A major proportion of the world’s population will be located in cities by 2030. With cities globally facing challenges due to the social exclusion of significant proportions of their populace, new thinking is needed on ways to correlate the competing socio-economic goals of various actors. This study sought to uncover the link between governance in cities as an innovation process and socio-economic regime transition towards a more equitable urban society. To do so, we draw on transition management thinking to consider urban regime transitions evolving in a temporal and incremental manner and in a multi-level context. We sought expansion from a delimited focus on socio-technical regimes in transition management literature to incorporate the notion of urban socio-economic regimes. This involved integrating aspects of reflexive governance and politics in a city context with a basic ontology of complex social systems and their evolutionary dynamics that underlies transition management approaches. Our focus is on learning by doing and experimentation as well as participation of citizens with other key city actors in a radically new process of mutual learning that creates social inclusion. The juxtaposition of national, city and community level interactions and their impact on socio-economic regime transition brings into sharp relief the issue of spatial scale and a lack of consideration in transition approaches generally. The study findings reveal a spatial orientation for creating new urban forms of reflexive governance as an innovation process taking place in transition arenas that can trigger new pathways to socio-economic change.
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Impact: Public Policy Impact, Environmental Impact, Societial Impact