Temporary urbanism as a catalyst for social resilience: insights from an urban living lab practice-based research

Guido Robazza, Jacqueline Priego-Hernandez, Silvio Caputo, Alessandro Melis

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This research paper investigates the impact of Urban Living Labs (ULLs) on social resilience within urban communities, with a specific focus on the Multicultural City ChatterBox project in Portsmouth, the UK. Drawing on a rich body of literature and empirical data collected through ethnographic research methods, including interviews, focus groups, and participant observations, this study explores how participatory placemaking and co-creation activities foster community resilience. The ChatterBox project, a collaborative effort between the local community and researchers, led to the construction of a temporary timber pavilion in an underutilized urban space, serving as a vibrant hub for social interaction and engagement among diverse community groups. Our findings reveal that ULLs significantly contribute to enhancing social resilience by empowering communities, fostering a sense of belonging, and facilitating the development of social networks. Through the process of co-design and co-creation, participants not only gained a deeper understanding and ownership of their urban environment but also developed valuable skills and knowledge, thus strengthening their capacity to adapt to societal challenges. Furthermore, this study highlights the role of ULLs in bridging gaps between different community groups, thereby promoting inclusivity and social cohesion. The Multicultural City ChatterBox project exemplifies how ULL interventions can serve as catalysts for social innovation, offering flexible and adaptive solutions to urban challenges while simultaneously enriching the social fabric of cities. This paper contributes to the growing discourse on urban resilience, placemaking, and community-led urban development, providing valuable insights for policymakers, urban planners, and community organizers seeking to foster resilient and vibrant urban communities.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1513
Number of pages22
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2024


  • temporary urbanism
  • urban living lab
  • placemaking
  • social resilience
  • co-creation
  • public space

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