Urban living labs as a way to realise urban nature-based solutions
Servera Reynolds, Sofia
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As a result of climate change leading to heat stress in cities, there is a growing demand for urban sustainable development. To address the social, economic, and environmental issues, interventions such as urban nature-based solutions (UNBS) are being implemented. An Urban living lab (ULL) is envisioned as a collaborative space that encourages innovation and brings stakeholders together to achieve a common goal. This study concentrates on how ULLs can promote UNBS and stakeholder co-creation. The paper takes a qualitative approach and focuses on an ongoing ULL in Utrecht's City Centre. The study reveals three key roles of ULLs that can promote UNBS and encourage stakeholder co-creation. These roles are trust building, scaling up predefined innovations and fostering inclusive social outcomes. By taking on these roles, UNBS can overcome its barriers, both socio-economic and biophysical. The study, therefore, highlights the benefits of ULLs, in promoting sustainable urban development by providing a collaborative space for stakeholders to perform better towards achieving UNBS. ULLs’ characteristics such as stakeholder co-creation, user management, and innovation can potentially enable UNBS to tackle its barriers in a real-life context. Policymakers, urban planners, and other stakeholders involved in developing solutions for UNBS must consider this approach as it offers valuable insights. Concluding, this study adds value to both theory and practice by improving the understanding of how ULLs can facilitate the planning, execution, and management of UNBS.
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