10.02.2017 Annika Mayer

Social Innovation in Urban and Regional Development

ARL International Summer School 2017

30 August to 2 September 2017 in Vienna (Austria)

The ARL International Summer School 2017 on “Social Innovation in Urban and Regional Development” took place from 30 August to 2 September 2017 in Vienna, Austria. It investigated social innovation in an urban context focusing on the relations between actors and their impact on urban and regional development. The summer school was jointly organised by the ARL, the Department of Geography and Regional Research at the University of Vienna (UNIVIE), and the Institute for Urban and Regional Research (ISR) at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW). Among the participants were 13 doctoral students from Europe and the Middle East as well as six international experts. Professor Rainer Danielzyk (ARL), Professor Hans Heinrich Blotevogel (UNIVIE) and Professor Heinz Faßmann (ÖAW and UNIVIE) guided through an intensive and inspiring programme filled with keynote lectures, student presentations, a practitioner’s workshop, a field trip, and dinners at social restaurants.


For the first time, the summer school started with a public opening ceremony: Professor Frank Moulaert from the University of Leuven gave a public lecture about „The history of thought and practice of social innovation”. On the following days, the participants discussed the state of the art in social innovation research. The doctoral students addressed a variety of aspects in their presentations. Their topics ranged from risk management to housing. The actors they looked at included neighbourhood initiatives as well as businesses and government bodies. Their approaches and instruments included formal planning processes as well as organisational learning and experimentation labs. As keynote lecturers, Dr Darinka Czischke (Delft University of Technology), Professor Oliver Ibert (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space), Dr Christoph Kaletka (TU Dortmund University) and Professor Yuri Kazepov (University of Vienna) contributed to the summer school with their expertise and experience. They addressed the spatial aspects of social innovation, argued for a comprehensive innovation policy, and reflected upon challenges, drivers and requirements of social innovation. A practitioner’s workshop on the case of Milan offered by Professor Carolina Pacchi (Politecnico di Milano) and a field trip to Seestadt Aspern guided by Dr Yvonne Franz (ÖAW and UNIVIE) gave insight into the implementation of social innovation projects. The participants’ contributions to the summer school were published in an edited volume (ISR-Forschungsberichte).


The social programme included dinners at social restaurants, such as mittendrin-VinziRast (an innovative social housing project providing housing for students and homeless people) and Habibi&Hawara (a private and independent training and integration programme for people with a refugee or migration background).


The participants of the ARL International Summer School 2017 said that they benefitted personally and professionally from the programme because of the productive atmosphere, the stimulating debates and the practical advice on their dissertation projects.