In a contemporary world stricken by a global pandemic, climate change, assets neglect, job loss, and isolation, cultural and social innovations are becoming increasingly fundamental. Social innovation, cultural heritage enhancement, and creative enterprises are able to redesign sustainable, inclusive living spaces open to local and international cooperation, as also proposed by the New European Bauhaus framework.
In this perspective, there is a need for new urban policies, programmes, and projects with a strong social and cultural impact, where creative regeneration processes, sustainable design, and community spaces coexist in innovative organizational models with spin-offs in the urban, cultural, economic, and social context.
At the heart of the debate are initiatives that encourage collaborative processes, creative regeneration of neglected sites, innovative urban dynamics, sustainable development, and place-based policies that address the issues of contemporary cities by adopting new socially innovative strategies. Indeed, social innovation encourages practices that respond to complex social problems by creating innovative solutions for the community and enhancing the value of assets and urban spaces in the long term.
Urban spaces and underutilized cultural heritage play a central role in this, as they provide the space for community participation, citizens’ involvement, and build social awareness and cohesion which can trigger processes of re-appropriation, reactivation and development of city spaces.
On the other hand, critical visions must also be considered: these identify social approaches as the production of selective dynamics that skim, omit, and lie the soft power, a power able to shape people’s perceptions through culture. A position that sometimes sees in the word “social” an elusive keyword of localist agendas functional to political and economic elites to promote a bottom-up economic regeneration.
This Special Issue of Land MDPI International Journal welcomes multidisciplinary research, with theoretical, methodological and empirical (qualitative and/or quantitative) approaches, addressing the role of cultural and social innovation in contemporary city development. Scholars, researchers, and practitioners are invited to present their contributions on one or more of the following topics:
- Social innovation, sustainable development and new urban dynamics;
- Creative urban regeneration and cultural heritage enhancement;
- Collaborative processes for urban regeneration: co-design of community spaces and enterprises;
- Social innovation in economic development and social place-based policies.
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2023