News Releases

Students, academia & City of Hamilton launch CityLAB, an innovation hub for experiential learning

HAMILTON, ON - May 10, 2017 -  The City of Hamilton today announced it is partnering with local academic institutions McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College to launch CityLAB, an innovation hub where students, city staff and community stakeholders will co-create solutions that support the city’s strategic priorities.

About CityLAB

Following on a worldwide movement to create more meaningful learning experiences to engage young people, CityLAB Hamilton will offer post-secondary students the chance to collaborate, design, launch and test real projects that address issues confronting Hamilton (e.g.: climate change, healthy neighbourhoods, municipal excellence).

Project benefits are numerous for the student participants, the academic institutions, the City of Hamilton and the broader community:

  • Students gain new skills, a tangible connection to their city, and employment opportunities after graduation
  • The schools are able to build new bridges across disciplines and work together for the benefit of the community
  • City staff are exposed to new ideas that support strategic priorities and the overall sustainability and livability of Hamilton

The pilot program will run until December 2019, and the learning environment and innovation lab will be located at the former Canadian Football Hall of Fame building.

Since the formal signing of the CityLAB agreement between the City and institutions at the end of March 2017, next steps will see renovations at the Hall of Fame to meet current building standards and CityLAB space requirements. The innovation hub will have a fully accessible, open concept floor plan allowing for student lectures, project work and innovation workshops.

A CityLAB Project Manager has been hired. Patrick Byrne is currently on leave from his PhD studies in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster. Mr. Byrne brings extensive experience as an innovative experiential and interdisciplinary educator, previously serving at Sheridan College and for three years as the Program Coordinator for the McMaster Discovery Program, a non-credit, university-level course for adults in Hamilton who have experienced barriers to higher education.

“CityLAB Hamilton is a winning collaboration for all partners – ultimately benefitting the community through innovative projects that advance the strategic priorities of the City. I am thrilled that Hamilton is the next City to harness this growing global trend of engaging the brightest post-secondary minds to improve our City.” Fred Eisenberger, Mayor, City of Hamilton

“The challenges of our City are complex and require developing solutions across so many sectors. Just as open-source data is driving technology, open government will drive advances in city building. By capturing the most current and cutting edge minds, CityLAB brings together the best ideas from local government, academia and the private sector.”. Matthew Green, Hamilton City Councillor – Ward 3

“Every day McMaster students, faculty and staff work to make Hamilton a better and more vibrant city. By partnering with the City and our sister institutions, CityLAB provides students with opportunities to tackle real issues and challenges facing Hamiltonians, and to work together towards a healthier, more inclusive and more successful Hamilton for everyone.” Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

“CityLAB extends the classroom into the community for Mohawk students.  We look forward to putting our students to work on community-building projects with our partners at the City, McMaster and Redeemer.” Ron McKerlie, President, Mohawk College

"CityLab is another great opportunity for Redeemer University to live out its mission. Through this partnership with the City, McMaster, and Mohawk, we will further position our students to have a tangible positive impact on our city." Fred Verwoerd, Interim President, Redeemer University College

Additional resources

  • Read the General Issues Committee report about CityLAB (Item 7.2)
  • Read original CityLAB Motion 10.1 put forward by Councillor Matthew Green on April 6, 2016 (see pages 21-22)
  • The concept of CityLAB Hamilton ignited in the Spring of 2015, when representatives from the City of Hamilton and McMaster University visited CityStudio Vancouver
  • A formal launch and opening of the CityLAB site will take place in fall of 2017, details to follow