Countryside and Community Research Institute

Gloucester, United Kingdom

Countryside and Community Research Institute

Gloucester, United Kingdom
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Curry N.,Countryside and Community Research Institute | Webber D.J.,Auckland University of Technology
Regional Studies | Year: 2012

Curry N. and Webber D.J. Economic performance in rural England, Regional Studies. Measuring rural economic performance is obscured by the simultaneous use of two spatial platforms: the 'city-region' and the 'rural definition'. The characteristics of these spatial platforms for measuring rural economic performance are explored through plant-level productivity data. In general, English rural districts are less productive, but particularly where they are both lagging and fall outside city-regions. The cityregion platform exacerbates rural productivity performance, but since 2000, rural districts have not been charged with pursuing productivity objectives anyway. Rural economic policy Productivity Skills Industrial structure Curry N. et Webber D. J. La performance économique des zones rurales d'Angleterre, Regional Studies. Mesurer la performance économique rurale s'embrouille dans l'emploi simultané de deux plates-formes géographiques: à savoir, la 'région-cité' et la 'définition rurale'. A partir des données sur la productivité des établissements, on cherche à examiner les caractéristiques géographiques de ces plates-formes-ci pour mesurer la performance économique rurale. En règle générale, les zones rurales d'Angleterre s'avèrent moins productives, notamment là où elles sont en perte de vitesse et situées à l'extérieur des régions-cités. La région-cité en tant que plate-forme aggrave la performance des zones rurales quant à leur productivité, mais, depuis l'an 2000, on ne confie pas la charge de la réalisation des objectifs de la productivité aux zones rurales. Politique économique rurale Productivité Compétences Structure industrielle. Curry N. und Webber D. J. Wirtschaftsleistung ländlicher Gebiete in England, Regional Studies. Die Messung der Wirtschaftsleistung in ländlichen Gebieten wird durch den gleichzeitigen Einsatz von zwei verschiedenen räumlichen Plattformen verschleiert: der 'Stadtregion' und der 'Definition ländlicher Gebiete'. Wir untersuchen die Merkmale dieser räumlichen Plattformen zur Messung der Wirtschaftsleistung in ländlichen Gebieten mit Hilfe von Produktivitätsdaten auf Betriebsebene. Ländliche Gebiete sind in England generell weniger produktiv; dies ist jedoch insbesondere bei rückständigen Gebieten außerhalb von Stadtregionen der Fall. Die Plattform der Stadtregion verschlechtert die Leistung von ländlichen Gebieten; allerdings wurden die ländlichen Gebiete seit dem Jahr 2000 ohnehin nicht mit der Verwirklichung von Produktivitätszielen beauftragt.Wirtschaftspolitik in ländlichen Gebieten Produktivität Qualifikationen Branchenstruktur. Curry N. y Webber D. J. Desempeño económico en la Inglaterra rural, Regional Studies. La medición del desempeño económico rural está eclipsada por el uso simultáneo de dos plataformas espaciales: la 'región metropolitana' y la 'definición de rural'. Analizamos las características de estas plataformas espaciales para la medición del desempeño económico rural con ayuda de datos de productividad a nivel de empresas. En general, las comarcas rurales inglesas son menos productivas; esto ocurre sobre todo en comarcas menos desarrolladas y fuera de las regiones metropolitanas. La plataforma de las regiones metropolitanas empeora el rendimiento de la productividad rural, aunque de todas formas desde 2000 no se ha exigido a las comarcas rurales que consigan objetivos de productividad. Política económica rural Productividad Habilidades Estructura industrial. © 2012 Copyright Regional Studies Association.


