The SmarterLabs Project, co-funded project by the European Union’s Urban Europe Joint Programme, aims to bring together citizens, policymakers, businesses, and researchers to test smart, ICT-based solutions to urban problems in real-life contexts with the ‘Smart City Living Lab’ approach. The project is coordinated by Maastricht University with 1.1 M€ total budget and there are 12 partners from 4 EU countries: Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium.
One year after the Kick-off, the Swiss colleagues from SUPSI and the City of Bellinzona hosted the third project meeting on March 29-31, 2017. As usual, one part of the agenda was dedicated to practical issues such as the Ri-cicletta project, a social initiative to recycle bicycles in Bellinzona. On the second and third day, the project members discussed about the next steps, mainly further concretizing the Living Lab experiments in the four partner cities of Bellinzona, Brussels, Graz and Maastricht. Currently most efforts go into the retrospective analysis of past mobility projects in the four cities in order to learn from them for future initiatives. All these happen on the basis of an intensive literature review that is now available at the SmarterLabs website: www.SmarterLabs.eu
During the meeting, the project partners discussed the novel Living Lab approach to be implemented in the Project. Leyla Arsan, as being one of the project’s advisors, shared her knowledge and experiences and advised about the important points to be considered in the Smart City Living Lab context.
Leyla Arsan shared her view as: “Every city has its own issues and needs, culture differs, therefore it is not easy to implement a common governance model in all cities but, lessons learnt and shared experimentation results are much more important. To develop better governance models the SmarterLabs consortium should focus more on “uncommon values” to have different governance models for each with the common knowledge background.”
The project aims to develop a Living Lab approach to effectively deal with two major risks to the successful, widespread implementation of smart mobility technologies: (1) unforeseen barriers to large-scale adoption and change of socio-technical transport systems, and (2) exclusion of social groups not matching the required ‘smart citizen’ profile.
In the scope of the project, the novel Living Lab approach is tested under real-life conditions in the implementation projects in Bellinzona, Brussels, Graz and Maastricht. The implementation guidelines that result from the Living Lab experiments are to be tested and refined through three workshops in Santander, Helsinki and Istanbul. They will consist of the co-design (i.e., SmarterLabs consortium partners plus local stakeholders) of a Living Lab experiment-plan for these cities. The goal of these workshops is to test and refine the guidelines in Northern and Southern European city contexts to ensure broad European applicability of the novel approach. The members of the project’s Advisory and Dissemination Board host these meetings. Leyla Arsan will host the Istanbul Meeting in collaboration with the local decision makers and stakeholders. The details of the workshop will be shared in the upcoming months.
In the end the SmarterLabs project will enhance stakeholder engagement, reflexivity in the implementation of smart mobility projects, and implementation of generic guidelines for Smart City Living Labs on how to address barriers to upscaling, which may stem from resistance to large scale change in socio-technical systems and from people being excluded.
For further information about the project please visit https://SmarterLabs.uni-graz.at/en/project-overview/ and watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLCcEySaIQ4