An Urban Living Lab (ULL) is an experimenting and learning environment where knowledge institutions, government agencies, companies and residents work together to improve a certain district. Setting up such a lab calls for good preparation. Veldacademie helps groups and organisations to set up a lab using the 'Urban Lab in a Day' method.
'Urban Lab in a Day' is a method used to take the first steps towards a future Urban Living Lab. Possible questions prior to the start of a ULL are: what is the main purpose of the lab? who should be involved? And what activities will the lab perform? Experience shows that those involved initially give different answers to these questions. They do not have a clear image of the future lab. To get all parties facing the same way, the Urb@exp-project of Maastricht University developed the LAB kit 'Urban Lab in a Day'. Veldacademie tests this LAB kit in practice.
The LAB kit 'Urban Lab in a Day' offers a clear structure for setting up an Urban Living Lab. This is an interactive game in which critical questions are asked about the strategy and structure of the future Urban Living Lab. Activities are mapped out and a planning schedule is worked towards. The game consists of three rounds. In the first round, fourteen questions are asked. The questions are divided into the categories Why, What & Who, How, Where, Learn and Evolve. This gives you an insight into the different aspects of a lab and you choose a specific goal. As an interim step, 'What If' questions are asked, which stimulate us to think about unexpected situations. During the second round the most important activities concerning the organisation of the lab are mapped out. This focuses on which people and resources (such as money or knowledge) are needed. In the final round, a rough plan is made based on different themes so that the next steps are clear to everyone.
Urban Living Lab Reyeroord
In March 2018 Veldacademie supported the Municipality of Rotterdam in setting up an Urban Living Lab in the Reyeroord district using the 'Urban Lab in a Day' method. Ambitious plans have been made for the social and physical development of this district in the years to come. Officials from different departments and with different roles are involved and connection is actively sought with local initiatives and residents. To explore this complex task together, several work sessions were organised during one day. The result at the end of the day was a set of integral experiments for the tasks in the area and an overview of points for attention.
Green initiatives touch on various physical and social urban tasks. These initiatives are important for the resilience of cities, but they are vulnerable. The Municipality of Rotterdam seeks to reduce vulnerability and at the same time improve municipal services to these initiatives. That is why the municipality is participating in the European cooperation programme EdiCitNet in the form of an Urban Living Lab.
To get the lab off to a good start, Veldacademie was asked to organise a number of workshops at the beginning of 2018. The Urban Living Lab in a Day method served as a guideline for this. The LAB-kit was adapted to keep the process open and gradually adapt it to the needs of the group. The result at the end of three workshops was a clear structure and organisation for the future lab. Also, the activities, milestones and events were placed on a timeline.
The LABkit can be used at various points in an Urban Living Lab; in the set-up but also at a later point, e.g. to evaluate the intermediate results of an Urban Living Lab.
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