Research, Ongoing

Improving Anticipation and Social Inclusion in Living Labs for Smart City Governance


Consortium members: ICIS, Maastricht University (NL), RCE, University of Graz (AT), ISAAC, University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (CH) and Cosmopolis and SMIT, VUB

The SmarterLabs project aims to test a Living Lab methodology in the context of the smart cities and sustainable mobility agenda. The project, in particular, deals with two major risks to a successful, widespread implementation of smart transport technologies, namely (1) the presence of unforeseen barriers to large-scale change in socio-technical systems, and (2) the exclusion of social groups not matching the required ‘smart citizen’ profile.

The proposed novel, ‘smarter’ approach will be developed, tested and refined by retrospective analysis of urban mobility governance and by action research in Living Lab experiments in four cities in western Europe: Bellinzona (CH), Brussels (BE), Graz (AT) and Maastricht (NL). The main feature of this approach is to anticipate the two aforementioned risks through ex-ante diagnosis, and address them explicitly in the design of the Living Lab experiments in such a way that an enhanced success rate can be achieved in the uptake of smart urban mobility innovations.

The project lasts three years and is structured along different phases and deliverables. It starts with a review of the literature and retrospective analysis of past initiatives and policies, which will provide a background for the living labs. The second phase is the actual conduct of the four living labs, which range from an experiment to understand and change mobility behaviour through smartphone technologies and gamification in Bellinzona; to a lab to co-produce knowledge on air quality and effective solutions to improving it in Brussels; to a participatory approach for the ‘smart’ redesign of new transportations hubs in Graz and in Maastricht. The project will also deliver a series of dissemination workshops in three European cities, and the preparation of guidelines for a Smart-er approach to urban mobility.

For more information, see the project website:

(JPI Urban Europe ERA-NET Cofund Smart Cities and Communities funding).