Publications (FIS)

Real-World Laboratories Initiated by Practitioner Stakeholders for Sustainable Land Management

Characteristics and Challenges Using the Example of Energieavantgarde Anhalt.

authored by
Helga Kanning, Bianca Richter-Harm, Babette Scurrell, Özgür Yildiz

Real-world laboratories have gained substantially in importance as a format in sustainability and transformation research in recent years in Germany. This increase in significance is associated with the expectation of fostering and experimentally investigating transformations towards sustainability under real-world conditions in a bid to gain knowledge of their dynamics, to identify characteristics of successful transformation processes, and to be able to transfer this knowledge to other cases. Real-world laboratories are usually managed by a scientific partner, enabling use to be made of established procedures and methods in areas such as knowledge integration. Where responsibility for coordinating real-world laboratories lies with practitioner stakeholders, there is promising potential for their deployment. However, it also gives rise to situations, processes and challenges that are new to all parties involved and that have yet to be explored. In principle, experimental approaches that are characteristic of real-world laboratories are not new in the field of sustainable land management and spatial development. However, they are not traditionally alluded to as the real-world laboratory format. The two desiderata above provide the starting point for the present article. The aim of this article is to classify and reflect on the possibilities generated by real-world laboratories that have been initiated by practitioner stakeholders. A prime example of such real-world laboratories are those developed by Energieavantgarde Anhalt. This registered association wishes to contribute to sustainable land management in the context of the energy transition in rural areas, featuring small and medium-sized towns. A comparative analysis of these real-world laboratories is conducted using core characteristics from the scientific debate on real-world laboratories. As a result, the insight gained from this analysis can be used for future development and research.

External Organisation(s)
sustainify GmbH
Bund für Umwelt- und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND)
Technische Universität Berlin
Contribution to book/anthology
207 – 226
Publication date
Publication status
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 15 - Life on Land, SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
Electronic version(s) (Access: Open)