Urban Lab in Pori: looking back - moving forward

On the 23th to the 24th of October the third Urban Lab was carried out in Pori, Finland within the framework of UrbCulturalPlanning project with the overall theme Designing.

The Urban Lab was organised to bring together urbanists, city planners, artists, researchers and academics, students, community organizers, politicians and activists. The main purpose was to explore key aspects of the Designing part of cultural planning.

Over more than 50 participants form the Baltic Sea Region countries attended the two-day international Urban Lab, with the aim of discussing and developing new ideas for process designs for urban city planning to create cooperative and experimental cities.


As a part of the Demonstrator Project, the contemporary demonstrator space PORIS was developed in the city centre of Pori. From the 28th of September to the 26th of October the contemporary demonstrator functioned as a collaborative space where the citizens had the opportunity to communicate their thoughts, wishes and ideas concerning the city centre of Pori. The citizens had the possibility to give their opinions on what functions in the city centre and what doesn’t, what it looks, feels and sounds like and what their future dreams would be for the city centre.

During the last month over 2000 visitors has stopped by the demonstrator space and in total contributed with more than 1000 opinions about the city centre in Pori. The aim was to gather the most comprehensive picture of the citizens’ wishes and ideas for the city centre of Pori.

After collecting the ideas and opinions from the citizens themselves, the aim of the Urban Lab was to create possible process-designs for transforming cities into cooperative and experimental neighbourhoods.

Transforming cities into cooperative and experimental neighbourhoods

Drawing on the collected ideas and opinions from the citizens, the participants at the Urban Lab joined co-creation sessions to develop new ideas within the process-design to transform Pori into an experimental city. As a part of the program the participants were split into groups and guide through four different sectors of the city. The purpose was to illustrate and discover new ways to use participatory processes within the themes of mobility and transportation, creative spaces, urban landscapes and community atmosphere.

“I was surprised to notice how much the ideas developed in the co-creation workshops. The working groups were mixed with locals and international people within the project. It was really beneficial for our Demonstrator Project in Pori, and I think also for the international partners. They got the idea of the design process and now they have the tools how to develop them further”.  Kati Fager, project coordinator.

Through lectures and co-creations sessions the participants discussed and developed new ideas for a process-design for urban city planning to create cooperative and experimental cities.

Collaborations between Demonstrator Projects

The second day of the Urban Lab was dedicated to knowledge sharing by exchanging and discussing certain issues and solutions for the ongoing design-process.

“We wanted to overdo the corporations and co-creation sessions within this Urban Lab – it is time that we just start to work together”! Harri Sippola, producer.

Through co-creations workshops the project partners had plenty of opportunity to present their specific Demonstrator Project and open a dialogue-based interchange with feedback. Simultaneous, local experts within the field of urban planning were assisting the work groups to rethink issues and give them practical advice for the designing process.

Outcomes and the next steps

The Urban Lab in Pori was a platform where all sorts of people engaged in urban transformation processes was gathered to develop and foster creative ideas concerning the designing process of the Demonstrator Projects.

“The Lab has been a huge success, we have collected a lot of inputs and materials from both local and as well international partners, which we now have to work on. I am expecting this material will be summarised into a toolbox which the city of Pori later on will benefit from. And the toolkit will be available for all”. Harri Sippola, producer.

“At this moment we are handling all the material collected in PORIS and during the Urban Lab and at the same time deciding what the next steps are. For Pori, specific, we are working together with the local city development department and are now involved in the official process of the future planning of the city centre. Around Baltic Sea Region we are focusing on spreading the knowledge and methods of Cultural Planning.” Kati Fager, project coorinator.

Reposted from urbcultural.eu