Animation about five approaches that make a difference in urban neighbourhoods and the implications for change, public services and decision-making.


This short video introduces key findings from the pilot research that informed the development of the Smart Urban Intermediaries project.

The researchers found five ways in which people seek to make a difference in urban neighbourhoods: enduring, struggling, facilitating, organising, and trailblazing.

These approaches can be combined productively, but they can also clash. The Smart Urban Intermediaries project seeks to understand how this takes place, and to foster productive dialogue between people taking local action in communities across Europe.

You can read about the research in the Open Access version of the ‘five ways…’ article: Five Ways to Make a Difference: Perceptions of Practitioners Working in Urban Neighborhoods. The article is also available in Public Administration Review.

Dr Oliver Escobar, co-director of What Works Scotland, is the Principal Investigator in the UK for the Smart Urban Intermediaries.

Watch the animation

This film is also available on YouTube

More details

Authors: The video was funded by What Works Scotland and made by IRISS.

Date of publication: April 2018

Publication type: Resource or toolkit

Related resources

Five Ways to Make a Difference: Perceptions of Practitioners Working in Urban Neighborhoods

Research article in Public Administration Review by a collaboration of researchers from the University of Birmingham in England, Tilburg University in The Netherlands, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland Roskilde University in Denmark.

December 2015

Smart Urban Intermediaries: Trans-European Research, Learning and Action Project – Research Gateway

This project puts urban intermediaries, those people who can bring people and resources together in innovative ways, at the heart of smart urban development and sets out to understand how they create social innovation. The team will carry out fieldwork in four European cities (Birmingham, Copenhagen, Glasgow and Amsterdam) by developing collaborative working groups, or ‘living labs’, which will be sources of data as well as sites for learning across projects, fields of practice, cities and countries. The aims is to advance knowledge of how intermediaries innovate and generate smart urban development, by creating opportunities for collaborative research, dialogue and learning across Europe.

April 2017 – December 2019