Transforming a Neighborhood into a Living Laboratory for Urban Social Innovation: A Comparative Case Study of Urban Living Labs

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10912)


Cities, where more than half of the world’s population resides nowadays, face a number of challenges that require innovative solutions. This paper pays attention on the emergence of Urban Living Labs that foster urban innovations by bringing various stakeholders, ranging from local governments to citizens, together to co-create innovation. Based on the concept of ‘Living Labs’ - “user-driven innovation environments where users and producers co-create innovation in a trusted, open ecosystem that enables business and societal innovation” (The European Network of Living Labs, 2015) – various types of Urban Living Labs have emerged over the recent years. This paper explores different ways Urban Living Labs operate and contribute to fostering urban social innovation. Three cases of urban living labs - Seoul Innovation Park Living Lab (Seoul, Korea), Living Lab The Neighborhood (Malmö, Sweden), and Living Lab Shanghai (Shanghai, China) – are studied. The three urban living labs are geographically, culturally, and structurally different, but have in common that they aim to foster urban sustainability, with a focus on social innovation. Main actors of each urban living lab, their motivation and roles, representative projects, and (expected) outcomes are examined. Based on the case studies and literature review, this paper highlights the distinctive nature and potential of ‘design-driven’ urban living labs.


Urban living labs Urban transformation Design for social innovation Design-driven living labs 



This research was conducted as part of two research projects: “Urban environmental and social innovation design research” project and “Interaction and Service design research” project (DB17010) supported by Shanghai Summit Discipline in Design.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Design and InnovationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Shanghai Institute of Design and InnovationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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