From participation to Living Lab


The questions raised by recent research on the use of a living lab method in the context of large-scale social housing regeneration, leads us to return to three refurbishment projects carried out in large social housing complexes in France, in which the resolutely multidisciplinary and participatory approach adopted was intended to be experimental.
The Social Housing Provider, 3F involved the architect Andrei Feraru, the landscaper Armelle Claude, and the sociologist Véronique Blin in the operation. During the project, it collected feedback by local residents by organizing participatory workshops. Through a study conducted by the sociologist, it also aimed to understand residents’ social practices.

This survey is more an overview than an evaluation. Conducted as part of SoHoLab, European research on living labs in large estates, it is primarily driven by the assumption that yesterday’s innovation (or at least what was considered as such) can underpin or nurture today’s innovation. Looked at another way, the living lab method can be seen as a new way to reinvigorate old ways of doing things.

For the study, an ethnographic approach was adopted involving detailed and repeated observations of the spaces under study.