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Globalization is one of the key challenges facing rural regions in Europe, bringing significant social, economic, cultural and political changes. Current studies on the impact of globalization on rural regions tend to focus on specific sectors or processes or localities. The absence of an overarching integrative analysis has resulted in the inability of regional development strategies to cope with these challenges. The objective of the DERREG project is to produce an interpretative model that will enable regional development actors to better anticipate and respond to the key challenges for disadvantaged regions arising from globalization. In doing so, it will expand scientific knowledge and understanding, inform policy development, and identify examples of best practice. The project is innovative in adopting an integrative approach that synthesises research across four key themes and nine case study regions in different types of rural regions to produce an overarching analysis of the impact of globalization on rural Europe. The research will involve both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It will develop new methods in areas such as business network analysis. A further innovation is the linking of the scientific analysis with practical application through the development of an interpretative model. The consortium comprises 9 partners with expertise in rural and regional research, focusing on Eastern Europe. The consortium has been assembled to provide an appropriate combination of expertise in the areas examined in the project, including rural businesses, migration, sustainable development, capacity-building and gender. The proposed research will enable policy makers and other stakeholders involved in regional development to better anticipate and respond to the challenges of globalization. It will support initiatives to increase the capacity of rural businesses to engage with new opportunities and to enhance social cohesion.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2016 | Award Amount: 2.53M | Year: 2016

Structurally weak rural regions are faced with major social and economic problems. In comparison to urban or intermediate regions, predominantly rural regions are economically less productive and they provide a less extensive scope of desired goods and services. As a consequence, the regions experience a loss of inhabitants, especially of young and highly skilled people. Thus, downward spirals are set in motion that further reduce economic opportunities and prevent rural regions from overcoming their structural deficits. The proposed RURACTION research and training network focuses on socially innovative solutions to these rural problems developed by social entrepreneurs. Social entrepreneurs are understood as practitioners who create and implement social innovations by entrepreneurial means. The question arises under which conditions they operate, how they organise solutions, how they network and empower residents, which impacts they actually have on rural development, and how they can be supported in their problem-solving activities. The European Commission identifies the subject of social innovation in rural regions as a research gap. RURACTION intends to fill this gap. The research and training network brings together highly acknowledged academics and very experienced practitioners from social enterprises to contribute their expertise in this field (e.g. with spring schools, autumn skills seminars and cross-sectoral secondments). It strives to achieve excellent research results and aims at qualifying early stage researcher as equally scientifically and practically skilled experts for social entrepreneurship and social innovations in rural regions be it in order to conduct further research in this complex scientific field, to professionally support and promote initiatives of existing social entrepreneurial organisations, and/or to professionally start their own initiatives and social enterprises.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: REV-INEQUAL-07-2016 | Award Amount: 5.00M | Year: 2017

IMAJINE aims to formulate new integrative policy mechanisms to enable European, national and regional government agencies to more effectively address territorial inequalities within the European Union. It responds to evidence that spatial inequalities within the EU are increasing, contrary to the principle of territorial cohesion embedded as a third dimension of the European Social Model in the Treaty of Lisbon, and is particularly timely in examining the geographically differentiated impacts of the post-2008 economic crisis and the adoption of austerity policies. IMAJINE uniquely proposes to address the problem of territorial inequalities through an inter-disciplinary and multi-scalar approach that integrates perspectives from economics, human geography, political science and sociology and combines macro-scale econometric analysis and the generation and analysis of new quantitative survey data with regionally-focused qualitative empirical case study research in 11 EU member states; delivered by a multi-disciplinary and multi-national consortium. As such the research builds on the conceptual and methodological state of the art in several disciplines and advances conceptual understanding and the empirical knowledge base by producing new primary data, applying new analytical tests to secondary data and integrating the results along with insights from relational geographical theory and the concept of spatial justice. In particular, the centrality of spatial justice emphasizes the political as well as economic dimensions of territorial inequalities, and IMAJINE will move beyond existing knowledge by considering relationships between measured and perceived inequalities, models of multi-level policy-making and public service delivery, and support for territorial autonomy movements. IMAJINE will further translate these scientific insights into policy applications through participatory scenario building exercises with governance and civil society stakeholders.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SCC-03-2016 | Award Amount: 7.80M | Year: 2016

