Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Angie Carter

Advisor 2

Adam Wellstead

Committee Member 1

Kathryn Hannum

Committee Member 2

Anat Gofen


In the past two decades, the living lab has emerged as an innovative approach for addressing a wide range of issues. Living labs challenge traditional top-down research and development approaches in an array of subjects including climate change and sustainability, healthcare, information communication technology, and urban planning. Despite their growth, the current conceptualization of living labs is incomplete. The conceptual ambiguity surrounding living labs prevents researchers and practitioners from appreciating their true value, limitations, and appropriate applications. My thesis builds on Dekker et al.’s (2020) living lab research by including key concepts from the “co” paradigm literature that includes the role of co-creation, co-design, and co-production in the living lab research approach. In the first empirical chapter, a bibliometric analysis of 551 documents utilizes the mapping software VOSviewer providing an overview of broad trends in the living lab literature. The results confirm Dekker et al.’s (2020) framework as well as the presence of the “Co-” paradigm in the living lab literature. My second empirical chapter is a case study of the Lake Superior Living Lab Network (LSLLN) using grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 1996) in my analysis of interviews with LSLLN members and a content analysis of LSLLN’s website.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.