Social innovation systems for building resilient communities

Horgan, Donagh and Dimitrijevic, Branka (2018) Social innovation systems for building resilient communities. Urban Science, 2 (1). 13. ISSN 2413-8851 (

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Social innovation - while not a new practice in itself - has in the years since the global financial crisis in 2008 re-emerged as an approach to solving our collective intractable global challenges. Despite its renewed popularity, there is no common definition for the phenomenon, not least in the context of its application when planning the built environment or civic infrastructures. This paper seeks to position the practice of social innovation as a means for holistic collaboration between disciplines to develop sustainable social ecologies and systems that provide for resilient communities. It tests a hypothesis that social innovation develops over phases (feedback loops) - that of the network, framework and architecture phase - to design for social, environmental and economic resilience. It looks to theories emerging in other subject areas like sociology and technology, that can inform its application in a planning context, such as Actor-Network and Adaptive Complexity theories. It explores the mechanisms that provide for resilience through action research and engagement with a number of international case studies and scenarios. Lastly, the paper identifies further avenues of research pertaining to networks, frameworks and architectures to develop models of best practice for inclusive, sustainable and iterative community development.