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IN+ has been involved since 2012 in promoting research and dissemination activities in vulnerable communities, with the ultimate goal of engaging students and researchers in addressing emerging issues associated with the social appropriation of knowledge. Emphasis has been given to “design for uncertainty” in urban contexts under specific vulnerabilities and in a way to foster the analysisof risk perceptions of lay people from vulnerable communities.
The rationale for “Laboratórios na Rua” is driven by the need to help designing resilient cities, with emphasis on flexibility, sustainability, inclusiveness and integration of knowledge and technological infrastructures. During 2012, the focus was on launching a team for innovative “hands on” approach based on the design of new engineering-based products and processes to help shape perceptions and peoples’ behavior.
Two areas of intervention were chosen in terms of risk mitigation, including energy consumption and non-communicable diseases (e.g., diabetes). While it is increasingly acknowledged that there is a need for intervention in these areas, there is considerable debate about the factors and policy mechanisms that can bring awareness of lay people towards these areas of risk. The research at this stage did not aim to cover all these factors but to identify gaps and future research needs. At this point, we focused on how engineering design and the usage of engineered-based products can support change of perceptions and behavior.