Expanding a CiutatBeta project: #SentAntoni

This year’s CiutatBeta (the BeLearning training process of Trànsit Projectes in Barcelona) is currently on its post-workshop phase and after having made the main activities of this phase, the participants keep on working on their projects. One of them, @sararcosmen, has written a text that may be included as a chapter of the book “Living Labs – Innovating by Co-Creating with Users in Real-Life Environments”. It talks about her team’s project #SentAntoni and some of its educational and social values.

This is the text:



Ciutat Beta is a mobile and bottom up living lab-innovating by co-creating in local urban environments.

It is an interdisciplinary platform focusing on the DNA of the city from the perspective of people .The process starts asking whether it is possible to redesign the city by emerging citizenships. The users co-create prototypes that address specific imbalances and offer creative solutions to everyday life. Connectors from community assist to establish criteria for local intervention. It is an experimental and horizontal process where users learn and develop innovative skills.

They are based on open source projects, where everyone can have it where everyone can bring new ideas to improve it. It finally seeks a return to citizen empowerment and the creation of mechanisms of self-organization. Change is needed. It aims for urban transformations as generators of wealth and sustainability.

We have been working on #SentAntoni prototype. It brings emotional new urban data that could be created and managed by citizens in order to know their neighbourhoods, to guide initiatives, to solve local conflicts and to negotiate with government, which usually intervenes based on notions of efficiency and productivity.

Now we would like to develop and implement the prototype #SentAntoni, either as a product, service, or model. Thus we have to face economic sustainability, reaching a humanly desirable, technically feasible and economically viable solution.

And what is the way of financing the urban living labs and their implementations? Looking for self-sufficiency as a guarantee for the living lab future and the empowered communities.

Does it make sense that open source model for social production does not generate models of cooperative social economy? Could incentives attract new innovation projects? Could the Administration pay for work on projects arising from self-organization Citizen? When is due to apply crowdfunding?

It seems necessary to improve innovation’s funding from governments towards a more efficient, transparent, open and documented processes, in order to achieve a real social impact.

Urban innovations companies could be able to build sustainable and scalable organizations. They could deliver affordable goods and critical services to increase the standard of living of citizens. But where in the Design Thinking process we should form the company?

It seems useful collect the recommendations for social innovation which distinguish in each of the phases of the process the types and funding options (definition, research, ideation, prototyping, selection, implementation and learning).

We want to know how implementing sustainable Ciutat Beta Urban Living Labs to develop governance and social links between people and places.

Sara Rodríguez Cosmen

Architect and urbanist