Upgrading as a Matter of Time and Place: Living Labs for Social Housing

  • Doris Kowaltowski (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Vanessa Gomes da Silva (Speaker)
  • R. C. Rushel (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • A. D. Granja (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Daniel de Carvalho Moreira (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • C. Van Oel (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Sigrun Kabisch (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • J. S. J. Koolwijk (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • A. Freeke (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Tzortzopoulos Fazenda, P. (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)
  • Michail Kagioglou (Contributor to Paper or Presentation)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This contribution presents a joint, long-term research proposal on upgrading of social housing (SH), for feedback on procedures and original inputs. The sizeable SH stock around the world needs upgrading over time to correct technical problems, attend to new construction and sustainability standards, improve comfort conditions of users, alleviate context-related questions, and reduce social costs. Ways of living and family structures also change over the years with impacts on residential design. Retrofit and refurbishment discuss a wide range of issues to improve conditions of SH projects, while specific upgrading programs focus on resident’s wellbeing and quality of life as well as
sustainability aspects. Upgrading programs need cautious planning and engagement of users. Benefits must be made manifest, and gentrification and increased social polarization avoided. Upgrading is seen here as an opportunity to intervene, through innovation, to engage stakeholders (users, construction and real estate companies, housing associations and government agencies, planning and design professionals, NGOs, and politicians) to indicate priorities, specific for different contexts. We adopt the concept of Living Labs (LLs) to identify user-valued innovations and validate solutions for SH upgrading programs. Various Boundary Objects (BOs) are developed to overcome
participatory process dilemmas. Transnational case studies in four different contexts, Brazil, Germany, Holland, and the UK, will reflect on similarities and contextual differences. Specific procedures and tools, such as games, value assessment dynamics, augmented, and virtual reality (AR, VR) and Building Information Modelling (BIM), are tested. Social innovation procedures need assessment to gauge the resolution of conflicting views of problems and needs, achieve project collaboration, and stimulate value-adding results. An essential research question is whether specifically enriched LLs, through various BOs, enhance decision-making in SH upgrading programs. And, importantly, the study aims to identify social cost indicators to reduce tensions, and risk
perceptions in SH, with relation to user-valued innovations.
Period25 Jun 2020
Event titleInternational Conference on People Environment Studies: Running out of Time – Setting the Pace for Future Generations
Event typeConference
LocationQuebec City, Canada, QuebecShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational