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Coproduced game-changing in transformative social innovation: reconnecting the “broken city” of Rio de Janeiro

Carla Cipolla, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Rita Afonso, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Bonno Pel, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Roberto Bartholo, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Édison Renato Silva, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Domício Proença Júnior, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro


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Social innovation is gaining attention for its potential for system transformations. It is often initiated by grassroots collectives, which can become successful through support from other actors and through certain game-changing events or developments. We highlight how transformative social innovation is a highly dispersed, coproduced process of changing social relations. This coproduction is unfolded through a case of interacting interventions in the socio-spatial structure of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Frequently referred to as a “broken city,” the city suffers from various social challenges related to the socio-spatial cleavages between the well-developed and the marginalized areas, the favelas. Following a nested-case approach, we describe two policy measures and three social innovation initiatives intended to reconnect the broken city. We analyze their effects as well as their various interactions. The findings give reasons for considering the policy measures as “game-changers” that allow new courses of play. Still, the key observation about these intertwined socio-spatial interventions is that the broken city is undergoing more dispersed game-changing. Further observing how the reconnections constitute different kinds of changing mobility, we conclude with reflections on mobility-related game-changing.

Key words

coproduction; game-changers; social innovation; socio-spatial relations; transformation

Copyright © 2017 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087