Promoting sustainable and inclusive development in cities is a central goal of global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda. Urban Living Labs play a crucial role in testing innovative solutions, which, when diffused to a larger context, can drive transformative change. The German Development Cooperation (GDC) of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) prioritises Sustainable Urban Development as a key intervention axis, achieving results through collaboration with the government and stakeholders in partner countries.
The Sector Programme Cities, initiated by BMZ, localises global agendas (City WORKS) and promotes local innovation for sustainable development (Cities CHALLENGE). Even though Urban Living Lab approaches have been used more widely in GDC programmes across various regions and themes, there is a need for a comprehensive overview of the results and lessons in GDC programmes, which can facilitate replication across sectors and locations.
City Labs aims to provide a scientific basis for using the Urban Living Labs approach to implement global agendas, test low-carbon and resilient urban solutions, and boost sustainable urban development and climate investments in German Development Cooperation projects. The project assesses the potential of Urban Living Labs as a tool to support the GDC and tests the applicability of the Urban Living Lab approach to City WORKS and Cities CHALLENGE.
The Wuppertal Institute provided a summary of learnings from selected city cases, an implementation guideline on applying the Urban Living Lab approach in development cooperation, a policy paper, and future application insights for both City WORKS and Cities CHALLENGE, along with advice and training.