25.05.2022

Urban Living Lab Center launched

Kreuzung im indischen Pune

The IKI brings together key stakeholders for sustainable urban development. 

In an effort to implement the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda at the local level, the IKI-funded project Urban Pathways co-developed a number of innovative demonstration concepts on urban mobility, energy and circular economy; many of which are currently being implemented by follow-up projects and initiatives. As a mechanism to boost impact and foster sustainability, the Urban Pathways team conceptualised an Urban Living Lab Center, which brings together local and international universities and local authorities involved in on-going Living Labs. The co-development of innovative and fit-for-purpose solutions with public and private sector actors as well as the civil society is a crucial step towards an integrated approach that contributes to decarbonising urban systems and creating liveable and accessible cities for all. 

Engaging universities as key partners

Local universities have a key role to play as facilitators of the co-development process and as capacity building hubs to provide the knowledge needed for transformative change in cities towards sustainable and inclusive development. 

Co-hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Technical University of Berlin (TUB) the Wuppertal Institute along with a number of local partner universities, the Urban Living Lab Center provides a structured approach for capacity building, peer-exchange and local action focusing on sectoral linkages between mobility, energy and resources. The Center analyses the socio-economic, institutional and political aspects that affect the adoption of smart mobility solutions in cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. 

Universities, based in partner cities are supported in the joint development of training and co-development formats with the aim to develop these universities as hubs to support local implementation actions initiated by a range of actors. The aim is to build local policy and planning capacity, improve local authorities' access to funding and financing mechanisms, and support the adoption of innovative business models by companies and start-ups in partner regions.

Promoting collaboration between urban climate action projects 

The Collaborating Centre provides a space for cooperation between implementation-oriented projects in the field of urban climate action. Consequently, it aims to be an open platform for relevant projects, such as those funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), the European Union (EU), etc. A number of projects were involved in the initial phase, which focused on the development of the cooperation framework with thematic and regional hubs and the creation of the first knowledge products, learning materials, courses (face-to-face, blended and online) or living labs. 

These include, 

  • IKI project Urban Pathways (which initiated the concept and framework for sustainable urban development), 
  • the international flagship project SOLUTIONSplus (which promotes operational efficiency and integration of different types of e-mobility in urban areas),
  • IKI project ACCESS (which aims to accelerate access to low-carbon urban mobility solutions through digitalisation), 
  • Smart Energy Solutions for Africa (SESA) (which focuses on the co-development of energy access innovations) 
  • and the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) project (which specifically aims to link local and national policies of emerging economies to establish decarbonisation pathways).


Launch of the Urban Living Lab Center in Berlin

In May 2022, the Urban Living Lab Centre was launched in Berlin, hosted by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the IKI Office at the Zukunft - Umwelt – Gesellschaft (ZUG). 

The UN Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif heading the  delegation of the project partners from  MIT, Siemens Stiftung, TU Berlin and Wuppertal Institute, (including UN Habitat) attended the launch and expressed their satisfaction with this IKI funded initiative. 

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