Innovating places

Social Life was delighted to have been chosen to present a paper at NESTA's Social Frontiers conference in November 2013.

Some cities and neighbourhoods have a record of generating social innovation - creative solutions to social needs - over the decades. Conventional explanations for why places innovate focus on the economy, transport and structural issues.

We are interested in the work of US sociologists Harvey Molotch, William Freudenberg and Krista Paulsen, whose work on "place difference" sets out a framework for thinking about the multiple connections between people, organisations, ideas, history and how they "lash up" in different ways.

We reviewed our work in Chicago, Brixton and Malmö to see what theories of place difference can illuminate about these places, all of which have proud histories of social action and protest. 

Download our paper here: Innovating Places: A new role for 'Place Difference'. Download Transformers: how local areas innovate to meet changing social needs, to see our earlier work on places and social innovation.