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Towards New Forms of Urban Governance and City Development

LAB kit

The LAB kit has been designed as a tool for inspiration to help municipalities or other stakeholders in a city on their way in drafting or sharpening the outlines of an urban lab. The LAB kit helps to raise and discuss key questions that are worth asking before engaging in such an endeavour. It is the outcome of a collaborative effort between researchers and practitioners and has been tested with various potential user groups to improve the final version. Overall, the LAB kit consists of three types of questions to be answered in a single day interactive workshop. 

The first series of questions deals with the general ‘Layout’ of an urban lab, pushing the users to be clear about its strategic underpinnings. Once these building bricks are laid out, the workings of the urban lab need to be described in more practical terms. Figuring out who does what using which resources is a question to be answered in the second step, therefore entitled ‘Assemble’. Last but not least, it is worth to plan the first series of concrete actions to run the lab, looking ahead a (few) year(s). In other words, it is defined which actions will be taken in order to develop the urban lab further and give it a ‘Boost’

Experience shows that the kit is also useful in case people have an urban lab that has been up and running for a while. The questions it raises are valuable to reassess how the lab is doing, how perhaps the vision or strategy of the lab has changed throughout its first years of activity, etc.

The kit (including the book with guidelines for urban labs) can be ordered for 200 euros (excl. VAT and shipping costs) by sending a mail to contact@urbanexp.eu. Please include your address and billing information in this email. 


“Working together with researchers and other city officials in the URB@Exp research project has proven to be very fruitful for our local practices in Maastricht. Especially the reflexive exercises during the project meetings, the testing of the toolkit and discussions regarding the guidelines. In the period 2017 - 2019, Maastricht-LAB will continue to function as a platform and catalyst for new urban development processes. But we still do not know how Maastricht-LAB will function after 2019. The guidelines and the toolkit will definitely be used for reorientation in the years to come: what should be the future goal of Maastricht-LAB, its functioning in practice and its organizational position? And of course, Maastricht-LAB will continue to participate in the SMULLN project as well, in which we hope to further improve the toolkit and its usefulness.”

(Tim van Wanroij, municipal Maastricht-LAB coordinator , 2014-2017)

“We find the guidelines quite useful. We attempt to use them to introduce the concept of urban living labs in our internal organization to create awareness on the subject. We also see some very good opportunities to fast-track new project leaders within our labs by using the guidelines and toolkit. So they learn as what to expect and not expect of an urban lab.” 

(Gert Vandermosten, municipal coordinator of Citylab2050, City of Antwerp)

“The URB@Exp LabKit provides a compact, hands-on approach to central issues in the preparation of urban labs and participatory processes”

(Wolf-Timo Köhler, City of Graz)