Transformative Capacity Building by Systematic Use of Urban Living Labs: A Case Study of Alytus, Lithuania
Keywords:Urban Living Lab, Urban Transformative Capacity, Co-creation, Quadrupole Helix Model, Force Field Analysis.
This article aims to introduce the concept of Permanent Urban Living Lab (PULL) as a method for urban transformative capacity building. Since the beginning of 2000s, the urban living labs (ULLs) are being researched and examined as experimental settings that bring together various stakeholders, such as citizens, researchers, businesses, and policymakers, to co-create and test innovative solutions for urban developments. They offer a collaborative and participatory approach to urban solutions that engages and empowers local communities and fosters a culture of a shared foresight process and mutual learning. In the context of local development, the ULLs can serve as a powerful tool for building the urban transformative capacities (UTC) by providing a platform for local actors to develop their skills, knowledge, and networks for intersectoral cooperation, and by creating opportunities for experimentation and experiential learning. The case of Alytus, Lithuania, is an interesting example of how the urban living labs can be used to drive local development. Alytus is a mid-sized city in Lithuania, Northern Europe that has faced a range of social, geopolitical, economic, and environmental challenges typical of the region in recent years, including declining population, high unemployment, and deteriorating public spaces. The aim of this article is to analyse the perspective of implementation of European policies and methodologies presented in the Urban Europe Programme if applied to the search of transformative capacities’ building for better city co-governance. In this respect, methods of the quadrupole helix model, urban living labs, force field analysis and different forms of co-creation are discussed as the founding elements for initiating a digital platform for citizens’ involvement and participation in urban transformations.
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