On 4th/5th April, the Design Policy Lab attended to the workshop "Towards a multi-level urban 3rd space" (follow the link for a full agenda of the event) in Brussels. The lab-session was organized by the EU Policy Lab in collaboration with DG RTD, as a follow-up of the Lab Connections event organized by the JRC Policy Lab.
The 2-days session has been a fruitful blend of perspectives, where the EU JRC Policy Lab, DG RTD, and all other invited participants have worked hands-on on the concrete possibility of shaping a 3rd space useful to tackling urban challenges. A multi-stakeholder and systemic perspectives have been the center focus, as well as an idea of adopting bottom up and citizen-centric approaches.
One of the main discussions has concerned the definition of the 3rd space itself: should this be a physical place? Should it be virtual? Digital and analogical at the same time? A free and neutral space where bottom-up and top-down can create a common language to work and experiment together? Should it be based in a specific city, in more than one, or should it be a temporary and pop-up urban experiment to appear when and where needed? Or could a 3rd space be created and shared as a methodology to enable change at the local scale?
Lively discussions have also included the need to complement the current administrative mindset with radically new approaches that can support a new way to implement policies.
Rather than seeking precise answers to these questions, the group was collectively concerned with shaping actions for direct experimentation at small scale that will need to find strength in grassroots initiatives, allowing for distributed energies and resources to flow, find a space for confrontation and scale up once ready. Many existing initiatives and networks can further support this experimentation, both practically and theoretically, aiming at amplifying and connecting civic/urban innovation at many different levels.
The lab session is further described in this article from EU Policy lab's website.
Here are some pictures from the event: