Establishment and implementation of Urban Living Labs in Alby and Peltosaari

Across Europe, some 200 million people live in suburban areas in great need of modernisation and social uplifting. The SubUrbanLab project (2013-2016) aims to examine how these areas can be modernised and socially uplifted together with the residents and other stakeholders in order to turn them into more attractive, sustainable and economically viable urban areas. To do this, the project has developed and set up so called Urban Living Labs (ULL), i.e. arenas for innovation and dialogue that focus on solving challenges in the urban area by involving residents and other stakeholders, in connection to needed modernization actions in two suburbs, one in Sweden (Alby in Botkyrka municipality) and one in Finland (Peltosaari in the City of Riihimäki).

In Alby, three ULL have been established and implemented in connection to needed modernization actions. The first ULL “Shape your world” focused on involving youth in urban gardening in order to increase their knowledge about gardening and sustainability while renewing the urban environment. The second ULL “New light on Alby Hill” examined how to use new LED-technology and involve residents in order to turn a passage way for pedestrians in Alby, currently perceived as unsafe, into a more attractive and frequently used passage way. In the last ULL “Vacant Space Alby” ideas for temporary activities for a 9000 m2 vacant space in Alby Centre have been developed together with residents and other stakeholders. Three ULLs have also been established and implemented in Peltosaari. The first ULL “Energetic co-operation” focused on improving energy-efficiency of the rental buildings together with the housing company and the residents through technological solutions and increasing awareness. The second ULL “Sustainable decisions” involved municipal decision-makers and officials in developing preparation for decisions and communication related to energy efficiency and sustainability of building and renovation investments, in order to better take into account the agreements and sustainability goals of the city in decision making. In the third ULL “Together more” the focus has been on creating and supporting establishment of free or low-cost leisure activities in the area together with the residents and the established associations in the area, to increase communal feeling and attractiveness of the area.

This report presents establishment and implementation process of the six Urban Living Labs carried out in Alby and Peltosaari, and is a continuation of the report D 3.1 & D 3.2 Selection of Urban Living Labs in Alby and Peltosaari. The lessons learnt in setting up the Urban Living Labs and results of the evaluations will be reported in D 4.1 & 4.2 Evaluation of the Urban Living Labs in Alby and Peltosaari. The report is targeted for stakeholders interested in establishing Urban Living Labs, such as municipalities, housing companies and researchers that aim at involving different stakeholders in different kinds of development projects in the urban context. The report should also be interesting for researchers developing and utilising Urban Living Lab methodologies.

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