The Ghent public space living lab
The Ghent Public Open Space Living Lab will be centred on URBAN GREEN USERS as there is a particular interest for people using such spaces, which often struggle to survive in the urban realm because they are exposed to a broad range of environmental polluters (e.g., particulate, noise, etc.). Urban green and parks are indeed becoming increasingly important for modern cities, because of the high societal value they have: they offer opportunities for restoration, socialization and psychophysical relief.
The Ghent living lab is different from the other case studies of the C3Places network, because it does not necessarily look at a single “physical” place, but rather at a system of places and their virtual (and social) counterparts. One of such (meta)spaces is located in Ghent in a public park and square that connect to the newly build library of the future “De Krook” that also houses experience labs of Ghent University and IMEC. It is supported by the broader Ghent Living Lab initiative.
The lively public square connects the library to city administrative buildings, a shopping mall, and the Zuidpark. It is a main public transport hub traffic. The elongated Koning Albertpark (also called Zuidpark; 80m wide, 300m long) is surrounded by double lane roads and five-story buildings and is rather noisy. It functions as a recreational spot (jogging, walking the dog, and grass-bound recreational activities in summer). There are occasional activities such as Jazz in the park. Currently, the park is very low-tech compared to “De Krook” which is the main public hub for innovative technologies in Ghent. This location thus opens the opportunity to take technology to the open space and explore how it can change the use, experience, and perceived quality of this space. It also opens the opportunity for a combined indoor-outdoor experience. The area of application can be extended to Muinkpark and Muinkaai which are very close by and have a more tranquil recreational character to form a loop that is currently perceptually not very strong. ZUIDPARK has been chosen since it offers the possibility to explore how ICT-driven solutions can strengthen the connection between a high-tech (De Krook) and low-tech (park) adjacent context.
Public open space living lab objectives
- to investigate urban park users’ attitudes, beliefs, expectations and behaviours from an ecological, social, technological, and urban dynamics perspectives.
- the LIVING LAB is committed to test different innovative technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality, remote and ubiquitous environmental sensing and smart/wearable devices to test new methodologies for the assessment of the Quality of Life (QoL) and Quality of Experience (QoE) in urban parks.
The GHENT PUBLIC OPEN SPACE LIVING LAB will advance knowledge and know-how for a co-creation approach reflecting through ICT the needs of urban green and parks’ users. Besides advancing knowledge of the interaction people - places and technologies C3PLACES will tailor the research results to policy-makers and practitioners.