When it comes to making key decisions on urban development, whether it is adopting a project for a building or a decision to transform a neighbourhood, trade-offs need to be made by politicians, planners and citizens. These key actors have to decide the balance between control and space for creative and unexpected innovation. Knowing where this balance is a key dilemma. APRILab makes this one of its key research areas. It also aims to research the regulation between legal instrumentalism and the general principles of good planning. Thirdly, APRILab aims to research the dilemmas between supply and demand driven investments. Through these three key areas APRILab aims to research the dilemmas between control and self-organisation. APRILabs’s project team has adopted six urban projects in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and Istanbul. APRILab uses the combined efforts of the universities of Amsterdam, Aalborg, Yildiz Technical University, and Aalto University as well as the municipality of Amsterdam to look at a broad cross section of problems faced by urban planners when deciding the balance between control and creative space.