In 2018, the Urban Futures Studio will undertake a year-long action-research project into experimental governance. Drawing inspiration from experimental practices from around the world, we will design and implement cutting-edge learning interventions to catalyse real experimental practices in the Netherlands. The project revolves around the question: ‘How can experimentation as a form of governance become more systematized?’
To many of today’s complex challenges, we do not have clear-cut solutions. Although big issues like climate change or the energy transition require a coordinated response, simple or single solutions will not do. Instead, they require a multitude of solutions, that are constantly renewed. That is why experimentation is so important. In experiments, diverse actors work together in practical settings to try out new ideas and solutions. In recent years, we have witnessed a surge of experiments on the local level. Although these experiments greatly contribute to finding innovative solutions on the local level, their overall impact is still limited: as small-scale initiatives, the ultimate value of experiments lies in their ability to influence their wider system, but exactly that often turns out to be difficult.
In the project of ‘Experimenting with Cities’, we will experiment with cutting-edge ideas to catalyse learning in real experimental settings. Together with stakeholders, we will design and implement interventions that will help stakeholders to systematize their experimental efforts and speed up their quest of finding innovative solutions to complex challenges. The project will result in concrete insights and tools that will help to bring system to local experimentation.