resilient & inclusive public transport

CFP RGS-IBG 2023: Citizen participation and transport planning

CFP: RGS-IBG Annual International Conference in London (29 August to 1 September 2023) 

Citizen participation and transport planning: exploring the potential of urban living labs

Session organisers: Tauri Tuvikene (Tallinn University), Freke Caset (Ghent University and Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Fitwi Wolday (Institute of Transport Economics – TØI)

The field of transport planning has generally lacked citizen involvement. It has historically been shaped by technical scientific disciplines (Kębłowski and Bassens, 2018) with a tendency towards post-political rationality (Legacy, 2016), in which  questions of social justice, social exclusion and transport disadvantage have largely remained unaddressed. In recent years, however, several methodological approaches specifically targeted at including citizens in processes of ‘co-creation’, ‘co-production’ and ‘experimentation’ have quickly emerged and have become increasingly popular in applied (EU-funded) projects, including those dealing with transport planning. 

Among these approaches, ‘urban living labs’ (ULLs) have rapidly spread in Europe in the past decade and have offered a new framework for transport policy and planning. An ULL is an umbrella concept that may refer to methods, conceptual approaches and projects that aspire a high level of stakeholder participation, co-creation, co-production, learning and experimentation in order to tackle a wide variety of sustainability and livability issues in everyday urban settings (JPI Urban Europe, 2023). Importantly, ULLs are characterised by an explicit place-based focus (Bulkeley et al., 2016), and by the explicit aim to integrate their outcomes into urban governance to assure long-term impact to urban sustainability and liveability transformations. 

In this session, we aim to take stock of a decade of ULL experimentation in transport planning, and question to what extent, and if yes, then how and why this approach has actually been successful in realising the desired effects. We are particularly interested in staging experiences from ULL projects with a strong social and mobility justice (in terms of representation and/or involvement) bend, but we are equally open to (empirical or conceptual) contributions in a variety of related topics. We are interested in proposals explicitly dealing with ULLs, as well as those that scrutinise questions about citizen participation in transport planning more generally, or through other methodological approaches. We welcome contributions across geographical scales and contexts. The themes explored may include (but do not have to be limited to):

  • The potential of ULLs in planning for just urban mobility systems
  • The ways and extent to which urban living labs can increase inclusivity in (transport) planning practice, including marginalised groups and others who have had lack of access to public transport options
  • The potential of ULLs in governing just mobility transitions
  • Critical reflections on ULLs as one of the means of participatory governance
  • Alternative methods to realise citizen participation in transport planning
  • Practical tools to achieve citizen engagement in urban mobility projects
  • The relation between locally focused work on living labs and broader geographies of development

If you are interested in joining the session, please send a short (up to 250 words) abstract along with your name, email address, and affiliation by Monday, 13th of March 2023 to all three session convenors: Tauri Tuvikene (, Freke Caset (, Fitwi Folday ( We aim for a hybrid format for the session, so please also indicate your preferred format of participation (virtual or in-person).  

It is anticipated that the session will be run as a series of 15-minute presentations.


Bulkeley, H., Coenen, L., Frantzeskaki, N., Hartmann, C., Kronsell, A., Mai, L., . . . Voytenko Palgan, Y. (2016). ‘Urban living labs: governing urban sustainability transitions’,  Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 22, 13-17. 

JPI Urban Europe (2023) “Urban Living Labs in JPI Urban Europe”. Accessible here: 

Kębłowski, W., Bassens, D. (2018). ‘“All transport problems are essentially mathematical”:the uneven resonance of academic transport and mobility knowledge in Brussels’, Urban Geography, 3 (39), 413–437.

Legacy, C., (2016). ‘Transforming transport planning in the postpolitical era’,  Urban Studies, 53, 3108–3124. 

More about RGS-IBG Annual International Conference hereThe session is organised as part of the project CARIN-PT – Capacities for Resilient and Inclusive Urban Public Transport Infrastructure and Built Environment, supported under JPI Urban Europe EN-UTC framework by European Commission (grant agreement No 101003758) and Estonian Research Council, The Research Council of Norway, The Swedish Energy Agency (SWEA) and the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).