Digital social innovation in support of spatial planning. An investigation through nine initiatives in three smart city programmes

  • Margarita Angelidou Faculty of Spatial Planning and Development Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Artemis Psaltoglou URENIO Research, Faculty of Architectural Engineering, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Keywords: urban planning, collaborative planning, citizen empowerment, civic innovation, online platforms and tools


This paper examines how technologically-enabled social innovation can support spatial planning. Social innovation is a long-standing practice; however, in recent years its popularity, importance and applications have increased due to both the financial and social challenges that cities face, and due to important technological advances. Digital Social Innovation (DSI), more specifically, is increasingly penetrating smart city programmes and strategies throughout the world. Through research into nine DSI initiatives in the context of three smart city programmes (Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York), we point out the functions and benefits of incorporating DSI in spatial planning and trace its different levels and characteristics. The conclusions suggest that: online and offline means are equally important in DSI for spatial planning; the mix and degree of involvement of different sectors varies significantly across DSI initiatives; spatial planning and place making experts and professionals have a distinctive role within these initiatives; and particular attention should be paid to scaling and uptake issues.


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