Tomorrow marks the kick-off the BMW Guggenheim Lab, located in what was formerly a vacant lot at Houston and 2nd Avenue. The malleable, streamlined space, which includes a pop-up Roberta's cafe, will host dozens of events over a ten-week period, from workshops to lectures to film screenings, all of which share the same theme: how to re-conceptualize what it means to live well in a city.

The "mobile laboratory" is the brainchild of Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto of Atelier Bow-Wow, Guggenheim curators David van der Leer and Maria Nicanor, and a team of urban environmental design experts, architects, artists, and educators.

One of the semi-permanent elements of the Lab is a life-size game called "Urbanology." The ground is painted as a chessboard; five large transparent cases containing tokens symbolize various aspects of daily urban life: Wealth, Mobility, Sustainability, Livability and Affordability. An enormous screen overhead poses questions to a group of players, such as, "Should there be a tax on books sold in order to support libraries (and thus literacy)?" Based on the participants' yes or no answers, a "future city" is imagined and projected onto the screen.

At the press preview this morning, van der Leer stated that the concept of the Lab was hatched "by people who felt that social behavior could be changed in the company of great art." Van der Leer was joined on stage by Harald Kruger of BMW and the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation Adrian Benepe, who invoked 9/11 and the spirited resilience of NYC, and likened the mission of the Lab to The Gates in Central Park. Van der Leer also thanked the installation's neighbors, saying, "We are leaving behind a great asset for the neighbors—we salute the neighbors." Even though they chopped down the neighbor's tree.

Feelings amongst the locals are mixed. Jaidev Gupta, the general manager of The Gem Hotel, said about the addition: "We're excited. They're our new neighbor. Part of the family." But a staff member at The Catholic Worker soup kitchen, which is directly across from the installation on 1st Street, was less enthusiastic. "We've watched the neighborhood change. They cleared out most of that variety of people," said the staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, as he gestured to the room full of soup kitchen patrons. "It's becoming a boutique neighborhood."

New York City is the project's first site; from here it will move to Berlin and Mumbai, and then on to six other as-yet unannounced cities. Open to the public from August 3rd until October 16th, all events are free, though some ask that attendees RSVP online.