field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Closing event project Cities of Things LAB010

At the beginning of 2022, we officially kicked off the project Cities of Things LAB010, shaped together with Creating010 of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and with main partners Afrikaander Wijkcooperatie and Studio voor de Stad (represented by Zeewaardig). To close the two-year project, we will be part of the 10-year celebration of Afrikaander Wijkcooperatie on 10 January at Gemaal op Zuid in Rotterdam. Read more here.

The project’s goal was to create a toolkit for co-designing the future presence of city things in neighbourhoods so that this is driven by the local communities and not by the so-called big tech companies. We have a page dedicated to the fieldlab, find more on the start backgrounds of the project.

This project strives for positive and productive ways of living and working together with citizens with ‘city things’, by designing them together with them, developing competences to organize their lives with ‘smart things’ and thus involving citizens in the design of their own neighborhood in the context of the developing ‘smart city’.

Descriptions Cities of Things LAB010
Project overview

Early in the project, we developed a basic robot prototype platform based on the combination of a Hoverboard connected to a remote control that powered a platform that makes it possible to experiment with different functions and let you play out interactions of the urban robot with other things and especially people. In a hackathon in April 2022, we tested the platform as a basis for new ideas and civic prototyping, which turned out to work very well. Since then, the kit has been functioning as a platform for both technical explorations (adding sensors and autonomous behaviour) and design exercises for different functions.

The main track was the co-design with a group of local residents of Afrikaanderwijk, coordinated via Afrikaander Wijkcooperatie. In total, 10 so-called thinktank sessions were organised, and the group developed the concept of the Inzamelbot based on the platform. The Inzamelbot is connected to the Grondstoffenstation (Resources Station), which deals with the recycling of resources in the local market. It will play a role in collecting valuable resources from the market.

A second function the Thinktank foresee is collecting and spreading neighbourhood stories. As a conversation starter, a carrier of these stories or other forms. This is something that needs to be detailed.

In total, more than 20 instalments of city things have been made in different projects, both by students in workshops and the think tank. An overview can be found on the dedicated website The platform is the perfect mix of a defined artefact and an open platform. There is still more to explore in developing the software, and we will fine-tune the workshop. New plans for educational programs are in the making.

At the “Miniconferentie” during the celebrations from 14:00-16:00, we will share our results, and a small exposition will tell more about the project.

Join us at Gemaal op Zuid!

field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Meet Wijkbot 20 August

As part of the sneak preview of the Grondstoffenstation Afrikaanderwijk we will show two versions of Wijkbot, and specifically the iteration developed in the Cities of Things LAB010 project with the residents of the Afrikaanderwijk. That iteration is named Inzamelbot, as it is part of recirculating resources towards the Grondstoffenstation. Next to materials like paper, plastic, food leftovers, wood, and cans, we also invite residents and other visitors to leave their ideas for Wijkbot.

field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Wijkbot at Kingsday

This post is written in Dutch. Below is an English translation added.

Afgelopen Koningsdag hebben we een nieuw experiment gedaan met de Wijkbot, de prototype-kit van een stadsrobot waarmee we in de Afrikaanderwijk aan de slag zijn. Na afloop van het bezoek van de koning organiseerde de wijk een festival in het park. Met de wijkbot was een zogenaamde Verzamelbot gemaakt die hielp het festivalterrein schoon te houden. Het ontwerp en maken van deze Verzamelbot was gedaan door de bewoners van de denktank Cities of Things Lab 010.

field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Wijkbot at Smart & Social Fest

Friday 21 April, we will discuss the progress of the Wijkbot project in a workshop at Smart & Social Fest, organised by the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences.

Next to the discussion workshop, it is possible to use the Wijkbot kit to create an urban robot!

On Smart & Social Fest:

  • Walk with Wijkbot
  • Build your own neighbourhood robot
field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Update Cities of Things LAB010

This update was sent earlier in a slightly different form (and in Dutch) to the partners and participants in the LAB010 project. Read more on the backgrounds of this Cities of Things field lab project here.

