What is Stadslab2050?

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An everlasting search

Just like every other urban lab, Stadslab2050 too is on a constant quest. We consider the different possibilities and most efficient ways to overcome the urban issues we are facing not only today, but also in the near future.


 The challenge of sustainability

Every year our planet is becoming more complex and the very complexity of its challenges is expanding as well. Sustainability is one of those challenges. How do we beget a viable city for an ever growing population without disrupting the environment? Better yet, how do we restore the disruption? How do consume without depleting, how do we process without polluting, how do we protect ourselves by strengthening the environment rather than weakening it? And above all: how can we do all those things while at the same time take into consideration the expectations, life patterns and freedom of the people in Antwerp?


Strength through unity

The way we used to address urban challenges is no longer fit for today’s growing complexity. There are no easy fixes. We are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that improving the viability of a city is not a one-man-job. If we are to make Antwerp a sustainable city by 2050, turning to a holistic approach with every stakeholder becomes paramount. This holistic approach implies that we ought to know each other’s needs and wants, learn from each other, map the available knowledge, skills and specialties and combine those to cooperate effectively.


Three goals: solve, learn and connect

This takes us right to the core of Stadslab2050: finding ways to collectively tackle challenges related to sustainability. A feat that cannot be accomplished by perpetual pondering, but rather by jumping into the deep: through experiments in the field.


Finding solid solutions (solving through ideation & prototyping)

We concentrate ourselves on challenges that are specific and limited in scope and try to involve as many stakeholders as possible: citizens, retailers, academics, producers, institutions, government officials, … Together we turn the challenge inside out and seek for entirely new ways of looking at a problem. By experimenting new combinations of insights and resources, we are able to see what works and what does not. If something seems as a great success, we try to scale it up. If things do not go as expected, we are equally satisfied because failure is the best teacher and we can move on to the next experiment.


Becoming better and smarter in the search for solutions (learning through knowledge development)

We do not merely focus on the results as such, but also on how we came by those results: which cooperative approaches worked most efficiently? What is the best way to set up an experiment? How do we ensure that all the needs are being incorporated? The better we cooperate, the better we can understand each other and come up with the best sustainable solutions.


Networking (connecting through a dynamic community)

We do not limit ourselves to finding optimal ways of cooperation, but also seek ways  to maintain, strengthen and expand the partnerships we form along the way. That network of involvement and interaction, of acknowledging each other’s needs and wants through questions and answers, is the very foundation upon which a sustainable city is built. Becoming best friends is not a prerequisite, but a relationship of reciprocity and acknowledgment that we need each other is, in search for a better version of 2050's Antwerp.


What do we offer?

That is the very essence of what we have to offer at Stadslab2050: we help our urban laborants in solving complex challenges by offering inspiration, innovative approaches, financial or logistic support or by involving other urban laborants, organisations or institutions. By learning from other experiments and research, we can help to avoid pitfalls and offer everyone a kick-start using the latest tools and instruments. Last but not least, we offer access to an ever growing and strengthening network of citizens, businesses and institutions, who work towards our common goal: ‘Antwerp 2050’.


How can I cooperate?

Everyone in Antwerp can cooperate with the lab, be it as a citizen, a researcher, a retailer, a technician, a civil servant with the weight of an institution, a business, a cooperation, a neighbourhood or just by yourself. You can join one of our workshops, submit one of your own projects during our ‘project fund’ open calls or get in touch with one of our project team members.


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