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Urban Living Labs Introduction

  • Simon Marvin
  • Harriet Bulkeley
  • Lindsay Mai
  • Kes McCormick
  • Yuliya Voytenko Palgan
Publishing year: 2018
Language: English
Pages: 1-17
Publication/Series: Urban Living Labs : Experimenting with City Futures
Document type: Book chapter
Publisher: Routledge

Abstract english

All cities face a pressing challenge - how can they provide economic prosperity and social cohesion while achieving environmental sustainability? In response, new collaborations are emerging in the form of “urban living labs” (ULL) - sites devised to design, test and learn from social and technical innovation in real time. ULL are proliferating rapidly across cities internationally as one means through which this might take place. While the notion of ULL is broad and can be interpreted in multiple ways, at its heart is the idea that urban sites can provide a learning arena within which the co-creation of innovation can be pursued between research organisations, public institutions, private sector and community actors (Liedtke, Welfens, Rohn and Nordmann, 2012). Through the design and development of ULL, public-, private-and community-based actors are seeking to deliver innovative and transformative improvements across the urban milieu, from buildings to green space, transport to energy systems, local food to sustainable forms of consumption. For their protagonists, ULL are seen not only as a means through which to gain experience, demonstrate and test ideas, but also as a step towards developing responses that have the potential to be scaled up across systems of provision in order to achieve sustainability transitions at a large scale. However, the extent to which these experimental interventions can address these urban challenges has yet to be interrogated. There has to date been relatively little critical analysis of the emergence, practices and consequences of ULL. This book seeks to address this deficit.


  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • ISBN: 9781351862684
  • ISBN: 9781138714724
Kes McCormick
E-mail: kes [dot] mccormick [at] iiiee [dot] lu [dot] se

The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE)

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