Firth C.,Local Food Grants programme | Maye D.,Countryside and Community Research Institute | Pearson D.,University of Canberra
Local Environment | Year: 2011

Community gardens are enjoying a renaissance, thought to be due to people's desire to reconnect with food, nature and community. This paper presents results from an exploratory investigation of two community gardens in Nottingham, supported by regional and national contextual analysis. It examines the nature and construction of "community" in community gardens and how they benefit their local communities. Results from case-study work show how community gardens help to build cohesion and vitality in a community, contributing to the generation of bonding, bridging and linking social capital. The composition of these capitals varies between the case-study gardens, dependent on the type of community formed. Two categories of community garden are identified in the paper: "place-based" and "interest-based". The former are more territorially embedded in the local community, while the latter may span across diverse communities, with the social capital generated remaining within an "interest community". These categories may not always map neatly on to one community garden, although one category may be more immediately evident. The article also suggests directions for future research, including complementary research frameworks to further develop understandings of social capital metrics. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.


Kambites C.J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Sustainable Development | Year: 2014

This article uses critical discourse analysis to analyse national level discourses of sustainable development in the UK through the 1990s and 2000s, as revealed in five documents produced by successive national governments during this period. After briefly reviewing the concept of sustainable development and its interpretations, national sustainable development discourses are analysed in the context of the wider political discourses that have arisen around the political ideologies of neo-liberalism, Thatcherism and New Labour. A critical discourse analysis, using the concept of 'discursive techniques', reveals the way in which the concept of sustainable development has been adapted to conform to the dominant political discourses of neo-liberalism, Thatcherism and New Labour. In this process, the term has been used to emphasize the compatibility of economic growth and environmental protection, and hence, arguably, has been used to avoid rather than to facilitate radical action. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.


Curry N.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Land Use Policy | Year: 2013

The growth in community involvement in public domain decisions for rural spaces in England over the past 20 years has increased the overall costs of such decision-making. These transaction's costs can be grouped into four types pertaining to organisations, institutions, belief systems and knowledge and information (K&I). Within the last of these, costs can arise because of a lack of K&I, the costs of procuring K&I and K&I overload. In an empirical survey in Gloucestershire county in the south west region of England K&I transaction's costs were found to be increasing, particularly in relation to procurement and overload. The number of planning and policy documents as a subset of K&I had increased considerably in the case study area such that for the rural district of the Cotswolds 60 plans pertained simultaneously in 2007. Despite this, many of those involved in decision-making about rural spaces felt the costs involved in assimilating the information that they contained were worth paying if it allowed them to be better informed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Morris C.,University of Nottingham | Kirwan J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2011

Among their many 'alternative' characteristics, food networks that seek to reconfigure the relationship between producers and consumers are understood as having the potential to be beneficial for the rural environment and landscape. One of the ways in which this characteristic has been conceptualised is through the notion of 'ecological embeddedness'. Although the roots of this concept lie in economic sociology, where the social embeddedness of economic relations has been the focus of interest, agro-food researchers have extended its meaning to suggest that alternative or 'quality' food production can also be seen as increasingly embedded in 'natural' or ecological processes. However, this paper argues that until now the notion of ecological embeddedness has lacked conceptual clarity. As such, the aim is to interrogate and refine the concept of embeddedness, specifically as it pertains to ecologies within the context of food production on-farm. Ecological embeddedness, it is argued, must encompass more than just recognition of the general influence of the natural environment on economic activity. Specifically, it must reflect a change in the relations between economic actors and the natural environment that produces a benefit to both. The paper also establishes how the concept of ecological embeddedness might be operationalised in research practice as a means of exploring the ecological dimensions of alternative food networks. An illustration of this empirical application is provided. The paper concludes by asserting the value of ecological embeddedness as a concept, in spite of the observed limitations of embeddedness in other contexts and the challenges that are associated with its ecological application. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Morris C.,University of Nottingham | Kirwan J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Sociologia Ruralis | Year: 2011

Drawing on data from a research project that focused on the relationship between the biodiversity of grazing and food quality, this article explores the ecological dimensions of alternative food networks in the UK through the concept of 'styles of ecological engagement'. Context is provided by briefly reviewing two contrasting ways of envisaging the relationship between ecology, food and rural development in policy debates. A qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with actors at the centre of 38 alternative food networks and of associated promotional materials enables the identification of five styles of ecological engagement: ecological conserving, ecological harmonising, ecological breed enthusing, ecological localising and ecological re-cognising. The article argues that identification and discussion of these styles of ecological engagement is not only helpful in understanding the ecological heterogeneity of alternative food networks but also signals the ways in which their ecological benefits and contribution to rural development might be sustained and enhanced. © 2011 The Authors. Sociologia Ruralis © 2011 European Society for Rural Sociology.


