PLAISIR - Planning Innovation: Learning form socially innovative energy projects

PLAISIR analyses socially innovative energy projects in structurally disadvantaged regions and therefore is the first project working in the research gap at the interface between social capital-oriented endogenous regional development and resource-oriented energy planning. The practice of socially innovative energy planning is analysed in the context of spatial structural, spatial energy planning development paths at the regional level with the aim to identify region specific and the project-specific factors of social innovation in energy-oriented planning.

Short Description




Starting point / motivation

Energy-oriented planning is widely considered as an urban matter with a strong tendency towards technical innovation. The role of social innovation though is equally underrepresented in energy planning discourses as are peripheral regions and their specific challenges, which cannot be overcome via technical innovation alone. This is even more striking considering the numerous reports of the value of social innovation for positive development effects in weaker regions.

PLAISIR sheds lights on this research gap at the intersection of social-capital- and energy-oriented regional development. The basic research project herewith points to two central policy aims in recent regional development, asking whether the integration of both matters holds a potential for increased resilience, autonomy, or even long-term systemic change in weaker regions.

Contents and goals

The project creates knowledge on potential triggers, catalysts and obstacles of social innovation in energy-oriented planning efforts of rural and peripheral regions. Therefore, the research team implements a differentiated analysis of the various process dimensions of socially innovative energy projects.

It develops recommendations for co-creation approaches in regional governance for a potential long-term systemic change in regional development. As a starting point, PLAISIR compiles a knowledge base on socially innovative energy projects in peripheral European regions.


Based on that and with exemplary focus on 3 Austrian regions – Murtal, Hermagor and South Burgenland – a set of indicators on the process dimensions of social innovation (ISIP) is developed, allowing the characterization and analysis of Good Practice projects.

ISIP and the projects will be contextualized with the Regional Energy Development Paths of the 3 regions, in order to understand the specific context and preconditions of the evolvement of social innovation.

Expected results

Ultimately, PLAISIR leads to the publication of a planning innovation catalogue addressing 3 aims and target groups:

  1. Research: The communication of scientific findings at the intersection of technology-driven energy planning and social-capital-oriented regional planning
  2. Spatail Practice: The dissemination of Good Practice of socially innovative energy projects in weaker regions
  3. Regional Policy: The formulation of recommendations for Co-Creation approaches in regional (energy) planning

Project Partners

Project management

ZSI - Centre for Social Innovation

Project or cooperation partners

Centre of Regional Science, Department of Spatial Planning, Vienna University of Technology

Contact Address

DI Stefan Philipp
Linke Wienzeile 246
A-1150 Vienna
Tel.: +43 (1) 495 0442 / 79
Fax: +43 (1) 495 0442 / 75