Vejle Municipality includes the public in its vision for urban development, city experiments, and architecture. CityLab is part of a knowledge centre, where the municipality continuously works to create economic, social, and health benefits for its citizens and society. This is realised through holistic urban development, urban experiments, and multi-disciplinary projects, involving private and public partners. The exhibition site provides the public and other stakeholders of the city with the opportunity to experience and contribute to the development of their future city, an aspect praised by investors.
The city as a laboratory
Vejle Municipality has created a knowledge centre for urban development, architecture, and dialogue, where citizens and professional actors in the field of community development and urban development can witness and join the development of Vejle´s visions and strategies for urban development and architecture. The intention behind the CityLab is to create added value by developing and experimenting with and within city contexts, urban spaces and buildings:
“We are working to develop the CityLab as a knowledge centre, where we work systematically to create added value through urban development and urban experiments. You could say that the city itself is part of the CityLab – the ideas are tested and put into practice in the city”, writes Lisbet Wolters, City Architect.
3D Virtual Reality Studio
These ideas can also be visualised in the CityLab’s Virtual Reality Studio, where visitors can discover the Vejle of the Future in 3D. In the 3D studio, new and exciting data becomes available in new ways. Visitors can get to know, which projects are on the way, and experience how big they are and how they fit current reality:
“The new digital tools provide the opportunity to make architecture and urban development much more accessible to everyone, as it does not require professional knowledge to understand a 3D model. At the same time, it creates greater security for investment, as we can test new buildings and projects in the digital urban model before they are implemented”, writes Wolters.
The city environment as an environment for research and development (R&D)
Vejle Municipality is the first municipality in Denmark to invest in a 3D studio, as part of their urban development. But, the CityLab also has several R&D purposes. It is an environment for the research and development of urban experiments and climate resilience of urban areas: “We investigate what creates the good city so that we can create smart urban development, which creates the framework for the good life, and which at the same time solves some of our societal challenges – such as congestion, climate challenges, loneliness, obesity, etc.” writes Wolterst.
The knowledge centre also serves as an interdisciplinary research and development environment for urban development processes, through to the encouragement of close cooperation with private investors and advisors. Analysis of synergies, impact measurements, and analysing correlations and outcome are also examples of the interdisciplinary work conducted. Lastly, the CityLab is a development environment for planning. Municipal plans, local plans, development and strategy plans can be deliberated at the knowledge centre. These deliberations include new methods, systematics, dynamics, user-friendliness through digital solutions and cross-collaboration.
The R&D performed in the Municipality of Vejle is then communicated through and by the knowledge centre. At the exhibition site, the public and interested parties find information and dissemination of visions and plans for the Vejle of the future. In their communication efforts, the CityLab provides space for workshops, exhibitions, and events. It poses as an exploratorium for students, a knowledge centre for its audience, and a collaboration partner for universities and schools of architecture. Investors profit from the knowledge centre, as it showcases the connections between the various projects in the municipality – both private investments, but also those projects in which public funds are invested into new areas, urban spaces, streets, squares, green areas, buildings or art – and thereby encourage investments in the Municipality.
Photo: Vejle Municipality