The Association for Urban Transition
Neighbourhood Futures Lab prototypes a Living Lab environment that brings together university students and community groups to rework local democracy through mutual and interdisciplinary live learning. The Lab uses real community needs as opportunities for co-produced live learning experiences for both aspiring professional and citizens. A replicable model of local empowerment in urban development made sustainable through an educational curricula, local hubs and a tested collaboration process.
Democracy has become at worst hollow, at best hard to grasp We want to remake it functional and palpable by focusing on neighbourhood civic engagement. Europeanness is necessarily local, conscious and pragmatic, in that it requires participation first in closer public spheres, such as neighbourhoods
Equipped with collaboration skills through engaging citizens in designing solutions to complex urban challenges, a new generation of professionals imagine collaborative models of urban living. Involved citizens obtain tools for transitioning from small interventions to long term neighborhood action.
In the LivingLab design process, students from diverse disciplines will engage with citizens, local businesses and public authorities, researching and defining together issues, exploring and redefining them from an interdisciplinary perspective, then transforming them into ideas and concrete prototypes to be implemented and tested in an iterative 4-month program defining a replicable model of horizontal collaboration and learning. A local hub might be set up, to ensure sustainability.
My academic training was very clear in defining architecture as a service for people but it made no effort in providing skills for listening and understanding their needs nor a framework for interdisciplinary collaboration with other professions active in studying the lived urban environment.
Neighbourhood civic initiative, through projects addressing their needs and professional support. Students and young professionals from fields related to urban life, through a live learning programme, developing skills for the knowledge / collaborative economy and new urban models.
Advice on design for impact and sustainability would be much appreciated. Any experiences from interdisciplinary projects engaging communities and of promising LivingLab practices would also be of great help.