This paper is an output of TRANSIT, an international research project that develops a theory of Transformative Social Innovation that is useful to both research and practice. TRANSIT is co-funded by the European Commission and runs for four years, from 2014 until 2017.
The paper investigates how spaces and places play a role in the emergence of (transformative) social innovation. It draws on theoretical insights from the field of urban studies and geography that have paid much emphasis on the role of space and place in among others, social innovation. This results in a conceptual framing that addresses the importance of (tangible and spatially demarcated) places that are locally rooted as well as the relevance of spaces of translocal connections (that can also be virtual, or not place-based) in the emergence of social innovation. The paper systematically analyses eight case studies of social innovation initiatives and shows how local rootedness and translocal connections have shaped the emergence processes of each.
The case studies cover the following social innovation initiatives:
• The Polimi DESIS lab in Milan, Italy, which is a member of the global Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) network
• Eco and co-housing district Vauban in Freiburg, Germany, a member of the International Co-Operative association on the production of sustainable habitat as well as the Ecovillage network
• Impact Hub Rotterdam, the Netherlands a member of the Impact Hub Network
• Impact Hub Sao Paulo, Brazil a member of the Impact Hub Network
• The Copenhagen Energy and Environment office (KMEK), Denmark which is a member of the international network of sustainable energy NGOs (INFORSE)
• Participatory Budgeting Amsterdam, the Netherlands which is member of the International Observatory on Participatory Democracy (OIDP)
• Sharing Gijon, Spain which is related to the Sharing Cities Network
• Living Labs Stratumseind2.0 in Eindhoven, the Netherlands; part of the living lab Eindhoven which is a member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL)
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