Labs & Hackathons

Enabling youth through a pop-up “think and do tank” co-creation model to effect change in their cities. Hackathons are a condensed version of the lab model that can be delivered virtually.

Running a Think + Do Lab

A youth writing on a sticky note

Step 1

Choose a city and a theme based on an urgent need in that city

Step 2

Recruit urban influencers ages 15-29

Youths working together on a project for Future City Builders.

Step 3

Take youth through the process of understanding the current reality in their city and co-create ideas for those issues. (See the ABCD Model)

A youth presenting at a pitch-off event in Hamilton.

Step 4

Launch solutions with local partners

The ABCD Model


WHERE ARE WE AT? What is our understanding of the problem that we are trying to solve?


WHERE DO WE WANT TO BE? What is the desirable vision of the future that we want to see?


WHAT DO WE NEED TO CREATE? How do we get that desirable future?


HOW DO WE DELIVER IT? How can we develop a launch plan that everyone takes ownership in?

30Lab + Future City Builders: Halifax

Watch a Lab in Action

Case Study

30Lab + Future City Builders

Future City Builders engaged 150 youth (18-29 years old) in Calgary, Halifax, Hamilton, Toronto and Vancouver to develop work-ready skills while improving their city. Modeled on Youthful Cities’ 30Lab program, Future City Builders brings together 30 youth in each city to create and launch innovative ideas for urban food, water, transportation, housing and waste systems.

In each city, two youth develop their leadership and employability skills as City Leads, and help run these exciting urban innovation labs. These City Leads attended a one-week institute, hosted at Evergreen Brickworks, to develop their expertise on resilient cities and returned home to contextualize the lab experience for their city.

Case Study

The Future of Community Connected Work
Kitchener-Waterloo Virtual Hackathon

In the Waterloo region, youth aged 19 to 29 make up 15% of the population and with the concentration of post-secondary institutions like University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, and Conestoga College; there are an estimated 65,000 post-secondary students in the Region. This makes the region’s population average age younger than comparable municipalities across Canada and one of the fastest-growing regions in the country. With the region being composed of three municipalities it is vital to interrogate: How can we bolster social connectedness within and between our communities? What is the future of community connected work? To answer these questions we focused on the three areas of community care, the creative economy, and the tech bubble.