The last but most innovative action of our proposal consists of the creation of a fourth center on the island. The new “Center of Innovation” will be a complex of new buildings and uses combined with the existing at the south part of the island. This center will be dedicated to education about sustainability, technology, local sea life and research. In this way, we give a special meaning to the area and we spread the different uses all over the island, in order to create more interest and encourage the local economy. We considered all possible locations for such a function, ending up developing and highlighting the south part of Texel, which includes the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) and is quiet isolated from the city center and the rest of the island. Our goal is to develop and expand the area of NIOZ and connect it with the rest of the points of interest of Texel creating an attraction point.
The center of innovation will include a building complex of: a sustainability department, an innovative factory for children and the establishment of a base for Wadden Academy. The new departments will be combined with NIOZ creating a knowledge core. More specifically, the sustainability department will have the role of consult for the inhabitants, in order to propose different ways to become sustainable (energy efficiency, generation, storage, or even simple actions). The innovative factory will integrate the technology with science and design in a playful way, like “De Ontdefabriek” in Eindhoven , but with a focus on sustainability. And finally, the Wadden Academy will contribute to the research on sea life in combination with NIOZ and Ecomare. Gradually this fourth point of interest will contribute decisively on the characteristics and the fame of the island as sustainable and educational.
pic 1. Chilren's activities in de Ontdefabriek.
The main technologies that have to be used for the implementation of the proposal refer to the construction and operation of the building in order to be sustainable. Energy generation, energy storage, good insulation are only few of the building technologies that have to be used. In addition to this, the operation of the building can be easier by using smart systems that can control e.g. which energy resource is available at a certain time to be used, which unused devices can be turned off, etc. Furthermore, the sustainability department should create an application through which tips can be given to local businesses and building owners for actions that they can take to make their facilities sustainable.
All departments have to have access to internet and use screens and sophisticated equipment for their research and communication (between each other as well as with the visitors).
Finally, the center of innovation must be integrated to the sustainable route. The final destination may even be the sustainability department which will check the progress of the players and give an extra ‘award’ to the participants (information about a topic, free entrance to a museum, etc.).
The design of such a plan has to take carefully into consideration all the actors involved. In this case the tourists are of great importance, as we try to develop a new center for them in order to educate and entertain them. This new area will be one of the main destinations on the island, a place that want to be, a reason to visit Texel and a way to learn about technology, nature and sustainability.
In the same time, we will not disturb the inhabitants as the proposing area is not in the center of the island and the goal to be achieved is in agreement with their profits. New working places will be created and the whole economy of the island will rise. Professionals of a higher educational level will need to work there, which means that the general mentality of Texelaars will be of higher level and open to innovations.
With the construction of this center, there will be some effects. Since the emphasis of the project is about educating people on Texel and offering some knowledge to the tourists it will affect the tourist industry. The center will provide some job places on the island for the entire year. There is, however, minimal change to the identity of the island. It will also provide a site for tourists to visit, when interested.
Since there are already similar institutes (while not focusing on communicating the knowledge), the people on Texel will most likely not be against the building of the center.
We understand that this part of the proposal needs the most careful planning and design not only for the building complexes but also for the interrelation of the different departments and their role in the local economy, the inhabitants’ life and the tourists’ activities. Thus, more time will be spent on the preparation and planning than the others actions mentioned, as you can also see from the time schedule showed before.
For realizing this initiative, the support of the municipality or higher governance is required. Through initial subsidies and private funding the center can be financed until it becomes more self-sustaining. This can also be combined with similar initiatives from organisations like Urgenda to start a transition for spreading more knowledge about sustainable Texel and how this is achieved.
 De Ontdefabriek: http://www.deontdekfabriek.nl/