Elated to be working with Joe Painter, Paul Langley, Sue Lewis and Colin McFarlane on “The uban politics and governance of social innovation in austerity“, an ESRC-funded, Urban Transformations grant. We’re kicking off on January 1st – and I’ll be taking care of the Athens side of things.

While austerity can pose opportunities for social innovation as well as challenges, there is currently limited understanding of its implications for urban politics and governance. The Urban Politics and Governance of Social Innovation in Austerity examines these questions through a comparative study of the ongoing effects of austerity in three European cities in Germany, Greece and the UK.

Using Athens, Berlin and Newcastle as case studies, the project aims to identify the roles of alternative finance, grassroots mobilisation and community provisioning in meeting the needs of their citizens as traditional forms of authority are disrupted and competition for public services increases. To accompany this research, an Urban Social Innovation Network will be established to bring together local practitioners, activists and policy makers to share knowledge and resources.

The findings of the project will help expand the current evidence base on the links between social innovation, austerity and urban governance. This in turn will support the development of transformative approaches in the case study areas and other European cities.