Three books titled "Citizen Sensing Toolkit".


From testing to co-creation.

How likely? How soon? What impact?

Over the last decade, many cities developed "urban living labs." Intended to serve as testbeds for urban tech, these projects have succeeded in pioneering ways of involving people in innovation. But they haven't done a good job at capturing those innovations and learnings, which mostly spill over into other arenas, often by accident. More ambitious schemes to create clean-slate district-scale urban-tech testbeds, such as in the Sidewalk Labs' Quayside project in Toronto, haven't been achieved.

Over the next decade, we'll see a decisive shift away from scaling the size of urban living labs to harvesting, perfecting, and scaling what works in small testbeds. This shift will be driven by a growing recognition that the value of urban living labs is in the process of co-creation rather than in the results of tests performed on residents. This will shift attention from places like Quayside, designed to manufacture spaces for fast-forwarding urban tech innovation, to scattered sites where bottom-up processes are more manageable.

Stakeholders in urban tech will mobilize to meet this challenge in various ways. Policymakers will create incentives and partnerships for scaling co-creation, following in the footsteps of early-stage investors who figured out a decade ago how to move fast and dig into the grassroots with accelerators. Communities will band together locally and across regions to pool data they once gave away for free. And university campuses will take on new roles, exploiting their unique status as incubators for both the compelling use cases for future technologies and some of the most egregious misuses.


Signals are evidence of possible futures found in the world today—technologies, products, services, and behaviors that we expect are already here but could become more widespread tomorrow.