"We don't need smart cities, we need smart urbanism", says Maarten Hajer, Director-General of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, and professor of Public Policy, University of Amsterdam, in the film 'The Challenge of the Century".

Hajer feels that we need to get rid of the modernist paradigm and reinvent urbanism for the 21st century. "We need a new form of global urbanism that strategically connects city experiments all over the world to speed up learning, so that many more urban citizens may participate in rethinking our cities for a sustainable future. The required complete overhaul of urban planning may very well be the challenge of the century."

PBL and IABR–2014–
How much water do we need each day? How many trucks delivering how many goods? How much waste is recycled? What does the infrastructure that allows this look like? How is the Netherlands connected to the rest of the world? Do improvements in the Netherlands affect global problems?
Improving our understanding of urban metabolism is a way to get a handle on the new urban planning agenda.
That's why the IABR asked the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency to investigate what key issues and bottlenecks with regard to each separate flow there actually are, both on a global and national level.
Each flow is deconstructed by a five-way analysis: the size of the flow; its import and export; the organization of its infrastructure on a national level; its international context; and the main challenge connected to the flow.
Graphic designers Catalogtree have designed infographics that represent the results and that are presented in THE URBAN METABOLISM–, one of the exhibitions of URBAN BY NATURE–.

During IABR–2014–, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency launched the book Smart About Cities – Visualizing Challenges for 21st Century Urbanism, which also contains the entire series of infographics.

PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency is the national institute for strategic policy analysis in the fields of environment, nature and spatial planning. It contributes to improving the quality of political and administrative decision making by conducting outlook studies, analyses and evaluations in which an integrated approach is considered paramount. Policy relevance is the prime concern in its studies. It conducts solicited and unsolicited research that is always independent and scientifically sound.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE CENTURY is one in a series of short videos commissioned by the IABR for its sixth edition, IABR–2014–URBAN BY NATURE–
director: Alexander Oey
producer: George Brugmans