From Living Labs to Community of Practice

Note: Participants are expected to have a smartphone or tablet connected to the Internet, in order to be able to use an App for an interactive session. 


   We represent the European Nature-based solutions (NBS) project URBiNAT, which focuses on an inclusive urban regeneration as part of the development of healthy corridors within social housing neighborhoods, through an innovative catalogue of NBS, ensuring sustainability and mobilising forces for social cohesion. Interventions focus on the public space to co-create with citizens new urban, social and nature-based relations within and between different neighbourhoods (Ballon, Pierson, & Delaere, 2005). 

   Taking the full physical, mental and social well-being of citizens as its main goal, URBiNAT aims to co-create a healthy corridor as an innovative and flexible NBS, which itself integrates a large number of micro NBS emerging from community-driven design processes. Through activation of living labs, the project co-creates healthy corridors in Nantes, Porto, Sofia, Siena, Nova Gorica, Brussels and Høje-Taastrup as well as working with observer cities in China and Iran and other countries.


    The aim of the workshop is to facilitate an exchange of good practices and challenges in terms of how to support and engage citizens in co-creative processes in living labs, considering participation as a means (dialogue between different kinds of knowledges) (Lars-Olof and Ulrika, 2011) and as an end (introduction and reinforcement of local participatory cultures) (Hislop, 2004). From the exchange, we hope to identify agents of specific good practices and special interest groups around whom we would set up potential communities of co-creative practices for additional exchange also after the workshop. 

  Having a living lab process as the main source for the empirical co-creative ideas and data in the URBINAT project we need to understand how the theories of communities of practice (Wenger, 1999; Wenger et al., 2002) might provide insights about interaction dynamics in innovation activities, mainly in a user-centric innovation approach from a community of practice perspective.


   The outcomes of the workshop will be very specific learning points to be further assessed and integrated into the activation and co-creative processes of the living labs and healthy corridor establishment during the URBiNAT project. 

   A further outcome will be the establishment of a wider community of practice that will allow workshop participants and other interested persons to exchange experiences via an open online discussion forum that the URBiNAT project will facilitate at least for the rest of its duration (until 2023). Our conceptual model of CoP highlights two levels of brokering: i) inner-level within living labs; ii) outer-level between stakeholders. The CoPs can act as catalysts, encouraging people to meet in certain frameworks, focusing on topics they share concern and/or passion for, learning from each other.

   This is different from trying to build a joint field of a completely new community, the aim should primarily be to break boundaries to reach a mutual understanding.


   We will use the methodologies of: facilitation of motivational interviewing, posters and ideation. We want to help participants accomplish their goals in each of their co-creative living labs, with the following facilitation: 

1) What do you like and works better for co-creation in your projects? ; 

2) What are the challenges you face and what you would like to change in your practice? ; 

3) How can we help each other and co-design together better strategies for co-creation? 

    Posters will present and illustrate URBiNAT’s co-creation process and planning, as well as participatory methodologies of URBiNAT’s catalogue of NBS, considering participation as a means and as an end, which will allow each of the groups to determine key learnings for capacity building and self-determination (URBiNAT, 2018). The ideation methodology will enable to set the stage on how an online discussion forum should be designed, i.e. co-building and ideation of the CoP app concept (Wolkerstorfer, et al, 2009).


Workshop Facilitators