Students to become guinea pigs

- in Aktuell, In English, Nyheter

Scandalous student housing gets rebuilt into ”living lab”. Akademiska Hus’s new accommodation will research social wellbeing and sustainability. 

In 2012, the Prime Living student accommodation near the Faculty of Engineering (LTH, Lunds Tekniska Högskola) was opened to solve Lund University’s housing crisis. However, the new buildings were plagued by a host of unfixable issues ranging from dampness and mold to rats. In 2019, the last students moved out, and the buildings have stood abandoned ever since. 

Finally, after two years, the failed accommodation has been torn down to make room for new student housing. Cassiopeia, the name of the future building, is set to open in spring 2025. Akademiska Hus will be the company pioneering the project. However, this new accommodation is unique because approximately 650 of Cassiopeia’s housing units will be a part of Lund University’s living lab, as first reported by Sydsvenskan. The living lab concept entails that the students in these apartments will be regarded as test subjects, guinea pigs if you will, for scientific research focusing on social wellbeing and sustainability. Participation is voluntary, and students partaking can expect drop-in visits and impromptu interviews to facilitate the scientific research. 

Cassiopeia will be built with these goals in mind and, as such, will have several living configurations with varying amounts of students per apartment. According to Susanne Malmgren, the head of student living for Akademiska Hus, the number of students sharing their living space will vary between 2 to 6 people; as not only are roommate configurations more popular, they also reduce everyone’s carbon footprint by over 50%. Having several different living configurations allows the scientists to compare the various social interactions between students based on their living situation and each student’s personal preference. Cassiopeia will also include study rooms, a grocery store, an activity center, and an office. 

The plan for Cassiopeia is being presented to Lund’s local housing committee in December, and Akademiska Hus endeavors to start construction in 2022.