Towards a multi-level urban 3rd space – Brussels, April 4/5

[Reblogged from the EU Policy Lab

Urban areas are places where multiple societal challenges intersect and it is often at city level that innovative responses are being designed and tested. New ideas are being explored by a range of actors – public, private, non-profit organisations, and individuals – in collaborative efforts and in neutral spaces, called 3rd spaces, where city makers can share their ideas or projects. We decided to discuss the creation of a 3rd space for Commission and external stakeholders to meet and join forces to support systemic urban innovation.

Waag Society, together with the EU Policy Lab and the European Commission directorate general for research and innovation, re-framed the Lab Connections challenge “Connecting digital, physical, natural and social solutions for cities” to put the focus on the 3rd space concept.

The ambition is to move away from a compartmentalised policymaking focused on sectors to instead focus on solving problems and developing innovations generated by engaged citizens. A 3rd space can be seen as a neutral meeting place where you can participate as an individual contributor rather than a representative of an institutional position.

On 4th and 5th April we will hold a lab session to test this idea together with European Commission Urban Policy Officers, city-makers and innovators, city organisations, and other stakeholders from multiple cities across Europe. The objective is to understand what should be the key functions and features of a multi-level 3rd space in which EU policy officers and all relevant urban stakeholders could work on urban challenges and identify new areas for research and innovation in cities.