The six Living Labs of the MyFairShare project vary in scale and scope, from community-based to national, and from citizen-level to strategic development. They are organised across five different countries, ensuring that different societal backgrounds are considered.
A Living Lab is an umbrella term for methodological tools that leverage experimental approaches. Living labs typically conduct experiments for a limited time and bring together a diverse set of actors. The aim is to create solutions for everyday life challenges. Living labs have gained widespread popularity and recognition as an effective tool for addressing sustainability challenges in real-world settings.
A key strength of the Living Lab approach is the participation and interaction of a wide group of stakeholders, like researchers, politicians, businesses, and civil society. This ensures that all people affected by potential changes are deeply involved in the decision-making process. Moreover, living labs adopt a transdisciplinary approach, bringing together experts from different academic fields.
The language used in Living Labs is accessible and inclusive, promoting effective communication with stakeholders beyond the academic community. Through iterative working processes and co-creation with stakeholders, Living Labs design research that remains adaptable to surprises and directly learns from participants. This helps to develop new and creative solutions that meet the needs of the local community.
At the core of Living Labs lies experimentation, which is becoming increasingly popular in urban innovations. By conducting experiments in real-world settings, Living Labs allow participants to explore and test new ideas, processes, and solutions in their everyday environments. Living Labs are typically implemented at a neighbourhood level, addressing the challenges right where they exist.
While advancing academic knowledge is a benefit of Living Labs, their primary focus lies in generating practical and sustainable solutions for urban challenges. The goal of Living Labs is to build capacities for handling urban challenges. While the Living Labs themselves typically run for a limited time, the knowledge and solutions derived aim to provide solutions and innovations for the long term and can also be translated into new contexts.
As a result, Living Labs not only yield innovative solutions but also play a vital role in legitimising public investments and promoting decentralised decision-making processes, going beyond traditional citizen participation methods.
- Urban Europe. 2020. “Joint Call for Proposals for Research and Innovation Projects on Urban Accessibility and Connectivity.”
- Urban Europe. 2023. “Urban Living Labs in JPI Urban Europe.” JPI Urban Europe. 2023.