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Urban living labs: governing urban sustainability transitions

In this paper, we suggest that transition studies and the literature on urban governance offer important insights that can enable us to understand the purpose and implications of Urban Living Labs (ULL).
 
Urban Living Labs (ULL) are advanced as an explicit form of intervention delivering sustainability goals for cities. Established at the boundaries between research, innovation and policy, ULL are intended to design, demonstrate and learn about the effects of urban interventions in real time. While rapidly growing as an empirical phenomenon, our understanding of the nature and purpose of ULL is still evolving.
 
While much of the existing literature draws attention to the aims and workings of ULL, there have to date been fewer critical accounts that seek to understand their purpose and implications. In this paper, we suggest that transition studies and the literature on urban governance offer important insights that can enable us to address this gap.
 
Highlights
 

  • ULL are sites to design, test and learn from innovation in real time.
  • ULL are proliferating rapidly while our understanding of their nature and purpose is still evolving.
  • We seek to develop a new perspective on ULL by bringing governance thinking into transitions theory and vice versa.
  • This perspective helps to identify shared concepts to inform the analysis of ULL in different contexts.
  • The perspective demonstrates the roles of design, practices and processes of ULL.

 
Citation
Harriet Bulkeley, Lars Coenen, Niki Frantzeskaki, Christian Hartmann, Annica Kronsell, Lindsay Mai, Simon Marvin, Kes McCormick, Frank van Steenbergen, Yuliya Voytenko Palgan, Urban living labs: governing urban sustainability transitions, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 22, 2016, Pages 13-17, ISSN 1877-3435, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2017.02.003.
 

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Date
November 3, 2016