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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2016

Social Innovations in the Urban Context

  • Provides a systematic analysis of local social innovations in European cities, with coverage of the implications for urban governance

  • Highlights innovations that aim at solving problems of the young unemployed, single parents and migrants

  • Discusses the nature of social innovations

  • Includes supplementary material:

Part of the book series: Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies (NCSS)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (25 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xiii
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Social Innovation: A Sympathetic and Critical Interpretation

      • Taco Brandsen, Adalbert Evers, Sandro Cattacin, Annette Zimmer
      Pages 3-18Open Access
  3. Urban Contexts for Local Innovations

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 19-19
    2. Urban Governance and Social Innovations

      • Sandro Cattacin, Annette Zimmer
      Pages 21-44Open Access
    3. Inertia, Clearings, and Innovations in Malmö

      • Ola Segnestam Larsson, Marie Nordfeldt, Anna Carrigan
      Pages 65-81Open Access
    4. Birmingham, Priority to Economics, Social Innovation at the Margins

      • Nadia Brookes, Jeremy Kendall, Lavinia Mitton
      Pages 83-96Open Access
    5. Milan: A City Lost in the Transition from the Growth Machine Paradigm Towards a Social Innovation Approach

      • Giuliana Costa, Roberta Cucca, Rossana Torri
      Pages 125-142Open Access
    6. Poor but Sexy? Berlin as a Context for Social Innovation

      • Benjamin Ewert
      Pages 143-158Open Access
  4. Local Social Innovations

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 159-159
    2. Social Innovations as Messages: Democratic Experimentation in Local Welfare Systems

      • Adalbert Evers, Taco Brandsen
      Pages 161-180Open Access
    3. Zagreb: Parents in Action—Innovative Ways of Support and Policies for Children, Women and Families

      • Gojko Bežovan, Jelena Matančević, Danijel Baturina
      Pages 189-197Open Access
    4. Amsterdam: Neighbourhood Stores for Education, Research, and Talent Development—The BOOT Project

      • Francesca Broersma, Taco Brandsen, Joost Fledderus
      Pages 199-204Open Access
    5. Pamplona: Neighbourhood Children Services—A Grassroots and Local Council Initiative

      • Manuel Aguilar Hendrickson, Marta Llobet Estany
      Pages 213-218Open Access
    6. Berlin: Kreuzberg Acts—Entrepreneurship in the District

      • Benjamin Ewert, Adalbert Evers
      Pages 219-225Open Access
    7. Milan: “We Help You to Help Yourself”—The Project of the Fondazione Welfare Ambrosiano

      • Stefania Sabatinelli, Giuliana Costa
      Pages 227-233Open Access

About this book

This book addresses the practice of social innovation, which is currently very much in the public eye. New ideas and approaches are needed to tackle the severe and wicked problems with which contemporary societies are struggling. Especially in times of economic crisis, social innovation is regarded as one of the crucial elements needed to move forward. Our knowledge of its dynamics has significantly progressed, thanks to an abundance of studies on social innovation both general and sector-specific. However, despite the valuable research conducted over the past years, the systematic analysis of social innovation is still contested and incomplete. The questions asked in the book will be the following:

1. What is the nature of social innovations?

2.What patterns can be identified in social innovations emerging at the local level?

3.How is the emergence and spread of social innovations related to urban governance? More precisely, which conditions and arrangements facilitate and hinders social innovation?

We explore these questions using different types of data and methods, and studying different contexts. In particular, we focus on innovations that aim at solving problems of the young unemployed, single parents and migrants. This analysis is based on original research carried out in the period 2010-2013 in the framework of a European project with a specific empirical research strategy. Research was carried out in 20 cities in 10 different European countries.


  • Challenges of migrants integration guildelines
  • Civic engagement and social entrepreneurship
  • Governance of innovation, growth, economic & social challenges
  • Interaction of economic and social policies
  • Practice of social innovation
  • Social innovations in urban regimes and local governance

Editors and Affiliations

  • Faculty of Management, Radboud University Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

    Taco Brandsen

  • University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

    Sandro Cattacin

  • University of Heidelberg, Justus-Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

    Adalbert Evers

  • Institute for Political Science, University of Münster, Münster, Germany

    Annette Zimmer

About the editors

Taco Brandsen is Professor of Comparative Public Administration at Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Secretary-General of EAPAA (European Association of Public Administration Accreditation); Coordinator of the project WILCO (2010-2013, ‘Welfare Innovations at the Local Level’, 7th European Framework Programme.) and a member of the LIPSE project (2013-2016, ‘Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments’, 7th European FrameworkProgramme).

Sandro Cattacin studied economic history, political science and political philosophy at the University of Zurich (1982–1987). With an Italian fellowship he then participated in the PhD programme in political and social science at the European University Institute in Florence (1987–1990) where he obtained his PhD in 1992.

Adalbert Evers is Professor for Comparative Health and Social Policy at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen (Germany); (Emeritus since October 2013). He holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Bremen and did his Habilitation at the University of Frankfurt.

Annette Zimmer is Professor of Social Policy and Comparative Politics at the Institute of Political Science at the University of Münster, Germany. She holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Heidelberg, and a lecturer degree in political science from the University of Kassel, Germany.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Social Innovations in the Urban Context

  • Editors: Taco Brandsen, Sandro Cattacin, Adalbert Evers, Annette Zimmer

  • Series Title: Nonprofit and Civil Society Studies

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2016

  • License: CC BY-NC

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-21550-1Published: 12 April 2016

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-319-79350-4Published: 19 April 2018

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-21551-8Published: 05 April 2016

  • Series ISSN: 1568-2579

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIII, 313

  • Number of Illustrations: 2 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Sociology, Social Policy, Political Theory

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)