Sensitive Cities Laboratories - LabCEUs
Sensitive Cities Laboratories - LabCEUs
Federal University of Pernambuco
Solution proposed by:
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco - UFPE (Federal University of Pernambuco) and Brazilian Ministry of Culture
In a Nutshell:
A pilot program aiming to promote citizenship through social and technological interactions willing territories and their communities transformations.
Where and When:
The solution has been implemented at 10 Arts and Unified Sports Centers (CEUs), located in 10 brazilian cities, in the five regions of the country, during the year of 2015. The CEUs are a federal government project built in about 360 cities with the lowest HDI. The spaces consist of a square, bringing together cultural programs and communitarian activities: an area for sports and leisure, activities of training and qualifications for the labour market, a theater that also works as a space for movie projections, a library, social assistance services, violence prevention policies and a room for digital inclusion. Regions and city names North: São Félix do Xingu (PA) Northeast: Horizonte (CE), Petrolina (PE) and Luís Eduardo Magalhães (BA) Center: Águas Lindas de Goiás (GO) Southeast: Sertãozinho (SP), Colatina (ES) and Sete Lagoas (MG) South: Campo Largo (PR) and Erechim (RS)
During the last 12 years, several digital inclusion programs were fostered by governmental and private sectors in Brazil. Many of these initiatives aimed at to building public spaces for Internet access- nationally called telecenters. Nowadays, more than 13.000 telecenters are available throughout the 5.470 municipalities. The vast majority of spaces works through similar methodologies: a space to access social networks, e-gov services and basic trainings. The starting point of the project was the diagnosis that with more than 90% of the brazilin population with acess to smartphones and the increase of broadband internet in the country, there was no point of investing in public spaces with the goal of acessing internet only. There was a need to rethink this spaces as spaces for experimention and technological and social innovation. With support from the Ministry of Culture of Brazil, the aiming of the project was to propose a new methodology for the common use of the 10 selected Arts and Unified Sports Centers (CEUs) telecenters, tech and cultural interventions transforming the telecenters as laboratories for bottom up techno-urban solutions for the territory around the squares.The biggest challenge is to bring open and common solutions more focused on communitary solving of community problems.
The construction of laboratories as learning spaces bringing together in the same space cultural & traditional knowledge with digital technological devices can build strong relationship between citizens and their territory. The use of digital technologies labs as a bridge to solve problems of the communities by its members has a strong potential on creating a more civic sense to Internet of Things and Smart Cities, bringing the people and their needs at the center, which is is the opposite of the usual closed business models that big tech companies are offering to the world as the only and innovative solution
Due to the continued inability to fully participate in the modern consumption patterns, the so-called lower class embodies solutions that stimulates the conscious and imaginative use of different technologies. To understand the deeper dimension of technological and social innovation in our times, we shouldn't stick to the latest developments of the great industries of consumer goods, nor the new market of entrepreneurial start-ups focused on immediate profit and fed by trade secrets process, patents, copyrights and other private knowledge appropriation formats. (Kranenburg, 2007). It is urgent to consider technological innovation from a different perspective. In Labceus we have focused on the social innovations. This change implies on recognizing and stimulating solutions and techno-social arrangements produced and developed through regional collaborative processes, aiming to promote the common welfare or better living. In this sense, as it will be properly detailed below, the outreach program Sensitive Cities Laboratory - Lab CEUs promotes joint practices through a cross platform that aggregates cultural agents and the university to mobilize actions and mediations from their experiences, combining processes of learning, capacity building, network exchange and knowledge production/transfer in digital laboratories scattered throughout Brazil’s five regions.
The project was extended to new actors through two public national calls for cultural occupations of public spaces with technological innovation adjusted to the reality of each territory. LabCEUS received more than 450 proposals, and selected 30 initiatives that were fulfilled along the year of 2015, distributed into this 10 cities. They all had different starting points, such as: developing 3D animation, making a free radio, Maker space,urban interventions, the awakening of traditional knowledges, labs focusing on tangible and intangible cultural heritage. However, all of them had in common the urge to empower the community about their role onto the the transformation of their reality.
The main outcome was the empowerment, the community engagement towards the cities/neighborhoods in which the projects were developed. The growing feeling of actually making part of a community in which each citizens have the power and ability to promote effective changes was reported by every agent involved at those labs, either they represented government or civil society. As the mediation advanced the people involved started developing solutions towards the cities problems, considering the cultural identity of each community. At São Félix do Xingu, in the middle of amazon region, the citizens made an inventory of pictures that recalled the growth of the city and started a memorial to give the citizens access to their own history. At Águas Lindas de Goiás the issue of diseases caused by the mosquito Aedes Aegypti encouraged the youngsters to develop a solution that can help the government fight the continuous growth of epidemic.