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Utilizing Urban Living Laboratories for Social Innovation

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Utilizing Urban Living Laboratories for Social Innovation


Naumann, S., Davis, M., Moore, M., & McCormick, K. (2018). Utilizing Urban Living Laboratories for Social Innovation. In T. Elmqvist, X. Bai, N. Frantzeskaki, C. Griffith, D. Maddox, T. McPhearson, et al. (Eds.), Urban Planet: Knowledge towards Sustainable Cities (pp. 197-217). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781316647554.012

Can urban living labs support social and governance innovations and therewith contribute to sustainable urban planning? Can they serve as a tool to assist cities in adapting to new emerging challenges, such as changing climate, reduced availability of raw materials and natural resources, and dwindling physical space for the built environment? As part of the new Urban Planet book, Sandra Naumann and McKenna Davis from the Ecologic Institute authored a chapter together with Michele-Lee Moore and Kes McCormick to address these questions. The chapter introduces a brief history of urban living labs and the governance challenges they intend to address, and subsequently explores whether urban living labs hold potential as a new forum for urban governance innovation experiments to support positive transformative change. The open access chapter and book are available for download.

The Urban Planet book takes an integrative look at the urban environment, bringing together scholars from a diverse range of disciplines, such as sociology, political science, evolutionary biology, geography, economics and engineering. It includes the perspectives of often neglected voices and includes inputs from architects, journalists, artists and activists. The book provides a much needed cross-scale perspective, connecting challenges and solutions on a local scale with drivers and policy frameworks on a regional and global scale. The authors argue that to overcome the major global environmental challenges we are facing, we must embark on a large-scale reinvention of how we live together, centered around inclusiveness and sustainability.


Sandra Naumann
Coordinator Biodiversity and Nature-based Solutions
Senior Fellow
Michele-Lee Moore (University of Victoria)
Kes McCormick (Lund University)
Published in
Urban Planet. Knowledge towards Sustainable Cities
Published by
21 pp.
Table of contents
Urban living labs, social innovation, governance, sustainable urban development, urban challenges