WP 105 | 18 Urban regeneration and social innovation: The case of Gillet Square, a community-driven urban culture project

Publication date: 14 December 2018
Research areas: Local development
Publication categories: Working papers
Arguments: Commons
Organizational types: Community cooperatives
Tags: social innovation, community, interesse per la comunità, innovazione sociale

Urban regeneration is not simply a process that affects the physical structure of a place, but it also deals with many other aspects, such as the local social structure and the environmental issues. This article focuses its attention on the inner cities and asks questions on their possible redevelopment. In particular, the question concerns the social innovation of these projects. Social innovation intended as it has been theorized by Moulaert et al. (2003; 2009; 2013) and therefore aimed at finding innovative solutions for a range of problems, such as exclusion, deprivation, poverty, lack of wellbeing. This process involves many actors and fosters inclusion and wellbeing through the implementation of social relations and people empowerment. Community involvement has become more relevant and it can establish important social networks between promoters and citizens. The aim is to present an English case study and the political context that has developed it. This article presents the main features of Gillet Square, a project promoted by Hackney Co-operative Developments (HCD), a community interest company based in the London East End, one of the most disadvantaged areas in England. The nature of the research is qualitative and it assesses the coherency of this project with its objectives and values, how the HCD has worked in partnership with other organisations and the relationships between this case study and the English urban policy. Findings show how a community-led initiative can involve local stakeholders in the regeneration of a critical area and develops a new local asset for the promotion of social cohesion and integration of marginalised people.