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Baltic Urban Knowledge Hubs

Transnational collaboration fostering participatory space and service development within the public sector

The State and University Library Hamburg (Stabi) developed a new spatial concept from summer 2020 until fall 2022. Inspired by the principles of Open Social Innovation, Stabi opened up the dialogue with a variety of different stakeholders within the project “Wissen Bauen 2025”. Due to a successful application for funding in the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme, these ideas will now be further developed on an international level. On April 20th 2023, the commission selected 13 projects for funding among the 41 applications – including our project “BALTIC UKH”.

Below, you will find everything you need to know about the project idea and the planned activities.

“Wissen Bauen 2025” as our point of departure

Within our spatial development project, we compiled a new space concept, defining the future Stabi as an Urban Knowledge Hub (UKH). First, we grouped spaces and services according to their functions, and second, we incorporated them into one overarching concept. The effects of the ongoing digitization and cultural diversification were the main cornerstones of the concept. Urban Knowledge Hubs operate on multiple levels – not only as spaces for the local community but also as global information and knowledge hubs. Such spaces, providing citizens with comprehensible and reliable information, are crucial assets for modern globalized knowledge societies.

Within the project “Wissen Bauen 2025” we talked to library users as well as different stakeholders, collecting their diverse demands. It became very apparent how crucial it is to always consider the users’ perspectives when developing new spaces and services. However, for public entities and NGOs that provide information and related services, there are no standards or shortcuts for designing such spaces. Therefore, we decided to place the notion of Urban Knowledge Hubs as participatory spaces, where citizens can access and exchange reliable and comprehensible information both within local and global networks, at the center of our project proposal.


Project proposal Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme

As part of the Bibliotheca Baltica consortium, we were already vastly connected within the Baltic Sea Region and started networking with different public service providers. It did not take much time to find other partners who were also interested in testing the participatory design of accessible and attractive informational spaces and services. At the same time, a second call in the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme was launched, and jointly with the National Library of Latvia, the Royal Danish Library, and Oslo Metropolitan University we submitted a small project proposal in January 2023.

The aim of BALTIC UKH is to provide public authorities and other institutions with tools and methods for the participatory design of accessible as well as attractive informational spaces and services. Following the idea of Urban Knowledge Hubs as a new space concept, the project’s main output will be a research-based toolbox for the conceptualization and design of such hybrid information hubs. The toolbox will be adaptable to the needs of public authorities in urban and rural areas, as well as NGOs and higher education institutions. It will include best practices and will be made publicly available in five languages.

While the three library partners will pilot innovative spaces and services, OsloMet will mainly assist with the selection of suitable engagement methods and the compilation of the final output. Next to assuming the overall responsibility as lead partner, Stabi will also develop a local pilot: With its expertise in bringing together cultural, academic, and social actors within a metropolitan context, Stabi will pilot an interactive space for the facilitation and discussion of current political, scientific, and historical topics. The Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg, the State Agency for Civic Education in Hamburg, and the Association for Hamburg History will serve as local associated organizations. The space will be permanently installed and will be available for events and presentations beyond the project duration.


The project duration for BALTIC UKH will be from August 2023 to July 2025. The project is co-funded by the European Union in the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.


Miriam Green

Koordination Entwicklungsprojekte
Coordinator Development Projects
E-Mail: miriammarie.green@sub.uni-hamburg.de
Telefon: +49 40/42838-5696

Foto von Miriam Green