Interaktive swings in Horsens (Photo: Hanne Nielsen)

About Urban Lab

Urban Lab focuses on the future urban space. What should cities offer in the future and how do we develop and design urban spaces in the future that are interesting to live in?

Urban Lab is a competency development and innovation project. The goal is to find new tools for creating urban spaces that are interesting to the individual and spaces that can create shared life. This must be developed through a mixture of analysis, workshops for different key players and productions in specific urban spaces, where different urban approaches are tested through contemporary cultural and art projects.


Eight Cities - eight development programs.

The project is rooted in eight cities in Central Denmark that share similar experiences when it comes to urban development programs. The following eight cities and/or municipalities participate in the project: Hammel (Favrskov Municipality), Herning Municipality, Holstebro Municipality, Horsens Municipality, Randers Municipality, Silkeborg Municipality, Viborg Municipality, and Aarhus Municipality.

The project´s timeframe is 2013-2017 including workshops and cultural productions in the urban space.

The participating municipalities all have an ambition about transforming urban spaces – be it traditional town centers or centrally located former industrial areas. The general focus is on creating spaces that are full of life and have room for physical exercise and cultural events. Some cities focus mainly on creating spaces that feel cosy and safe, while others hope to encourage high-quality urban life with more of an 'edge'.


Cultural/Art projects

To ensure successful urban development projects, Urban Lab also focuses on the collaboration with artists to realize and visualize an area's potential through cultural projects. The idea of artist collaborations is inspired by successful projects such as Copenhagen's "Cultural Harbour", where a temporary harbor-bath made it clear to everyone that the city needed a permanent harbor bathing facilities, or The World's Longest Sofa in Aarhus that visualized the need for public seating areas in a central square through an art installation.

Cultural projects may give local citizens a new perspective on their city, e.g. by visualizing its cultural history through theatre or performances. Hence, both art and contemporary projects are vital elements of the Urban Lab project.


International collaboration

Urban Lab is interested in collaboration with projects from other countries. We believe, that a basis for collaboration should be the following questions:

  • Do cities in other countries experience the same potential pitfalls as the eight cities mentioned here?
  • Have any cities found solutions to some of the challenges we see before us?
  • Do any cities share the ambition to bring more life, physical exercise and cultural events into urban areas, but have experienced other challenges than we have? Perhaps challenges we have yet to encounter? Or are there cities that can give us an understanding of any areas where we have unacknowledged strengths and competences?

These questions will form the basis for dialogue with international partners to identify possible forms of collaboration. Our aim is not to find a best practice for designing city spaces to support urban life. That would be to ignore the fact that our collective identity as Europeans takes place in the context of diversity. Instead, we aim to identify a best European practice for developing city spaces to create urban life through involvement of local cultural resources, heritage and artists.

If you are interested in cooperation, please contact coordinator Ole Wolf at


Urban Lab

Tone Lassen - Styregruppen i Urban Lab
Rådhustorvet 4 - 8700 Horsens

Tlf.: 51562439