Social innovation in urban spaces

Nicholas Ardill, Fabiano Lemes De Oliveira

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Recent international policy advocating for social innovation to be part of strategies to promote sustainable urban development has energised this emerging body of literature. However, there is a need for more sector-specific research to integrate findings on the spatiality of social innovation, co-operative processes, and place-scale relations. This article presents a review (2002-2018) of social innovation in urban spaces. Based on data from 114 publications, the review indicates that research in the spatiality of social innovation can be grouped into three major themes: 1) Spatial planning and community development; 2) Governance; 3) Co-production and service design. The findings suggest that in general the collaboration of end users in place-based development are central to this process of urban change and that process is as significant as the outcome. This article concludes with a research agenda to address identified lacunas.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Urban Sustainable Development
Early online date2 Oct 2018
Publication statusEarly online - 2 Oct 2018


  • social innovation
  • urban space
  • urban sustainability


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