Research Policy & Development


Planning Innovation: learning from socially innovative energy projects

PLAISIR analyses socially innovative energy projects in structurally weak regions

Energy-oriented planning is widely considered as an urban matter with a strong tendency towards technical innovation. The role of social innovation though is equally underrepresented in energy planning discourses as are peripheral regions and their specific challenges, which cannot be overcome via technical innovation alone. This is even more striking considering the numerous reports of the value of social innovation for positive development effects in weaker regions.
PLAISIR shed lights on this research gap at the intersection of social-capital- and energy-oriented regional development. The basic research project herewith pointed to two central policy aims in recent regional development, asking whether the integration of both matters holds a potential for increased resilience, autonomy, or even long-term systemic change in weaker regions.
The project created knowledge on potential triggers, catalysts and obstacles of social innovation in energy-oriented planning efforts of rural and peripheral regions. Therefore, the research team implemented a differentiated analysis of the various process dimensions of socially innovative energy projects. It developed recommendations for co-creation approaches in regional governance for a potential long-term systemic change in regional development.

ZSI was coordinating and managing the project. Content-wise, ZSI experts led the following tasks:

  • Mapping of socially innovative projects in the area of energy in structurally lagging regions
  • Development of social innovation indicators for the process-dimension of energy projects
  • Identification and analysis of energy projects
  • Development of policy recommendations for the support to socially innovative energy projects
  • Definition of the co-creation potential of socially innovative projects for regional development
  • External communication and science communication
  • Ensuring PLAISIR’s open innovation approach


Section: Research Policy & Development


Related Articles:

Tags: energy, regional development, social innovation

Type: Research

Program: Stadt der Zukunft (FFG)

Project Status: Finished

Submission Date: 03/2017

Project Duration: 20 months

Start/End: 11/2017 - 06/2019