UNIC CityLab Istanbul: Ready to join a City Challenge: “Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees in Cities”

Author: UNIC Team at Koç University

UNIC Pop-Up CityLab, Istanbul, June 25

The UNIC Pop-Up CityLab is a virtual workshop where students engage in research prior to the CityLab with academics and key city stakeholders to develop a problem analysis and mapping to identify with the city challenge on “Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees in Cities” in order to enhance societal impact.


Istanbul CityLab: June 25 @ 13:00-16:30


How does it work?

  • Apply to join.
  • To apply, please fill the form below:
    • Students will be selected across disciplines.
    • Before the CityLab Day:  Students will participate in an engaged research with guidance from KUSIF (Koc University Social Impact Forum) and MiReKoc (Migration Research Center at Koc University) between 15 and 30 May.
    • The CityLab Day:  On the day of Istanbul CityLab (June 25), students, academics, city stakeholders and citizens will work together on a virtual CityLab workshop to finalize the analysis.
    • The Language of the Worskhop will be Turkish.

Who can join?

  • All Koc University students (Bachelors, Master and PhD) from all disciplines.


  • Participants in the CityLab experience will receive a letter of recommendation signed by the MiReKoc Director Prof. Ahmet Ýçduygu and KUSIF Director Dr. Gonca Ongan, depending on their contribution in the CityLab.
  • Successful participants will gain a chance to physically participate to the UNIC CityLabs Festival that will be held in Liège (14-17 October 21) (depending on the mobility and travel measures at the time of the Festival)
  • You will have networking possibility. Not only do you get a chance to work with students from other majors, you’ll also get a chance to network with academics, researchers, NGO members and city stakeholders
  • Remember, by joining the UNIC CityLab event, you’ll also get a chance to be part of the UNIC alliance network and work with peers across all UNIC universities (Erasmus University Rotterdam; Koç University; Ruhr University of Bochum; University College Cork; University of Deusto; University of Liège; University of Oulu; University of Zagreb).

What is UNIC CityLab Vision:

CityLabs provide learning opportunities by bringing together different knowledge and know-how, creating spaces for knowledge co-production, fostering a dynamic connection between learning and doing, and changing the usual practices around urban sustainability between the government and academia. CityLabs are examples where the urban areas’ local issues can be experimented with knowledge co-production across government, academia, and other knowledge groups to develop new frameworks and know-how, necessary for urban sustainability. On the same line of thoughts, CityLabs are forums exclusively established to co-produce policy-relevant knowledge among relevant knowledge groups in academia and governing bodies. The symbolic notion of a laboratory pinpoints that CityLabs usually constrain their focus to a specific city, issue, or timeframe while exploring and producing different types of know-how to generate meaningful insights. Urban laboratories put together change processes and the necessity of practices and concepts, creating connections for the cities' future visions to the politics and patterns of a better 'tomorrow'.

Istanbul CityLab: The First CityLab in Istanbul on a Local Challenge

UNIC CityLab are designed to work on specific challenges that our post-industrial cities face involving various issues such as urban resilience, climate-friendly cities, development, diversity and inclusion and many more. On yearly basis, every UNIC partnered university pick two challenges and work on these topics both locally and internationally.

For the first theme, Istanbul CityLab will focus on diversity and inclusion aspect since cities are on the frontline of efforts to foster the well-being of refugees and migrants. Therefore, the first theme of the UNIC Istanbul CityLab will focus on diversity and inclusion concerning refugees and migrants living in cities. This is how the CityLab experience will evolve through a student-led engaged research to the completion of the analysis in a virtual workshop with participants joining all over the city.


1-10 May: Call for participation (students)

10-31 May: Problem analysis and mapping of stakeholders, desk-based research; engaged research by students (interviews with key stakeholders)

1-15 June: Preparation for the City Lab; finalizing the draft and impact gap canvas

25 June 2021: UNIC Istanbul CityLab

Relation to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)

This event supports SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities; SDG 17 Partnership for the Goals; and SDG 11 Sustaianle Cities and Communities.