?” was answered by smiles from the audience. More disturbing was when I asked how many professionally were dedicated to help create health (not healthcare that repairs damage done) or a healthy environment? Only a few raised their hands. What does this mean? That all others one way or the other do not contribute consciously and may even be part of the problem? As seen in my own hometown we reward financially those active in producing unhealthy situations and pollution while those who try to contribute fall outside of the financial system.

Air pollution lays as a blanket over Barcelona despite all actions to reduce it

Air pollution lays as a blanket over Barcelona despite all actions to reduce it

We hence need to review our total system, from political and economic steering to rewards and responsibilities. The solution provided by Sustainocracy deals with this complexity on top of the Smart City (level 3) positioning of “intelligent infrastructures”. Rather than using technology in the context of optimization and control we change the context into stimulation health and innovative co-creation in which everyone takes its share of responsibility.

This way of city development is costly and makes the city vulnerable.

This way of city development is costly and makes the city vulnerable.

Sustainocracy is a peer 4 way of addressing regional sustainable progress

Sustainocracy is a peer 4 way of addressing regional sustainable progress where executive and citizens work together through innovative projects

Inside the open space produced by the facilitating executive in both city governance as technological innovation we position formal citizen’s cooperatives that address the core values of life as defined in Sustainocracy. Smart infrastructures remain needed but transform against the resonance with health, safety and regional self fullfilment. We experimented with this with AiREAS and FRE2SH in the city of Eindhoven with enormous boosts of energy and cohesion delivering multiple values at the same time.

The new society is proactively human value driven. AiREAS is a precedent of Sustainocracy.

The new society is proactively human value driven. AiREAS is a precedent of Sustainocracy.

“You are the only one in this event that addressed core human values” shows the long way we still need to go. The fact that I was invited to speak was a sign that change is happening. As I walked my old city the many changes were visible. Traffic had been banned from the ancient city core making room for human encounters and pleasant food experiences in a historical ambiance. Compared with other major cities in Europe the price and quality ratio in Barcelona services excelled. Food was delicious and the environment clean and well kept. The public transportation was well organized, with modern easy access and excellent fares that discourage car usage at all times. A 9.95€ ticket for 10, 90 minute rides (including transfers) could be used on all public transport in the vast metropolitan region!

Without any chauvinism I can firmly state that Barcelona this year became my personal Smart City of the year among the category of cities between 1 and 5 million citizens. It may not be strange that my first steps to prove the concept of Sustainocracy was to be done in a small city like Eindhoven (220.000 people yet “smartest city of the world in 2011) and the stepping up into the large world was to be in Barcelona. It is a beginning, yet again, and who knows where it will all bring us. I will enjoy the energy as it grows and will support where-ever it reaches out for more.

Arriving back home I had the satisfying feeling that humankind is doing its evolutionary work. My own little spark of enlightenment is reproducing itself and doing its work as I noticed when I got back home. Various meetings had been held locally without my presence while I was in Barcelona and all had carried the sustainocratic energy. What more can I desire? Gratitude is what I feel.

Using the environment to stimulate for health in Barcelona. The public bench with a foot cycle proves well used.

Using the environment to stimulate for health in Barcelona. The public bench with a foot cycle proves well used.



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