Space configurations for empowering university-community interactions

Jens Dorland*, Christian Clausen, Michael Søgaard Jørgensen

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Some see universities as a possible source of solutions to enable a sustainable transition and overcome societal challenges. Findings from three multisite case studies of Desis Labs, FabLabs, and Science Shops shed light on how universities can help empower communities and solve societal challenges locally. Adopting a sociotechnical and flat relational perspective inspired by science and technology studies (STS), we focus on the material and spatial aspects of how these spaces are configured, thereby ensuring practical relevance for policy makers and practitioners. Applying an analytical generalization methodology, we condense the qualitative data into a typology of three ideal space-types (i.e. affording, mediating, and impact-oriented) that represent specific configurations of actors, researchers, students, communities, spaces, infrastructure, equipment, facilitators, etc. The ideal space-types empower communities in different ways, require different resources to create and operate, and translate differently into specific local contexts.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)689–701
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this