New ways of producing, consuming, using, educating, learning, caring, moving and living are emerging in cities in Europe. The regions and cities network aims to engage a diverse range of actors that address territorial and urban challenges by mobilising creative communities, organisations and creative citizenship. Thriving cities and territories benefit from local creative communities, organisations and creative citizens (specially creative and entrepreneurial people) that without expecting to trigger general changes in the system (economy, institutions, large infrastructures) manage to reorganise the existing state-of-things producing something new. Urban gardens, canteens, kitchens, maker spaces, and work spaces, social streets, micro-nurseries, cohousing, food purchase groups are on-going initiatives that focus on new ways of living in urban environments that respond to challenges such as poor transport, reliance on fossil fuels, ageing societies, urban decay, unemployment and social exclusion.
Creative communities, organisations and citizens are deeply rooted in a place, they make good use of the local resources and, directly or indirectly, they promote new forms of social exchange. They often develop new urban ecosystems that are more efficient and more human to guide planners, policy makers, services designers and intermediaries on how to make cities better places to live. They often take advantage of new technologies and produce new collaborative services.
Social innovation relevance
An overview of new ways of living in cities and regions suggests that they primarily occur in urban or peri-urban areas where citizens, creative communities but also creative enterprises, institutions, and stakeholders interact in a mesh of flows and dynamic artefacts to solve everyday problems by making reliable solutions. Creative communities, organisations and citizens trigger social innovation promise: in fact, by solving everyday life problems collaboratively, they propose and put into practice ways of living which have a positive social impact. Such social innovations in cities and regions are usually situated at the very micro level of the society but they can also be at the macro level city and regional government because of their potential as new forms of collaborative services.