What is Neighbour Lab?
A design and urban planning cooperative building neighbourhood resilience through creativity and dialogue. Our goal is to empower communities to take charge of their own resilient future, regarding both the community’s social connections and physical infrastructure. We do this by designing Neighbour Hubs (shared structures co-created with the community) and facilitating workshops (such as guided resilience walks).
Our workshops include resilience walks, asset mapping activities and resilience-themed block parties. We aim to raise awareness about local risks, share information about existing initiatives, generate conversations promoting emergency preparedness and highlight community strengths and resources while providing an opportunity for neighbours to meet. Our goal is to build resilience by fostering connections among residents, as well as between organizations and neighbourhoods, through dialogue and experiential learning.
We work with communities to create Neighbour Hubs, unique public infrastructure that fosters resilience by engaging people in the design of their interactive features, such as kinetic energy production and rainwater collection. These shared resources encourage residents to get involved in their community and take an active role in their own resilient future. In addition to providing resources accessible both daily and in the case of an emergency, Neighbour Hubs prompt residents take individual action and make emergency plans with family and friends.
Designers, planners and engagement leaders
Our cooperative is made up of a diverse team of founders and worker members, with backgrounds in urban planning, industrial design, sustainability, community engagement, construction, and more.
The creators of the lab, from left to right, are Leah Karlberg (BA human geography), Emi Webb (BD Industrial Design), Steph Koenig (BD Industrial Design) and Adele Therias (BA Environment & sustainability). Each member offers invaluable experience and skills through their own background: The geographers think in terms of spatial systems, the industrial designers develop technical details and aesthetics, and the community planners consider social issues like accessibility and engagement. Together, we are able to approach the complex goal of resilience, guided by the invaluable knowledge of the communities with which we collaborate.