City renewal as open innovation

Par Jan Mattsson, Flemming Sørensen
This article illustrates how open innovation can be applied to understand renewal processes in complex sectors of society that involve many public, private and collective actors. The article discusses how a city renewal project can be conceptualized as ‘open city innovation’. A natural experiment of a process of “open city innovation”, involving a number of private and public actors is presented. Findings suggest that attractive and capital rich urban environments can be successfully created through open city innovation facilitated by 1) a clear focus of private actors on long-term benefits of the city development project, and 2) public organisational set-ups securing involvement of many actors, interactions and knowledge distribution among them. Furthermore, the article illustrates how the “natural experiment” as research method is a promising approach for analyzing complex city renewal projects.
JEL Codes: M1
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