BMW Guggenheim Lab Pops Up Downtown and Online

The BMW Guggenheim Lab opened last week in New York’s East Village, the first stop on a nine city global tour. The mobile lab, designed as a public forum, think tank, and community center, also reflects a number of digital trends; crowdsourcing, gaming, and social platforms all encouraging audience interaction and included to enhance the visitor experience.

Created through a partnership between the German car company and the Guggenheim Museum, one of the lab’s main attractions is Urbanology, an interactive group game played on site and soon to be online.

According to Kate Dineen, one of the museum’s game facilitators, it was developed to “show tradeoffs in terms of how different priorities such as livability, innovation, and safety impact cities.” On-site players are charged with “building a city from the ground up,” said Dineen, and they must reach a consensus on crowdsourced planning scenarios in order for the game to proceed (like jury duty but more fun).

During its first week the lab has drawn local and international visitors to play the game and attend public programs and film screenings on urban planning. The online audience can also interact via Facebook and Twitter, check in on Foursquare, post images on Flickr, and view YouTube videos of the lab’s construction.

The lab’s contribution to the local community will be permanent. The New York installment was transformed from a run-down back lot, and when it leaves in two months for its next stop in Berlin, the area will remain as a public park.

Ruder Finn is helping with the PR for the lab.