CONFERENCE WITH FRANK MOULAERT AND MARISOL GARCÍA: SOCIAL AND URBAN INNOVATION TO COMBAT INEQUALITIES
Social innovation to fight against inequalities is pointed to create processes and actions that prepare the citizenship, generating new relations on social, sustainable cooperation and fair. Social innovation focuses on people as a change engine and developpement and it's in the cities (as an urban and collective space) where social transformation is possible.
COLUMN ON THE CONFERENCE
The neighborhoods and cities are the engine of social innovation, a phenomenon that is an amalgam of processes to increase solidarity, democracy and well-being. This is explained by professors Frank Moualert (University of Leuven) and Marisol García (University of Barcelona) specialists in this phenomenon and who lead at the Palau Macaya the V Session of the Cycle "Combatre les Desigualtats: el Gran Repte Global" organized by the Foundation Catalunya Europe.
Moulaert argues that current social innovation can only be understood from a historical perspective. It is a prior phenomenon even to technological innovation. During the eighteenth century, for example, social innovation was considered revolutionary, with a significant negative connotation in the England of that century, while his French contemporaries looked on favorably.
Currently, the social innovation paradigm proposed by Moulaert includes the use of redistributive mechanisms to combat inequalities and ensure good levels of democracy. The neighborhoods and cities are the propitious places that allow the organization of movements that can lead social innovation practices, taking into account that the most successful experiences are those that manage to create synergies between the business world, the political world and the social world.
That is why Moulaert has been very critical of neoliberalism and has considered it an "individualist and incapable of managing public resources" ideology. The Belgian professor also bets on fiscal measures that do not favor the richest and that allow to assure a good level of welfare state.
One of the key concepts of the Moulaert paradigm is the so-called bottom-linked, that is, the existence of a permanent dialogue between government and civil society that allows an improvement of democracy and prioritizes human needs over other interests. It is in this context that the Integral Development Areas also appear, which incorporates aspects such as the social economy or community governance, with a special interest in the cultural sector and artisanal production. This type of organization promotes social creativity, especially among small and medium organizations with the ability to pool economic and social resources in order to generate a sustainable economic activity.
In this sense, social innovation puts the focus on the local world to favor more cohesive societies through a variety of expressions that take into account aspects as diverse as democracy, human dignity or the management of financial resources.
To know more: Frank Moulaert et al. "Social innovation as a Trigger Transformation"