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David V Keyson, Olivia Guerra-Santin Dan, Lockton (eds), Living Labs. Design and Assessment of Sustainable Living, New York, Springer Editor, 2017, 408 p.

Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

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1The issue of Living Labs has become more and more important over recent years. While there are a few documents here and there on the theme, this is to our knowledge the first book that brings together a series of articles to try to circumscribe the theme and present the main advances of recent years. Of course, as always with a collective book, there are different perspectives put forward, this gives a diversity of views which is useful for such a relatively new subject.

2In this book, a series of very important issues are covered in various chapters. There are many case studies, sometimes as specific as a case study on the iterative development of a new form of washing, with splashing (chapter 6). While this may seem surprising as a theme, as one is more used to themes related to local and regional development, at least in Canadian and French living labs, there are a series of cases that also have to do with health issues, and it appears that the health issues are more and more concerned with developments with the living lab process.

3However, one can wonder to what extent the “living lab” expression is really pertinent in all cases. Indeed, in some cases, we might speak of simply developing technologies and services, with the help and contribution of the end users. It might have been useful to have a few theoretical chapters on the approach.

4This may be a call for a new book on Living labs, which could give more theoretical underpinnings to the concept, and also differentiate it clearly from other similar initiatives. This would help to situate the various, very interesting, case studies from the book in a sort of continuum, from a simple integration of consumers or users’ perspectives, to a real “living lab” perspective.

5The final chapter on future trends might have done this, but as for the whole book, it is the sustainability issue which is at the center of the debate, while one might have expected a somewhat wider view of the introduction and maybe even a full Part I on theoretical and conceptual issues, as well as a conclusion which could be broader.

6In any case, the subtitle of the book is clear Design and Assessment of Sustainable Living, while the title appears wider as it is simply Living Labs, giving way to wider expectations on the content of the book.

7While a few theoretical and conceptual elements are present here and there in some chapters, it is somewhat unexpected that such a new subject as Living Labs would not require a few conceptual and theoretical explanations and definitions that would cover the whole book. This is unfortunately sometimes the negative aspect of collective books, i.e. the absence of a more general perspective covering all chapters and giving a more general vie on the issue. Chapters 2 and 3 are probably the ones that come closest to a more general vie, although they are very much centered on LL Methods and Social Practice as a focus of LL research.

8To go beyond this disappointment, let us nevertheless mention the themes covered in the book. After the part 1, which is more of an introductory nature, although still centered on Design and sustainability, there is a part II on Research Methods for Living Labs, a Part III on Sustainable Living Labs, a Part IV on Living Labs and User Engagement. In section IV on User Engagement, some elements can be useful for people working in other perspectives, not necessarily architecture or design. Part V is on Sustainable Production and Consumption. Part VI presents various case studies on exploring energy feedback and visualisation with users. Part VII presents two chapters on comfort and energy practices in residential buildings. And finally, part VII presents more general views on “the way forward”, presenting “business models for living labs.”

9There is no index at the end, which makes it more difficult to find specific information easily. So the book is an interesting addition to all the works on Living Labs, but will mainly interest those dealing with issues to do with Housing, sustainable housing and design, architecture and similar themes.

10This is nevertheless an interesting book for researchers and professors teaching on these latter themes. The book contributes to the literature on Living Labs but we would like to see a more general book on Living labs in general, in relation to local development and other issues, where this approach is very much used.

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Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, « David V Keyson, Olivia Guerra-Santin Dan, Lockton (eds), Living Labs. Design and Assessment of Sustainable Living, New York, Springer Editor, 2017, 408 p. »Revue Interventions économiques [En ligne], 57 | 2017, mis en ligne le 01 avril 2017, consulté le 30 novembre 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay

Professeure, Téluq, Université du Québec,

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Les contenus de la revue Interventions économiques sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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