The project NiCE uses Living Lab approaches to set up pilot projects.
Living labs do not just exist on paper, but create experimental spaces in a real context with and for local people. In this way, research approaches and implementations from the project are tried out and can be experienced by the people concerned.
The following principles define a Living Lab:
· Testing solutions in everyday life
· Co-creation and participation
· Involvement of stakeholders
· Creating low-threshold spaces, directly at the place of action
The project partners also develop Living Labs in their direct sphere of activity. In Graz, a city in Austria, the first steps have already been taken to create a pilot project as a Living Lab. StadtLABOR is working on using inner-city vacant spaces with actors and ideas for new business models from the circular economy. The aim is to link space as a resource with concepts relating to sustainability and resource conservation. This creates visibility and easy access to reuse and recycling models in the city center and creates a spatial and emotional closeness to people. In the summer months, StadtLABOR, together with the Department of Economic and the Department of Enviroment, carried out a vacancy survey in the city center and compiled a list of local circular economy players.
The idea of a “sustainability center” in the city center of Graz was presented at a first networking meeting of owners of vacant spaces and circular economy actors in Graz in October. The aim was to find out who is interested in developing the project further with the project team and which issues should be addressed in the future. There was particularly strong interest from the circular economy. The interests of owners of vacant spaces are very diverse and require additional targeted work on suitable concepts.
In Graz, the actors are therefore at the very beginning of a Living Lab, for which the following living lab approaches can be identified:
– Involving stakeholders, building a network and long-term partnerships.
– Co-creation through various workshops as part of the networking meetings
– Together, a real space dedicated entirely to the circular economy is to be created in the city center of Graz
– The challenges of circular economy stakeholders and vacant property owners will be identified and long-term solutions for everyday life will be tested.