Living labs as co-creation instruments? A spatial perspective on an emerging phenomenon

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Scholarly attention to living labs has flourished immensely over the last 10 years. Several special issues and review articles have been dedicated to study this elusive concept and offer some key characteristics of the phenomenon (Hossain et al, 2019; TIM Review 2013, 2018; Info, 2015). There are many definitions of living labs, but most are in line with the European Network of Living Labs’ definition of them as “user-centred open innovation ecosystems based on a systematic user co-creation approach integrating research and innovation processes in real-life communities and settings” (in Hossain el al 2019: 977). However, although the co-creation aspect is often mentioned as a defining element (Hossain et al, 2019), the very aspect of co-creation in living labs remains understudied. By drawing on insights from 4 Urban Energy Living Labs, this paper aims to broaden the perspective on living-labs and shed light on fundament al questions concerning co-creation that have as of now not attracted concerted attention in the emerging research community. For instance; how is the space for participation in living labs designed and by whom? What is co-creation for – who is invited and with what purpose? Our analysis of the cases is informed by literature on public spaces for participation (e.g. Gaventa, 2006; Walker et al 2015) and STS literature on technical democracy (Callon et al, 2009) and science, technology and publics (e.g. Irwin, 2006; Wynne, 2006; Horst, 2008), which offer a lens that is sensitive to issues of participation, power and politics of co-creation in living labs.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventMeeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science - New Orleans, United States
Duration: 4 Sep 20197 Sep 2019


ConferenceMeeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science
CountryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

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