Transitioning Urban Experiments Reflections on Doing Action Research with Urban Labs

Christian Scholl*, Joop de Kraker, Thomas Hoeflehner, Mette Agger Eriksen, Petra Wlasak, Thomas Drage

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Urban labs have gained popularity throughout Europe. They are a manifestation of the search for new forms of urban governance capable of addressing the complex problems that cities are facing nowadays. These labs typically aim to create space for trans disciplinary research, co-creation and experimenting with potential solutions to sustainability challenges. In urban labs in four European cities, we applied a specific transdisciplinary action research approach labelled as "transitioning of (urban lab) experiments". Our approach consists of four steps: co-design of experiments, setting explicit learning goals, evaluating what has been learned, and dissemination and embedding of lessons learned. Critically reflecting on the difficulties encountered in the implementation of the transitioning approach, we conclude that it must be adapted when applied to urban labs focusing on sustainability transitions in institutional and governance systems rather than in socio-technical systems. We provide recommendations as to how the approach could be adapted.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)78-84
    Number of pages7
    JournalGaia-Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


    • transdisciplinary action research
    • transitioning experiments
    • urban governance
    • urban labs
    • CITIES
    • CITY

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