IADIS International Workshop

Common Research Ground in Social Innovation? 

24 July 2013, Prague, Czech Republic


Both societal and economic reconstructions elicit new initiatives that exceed the speed of social innovation as we have seen for a long time. This workshop presents the more dominant examples like the civil initiative in social media that resulted in an Interactive Map of Temporary use of Wastelands.

Bottom-up initiatives no longer are regarded upon as exceptional in urban development. Due to the financial crisis, lack of corporate funding and budget-cuts of municipalities the traditional stakeholders are sharing the floor with civilians and their actions. The combination of Do-it Yourself initiatives, entrepreneurship, co-creation and social media provides an exciting new perspective on change. Recently urban and rural fabric show a growing number of empty lots and properties due to social economic transitions. Such empty places have always form fertile ground for bottom-up initiatives on temporary use. Increasingly however residents, civilians, entrepreneurs, and other parties connect through social media and internet in order to combine options for such empty places. They strengthen local networks by sharing functions and activities, or use crowdsourcing or crowdfunding. At the same time formal procedures and former economic considerations of municipalities, project developers and stakeholders tend to obstruct bottom-up initiatives. For example, the temporary use of empty housing plots in Almere as public playing grounds with private playing objects runs afoul with the formal rules and regulations regarding playing in the public domain. Another example, www.thuisafgehaald.nl, a bottom-up initiative on cooking for other people in your own home, combines private social investment with internet and clashes with the law on Food safety, on support of restaurant businesses.

Social innovation results within this complex interaction of bottom-up initiatives, internet and social media, traditional stakeholders, finances, formalities and legal issues. The workshop is an inspiring venue for practitioners and researchers to explore the knowledge of bottom-up initiatives.  We are therefore expecting both researchers and practitioners to provide case study input and experience in social innovation, social media and social networks. The aim is to result in the start of a multidisciplinary research coalition for Europe Horizon 2020.



Pat van der Jagt, Alterra, Wageningen UR

Mark Verhijde, Program Manager Urban Development





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