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Cities and Communities that Work: Innovative Practices, Enabling Policies

  • Year: 2003
  • Author: Bradford, Neil
  • Publisher: Canadian Policy Research Network
  • Published Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Neil Bradford argues that innovation – applying the best ideas in a timely fashion to emergent problems – is an urgent priority in the private, public, and voluntary sectors. At the same time, he notes that, attention is increasingly being paid to those cities which demonstrate an institutional capacity to engage in collaborative learning processes – in other words, those most adaptive and innovative.

To this end, Bradford surveys emerging cross-national case study literature on community-based innovation. His goal: to take stock of diverse experiences detailing how local actors, in partnerships with others, enhance their capacity for working towards sustainable development. Bradford also presents key findings about innovative cities and regions in a systematic fashion.

Based on his analysis, Bradford identifies seven building blocks in successful community-based innovation: 1) the emergence of local champions; 2) the formation of institutional intermediaries; 3) a commitment to equitable participation; 4) a civic culture of creativity; 5) the provision of financial and technical resources; 6) robust accountability mechanisms; and, 7) the development of indicators to benchmark progress. As part of his analysis, Bradford also profiles the innovation dynamics of 11 cities in Canada, as well as outlining lessons for policy actors at all levels of government.

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