Organizing Smart Urban Labs

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 17.40.13


The deliverables may be downloaded here


Ina Homeier (City of Vienna) :

Christof Schremmer (OIR) :

Geert den Boogert (City of Amsterdam) :




Working on district level is meant as a way to move from planning to implementation and to relate the city’s strategy to the contextual specifics of the district. The district becomes a laboratory (Smart Urban Lab, SUL) for testing of the cities’ planning methodologies and goals, leading to a 10-year perspective named Implementation Plan (IP).

6 Smart Urban Labs

The 6 TRANSFORM SULs are of quite different character in terms of their development stage and challenges. For this overview they were divided in greenfield and transformation.

The approach of transformation differs from the greenfield, because energy systems and building stock are already in place. The legal framework to change the existing context is often very limited. In the case of transformation, the commitment of all the asset owners is needed. Therefore it is much more a circular process including: stakeholder management, testing and developing business cases and exploring the institutional organization and cooperation on planning, implementation and maintenance for urban development, energy systems and possibly other relevant topics like waste and mobility.


Making an Implementation Plan

Because every area is different in physical details, in phase of development and in institutional context, there is no such thing as the golden roadmap that suits every city. Tailor-made solutions are the norm. The general roadmap towards an IP that is made is therefore a framework, instead of a set of steps. In this framework the products have been integrated that were made by the cities while making the implementation plans. Together the products and the framework make up a toolbox for making an implementation plan.

The framework consists of phases, domains, and moments. For these phases questions are formulated, and interesting products and working methods have been gathered.

The making of the IP can be regarded as a sequence of the following phases: prepare, explore, test, commit and implement.

In short, when making an IP, it is useful to understand three different tracks: (1) the physical area (2) the institutional reality and (3) the organization and management of the overall process.

By organizing collective moments during the making of an IP, the different tracks can be related and adjusted to each other. These moments foster collective learning during the process. The moments can also serve as milestones and deadlines. One of the moments is the Intensive Lab Session. For more information, see the download section.

Intensive Lab Session

All 6 SULs experienced an intensification of their ongoing development processes, using the TRANSFORM-method of Intensive Lab Sessions (ILS). It’s a three-day open-innovation setting, with participation of all relevant local stakeholders and experts from the international group. The ILS has proven to generate ideas and set the different agendas to come to an Implementation Plan. It creates a momentum in the process and benefits the (existing or new) collaborations (between governmental department, with local stakeholders and with knowledge partners).

Email this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on Tumblr