TEENS' LIVING LAB – Lisbon's teenagers in the Alvalade neighbourhood
The Lisbon Living Lab will be centred on TEENAGERS (young people 13 to 17 years of age) as they are a particular age group with specific needs and interests on public spaces, the relationship between teens and public spaces is very intrinsic, as public spaces may serve as a fundamental (play)ground for teenagers’ development. At times, social characteristics of space limits or excludes youngsters in using those places, in others it’s evident a creative adaptation of young people to places. These adaptations and appropriation of public spaces are important to formation of the typically juvenile social identities (Pais, 1990). Many uses of public spaces by teenagers are often negatively portrayed by media and perhaps this occurs since public spaces are planned and designed under the hegemonic adults’ needs, failing to consider the specific needs of teenagers. Through the adolescence period youngsters undertake efforts towards autonomy regarding the adult world with its norms and rules. Public spaces may offer the stage with several moments and contexts to experiment different social interactions and act on these efforts.
The Lisbon’s Alvalade neighbourhood will be living lab to explore how teenagers use and behaviour in urban fabric and what are they needs and preferences on public open spaces. The main objective is to engage teenagers in a process of the co-creation of urban spaces, by exploring the leading research question: “How can we capitalise on teenagers’ new-found love of the wired life (Thomas, 2013) to encourage them to be more outdoors?”
ALVALADE neighbourhood has been chosen since it constitutes a distinctive and paradigmatic exemplary of modernity and urbanity in the urban history of Lisbon. The Urban Development Plan of Alvalade was designed by the architect João Guilherme Faria da Costa in 1930-45. Faria da Costa, considered the first Portuguese urban planner, mixes different approaches - from traditional city, Garden-city, German Siedlung to Modernism Movements - into an urban model aimed to control the urban expansion of Lisbon. It focuses on rent controlled housing and was implemented through different stages, in opposition to the chaotic urbanization taking place in other Lisbon’ parishes.
Alvalade is structured by broad main roads and 8 large concrete panels buildings developed around a central core - a school and a large green space (Alvalade Woods). The residential areas are mixed with retail zones, services and equipment for daily use (e.g. market hall). Although, the only one extensive greenspace is the Alvalade Woods (11 ha), there are several small yards and common/shared spaces in the different quarters. Also, large pedestrian lanes, with large trees and benches and public squares is typical for Alvalade, offering liveable places between the large roads and buildings.
LIVING LAB OBJECTIVES
- to investigate teens’ outdoors and recreational behaviours from social, educational, technological, and urban design perspectives, among the characteristics of public places and from there draw conclusions on the inclusiveness and responsiveness of public spaces.
- the LIVING LAB is committed at applying a research methodology tailored to the context of teenagers. It will take in account the function of public spaces for their communities endorsed by co-creation principles.
The LISBON LIVING LAB will advance knowledge and know-how for a co-creation approach reflecting through ICT the needs of teenagers. Besides advancing knowledge of the interaction people - places and technologies C3PLACES will tailor the research results to policy-makers and practitioners.