We here at the Growing Green Cities Network value history.
“Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”
In december 2013 the idea for building a ‘Stedelijke Kas’ (Urban Greenhouse) was born. Living in the Netherlands where the weather can get gloomy in the fall and winter months, Fred Leeflang decided together with his family to ‘cover the backyard’ in order to have some more recreation room.
When thinking about how to build this recreation room, one important consideration was taken into account. It needed to be as light as possible, with as much natural light as possible. The choice for the cover of this backyard building then became obvious, it would have to become a greenhouse.
Being inspired with the possibilities a greenhouse offered, Fred began investigating ways of utilizing technology to the best of his knowledge. This research provided 3DN, Fred’s company, with sufficient grounds to turn the backyard project into a business project.
Growing Green Cities Greenhouse
After researching many technological solutions and possibilities and after getting a lot of actual work done on the greenhouse, the project hit a bit of a snag. Not having paid proper attention to getting the required permits, the project was confronted with threatening letters from the city council.
3DN decided in november 2014 that this was time to contact a professional architect, instead of wasting a lot of time and money on trying to produce the drawings required for the permit request by itself. The architect recommended that the name of the project would be changed to ‘Growing Green Cities Greenhouse’ as it would make its goals more recognizable as a green project.
Growing Green Cities Network
We liked the name ‘Growing Green Cities Greenhouse’ so much, it being supportive of a local initiative in the city of Almere, that we decided in december 2014 o start the Growing Green Cities Network, an umbrella organization that would serve as a user maintained repository of information on how to build Growing Green Cities.
The developments have gone very quick from then. As the progress of the Growing Green Cities Greenhouse had been temporarily put on hold due to permit issues, 3DN decided to put a lot of effort, time and money on setting up the site supporting this network.
Mail, Software Repository, Security
On the tail of 2014 we got a webmail service up and running. We also set up a software repository where our techies can work on improving the network together.
Additionally, the first few days of 2015 we purchased a wildcard SSL certificate so all our services can now also be accessed over a secured channel.
In the beginning of 2015 we also began sending out some email invites to people to sign up with the Growing Green Cities Network. We hope to achieve a critical mass of users within a few months using this mechanism. People can choose who to invite very easily through use of the ‘Invite Anyone’ plugin combined with the WP Social Invites plugin. The latter makes it very easy for people to select from their Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Live and Foursquare contacts.
In March of 2015, we finally got word from the City of Almere regarding the permit we requested. Like the saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. The permit request was obliterated and the advice “Go build something that doesn’t require a permit at all, you’re not getting anything from us”. Well okay, in civil servant language of course, but this was the extent of it.