In this paper, we apply a civic perspective and social innovation theory to examine how residents of a Dutch village experiencing rural depopulation and austerity value an experimental civic initiative aimed at improving liveability, and what explains their evaluation. Using multivariate statistical analysis, we found that most residents were positive about the initiative and its contribution to local liveability. We also found that a substantial group knew very little about the initiative and that low-income groups, in particular, lacked the interest to identify and become engaged with it. Furthermore, we found that voluntary engagement had no predictive value for evaluation. Above all, tangible outputs explained the evaluation. A perceived increase in collaboration within the village and novel forms of collaboration with the local government also proved important, but only when they were accompanied by realised tangible outputs.
- social innovation – community-focussed civic initiative – civic perspective – experimental governance – rural depopulation context