Morris C.,University of Nottingham | Kirwan J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Geoforum | Year: 2010

This paper focuses on a particular group of food commodities, associated with the wider turn to 'alternative food networks', that are described as 'naturally embedded food products' (NEFPs). These are commodities (specifically meats and cheeses) that utilise grassland biodiversity as an input into production to positively influence, in various ways, the final qualities of the commodity. Building on the geographical literature on commodity circuits and analysing data derived from NEFP promotional materials and focus groups with urban and rural residents in the UK, the paper interrogates the geographical knowledges that are deployed by producers in the promotion of NEFPs and how these knowledges are accommodated and contested by consumers as they bring their own geographical knowledges to the interpretation of these commodities. The paper undertakes this task in order to problematise the extent to which alternative food networks in general and NEFPs in particular are bringing about a reconnection of producers and consumers and, concomitantly, a defetishisation of food, as is claimed for them by many of their policy and academic proponents. In the process the paper reveals how the food commodities associated with alternative food networks entail the creation of new and rival fetishes paradoxically as a result of efforts to 'thicken connections' between the production and consumption of food. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Maye D.,Countryside and Community Research Institute | Ilbery B.,Countryside and Community Research Institute | Little R.,University of Sheffield
Geographical Journal | Year: 2012

The threat that plant diseases and pests pose to food production and ecosystem services is neither well understood in the social sciences nor publicly debated, despite the fact that it is significant and growing. This paper presents findings from interviews with wheat and potato growers in two parts of the UK (Lincolnshire and Herefordshire). It uses conceptual work on risk and risk perception to understand how farmers encounter, comprehend and manage plant disease. Plant disease was perceived by growers as a significant but controllable risk mostly through the (generally) prophylactic use of spray chemicals. The introduction of revised European legislation governing - and potentially restricting - the use of 'key' agro-chemicals may, in the future, reduce the perception and level of control growers feel they have over disease in their crops. Perceptions of plant disease risk and strategies to ameliorate their impact involve scientific deliberation and appear to be highly rational. However, such perceptions are not merely conceived in scientific terms. Decisionmaking is rational but encultured as a practical farm management priority rather than pure scientific risk. © 2012 Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).


Kambites C.J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Local Environment | Year: 2010

The possible role of parish and town councils (local councils) in the local implementation of sustainable development has been overlooked both in research and in policy-making. This article is based on research into local councillors' attitudes to sustainability and to their own role within a single county. A "discourse of local council legitimation" is identified, in which local councillors see their communities as living organisms, whose interests they represent with the benefit of local knowledge and holistic thinking - characteristics which they see as absent at other levels of government. Local councillors essentially see their role as local and relatively shortterm - a perspective that will have to be addressed if local councils are to make a significant contribution to sustainability. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.


Curry N.,Countryside and Community Research Institute | Kirwan J.,Countryside and Community Research Institute
Sociologia Ruralis | Year: 2014

Whilst objectivist epistemologies have been dominant in productivist agriculture, the local, cultural and environmental contexts of sustainable agriculture are more fully informed by constructivist epistemologies. Within constructivism, tacit knowledge - an intuitive knowledge that cannot be formalised - is explored empirically. Six types of tacit knowledge were identified as a result of working closely with a sustainable food network: the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership. Customs cohere around integrating food with other sustainable activity; developing a complex unregulated organisation requires savoir-faire. The unique character of Brighton has developed an operational folklore, and network identity is important, particularly in relation to conventional agriculture and to the city as a whole. A confidence in people's roles has helped define network development and using different discourses, communicating the network in diverse contexts, is important for understanding the network. All these tacit knowledge elements have a strong influence over the network but have to be assimilated knowledge rather than learned. © 2014 European Society for Rural Sociology.

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