SI4SD | The role of local administrations in Social innovation: a global understanding from the comparative study of Flanders and Madrid
For the last decade, urban actors have been struggling to adapt to a post-crisis and austerity context with an increasing social mobilization. In this context, local administrations have become interested in social innovation, pressed to “do more with less and do better” and modernise the welfare state, as a consequence of resource constraints and increasing inequalities. In parallel, a new type of active citizenship is spreading, changing and challenging relations within civil society, as well as with the other urban actors. Still, much of the empirical research done under the frame of social innovation, evidences a certain bias towards the perspective of civil society, focusing on bottom-up and grassroots movements. Thus, strategies followed by administrations themselves and their role in the experimentation and spread of socially innovative initiatives, remain undertheorized. As such, the objective of this research, is to further elaborate on the role and opportunities of local administrations to boost social innovation for sustainable development (SI4SD). To do so, it will address challenges encountered in initiatives led or contributed by local administrations in cities in the Flemish core urbanized area, the “Flemish Diamond”. It will engage in doing action-research in the case of contemporary Madrid and facilitate a process of collective learning, mutual exchange and “joint problematization” with stakeholders involved in socially innovative practices in Flemish cities.