The participants, including Alderman David Dessers, kicked off the Urban Lab by dividing into workgroups , Source: City of Leuven

The Urban Lab in Leuven will be driving force behind the city’s sustainability transition

The Urban Lab in Leuven will be driving force behind the city’s sustainability transition

The initiative will foster a tight-knit community between academia, government and private actors to pool the city’s resources

Yesterday, authorities in Leuven, Belgium, launched their first Urban Lab – a joint initiative aiming to pool all resources, public, private, academic and non-governmental to strengthen the city’s push towards sustainability in the next eight years.

The Leuven 2030 Urban Lab will facilitate a continuous exchange of knowledge between the involved parties. In fact, more than 100 experts from the fields of energy, mobility and entrepreneurship took part in the launch event, laying the foundations of this community.

Integrating the academic environment into the decision-making process

One of the big collaborators to the Urban lab is the local academic community, with its most notable representative - the KU Leuven (the Catholic University of Leuven).

The Vice-Rector for Sustainability, Gerard Govers, explained that the Urban Lab will offer an answer to a very urgent question: How can academia interact with professionals better?

According to him, the structural collaboration with the city and all involved parties on the matter would streamline the dissemination of expertise on urban sustainability and positively impact the research and development process.

The first working groups

Last night the participants formed the first working groups that will aim at tackling specific issues, like how to optimally implement a fossil-fuel-free transit system or ensure the sustainable production of food as the city continues to grow.

Some of the other big topics the working groups will try to tackle are climate adaptation to hotter summers and cooler winters and reducing the energy consumption of the housing stock. According to a statement by the city, concentrating local efforts would accelerate the climate transition for Leuven.

David Dessers, Alderman for Climate and Sustainability, heading the Leuven 2030 Urban Lab was quoted in a press release explaining: “The Urban Lab will detect Leuven’s research needs regarding sustainability and incorporate them into the research and education agenda of the educational institutions. It will also become a meeting place for scientific knowledge about urban sustainability, a place where policymakers, civil society organisations, citizens, companies, teachers and students can exchange intensively to formulate answers to the climate crisis.”



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU