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On February 15th, during the Designscapes consortium meeting in London, the “City Snapshots” project was launched. What, you may ask, is a City Snapshot?

The Designscapes team will sketch a picture of our 14 Cities: Athens, Copenhagen, Florence, Freiburg, Gabrovo, Guimarães, Lisbon, London, Milano, Paris, Rotterdam, Sofia, Stuttgart and Valencia. Each feature will describe what we call an “Urbanscape,” a way to measure a city’s openness toward and capacity for innovation.

The City Snapshot is based on the Design-Enabled Innovation concept that has been developed by the consortium over the last several months. We will be busy digging into questions such as “what is the capacity to develop policies supporting innovation and design in Copenhagen?”, or “what is the cultural vibe in Rotterdam?”, “how environmentally friendly is London?”, “how open-minded are the relevant stakeholders of Milano?” or “what is the climate for entrepreneurs in Athens?”.

The aim therefore is to create 14 sketches of the selected cities, considering five dimensions of the “Urbanscape”, which we consider relevant for innovation processes, namely: Institutional capacity, Cultural vibe, Environmental awareness, Social activism and integration, and Entrepreneurial culture.

But there is more! We will also start searching for interesting Design-Enabled Innovation cases, stories and initiatives. The Urbanscape and the selected cases will give us insight on current trends and a good overview of design-related innovations going on in each of the cities.


In Lisbon, Portugal — Photo: John Jason