In order to start testing how co-production will work and what it means in practice, here are just a few of the emerging project ideas and ‘stepping stone’ activities that Leeds City Lab would like to get going in the coming months. If you are interested in finding out more about these or other projects then we’d love to hear from you.

Leeds Urban Commons:
Our first project has focussed on mapping Leeds’ material assets like parks, greens, libraries, swimming pools etc that are publicly or community owned, as well as the social relationships that are generated through the collective sharing of these spaces. Can the revitalisation of urban commons provide a vehicle for co-production through which traditional citizen-governance relationships are transformed? Read more about the project here. You can also read more about how citizens are re-appropriating urban commons elsewhere in the world in our Case Studies section.

Principles, values and long term vision:
The City Lab will consolidate a working set of common principles and values that guides our activities while remaining flexible and open to changing priorities in the city. The longer term vision needs be able to articulate both the benefits and the ask of why we are doing this and why we want others to join us. This in turn requires thinking of the City Lab not only as a system or space, but also as a set of critical skills – such as the ability to collaborate, listen and accept that we won’t know the answer straightaway – skills that we will need to operate differently and learn reflexively.

Articulating the Ecosystem/Structure of the City Lab:
We will need to work out where the City Lab will sit within the complex ecology of networks and initiatives that already exist in Leeds – where are the overlaps? Where are the gaps, opportunities and needs where resources can be focused? At the same time we will need to start defining a structural model for the City Lab – how will the ‘mechanism’ go about identifying challenges, convening to design possible responses to these issues, and what is the delivery vehicle to test these ideas?

Chatting Project:

Who do we engage with next and how can they be included? We need to build on assets already existing in Leeds communities, learn how we can offer support to organisations which are very small or under-resourced and provide a channel for these voices into wider city networks and conversations. How can Leeds City Lab add value to existing initiatives who are already doing amazing things in Leeds? There is great potential for the Chatting Project to link to the mapping Leeds Urban Commons project to find out what community assets mean to local people and what their aspirations are for these spaces and networks in the future.


Co-production could start happening by ‘infiltrating’ someone’s workplace for a day – what happens if you move your work to a different space for a day a week? What new kinds of information might be discovered and new opportunities for collaboration might arise through chance conversations with new ‘co-workers’?

Working collaboratively requires time, sometimes outside of our paid working hours. We are interested in how we can use the idea of timebanking to think about contributing our own resources to work together and how connections between the group and communities can be built up through a dedicated time committed pilot project.

Aligning LCC Breakthrough Projects with UoL research themes: 
There is potential for Leeds City Lab to facilitate better collaboration between LCC and the universities by matching Leeds Council’s seven breakthrough projects to seven strategic ‘Cities’ research themes at the University of Leeds. This could include professional secondments between organisations to begin embedding co-production approaches in current working practice.