Here is the presentation that James Evans (University of Manchester) gave at the Liverpool seminar on 30 June 2011. Here he presents findings from his recentr research exploring ‘living laboratories’ where sustainable technologies and practices are tested in ‘live’ settings.
This presentation poses some fascinating and politically important questions about the nature of urban experiments with sustainable practices and technologies:
1) How do sustainability experiments transform reality and frame new futures? Are we witnessing the development of ‘truth spots’ where the evidence of sustainability experiments are ‘true’?
2) If we acknowledge that there is a spatial unevenness of where such experiments are enacted, then who gets to experiment? Who has the capacity to enact experiments with sustainability transitions
3) Do these ‘living laboratories’ privilege certain types of (technocratic) sustainability knowledges over others?
4) If transition towns (and similar movements) prioritise experiments in social relations, and living laboratories prioritise experiments with technology and infrastructure, is there a need for a more dialectical experimentation that works with both form and process?