30Lab Case Studies

The 30Lab is a pop-up innovation lab for 30 local young urban influencers to come together over a series of four workshops to create innovative solutions on resilient city systems. Through the workshops, youth unpack the city issue at hand with mentorship from community experts and ideate new solutions for their city. Participants launch their ideas at a public event, where participants have the opportunity to secure up to $5000 in seed funding to bring their project to life in their city. Youthful Cities provides on-going support and mentorship to coach participants to implement their community solution in their city.

Since 2013, Youthful Cities has launched 8 30Labs in 6 cities across 4 continents which have enabled youth through a pop-up “think and do tank” co-creation model to affect change in their cities.

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.

Future City Builders is presented in partnership by Youthful Cities and Evergreen, championed by RBC Future Launch. The Future City Builder program is an initiative of Future Cities Canada, a national collaborative platform accelerating innovation to transform cities.

Young people placing sticky notes on a wall at a Future City Builders lab
Youthful Cities x Future City Builders Lab


Future City Builders in Halifax tackled the resilience topic of housing in Halifax. Blown away by the energy and interest in the city to tackle this issue, our cohort worked to innovate new ideas to reimagine what housing can look like in the city. The 30Lab ran from January to March 2019, resulting in seven unique concepts presented at our final event. The project, ROOF, was awarded first place seed funding and second place seed funding was awarded to HFX Resilient Network.

The Projects


Future City Builders Calgary ran from March to May 2019, and examined Resilient Food Systems. With farmers’ markets on the rise, a burgeoning brewery industry, urban farms popping up around the city, locally sourced menus at restaurants, and community gardens and orchards gaining popularity, food is an important topic to explore. With that said, Calgarians remain dependent on a highly globalized food system, and the need for food aid in Calgary continues to grow.
Through the 30Lab experience, our cohort stretched their knowledge on food and five unique community projects were developed. Feed Your Flat was the recipient of $5000 seed funding.

The Projects

Easy Greens
Feed Your Flat
Sharing Kitchen


Our Toronto cohort spent two months, April to May 2019, tackling housing in Toronto. In Toronto, rental prices have skyrocketed in the past 20 years and those who grew up in the city, or who have moved here for better prospects, are having a hard time affording to stay. Our 30Lab examined housing from a holistic perspective, unpacking and creating community projects that dealt with housing affordability, access and quality of housing. We created 7 unique ideas through a design process and CommunAlley, a project to educate homeowners on laneway housing opportunities, was the seed funding recipient.

The Projects

First Step
Youth In My Backyard


Future City Builders Hamilton launched in January 2019 with a diverse cohort of youth, eager to tackle Water as the resilience topic for the lab. The cohort spent time unpacking the issue of water in the city from a youth perspective. The group dove deep on the breadth of water topics in the city, from conservation, water systems and management, public spaces and utilizing the waterfront of the city. They then synthesized their ideas into five projects for development where RainHaven was announced as the grand prize winner of $5000 seed funding.

The Projects

Watermark Certified


Future City Builders in Vancouver focused its 30Lab on Emergency Preparedness. Ranging from earthquakes to forest fires, being prepared in Vancouver is of utmost importance, but not always a priority for youth in the city. The lab ran from February to April 2019, resulting in six unique community projects for emergencies that were developed over the course of our workshops. The grand prize seed funding was awarded to Pushpin and second place funding awarded to Disaster Games.

The Projects


Together, CityHive & Youthful Cities co-hosted two 30Network network cohorts: Housing Affordability (2017) and Civic Engagement (2018). These knowledge-to-action labs each brought together 30 young people under 30 in Metro Vancouver to take a deep dive into some pressing urban issues and to create projects that address them.

There is constant talk about young people not voting, being apathetic, or being disengaged from their governments, but little talk with or led by young people about how they can better contribute to the tough conversations on affordability or civic engagement.

The 30Network took these conversations one step further. Over five sessions, these 30 young people co-created and launched innovative solutions and projects to address our urban challenges in Metro Vancouver, in collaboration with key partners in the region.

Young people holding a sign of sticky notes that says 30Network

Metro Vancouver — Housing and Affordability

To organize 30Network Vancouver on Housing and Affordability, Youthful Cities partnered with Vancouver-based organization CityHive. CityHive is on a mission to transform the way that youth are engaged in civic processes, planning and decision-making in Vancouver.

Together, CityHive & Youthful Cities co-hosted Vancouver’s 30Network: Housing & Affordability, a pop-up think & do tank of the top 30 young urban influencers under 30. There has been talk about young people being affected by unaffordability of housing, but not as much talk with or by young people. The 30Network took this conversation one step further. Over four sessions, these 30 influencers co-created innovative solutions to housing and affordability challenges in Vancouver, in collaboration with key partners in the city. We would like to thank all of our partners, without whose support the 30Network YVR would not be possible. To our presenting sponsors: Generation Squeeze, and LandlordBC, Real Estate Foundation of BC, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Cities4People by The McConnell Foundation, Vancity. To our event sponsors: HCMA Architecture + Design, RADIUS SFU, and Embark.

The Projects

Metro Vancouver — Civic Engagement

From March to May 2018, 30 young urban influencers came together over five sessions to co-create solutions to civic disengagement in Metro Vancouver.

We would like to thank all of our partners, without whose support the 30Network YVR would not be possible. To our presenting partner: City of North Vancouver. To our major partners: Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area, Generation Squeeze, Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia, Landlord BC, and Landlord Registry of British Columbia. To our event sponsors: City of Vancouver, HCMA Architecture + Design, and CityStudio.

The Projects