UrbanLab Gdynia is a program for sharing the knowledge. UrbanLab creates a space for dialogue between city residents, non-governmental organizations, and municipal institutions, including the scientific and business environment. Each of the cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary components of UrbanLab is devoted to diagnosing challenges and needs, and searching for innovative solutions that will broaden the understanding of problems and bring us closer to adaptation, mitigation or prevention of the ongoing and future crises.
UrbUrbanLab Gdynia was established in March 2019, due to a 3-year implementation experiment carried out with the funds and with involvement of the Ministry of Development Funds and Regional Policy, with support of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development (IRMiR), entitled: “Adaptation of the UrbanLab concept in Gdynia”. The pilot included testing of the urban lab concept in Polish conditions and supporting its pilot implementation in two Polish cities – in Gdynia and Rzeszów.
It involIt means identifying needs and problems, and then searching for innovative ways to solve them in an open dialogue formula and in cooperation with the citizens.
UrbanLab Gdynia also serves as a testing ground and an opportunity to reflect on possibilities of successful implementation of this formula in Polish cities. Such actions can only be effective and efficient, when adapted to local circumstances.
The idea of urban labs in Poland, and then the development of its concept in IRMiR (according to which they are piloted in Gdynia and Rzeszów), came into being after the lack of such instruments in our country had been identified – says Dr. Bartosz Piziak, representative of the Institute of Urban and Regional Development – We wished for their implementation to increase the role of the citizens who are able to co-decide and actively participate in a sustainable development of their city through involvement in implemented projects or organized events. Urban lab is a tool intended to solve the identified urban problems and induce local development through a junction of complementary potentials of the public (city hall), social (citizens, NGOs), private (business) and scientific (universities, research and educational institutions) sectors. We hope that other cities will use the experiences of Gdynia and Rzeszów for creating other urban labs, which will develop a cooperation network through which innovative solutions will be developed to improve the quality of life of residents.
According to the definition developed on the basis of research and literature analysis by the Institute for Urban and Regional Development (IRMiR):
urban lab is an instrument (organization and physical space – office and/or part of the city chosen to experiment with selected solutions) of cooperation between the city authorities and the inhabitants (including in particular those represented by NGOs, property owners or housing communities) of enterprises (from local microenterprises to global corporations) and scientific entities (universities, research units, experts) aimed at improving the quality of life of the inhabitants through innovative solutions to identified problems (initiating, testing, implementing and evaluating projects) and generating additional value using urban resources.
The pilot project is implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy, under the Technical Assistance Operational Programme 2014-2020, co-financed by the Cohesion Fund. The Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy is responsible, among others, for managing the implementation system of the European Funds. The detailed tasks of the Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy include matters related to the department of government administration of regional development.
The task is coordinated by the Department of Assistance Programmes, responsible for, among others: implementation of tasks related to servicing the Minister acting as the Managing Authority of the Technical Assistance Operational Programme 2014-2020 (OP TA 2014-2020), initiation and implementation of bilateral cooperation projects under the “Polish Development Assistance” programme and other sources, as well as conducting the Minister’s supervision over the Institute for Urban and Regional Development.
Our activities are carried out in substantive cooperation with the Institute for Urban and Regional Development, whose mission is to support state and local authorities in the process of optimal management of cities, as well as broadly defined space shaping and local and regional development.
More information can be found at: http://irmir.pl/ and http://urbanlab.net/
Within the framework of the same project, based on the concept created by IRMiR, Urban Lab Rzeszów was created. It is a space for prototyping urban solutions, where science, experimentation, innovation and inventions are supported by curiosity, creativity, practical creation and, most importantly, by open exchange of knowledge.