The Cities of Things Lab010 project has been running for a year now since its kick-off on February 16, 2022 at Gemaal op Zuid. It has been a busy year for everyone, and also for our project. In this update, I’d like to bring you up to date on the progress and plans for the rest of the project.

field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Social citythings in the IoTRotterdam hackathon

As announced in the latter post the field lab Cities of Things Lab010 was invited to organize the hackathon together with Creating010 and Civic Prototyping Lectorate of this year’s IoTRotterdam event. In the end, four teams participated and build some very nice citythings; autonomous moving objects on the streets of our near-future cities. The goal of the citythings was not defined and part of the process of the teams. Great to see it turned out most of the teams made the decision to let the citythings take a social role in the city life.

The winning team and the judges
field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

Hackathon IoT Rotterdam

At the 10th edition of the IoT Rotterdam event on 8 April 2022, organized by Creating010 of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Cities of Things will be one of the organizers of the hackathon. More than even hacking, prototyping “urban smart-things” as a different name for citythings will be key. And these prototypes will be tested on the streets of Rotterdam by the teams.

In the hackathon teams of participants will rapidly conceptualize and prototype an “urban smart-thing”: a plausible, autonomously operating agent envisioned to roam the public spaces of the near-future Rotterdam. The participants will confront the prototype with the citizens of Rotterdam in the public areas of the city, interview them and jointly reflect on the necessary forms and shapes of the public debate around the role of AI in cities.

The prototype will use a pre-made “wizard-of-oz” platform, allowing a human operator to remotely simulate an AI algorithm, and control the movement of the prototype. Examples of possible prototypes include, but are (by far) not limited to a mobile garbage bin, interactive street signage, or a mobile plant.

See this movie to get an impression:

The teams will work at the new VONK Innovation Center located just off Coolsingel in Timmerhuis. The results of the explorations will be presented end of the day at Het Nieuwe Instituut where the conference program of IoT Rotterdam is located.

Find more information on the website of IoT Rotterdam, and if you read this on time, please join us!

preparing the wizard-of-oz platforms

The hackathon is part of the activities of Cities of Thing Lab010 field lab. We keep you posted on the results!


AI is increasingly used in cities to improve their efficiency, as part of urban services and infrastructure, but is also being embedded in various kinds of soon-to-be-autonomously operating agents. Autonomous passenger cars are only one example of such use of AI that will become commonplace within the coming decade. There will also be autonomous garbage collection vehicles, safety, and traffic monitoring agents, advertising and informational bots, delivery vehicles, and many more… As citizens we still rarely think about the impact that such autonomous AI agents will have on our everyday life, beyond the advertised improvement of everyday conveniences, such as the comfort of care-free riding in a self-driving car, or receiving fast online deliveries. Autonomous AI agents will soon, however, impact almost every aspect of our lives, for example

  • will share the public space with us on every step, 
  • will take over automatable jobs (chauffeurs, vendors, cleaners),
  • will be used to monitor us and enforce rules and laws (street signage and access control).

We can’t fully predict what the impact of autonomous AI agents will be on our society and cities, but we can try to collectively envision, understand and democratically shape the applications of this future technology so that it serves our society to the best possible extent. However, as non-expert citizens, we lack first-hand experiences with autonomous agents in the everyday-life setting, which we could use as a point of reference for debate and contestation of AI-related developments.

field lab Cities of Things Lab010 update

City of Things Lab010 selected by Rotterdam municipality

We are very happy that our proposal for setting up Cities of Things Lab010 as part of the CityLab010 project is selected by the commission. Together with partners Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences research group Creating010. Afrikaanderwijk Co-op and Studio voor de Stad we entered the project in the summer. We plan to start the project in early 2022.

From the CityLab010-website (translated from Dutch):

After an exciting time for many Rotterdam initiators, the decision is finally made. 49 Rotterdammers will receive a starting budget from CityLab010. Good for over 3 million euros. With this, they can make their dreams come true.

Aldermen Roos Vermeij (Economy, Neighborhoods and Small Districts) and Arno Bonte (Sustainability, Air Quality and Energy Transition) and chairwoman of the city jury, Carolien Dieleman, congratulate all the initiators on their starting budget and wish them every success with the implementation.

The short description of the City of Things Lab010 project is:
More and more intelligent and autonomous objects are appearing on our streets. This is changing the city at the system level, with impact at the hyperlocal neighborhood level. The Cities of Things Labkar allows neighborhood residents to design and prototype citythings together with designers.

We will create a special page on this website to keep you posted with the progress of the project.