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The social innovation in architecture, art, and design (AAD) is used by collectives to assist marginal communities of the global South and North by innovating their material environment. Social innovations have played an increasingly significant role alongside world and national social policies. However, they are often decontextualised and isolated from the urban and cultural politics causing poverty. The EU-funded SURBANIN project will establish a new understanding of how innovations globally emerge and move, are locally applied, and what is their impact. The project will compare informal settlements in Colombia with homelessness in the Czech Republic, focusing on a range of heterogeneous social innovations like macromurals in Colombia and design innovations in homeless encampments in Czech cities.

Surface for URBAN INnovation:
The Politics of Designing Poverty in Colombia and Czechia



  • rather than either embracing or rejecting ADD innovations, this project queries why they are adopted

  • it investigates whether the context in which ADD innovations are adopted—the geography, management, implementation, and purpose—determines their outcome

  • it considers both the economic and socio-spatial impacts of innovations, both on the city and on individuals

  • it queries whether innovations have proven to be more or less robust next to other social policy approaches


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101032970.

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