Research Labs are multidisciplinary teams challenged to create new work around specific themes and can be provided with space and stipend.



Maker City

The development of the Maker City Playbook will document Maker culture in cities to bring national focus to the story of civic and economic reinvention taking place in America.


Urban Prototyping Research Lab

Urban Prototyping is a global movement exploring how participatory design, art, and technology can improve cities. Each UP Festival uses its own strategy to uniquely address that city’s specific circumstances – soliciting, testing, and deploying digital and physical projects in the urban fabric.



Data Canvas: Digital Displays

Artists, writers and Journalists collaborate to tell data-stories about cities. The artwork is exhibited on interactive screens installed at street-level in high traffic areas, and accessible to the public.


Data Canvas: Sense Your City

We deployed a DIY sensor network over 7 cities to measure pollution, dust, light, sound, temperature, and humidity. We created an interactive map to stream the live open data, and asked the community to tell visual stories with it to make sense of their environment.


Creative Currency

Creative Currency is an Initiative bringing together leading developers and designers with national experts in social finance, local currencies, crowdfunding, sharing platforms, and other leaders of the new economy to envision, prototype, and deploy innovative solutions that re-imagine our systems of exchange from the ground up.


Summer of Smart: Democracy in the Digital Age

Urbanists of many disciplines – developers, designers, planners, journalists, civic leaders, community activists, and more – will come together to address the most pressing issues facing cities today.  Leading projects will be publicly presented to candidates in the San Francisco mayoral race.