Re-allocating Public Space: A Resource for Re-embedding Social/Environmental Justice Values into The Politics of the Common Good

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    This paper is based on results from a three-year EU project ITSSOIN.EU that investigated impacts of Third Sector as Social innovation in a variety of societal fields. The findings discussed are for the field of environmental sustainability in Cities. The project's empirical work related social innovation to a spatiallybased city context and made a cross-country/city comparison of examples of social innovation activities in cities of four selected European countries. The specific cases concerned sharing space for the promotion of bicycle use and mobility, which in many cities is a task undertaken not only by state and private actors but includes a strong interplay of civil society organizations with great variations and different degrees of success and failure. The study focused on elements of social innovativeness created in the interplay of actors and on the tensions and issues arising in particular from civil society involvement in advancing practices of sharing public space. The study followed actors and practices using process tracing methodology to produce a thick story for each city. The story traced the evolution of forms of social
    sharing and identified moments of contention, within which the actors' influence and the narratives produced over time became apparent. The cases traced four European cities Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Milan and Bruno. The most successful case-Copenhagen- demonstrated a long-term build-up of social innovative practices which at their core recreated social values such as reciprocity and mutual help, as critical components in the formation of new narratives in the use of space. In this way unlocking practices and demonstrating new possibilities within which the use of bicycles became merely a social instrument demonstrating visions of the common good and why they need to gain political voice and public space. The social innovation re-allocated public space not just as way of provision of material services, but creating a venue for re-embedding of social/environmental values and norms (right to enjoy outdoor life for old people, use of spare time, mutual help/reciprocity, participation, quality of life) in the interplay of actors and practices. This discussion can as well be linked to debates about what are conditions contributing or failing to re-create a civic life and how practices of social innovation for sharing space, may succeed (or fail) in becoming vehicles to re-introduce social (reciprocity, re-enacting o the public sphere) and environmental values by means of helping in the construction of ‘new imaginaries' for progressive social and environmental change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2017
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    Event2017 Lund Conference on Earth System Governance: Allocation & Access in a Warming and Increasingly Unequal World - Lund University, Lund, Sweden
    Duration: 9 Oct 201711 Oct 2017


    Conference2017 Lund Conference on Earth System Governance
    LocationLund University

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