Tartu hosted its first “dreaming” workshop for Living Lab residents

Oct 31, 2022

On 17 September 2022, the Tartu oPEN Living Lab team hosted a one-of-a-kind workshop for the residents of the local oPEN Living Lab: a workshop meant for dreaming. The workshop aimed to bring together residents who had applied to join the first stage of renovation preparations living in ten different apartment buildings and to let them imagine the future of their houses to co-create a wishlist for preparing the design and renovation tender. 33 residents as representatives of the houses’ housing associations participated in the workshop together with tehn project members and researchers from TalTech.

The workshop used the world café method of discussion, i.e. the participants were divided into tables that each had a specific discussion topic: façade and balconies, basements, hallways, ventilation and heating, and urban space. After every 20 minutes, the topics were switched so that each table had a chance to discuss each topic. The discussion at each table was led by local project experts from the Tartu city government, TalTech university, Tartu Regional Energy Agency, and the Institute of Baltic Studies. Depending on the topic, the discussion leaders used a variety of materials: technical drawings, inspirational pictures, area maps, and photos of existing solutions.

The participants had a chance to discuss the different renovation aspects and present their ideas while also hearing each other’s points of view. It was evident from the workshop that the residents are aware of the current shortcomings of their apartment buildings and have a keen interest in improving their living environment.

When discussing concrete renovation solutions, it was clear that the residents prefer to keep their balconies open to the elements so they could be used as outdoor space. Virtually all participants would also like improvements to the infrastructure around the house: better sidewalks and more benches near their building and in the district. Everyone would be interested in having a dedicated, safe, and locked parking house for strollers, bicycles, and other light multi-mobility vehicles, and a similar solution for recycling bins.

This workshop was prepared for the next stage of renovation: the residents and housing associations can now discuss what they learned from the workshop, share their ideas with their families and neighbours, and in the end, share their renovation wishes with the project team so they could be added to the construction tender. The workshop also served as validation of the work carried out so far: several public information meetings, dozens of technical consultations and ten bilateral meetings with each housing association to map their renovation expectations and the technical condition of their houses.

Three of these ten houses will be selected to be part of the oPEN Lab project. The remaining seven houses will receive support by Tartu city to enter the tender phase and continue with the renovation of the buildings.