City as Lab

City as Lab (CaL) is founded with the belief that every student’s voice is important!

CaL provides a platform for school children to conduct original and authentic inquiry projects about the cities they live in.

CaL in Numbers





Types of Projects

Students may choose to work on one of the following types of projects for this year.

Story Project

The theme for 2024-25 is
Chronicles of Unconventional Careers.

The cliché goes that in India, everyone wants their child to become an engineer, lawyer, CA or doctor. Yet, our cities are filled with people who engage in unusual or unconventional professions, or perhaps professions we don’t know much about! For this year’s story project, you will tell the stories of three such people. You may select professions from the list given below ONLY.

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Research Project

Students ask an original question, collect data and offer insights through a written paper. Selected groups present their papers at the next CaL conference in 2024-25. This is a great project for science or social studies teachers to mentor.

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Coding Project

Student create a unique app that is useful during these unprecedented times. Students select a specific end-user for the app, define the problem, design and pilot the app, and create a “pitch” video as their final product. This is a great project for technology / coding teachers to mentor.

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Maker Project

In this project, students design a working prototype solution for a relevant problem being faced by their city/community. The problem being addressed has to be related to United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities” The prototype must be tested before submitting the final product.

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Service Project

Students set up and run a service project to support a disenfranchised group of people in their community.

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Photography Project

The Theme for 2024-25 is Through the Lens of Time.

In this project, students use photography to capture what is unique about their city. Using any type of camera, students understand the given theme around which they take a series of photographs: history, culture, food, people, lifestyles, stereotypes, crises, public works and services, architecture, diversity, etc. Students go through a meticulous process of collaboratively narrowing down what they want to shoot, planning for and taking photographs, developing criteria to choose and submit their final seven photos along with a write-up as per CaL guidelines. Selected photos may be published by City as Lab on our website, exhibited during the CaL conference or in another public space.

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June 2nd

Early Bird Registration

July 10th

Registration Deadline

August 15st

Driving Question Approval

September 15th

Design Plan Approval

November 10th

First Draft of Product/Project

December 31st

Final Product Submission



CaL Journey

"Wonderful initiative! This program has great potential to sensitize each and everyone about various social and environmental issues faced by society. The young students are fantastic, very confident and I am hopeful most of them will grow up and become excellent researchers, leaders, and much more than that - responsible citizens.This program has brough out the best among them."

CaL Panelist

"This was a wonderful experience for me because every year we do the project day in our school but it was totally a different experience where we need to actually go out of the class and collect data. We used different methods of collecting data like interview method, survey method and observation method"

CaL Student

"I learned how to manage, push and guide a team of students to come up with great projects."

CaL Teacher

"Amazing work. So deep, rich & life changing! Love the way you are bringing different stakeholders together & really working with them in a thoughtful process- appreciate your effort! Such a great platform that you are providing (to students) & it changes their learning so deeply. Please continue & become more visible & expand your work as far as possible. "

CaL Panelist

"CAL was one of the most exciting and enjoyable projects I have been a part of. Researching real-life problems, then conducting thorough surveys and finally implementing certain solutions along with the group was quite evoking. The difficult part of it, however, for me would probably be the one where we had to find a relative and impacting problem, which was a bit tough as we all had distinct ideas. After we did find a suitable and concerning topic, that became the most interesting part of this project. Collecting data and analyzing it led us to the next level, and it was truly significant through our final report!"

CaL Participant

CaL Partners: Past and Present