History of Living Labs at BCIT
The concept of transforming BCIT’s campuses into living laboratories of sustainability was formerly adopted by the Institute in 2007 and has subsequently also been adopted by UBC in 2009.
The term “Living Lab” references an approach to research that is participatory in nature. The term was used first at BCIT in 1997 through a collaborative research initiative with SFU aimed at improving the relationship between people and their living and working environments.
In 2006, BCIT identified the Living Lab as a strategic initiative for campus planning, to be incorporated into the Institute’s Campus Master Plan [PDF].
Also in 2006 the BCIT Director of Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship and the BCIT Director of Campus Planning co-presented the concept of “BCIT Campuses as Living Laboratories of Sustainability” at: The First Canadian Summit on Sustainable Campus Planning and Design and its Impact on Post Secondary Education for the 21st Century,” a conference organized by the Canada Green Building Council, held in Edmonton, Alberta.
In 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding between the Dean of the School of Construction and the Environment and the Executive Director of Administrative Services was signed. It outlined a ten step action plan including transforming BCIT campuses into living laboratories of sustainability. Implementation of the MOU commenced with the formation of the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Practices Committee, comprising representation from the School of Construction and the Environment and BCIT’s Administrative Services department.
In 2008, the proceedings of the 2006 Canadian Summit on Sustainable Campus Planning and Design was published as a book, and included a description of BCIT’s living lab concept.
In 2010, BCIT expanded the scope and role of the original Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Practices Committee and changed its name to something simpler: BCIT Sustainability Committee. The Sustainability Committee is co-chaired by the VP Education and the VP Finance and includes representation from a broad spectrum of educational and administrative faculty and staff at all levels within the Institute from line staff up to the Vice President.