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CityLab: local action or international movement?

05 june 2019

In the context of the WeMakeThe.City festival, Creative Industries Fund NL and Play the City are organizing 'CityLab: local action or international movement' in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam. This session takes place during the Urban conference Common Ground on Wednesday 19 June 2019, from 14.30 – 16.30. Experts from the Netherlands and Turkey share their experiences of new forms of co-creation and the impact of CityLabs on the future development of our built environment.

About 50 CityLabs (Stadslabs) have been mobilized since 2014 in Dutch cities by the Creative Industries Fund NL. Bringing design and co-creation to the formulation of socially and environmentally inclusive strategies, Dutch cities will continue the movement under the programme: 'Anders Werken aan de Stad, Dorp en Land' (a different approach to the city, village and country). This programme focuses on local governments and concentrates on the co-creative approach to 'city-making'. Local governments build up a CityLab together with designers, all the possible stakeholders and the residents, and work in a co-creative process to address current spatial and social issues in their own municipality.

While CityLabs are maturing and developing new forms of co-creation processes, similar spaces for local action are developing worldwide. They are becoming an integral part of the official unilateral planning we know from last century.

What could the impact of CityLabs be in the future? Could they become a worldwide movement? What is the position of CityLabs within the international context? What are potential roles for a CityLab in diverse political regimes? With guests from Turkey, we focus on the case of the Mersin CityLab currently being established, while looking into the future of CityLabs in the second decade of the 21st century.

Photo above: Ekim Tan