Headline: Workshop: Living Labs – a Tool for Transformation in the Ground

This year sees the start of a new development and sustainability agenda. The United Nations post-2015 agenda sets new global goals that apply to all states equally, be they rich or poor, developing or industrialised, in the South or in the North. It is designed to firmly anchor the idea of sustainability in people's minds. This will require radical structural and institutional transformation, but most of all a change in our convictions, values and interests. Yet transformations do not follow a blueprint, which is what makes them so difficult to manage. For this reason, the Bonn Conference for Global Transformation 2015, entitled ‘From Politics to Implementation’, will provide an opportunity for experienced decision-makers from all over the world to discuss strategies and solutions and to form new networks and alliances. The conference takes place on 12-13 May 2015.

The IASS and the Wuppertal Institute are organising a workshop on the topic of “Living Labs - a tool for transformation in the ground” on 13 May. The emerging approach of ‘living labs’ offers researchers and practitioners a transdisciplinary framework for mutually enriching cooperation, co-design and co-production. Any ‘great transformation’ needs concepts that are both scientifically capable and yet practically savvy. Given that transformational projects do not come with a guarantee for success, various kinds of real-world experiments and transformational labs on the ground are smart tools when it comes to understanding and driving local transformation.

The workshop briefly outlines the state-of-the-art of real-world laboratories and presents examples of thriving projects in Europe and Brazil. Since living labs are highly dependent on their local context, special attention is given to the ‘texture of urban transformation’ and the idea of ‘scaling up’ vs. ‘the dissemination of good ideas to a million places’. The workshop also discusses different ways of spreading transformation that are not based on ‘copy-n’-paste’ solutions.

Together, scientists and practitioners will examine the criteria for sound transdisciplinary research and get the chance to lay the foundations for – or to rethink – their own living laboratory.

Among the presenters are:

  • Matthias Wanner, Scientific Assistant and PhD Student, Wuppertal Institute, Wuppertal, Germany
  • Katleen De Flander, Research Fellow, IASS Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany
  • Monica Picavea, REconomy entrepreneur, Brazilian Transition Research Institute, Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Tom Henfrey, Senior Researcher, The Schumacher Institute & Transition Research Network, Bristol, UK

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