This is the site for the CityLab! Aberdeen programme at the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and Aberdeen City Council. CityLab brings students together from both universities to work with staff at Aberdeen City Council and its partner organisations for a term in order to prototype sustainable projects for the city.

The Projects

The projects are envisioned and developed by students. Students then form teams around the ideas, which are developed by the fast prototyping of ideas, which can be  improved upon in an iterative process with the council and voluntary organisation mentors so that teams know they are heading in the right direction with a useful project.

We provide support from the academic side so that students gain the soft skills for dealing with clients and prototyping ideas needed to complete the project. We expect that students will do about 10 hours of work a week on the project, and that given the diversity of the possible projects there will be minimal coursework and no exam. The main purpose of the course is to deliver an innovative sustainable project, so too much coursework will get in the way of that. A likely approach is to submit a portfolio of pieces worked on over the term along with an essay about the experience.

Past CityLab projects

CityLab sign up details

The students

Students on the course will benefit from gaining

Knowledge and understanding of:

  • How to use the different stages of the co-creative design process
  • Enhanced Team working skills
  • Presentation and reporting skills
  • Soft skills such as listening, dialogue and collaboration

An awareness of one’s own personal development needs

In particular, the students will learn the co-creative service design and human centred design processes of discovery, design, development and deployment and how this collaborative, incremental and iterative process with appropriate stakeholders can be used in order to develop useful and satisfying service experiences. A variety of schools will provide content and mentoring appropriate for the service design and human centred design approaches appropriate to the projects being developed by the teams each term.

The team

Bruce Scharlau, University of Aberdeen @scharlau

Jon Pengelly, Robert Gordon University

Zoe Evans, Aberdeen City Council



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