Agueda Living Lab
Agueda Living Lab (ALL) is a project of the city of Agueda that arose in 2011 within Agueda’s aim of becoming a Human Smart City, in the sense of achieving a greater citizen commitment, improving their interest and participation in building a better quality of life in the city.
This experience was a candidacy for the 11th IOPD Award "Best Practice in Citizen Participation"
Agueda Living Lab (ALL) is a project of the city of Agueda (Portugal) that arose in 2011 within Agueda’s aim of becoming a Human Smart City, in the sense of achieving a greater citizen commitment, improving their interest and participation in building a better quality of life in the city.
ALL has the intention of regarding Agueda as the principal stage of its activities as a space of experimentation, encouraging the community to actively participate in the co-creation and exchange of experiences. In essence, what ALL seeks is the participation of all community members stimulating both the learning of concepts and the thinking/experimentation of innovative solutions adapted to the community context.
In this sense, ALL combines a number of initiatives placed either in the space itself -experiment workshop- or in historical places of the cities (technological and interactive interventions with the citizen), schools and technological events.
In this line, we can identify two principal factors: first of all the interest shown by the participants in the actions of ALL in being able to have a place where face certain problems in a more consistent way and with specialized equipment; and secondly to give a physical and open space to the community where students are regularly consulted about which themes they would like to address, out of school, with a fee of their own free will and without any mandatory character.
All of this has been the key to a major technological democratization, together with the provision of an open space all days to the community, properly equipped. Giving the needed technical support has remedied many of the barriers when the intention of the citizen is to get in touch with the new technologies.
Until now, it has been a challenging project for the local authority that has allowed a huge learning. One of the principal points of this experience has been the proximity of young between 6-18 years old, where, through robotic and 3D impression workshops they experiment with motivation and enthusiasm the exploration of the habitual problems in the school context. With this innovative project, the city has contributed to a complementary formal education through strategies and policies that promote spaces and practices for non-formal education.
Another interesting element is the proximity to the neediest young people with risk behaviors in schools. Giving them a free space where they can explore, and related to “future professions”, these young has shown a great interest to participate, having then the opportunity of guide and discover new interests, with the same learning conditions than other colleagues, contributing to acquire professional, technical, social and interpersonal abilities.
From 2011 to 2016 (year that culminated the opening of the space and the operation of the offices that open every day) ALL has promoted 50 workshops about different themes like 3D impression or artificial vision, with more than 1000 participants of all ages. Around 30% of them are between 6 and 16 years old, 45% between 17 and 40 and 25% older than 40 years old. Regular offices receive around 100 participants, most of them, 85%, between 6 and 15 years old and 15% between 16 and 18.
ALL is a transversal project for all the community, without age restrictions. We want to promote a participative vision and the curiosity and active participation of as many citizens as possible. A spirit of wanting to know, making a concept of the experimentation and essaying ideas in order to create the conditions for the development of solutions to improve the quality life in Agueda.