Big Room

A special case of the Living lab. Large space, where the stakeholders could gather together and experiment with the different formats of collaboration. Typically it includes large wall spaces that can be used to visually display information, technology (internet/wifi, video conferencing and project devices), bathrooms and kitchenette, break out rooms (for private conversations) (Cruikshank, 2019) .

Basic Information on the Method
Mode of communication
Group size
1-5, 6-30, 31 and more
Geographical scale
Public space, Neighbourhood, City, Region
Skills required
Basic, Average, Advanced
Resources needed
Level of Involvement
Level of involvement
Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, Empower
Type of knowledge enabled
Convergence (Broad public), Convergence - Small groups
Additional Criteria
Planning phase
Initiatiion, Planning & Design, Evaluation & Research
Methodological approach
Expressive, Organisational

How to use the method

  1. Big Room comes from the construction industry, where it serves as a collaboration space for multiple teams involved into a project. In the context of urban design and planning, the Big Room might take different forms, from community centre to a technology-driven space, which provides immersive visualisations of prospective urban plans and simulation of development scenarios. For the latter, see Decision Theatre.
  2. Decide on location, size and format of the room. It can be in the city centre or in the neighbourhood, stationary or mobile, for smaller groups up to 30 participants or for larger groups up to a few hundreds of participants.
  3. The physical set up of the room include:
    • Large open space for all teams and smaller break out rooms for work in small teams or couples
    • Toilets and kitchenette
    • Technology, such as internet and wifi, video conferencing and project hardware and software (screen, projector, loudspeakers, etc.), visualisation hardware and software (optional)
    • Large wall spaces to visually display information such as sticky notes, images, etc.
  4. For the efficient functioning of the Big Room, the rules should be established:
    • Who, when, how and for what purposes is able to use the room
    • Who is responsible for maintaining the room and the equipment
    • What are the expected and accepted behaviours form participants

What are the outcomes

A multi-purpose co-working space with or without visualisation and simulation technology.

Skills required

Skills required from participants - Basic, Average, Advanced

  • Depending on your aims, you may involve lay or expert participants. Therefore, the levels of skills and knowledge on the topic varies.

Resources needed

Resources - High

  • The establishment and the maintenance of the Hub require substantial amount of time, money and effort, especially, if it contains some state-of-the-art visualisation on simulation technology.

Strengths and weaknesses

  • Transparent collaborative working environment
  • Improved communication between the stakeholders
  • Collective problem solving
  • Enhanced and proactive participation from the part of stakeholders
  • Resource consuming in terms of money, time and effort
  • Requires a small managerial team, which consists of at leat a curator and the technician, who are responsible for running the Big Room
  • Often depends either on the public funding or on the community funding (if community-based)

Use cases

Hub42 - Old Town, Frederikstad, Norway

A Living Lab for collaboration and innovation and a community space, where stakeholders cooperate on the ideas related to the smart urban development as a combination of tourism, technology and business. The Hub is run by the tourism destination organisation in collaboration withe the local university (HUB42 - Fredrikstadt Living Lab for Tourism and Innovation, FB page).

Try one of these tools & resources

  1. Cruikshank R. (2019) So… What is a Big Room? Lean Construction Blog. Available at:
  2. HUB42 - Fredrikstadt Living Lab for Tourism and Innovation, FB page. Available at:
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