PUBLICATION: Designing real-world laboratories for sustainable urban transformation: addressing ambiguous roles and expectations in transdisciplinary teams

This paper reflects upon the potential of real-world laboratories (RWLs) to promote sustainable urban development.

Go to publication

RWLs strive for knowledge production through collective action in experimental settings. Their implementation in urban studies faces two major challenges: (1) the ambiguity of roles university researchers need to fill, and (2) the variety of expectations among team members from different institutional backgrounds.

Based on research in one trans-European and three German RWLs, we propose a stronger focus on team development to help researchers in RWLs address these challenges more systematically. In particular, this means support in terms of resources and infrastructure (time, space, and training). We argue that the improvement of RWL team performance has great impact on the potentials of RWLs in transformative urban studies. Thus, the article contributes to the ongoing debate on the city as a laboratory and site of experimentation in times of multiple crises.