UrbanLabs OS (English)

De UrbanLabs
Enric Senabre, Ramon Sangüesa & Chris Pinchen explaining the concept of UrbanLabs OS



Conceive, develop, test, implement and distribute components of a new operating system for the city, which improves the processes of communication, participation and consumption under open, efficient and sustainable parameters. It will be necessary to design and/or reutilise different type of interactions and of networks between technologies and people in the urban space, like mechanisms of visualization, distribution and improvement of each one of the components of the system. UrbanLabs OS can be composed of different autonomous projects that follow these aims, which at the same time realize the potential of the OS


At the moment thanks to ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) as well new models to citizen organisation it is possible to carry out strategies of compilation and access to data of all typse, to help urban mobility, to interact with the administration, to foment the local and responsible consumption, to save energy and work on many other areas wher distributed, participative and autonomous projects are developed and/or used by groups of active citizens.


The economic globalization and climate change and the peak of oil, as well as the progressive political disaffection experienced by a large part of the population in the developed countries, creates a scenario where in the short term it seems necessary to organize to develop or boost mechanisms and concrete processes that result in a significant improvement of the life in the cities, on one hand, and on another an anticipation of possible social, ecological and economic problems.

Possible components of UrbanLabs OS

Draft graphical version of the possible components of the UrbanOS (in Spanish at the moment)

Here you can find (in Spanish) some of the projects or ideas presented so far in UrbanLabs, that can potentially be a component of the operating system of city. And here a list in progress of whats out there that could be understand (integrated?) as parts of a Urban Operating System. In addition to these, there is a listing of new proposals which haven't been found or imagined yet, and other possibilities:

  • Recycling of computers and related material
  • Development of DIY & lowcost systems of renewable energy
  • Creation of OpenHardware
  • Systems of urban mobility
  • Collection and visualization of data: consumption, energy, mobility
  • Cooperatives of consumption
  • Geolocalization of urban indicators
  • Systems to foment local consumption
  • Systems of collaborative decision taking
  • Mechanisms of co-creation
  • Experiences of local collective memory and identity
  • Systems of exchange and bank of time
  • Shared urban allotments
  • Design of sustainable infrastructures
  • Urban displays of community information/opinion
  • Systems of reaction in cases of health emergency
  • Development of applications for mobile devices

Skills needed

  • Software programming
  • Interaction design
  • Coordination and energizing of teams
  • Dialogue with administrations and companies
  • Ideas for products and processes
  • Manufacture of prototypes
  • Testing and documentation of solutions
  • Translation of contents
  • Online distribution of advances
  • Mediation and resolution of conflicts
  • Identification of sponsors
  • Content development

General process of the project

  1. Detection of modules of the system (ideas, projects in course, concrete problems)
  2. Case studies (similar initiatives, technology adopted, state of development)
  3. Online/offline with users (dynamics of design or redesign, new targets)
  4. Application in specific contexts (covering the needs that arise)

In parallel: distribution, discussion, experimentation, fusion...


Source: design of process sketched out in the first meeting of UrbanLabsOS

Platforms to use

ToDo list

  • Share mission, opportunities and areas
  • UrbanLabs OS presentation/feedback meeting
  • Draw up general process of the project
  • Identify possible components between projects from UrbanLabs 08 and 09
  • Establish categories for the modules
  • Redo UrbanLabs homepage
  • Update list with possible components
  • Establish work processes and roles of participation (where/who)
  • Contact with promoters of ideas and projects in 08 and 09
  • Create badge for websites, blogs etc. "Component of UrbanLabs OS"
  • Dossier to locate sponsorship
  • Crowdsourcing of trends, initiatives, studies, indicators
  • Fix timeline of ides, development or localisation of pilot (when/which)
  • Prepare for UrbanLabs'10
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