Researching Real-World Labs and their Socio-Ecological Effects

GAIA special issue on real-world laboratory research published 

  • News 18.03.2024

For some years now, real-world laboratories have played a growing role in shaping sustainable developments in many areas – for example in urban and regional development, transport, agriculture, and coastal use. They serve as experimental settings in which stakeholders from science and society can test and research sustainable, future-proof solutions.

A special issue of the inter- and transdisciplinary journal GAIA has now been published on the topic "Impacts of real-world laboratories in sustainability transformation". It provides important contributions on the current methodology of impact measurement and the effects and objectives of real-world laboratory research.
In this special issue, several authors examine the question of how real-world laboratories influence the sustainability transformation and how their impact can be increased. Seven guest editors from the Karlsruhe Transformation Center for Sustainability and Cultural Change at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the University of Freiburg, the Öko-Institut and the Wuppertal Institute have designed and organised the special issue, which contains 15 articles.

One of them is Matthias Wanner, Researcher at the Innovation Laboratories Research Unit at the Wuppertal Institute: In the editorial, he and other authors point out the effects, design strategies, challenges and methodological advances of real-world laboratories in relation to the transformation of sustainability.
In the article "Impacts of urban real-world labs: Insights from a co-evaluation process in Wuppertal-Mirke informed by structuration theory", Wanner and other authors outline the influence of urban real-world labs for neighborhood development at a strategic level.
The article "Gaining deep leverage? Reflecting and shaping impacts of real-world labs through leverage points" by Niko Schäpke, Matthias Wanner, and other colleagues concludes how the theory of so-called "leverage points" can reflect and strengthen the impact of real-world labs.

The special issue of GAIA (33/S1, 2024) is available free of charge (open access) via the following link.

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