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Study 'Urban Regions, Social & Solidarity Economy, and Social Innovation'

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English, French

In 2018, Avise, an agency specialised in alternative entrepreneurship, and RTES, a network of local authorities working to achieve a solidarity economy, initiated a joint working process to promote and support regional policies favouring SSE and social innovation, particularly in metropolitan areas. Thanks to the contributions of 22 French metropolitan areas, this process made it possible to complete the « Metropolises, social and solidarity economy and social innovation » study in 2019. This study analyses these stakeholders’ frameworks and action levers that strengthen the social and solidarity economy and social innovation within their region.

In 2020, France Urbaine, a network of large cities and agglomerations, urban communities, and metropolitan areas, joined forces with RTES and Avise to update and expand this study, broadening the scope of the analysis to include large agglomerations and cities.

Avise, RTES and France Urbaine share the conviction that SSE and social innovation provide robust solutions in response to the socio-economic challenges in urban regions, in particular :

  • In terms of the region’s economic development and attractiveness, in particular by developing the local economy, capturing and anchoring local incomes (local resident, corporate and administration consumption, retain companies’ added value, local cash flows, etc.);
  • By strengthening social cohesion and regional equality, by generating new services, projects that foster social interaction, cooperation and good citizenship;
  • By inventing new solutions to the challenges posed by the transition to an ecological and solidarity-based environment, which are real drivers for the circular economy, sustainable food supply, sustainable housing, sustainable energy transition, responsible and solidarity-based digital technology, etc.

This study is based on the contributions of some fifty metropolitan areas, agglomerations and large cities that are members of
RTES and France Urbaine, and on the outcomes of a working and documentary research group. It illustrates the major role that urban regions can play in implementing synergies and regional dynamics that are favourable to the development of a more solidarity-based economy and the emergence of social innovation. There is a wide range of action levers at their disposal: development of socially and environmentally responsible purchasing, support for structuring economic sectors, raising awareness of SSE and promoting local dynamics, etc. The study also highlights urban regions’ frameworks and modes of action: inter-departmental cooperation, co-development, evaluation, networking and articulation of regional actions, etc.

By focusing on a number of structuring and innovative actions, on the statements of elected representatives and other various insights, this publication:

  • Clearly identifies the action levers available to metropolitan areas, agglomerations, and large cities in terms of SSE and social innovation
  • Provides keys to understanding the institutional and legal frameworks for implementing their public actions in support of SSE.   
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