The International Handbook on Social Innovation
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The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

The contributors provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and instructive experiences from all continents, as well as implications for collective action and policy. They argue strongly for social innovation as a key to human development. The Handbook defines social innovation as innovation in social relations within both micro and macro spheres, with the purpose of satisfying unmet or new human needs across different layers of society. It connects social innovation to empowerment dynamics, thus giving a political character to social movements and bottom-up governance initiatives. Together these should lay the foundations for a fairer, more democratic society for all.
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Chapter 13: Just another roll of the dice: a socially creative initiative to assure Roma housing in North Western Italy

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Tommaso Vitale and Andrea Membretti


This chapter concerns how social innovation relates to the social production of space (MacCallum et al. 2009). Usually, the scholarly literature on local welfare, social work, and ‘social cohesion’ at the urban level mostly fails to consider the relevance of space (Bifulco and Vitale 2003; Ranci 2010; Andreotti et al. 2012). The spatial dimension of a socially creative strategy is constituted in physical and symbolic boundaries, in the built environment, in situated objects and relationships. Space can significantly contribute to stigma and exclusion, notably in segregated places. In fact, space performs: it has social effects on people’s opportunities and on their self-esteem (van Ham et al. 2012). Nonetheless the space is itself a social product; it is the object of strategies. Most social innovators invest in space, trying to shape it, to modify it, to make it more inclusive. They aim to use it as a lever for social innovation. Some such innovations use art as a tool to produce change in the spatial configuration for deprived groups.

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