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INTRODUCTION

How to anticipate constraints on upscaling inclusive Living Labs experiments - Ten constraints on upscaling and social inclusion in urban Living Lab experiments and ways to anticipate them

The “Urban Living Lab” is an emerging approach in European cities. Urban Living Lab projects or experiments are devised to design, test and learn from an innovative socio-technical practice (i.e. “a new way of doing something”) in real-time and in urban contexts with a diversity of stakeholders. Living Lab refers to the institutional environment for open innovation that supports these projects. It may be organized in a variety of ways (long-term or short-term, independent from or embedded in the municipal organization, provider-driven or user-driven).
The current approach of Living Labs focuses on small-scale performance tests and technology-user interactions, mostly neglecting the larger social-institutional context. Therefore, successful implementation of new practices in the reality of a Living Lab does not warrant broader adoption outside the Lab (i.e. “upscaling”), required to reach their full innovative effect.
Another limitation is its focus on “smart citizens” as users and partners, namely citizens with both the cognitive and material resources to consume and co-produce the smart services. Citizens lacking these resources will normally not be included as co-creators in Living Labs, nor are they likely to be able to make use of the smart services once these are implemented on a largerscale. The consequences may not only be poorer design of smart technologies or their limited adoption and use, but also social exclusion, i.e. deprivation of part of the population from new services.
The SmarterLabs project has developed practical ways to effectively anticipate these two limitations in the Living Lab approach. In the menu on the left side of this page you find ten typical constraints on upscaling or social inclusion and ways to anticipate them.
Note that social exclusion is a key constraint affecting upscaling itself. For the sake of simplicity, we keep them separate here. However, please keep in mind that addressing constraints on social inclusion is a pre-condition to effective upscaling.

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