City as a Knowledge Factory

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* Rapport / Atlas: THE CITY AS A (knowledge) FACTORY. Innovative knowledge production generating new urban typologies? By Anton Christiaens, Jonathan Decoene, Mengy Fang et al. Timelab,




Traditionally the domain of universities and (state) institutes, knowledge production has been revolutionized by the development of digital media. As knowledge has become readily accessible to practically everyone at any time the sites of knowledge transfer/production seem to be shifting. Peer-to-peer networks, open sourceculture, FabLabs, co-working cafes... all establish connec- tions between individuals and groups that lie outside the mainstream networks.

Are these phenomena part of a (global) trend? Is it just a logical response to the changing ways in which we communicate resulting from the ‘digital revolution’? Does this revolution have a last- ing spatial impact in the form of new typologies for work, is this the end of the office building? To find out if there is such a thing as an urban knowledge factory we con- ducted a research on two levels. On a small scale we mapped various innovative initiatives in the city of Ghent.

To get a wider view on the topic we looked at a range of projects around the world.

Through this mapping we aim to understand to what extent these project can be grouped together and how (if at all) they relate to the ur- ban environment they are in. Researching in what ways the city’s administration and larger institutes like the university have an effect on or con- nection with such initiatives, has allowed us to map certain patterns in the development of new working models.

By interviewing different projects, an atlas of new urban programs, spaces and typologies is made to present a concise but precise overview of what could be the future of ‘office-work’. The different trends and themes we encountered through this research are discussed in a series of lemmas. We can conclude that people prefer to work in a shared informal place where they can cooperate with others to stimulate a knowledge transfer then working alone."


Besproken plaatsen in het Gentse:

  1. Like Birds
  2. In de Ruimte
  3. N-Cube
  4. Vooruit
  5. Ontwerp-poel
  6. Nerdlab
  7. Ingegno
  8. Start-up Garage iMinds
  9. iCubes
  10. Krook.Lab
  11. TimeLab
  12. Floating Desk
  13. Bio Distribution Points
  14. Voedselteams
  15. Boerse Poort
  16. Rooffood
  17. City library
  18. Wintercircus
  19. Fablab Ugent
  20. Durf Ondernemen
  21. Design Factory
  22. Masterplan St-Pietersnieuwstraat
  23. Tech Lane Ghent


  1. Bart Chanet (Floating Desk)
  2. Jolien Coenraets (Durf Ondernemen)
  3. Hannes D’Hulster (Nerdlab)
  4. Joachim Declerck (UGent )
  5. Michiel Dehaene (UGent)
  6. Bart De Waele (N-Cube)
  7. Matthias De Ridder (Vooruit)
  8. Annemie De Tremerie (Stad Gent)
  9. Tatiana Grazioso
  10. Ann Hendrickx (Projectbureau, Directie Gebouwen en Facilitair Beheer DGFB)
  11. Daisuke Komatsu (Capca / IE)
  12. Sofie Lattré (Nucleo)
  13. Kevin Lefevre (Wasbar)
  14. Jole Leyseele (De Krook)
  15. Robert Monchen (In de ruimte)
  16. Vicky Persyn (LikeBirds)
  17. Evi Swinnen (Timelab)
  18. Steve Stevens (Ghentrepreneur)
  19. Peter Vandenabeele (Ontwerp-Poel)
  20. Kurt Vanhoutte (Fablab UGent)
  21. Sabien Windels (Roof Food)
  22. Aitor Zabala Septien (Ingegno)