European cities face economic, social and environmental challenges of growing complexity. In response, new forms of governance are called for, including urban labs (Living Labs and City Labs). Policymakers and urban development stakeholders struggle to implement urban labs and seek guidance for further development. Evidence-based guidelines and design principles are needed concerning types of challenges for which urban labs are most suited, how urban labs can best be organized in terms of structure, process, and participation, and how urban labs can best be integrated into local government structures.
Urb@exp aims to develop such guidelines in order to enhance successful uptake of this innovative form of urban governance, thereby contributing to improved governance of urban complexity, for creating more sustainable, inclusive, attractive, and economically viable cities.
To develop evidence-based guidelines for urban labs, our objectives are to determine:
- the types of problems most suited to deal with in urban labs
- ‘good practices’ of implementing urban labs in terms of structure, processes of co-creation and engaging participants
- effective approaches to integration of urban labs as a new, innovative form of governance into formal local government structures.
Through action research urb@exp explores how different urban actors can become effectively involved in co-creation entailing that the project partners engage in ‘real world’ urban lab experiments. The composition of the consortium, with five cities that have urban labs in place or in the process of being established, ensures direct access to a rich variety of lab experiments and urban contexts.