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INCUBATORS Conference - Urban Living Labs for public space. A new generation of planning?

Wanneer 10-04-2017 09:00 tot
11-04-2017 18:00
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While participatory planning is widely hailed as a prerequisite for well-managed urban development and sustainability, this ideal can be difficult to implement in practice, due to the complexity of interactions between stakeholders and the difficulty of public users to realise a tangible ‘hand-on’ contribution. Incubators of Public Spaces aims to expand the opportunities for civic engagement in urban design through the creation of a user friendly online platform as an aid to local option generation and selection.

By combining software for design, crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, the project provides a way to connect communities meaningfully with their physical environment, enabling contributors to navigate through an accurate visualisation of local public spaces which they can remodel interactively and share with others. Then, after a participatory selection process, the participants can raise the necessary resources to make their vision become a reality.

The on-going development of the Incubator platform responds to three urban living labs in Europe: Turin, Brussels and London. Through a range of interactive workshops, engagement in the field and collaboration with local actors, the Incubators researchers mediate between the technological advancements and local needs and desires. Later on these labs will form the ground to test and further improve the implementation of the Incubator platform.

The Incubators conference intends to explore these issues in the context of the wider potential for urban living labs to deliver better, more tangible public participation in the urban environment. We especially focus on the crucial role urban living labs play to mediate between the everyday practice and the innovation of digital tools in impacting on public spaces. How can living labs introduce and induce new developments? What processes are needed to make living labs successful?

Furthermore the conference wants to explore the potential of urban participatory design. Can new participatory tools trigger towards a new turn in urbanism? What new visions are needed and how can crowdsourcing engage actors and contribute to spaces? Can new technological means empower civic self-organisation and how does this impact the authority of the public power in planning?

The conference topics include:
// What are the relationships between actors, instruments and spaces? What role can crowdsourcing play for public spaces?

// What communication is needed for to support participation processes? How are structures, ideas and proposals visualized and applied in urban living labs?

// What happens when urban planners are no longer the only ones holding the pen and citizens become empowered to self-organize?

// How can living labs introduce and induce new developments through micro-interventions?

// What processes are needed to make living labs successful? How does this method relates to typologies of actors, their needs and motivations?

We especially welcome all types of actors in participation: from researchers in academia to practitioners, public institutions, civic associations, and citizens involved in a living lab or participation process.
Skype presentations will not be accepted.

10-11 April 2017

KU Leuven, Faculty of Architecture, Campus Sint-Lucas, Paleizenstraat 65-67, B-1030 Brussels


Submission of abstract for peer review: November 29, 2016
Notification of acceptance: December 15, 2016

Registration: from December 15, 2016 onwards
Submission of full text for publication: January 15, 2017
Review of full papers: March 1, 2017
Submission of final paper: March 21, 2016

Keynote: TBD

Scientific Committee (TBC)
Johan Verbeke, Luca Caneparo, Davide Rolfo, Andy Hudson-Smith, Stephen Marshall, Nikolaos Karadimitriou, Richard Timmerman, Giacomo Magnani, Emine Mine Thompson, to be completed.


The conference connects to the Impact (by) Designing Conference on 6-7 April 2017 and CA2RE on 8-9 April 2017.

Proceedings of the event will be published online. A selection will be proposed for a special journal issue.

The conference will also include a visit to Brussels Urban Living Lab at the Josaphat site.

Registration fee
140 euros (including drinks, lunches and dinner)
Participants in either the Impact (by) Designing or CA2RE events: 20 euros reduction

Hanne van Reusel (hanne.vanreusel@kuleuven.be),
prof.dr. Johan Verbeke (johan.verbeke@kuleuven.be).

Submission of abstracts

Link to form

Conference website

Hotels in Brussels we recommend (45 minute train ride from Ghent).