Quotes from the Boat - Urban Escape!...

Offering an escape from PICNIC city, Gijs and his team from Evident took some visitors out on the IJ river, for an interview with three of PICNIC's speakers on biotechnology - Oliver Medvedik (Genspace & Bioworks Institute), Mitchell Joachim (Planetary ONE & Terraform ONE) and Rob Carlson (Biodesic).

Gijs started the talk with a short piece on the biodiversity of the IJ river. With ships coming in from ports all over the world, all kinds of immigrants float into the harbor, like the American lobsters and exotic jellyfish, making the Amsterdam port a multicultural ecosystem. 

Rob Carlson told us how we should encourage people to make the most use of (bio)materials and waste readily available on a local level, rather than exporting or throwing all of it away. Doing so will make today's youth more aware of the risks and possibilities of (biological) material in their local environment. It also allows for production to be brought back into the city, creating more jobs in the process. The current state of biological technologies enables us to embark on this journey as early as today!

To improve housing in an environmentally sustainable and responsible way, Mitchell Joachim proposes living architecture. Drawing on the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, the idea is to use biotechnology to grow structural components for buildings. Instead of mowing down acres of forest, to transport wood to factories where it's turned into building material, and then to transport it back to the construction site, Joachim imagines trees being bio-engineered to grow into readily available housing. Oliver Medvedik collaborates with Joachim, and works on the educational part of it, allowing anyone interested in biotechnology to learn from their expertise. Their company approaches their research in an open way, using online communication tools to challenge the world to comment on and criticize their work as they go along. Mitchell added a sketch of the future, where he pictures people growing their cars, clothing, furniture and houses.