5 themes from ULL experiences


The SoHoLab project identified Urban Living Labs (ULLs) as a potentially innovative approach to deal with the policy field of urban regeneration of these areas. ULLs are intended to be able to launch open, collaborative and participative processes. Considering the multiple failures of the so-called “participatory approaches”, SoHoLab tried to find out which new tools and methods could be applied in order to more effectively open-up the policy design and implementation phases, making them more inclusive especially for underprivileged populations (accumulating socio-economic difficulties).

Therefore, all over the duration of the project (2017-2020), the three research units involved (Bruxelles, Paris and Milan) have been focusing – through the development of research and action practices – on how to define the characteristics that an Urban Living Lab should assume in order to better support the participated regeneration of large scale social housing estates.
In order to comply with this objective, the research units have first of all developed an analysis of the existing planning contexts (Aernouts, Maranghi & Ryckewaert, 2020a) and a review of the most relevant methodological tools related to the Urban Living Lab approach and participatory approaches which have been applied to large-scale social housing estates (Aernouts, Maranghi & Ryckewaert, 2020b).

Based on the results of these analyses (WP2), a retrospective analysis on participatory approaches in France (WP3; Lefrançois & Saidi, 2020) and action-research activities (WP4), the present document aims at underlining the main methodological findings related to the set-up of an Urban Living Lab in large-scale social housing estates of our European cities. On the basis of these findings, it formulates some (policy) recommendations for European, national, regional and municipal policy makers, civil society organizations, housing associations, activist and researchers.