What is an Urban Living Lab?

There is a growing trend to involve citizens in city development, in order to make urban areas more adapted to citizens’ needs. When addressing the consequences of climate change and urbanisation in cities, such as air pollution, flooding, and heat stress, it is important to think ahead, and at the same time, to consider the social implications of the solutions that are introduced in our urban areas. Addressing complex problems, such as climate change and the social implications linked to it, entails a wide range of aspects to consider. It should be addressed by involving a range of stakeholders, including citizens, companies, research, academia and the public sector, to ensure the successful collaboration towards the shared solutions.

Urban Living Labs are the orchestrators of this collaboration, bringing together the different stakeholders - companies, research institutions, the public sector and citizens - through co-creation. Co-creation involves different phases of development to reach the final solution. The first phase consists of a joint exploration to identify the challenges and the different needs from the perspectives of all stakeholders. The second phase is the experimentation phase, which includes building a prototype of the proposed solution, testing it, and building it again - each time improving the solution based on the feedback gathered from the previous stages. In Living Labs, the place for experimentation is always a real-life setting: the solution is tested in the real-life environment, right where it is planned to be implemented. The third phase of the co-creation process is evaluation and implementation. In this final phase, the solution is evaluated and the final version of it can be built. 

Hiedanranta, Tampere

Take a look at our Living Lab handbook!

With the UNaLab Living Lab handbook, you can learn how to develop an Urban Living Lab based on the learnings, research and practical experiences from the UNaLab project.

Urban Living Labs in the Front-runner Cities

Discover our handbook on adoption and implementation barriers of Urban Living Labs

This handbook identifies and explores some common barriers to the adoption of Urban Living Labs, and provides cities with an understanding of how to address these barriers.