CityLab mentioned in Sunday Times article on wifi benches

The Sunday Times of 1 October, 2017 mentioned CityLab as the source of an idea to put in wifi enabled Soofa park benches in Aberdeen City centre. They also mentioned the Tuk In and Next Step energy projects too. The article went on to discuss how the programme is perceived by the city councillors, and how it works with ‘the city as the classroom’ to develop a better Aberdeen.

UPDATE 11 October

The story has now been picked up by other news groups too, and Jon has been asked for comment about the benches on BBC radio too.

Evening Express 

RGU news

Scottish Daily Mail




Cohort 4 Kick Off

All of the students from both universities met today at the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce offices. We have about ten students from both institutions, which is always our goal. Shifting from Wednesday mornings to Wednesday afternoons seems to have made this possible.

We did the usual ‘meet and greet’ type of game to mingle the students and let them know one another better before introducing ourselves and what CityLab is all about. It was good to hear students saying that they wanted to work with other students as a group and gain experience ‘doing’ things. It’s also always amazing to hear the diversity of backgrounds of disciplines as well as home countries of the students.


This term we also using the Vanguard Challenges adopted by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce as our starting point for the student challenges for the ideation phase next week. We spent a long time discussing them in general before asking  for a ‘dot vote’ of them by the students. Each student had ‘three dots’ to use across the eight challenges.

  1. What will it take to get this region on the map as a serious European short break destination and what iconic attraction would help us to achieve this?
  2. How could a world class events programme in the region drive in-bound tourism as well as making this an even better place to live and what might this look like?
  3. How do we make sure we retain graduates and our very best talent in the North-east?
  4. What would be required to make sure any future capital/city of culture bid was successful?
  5. How do we make Aberdeen a ‘cool’ place for residents, students and visitors?
  6. The North-east is already Scotland’s capital for food and drink production; how do we bring this to life for local consumers and visitors?
  7. What will it take to make the people of the area fall back in love with Union Street?
  8. How can we build on the success of Buy North-east to promote a culture of local procurement?

The votes ended up as follows:

  1. votes: 4
  2. votes: 3
  3. votes: 6
  4. votes: 5
  5. votes: 16
  6. votes: 6
  7. votes: 9
  8. votes: 1

This was a ‘gauging interest’ vote, so we’ll see what happens next week when we dig into the top challenges next week and thus focus on the specific challenges of each team. If we end up with the ‘cool Aberdeen’ and ‘make Union Street great again’ as the top two there is still much that could happen within each of these areas. It is this variety of potential challenges, which makes the CityLab programme so exciting.

Register for CityLab this Year

CityLab will be running again both terms this year. We allow ten students per term, per university, so now is your chance to sign up before it’s full.

Go register at University of Aberdeen (PD3002 or PD3502), or Robert Gordon University (BS2315 Business Project 1, or BS2316 Business Project 2, os as ‘Extra-Curricular Activity’ under the ‘Study Skills and Access’ part of MyMoodle/MyCourses/(General Study Area) and – speak to Jon Penally about options) to take part this term, or in the later term to start in January. The classes meet from 14:00 – 17:00 each Wednesday.

This is your chance to help make Aberdeen a better city. All project ideas are generated by the students and guided by staff through their development with the intention that each project idea could be sustainably be carried forward by someone from Aberdeen City Council, or by an interested city partner. Go read the update to see what’s happened so far after three rounds of the class.