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Social innovation and the governance of sustainable places

Baker, Susan Catherine ORCID: and Mehmood, Abid ORCID: 2015. Social innovation and the governance of sustainable places. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 20 (3) , pp. 321-334. 10.1080/13549839.2013.842964

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This article explores social innovation as a tool for the promotion of place-based sustainable development. The literature highlights the satisfaction of basic needs and situations of crises as two major drivers of socially innovative actions. We use these insights to explore the conditions under which social innovation can lead to social transformation and sustainable place making. We also recognise that social processes occur through, and are shaped by, the material forms that constitute and are constituted in place-specific settings. This highlights the deep interconnections that exist between place making and the resources, attributes and characterises – the materiality (such as rivers, soil, trees) – that exist within that locality. It is here that a close tie can be discerned between understanding the adaptive process in complex socio-ecological systems and the role of social innovation in such adaptation. Socially innovative initiatives at the community level can also be scaled upwards through the co-ordinating role of the state, while at the same time act as a pressure for more participatory forms of governance. Governance processes that enhance the role of both economic and social actors in the steering of social change help to infuse more open, democratic practices into social steering. With social, economic and state actors co-mingling as agents of social change, social innovation can come to play a key role in enhancing sustainable human–environment interactions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Uncontrolled Keywords: social sustainability, place making, human-environment interactions, sustainable development, governance, socio-ecological resilience
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1354-9839
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 2 September 2013
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 15:45

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