Policy Labs in Europe, for Europe at the EU commission headquarters

You can’t mistake it – it’s unambiguous, undeniable, clear-cut and crystal clear: the EU and world over are experiencing a generational paradigm shift toward decentralized, experimental and citizen-centered solutions to problems big and small. The result, on the other hand, is utterly ambiguous, abstruse, perplexing and puzzling – yet nevertheless positive. That’s why the European Commission launched LAB CONNECTIONS. For the first time ever, the event brought together policy labs and public innovation teams from all corners of the EU to meet, share, learn, and ultimately, explore how both old and emerging policy can support the development of leading ideas and initiatives that are shaping the future Europe we slowly but surely see materializing before our eyes.

Held at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on the 17th and 18th of October 2016, CITIES was invited via WASTED, participating alongside myriad other minds and EU Commission’s Vice President Kristalina Georgieva. Proceedings sprung from five main policy areas:

— Territories and sustainability
— Knowledge, skills and culture
— Inclusion and welfare
— Governance and democracy
— Economy, innovation and employment

While the two days were packed and productive, WASTED’s onsite team really gained traction in one workshop: ‘Connecting digital, physical, natural and social solutions for cities’. This, you could say, is if not CITIES than WASTED’s forte. This is also where our biggest challenges rest, and most innovative solutions are in early stages of development. Take, for instance, CITIES’ upcoming publication that seeks to bring greater exposure, understanding and novel insight into overcoming the major shortcomings of today’s sustainable, circular city making initiatives and truly enter the mainstream, or WASTED’s current roadblock that demands digitization our Reward System in order to grow. The workshop asked critical questions about achieving systemic innovation and applying technology like urban sensor networks to reach smarter, more sustainable and cohesive cities in interactive ways.

From the first evening, facilitators shared what had happened at their table and what ideas they identified. You can watch their reporting here.

Lab Connections promises to make this work as transparent and inclusive as possible. Please stay tuned with follow-on activities through their Lab Connections page.  




Emerging city makers are weaving their webs throughout cities, the EU Commission’s Lab brings them together to begin shaping solutions.

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EU Commission HQ, Brussels, Belgium

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