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Malmö Living Labs

Malmö Living Labs at Malmö University, Sweden, has since 2007 been working with participatory design approaches and social innovation in the city of Malmö.

Explorations are carried out through a design practice-based approach which entails long-term engagements with different actors in the city (e.g. civil servants, NGOs, companies and citizens) for the co-design and co-production of new practices, services and products.


During 2017, the researcher network Alternative Future-Making will explore issues that are a continuation of the work carried out within Malmö Living Labs.

In the summer of 2016, Malmö Living Labs was awarded the Artful Integrators’ Award.

The open access MIT Press book Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy (2014) provides an analysis of the methods, processes and results of Malmö Living Labs.

The researchers involved in the lab are rooted in the participatory design community and tradition and are working with co-design and co-production processes involving diverse stakeholders in the area of Malmö. Beside this shared ground, researchers have diverse interests that include new media and interaction design, design for social innovation, service design, science and technology studies, sustainability, governance models, and commons studies.

Part of DESIS
Malmö Living Labs is since 2012 part of the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) as Malmö University DESIS Lab, which is based at Malmö University’s School of Arts and Communication. The DESIS network connects design schools working with design for sustainability and social innovation.

Select academic publications
Hillgren, Per-Anders, Anna Seravalli, and Mette Agger Eriksen. 2016. Counter-hegemonic practices: Dynamic interplay between agonism, commoning and strategic design.” Strategic Design Research Journal, 9(2), 89–99.

Ehn, Pelle, Elisabet M. Nilsson, and Richard Topgaard (eds.). 2014. Making Futures: Marginal Notes on Innovation, Design, and Democracy. MIT Press.

Emilson, Anders. 2015. ”Design in the space between stories: Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability—From responding to societal challenges to preparing for societal collapse.” PhD diss., Malmö University.

Seravalli, Anna. 2014. “Making Commons: Attempts at Composing Prospects in the Opening of Production.” PhD diss., Malmö University.

Hillgren, Per-Anders. 2013. “Participatory design for social and public innovation: Living Labs as spaces for agonistic experiments and friendly hacking.” In Public and collaborative: Exploring the intersection of design, social innovation and public policy, edited by Ezio Manzini and Eduardo Staszowski, 75-88. DESIS Network.

Agger Eriksen, Mette. 2012. “Material Matters in Co-Designing: Formatting & Staging with Participating Materials in Co-design Projects, Events & Situations.” PhD diss., Malmö University.

Other publications
Designing Classical Music Experiences. 2014. How the Lion Learned to Moonwalk and Other Stories on How to Design for Classical Music Experiences. Malmö University.

Nilsson, Elisabet M. & Topgaard, Richard (eds.) 2012. Prototyping Futures. Malmö University.

Björgvinsson, Erling, Pelle Ehn, and Per-Anders Hillgren. 2010. “Participatory design and ‘democratizing innovation’.” Proceedings of Participatory Design Conference (PDC), Sydney, Australia.

Per-Anders Hillgren and Anna Seravalli.

This page was last updated 3 March 2017.