Municipalities and communities enabling social innovations in peripheral areas: Case studies from Ostrobothnia, Finland

Kenneth Nordberg, Seija Virkkala, Åge Mariussen

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The article focuses on social innovation processes (SIs) in rural areas in Nordic countries. There are different roles of actors in SI processes such as initiator, promotor and connector, facilitator, follower, opponent, and others. What roles or contributions can municipalities provide to opportunity-driven SI processes in rural localities? More specifically, what kind of relationships can there be between the municipality and local communities in SI processes? The empirical findings presented in this article identifies three specific contributions from municipalities: (1) surveyor of opportunities (in the initiation phase), (2) promoting projects by providing resources such as knowledge and legitimacy (promoter and connector), and (3) securing the future of successful results (promotor and connector). We argue that the reasons why municipalities focus of these specific contributions is that they can be aligned with municipal coordinating mechanisms. Within this framework, they may provide resources, such as the ability to formulate local needs, sector expertise, long-term thinking, knowledge of local and extra-local opportunities (funding and partners), legitimacy, trust, and social capital. In successful SI processes, these inputs from municipalities may empower communities to deliver complimentary resources, such as voluntary work, ideas, the social capital, and legitimacy of local networks.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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