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) have the potential to respond to climate change, enhance biodiversity and improve environmental quality while contributing to economic regeneration and social well-being. Yet there is a substantial gap between the promise of NBS and their uptake. To unlock the potential of NBS for sustainable urban development, NATURVATION will take a transdisciplinary, internationally comparative approach to: advance assessment approaches (Objective 1) to capture the multiple impacts & values of NBS to deliver a robust evidence base for decision-making; enable innovation (Objective 2) to identify the most promising governance, business/finance and participation models and how to overcome the systemic conditions that currently limit their use to support systemic integration; and generate momentum to realise the potential of NBS through co-design, co-development & co-implementation of new partnerships, knowledge, recommendations, processes and tools required to build capacity, enable replication and foster cultural change (Objective 3). Our transdisciplinary approach working with urban-regional innovation partnerships in six different cities and a Task Force of highly respected international organisations working in this arena integrates science, social science and humanities (SSH) and practical expertise and experience to achieve a step-change in the use of NBS for urban sustainability.

Bathelt H.,University of Toronto | Henn S.,Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
Environment and Planning A | Year: 2014

In the globalizing knowledge economy firms have become less reliant on local production and market networks and increasingly expand their reach to an international or global scale. The argument of this paper suggests that this has given rise to distinct geographies of knowledge transfers over distance, which rely on periodic or regular temporary face-to-face contacts. While some of these settings of temporary knowledge transfers have existed for a long time, they are now being intensively applied throughout the economy. In this paper we develop a typology of these geographies based on three dimensions that characterize the conditions for knowledge exchange: (i) framing, (ii) cognitive focus and goals, and (iii) trust and risks involved. Based on these variables, we identify three configurations and eight subcategories of knowledge transfers that build upon temporary face-to-face interaction, classified as (1) international community gatherings, (2) international business travel, and (3) transnational network relations. Systematic comparison reveals that with growing uncertainty in economic interaction and with increasing commitment between the agents, trust-based linkages tend to become more important, and the number of interacting agents declines, while the frequency of temporary face-to-face meetings increases.

Wiest K.,Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2016

An important feature of rural Eastern Germany is the negative population development in combination with strong and very selective out-migration. In the rural regions of the federal state Saxony-Anhalt the effects of a demographic shrinking process and female migration have been shown especially clearly. Since spatial discourses and courses of action connected with the production of rural peripheries are a mirror reflection of social conditions, the selective migration of young women directs one's attention towards possible correlations between uneven spatial developments and gender questions. Considering the fact that employment of women is socially rooted and an exemplary provision with childcare facilities benefits the reconciliation of family and work for young families, the pronounced shortage of young women in the new German federal states seems remarkable at a first glance. Against this backdrop the paper highlights different aspects of peripheralisation processes like stigmatisation, disconnection and migration against the backdrop of the economic transformation and regional discourses. The focus is on explanations for gender-specific migration pattern and the everyday-life perspective of young women. Especially the underlying implicit social communication patterns, expectations of young people's actions in rural areas and the migration decision of young women with narratives of leaving and returning are considered. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Leibert T.,Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
Journal of Rural Studies | Year: 2016

Rural regions in East Germany have been characterized by strong age- and sex-selective outmigration since 1990, which has resulted in unbalanced sex ratios in the age group 18-35 with pronounced surpluses of men. The East German countryside is unique in Europe in two respects: (1) the spatial and numerical extent of the overrepresentation of young men and (2) the missing equalization of sex ratio imbalances for groups in the age of forming a family. An analysis of statistical data shows that structural conditions, especially the situation on the labor market are important determinants of unbalanced sex ratios and sex-selective migration. However, in order to understand why rural East Germany stands out with an especially high surplus of young men, it is necessary to take the specific historical context - the legacy of the German Democratic Republic and the gendered and economic consequences of unification into account, notably the continuously high work orientation of East German women in an economically difficult environment. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

Kovacs Z.,Hungarian Academy of Sciences | Herfert G.,Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
Housing Studies | Year: 2012

Large housing estates in former state-socialist countries had been hardly affected by social erosion before the political changes. However, the emergence of new, capitalist forms of housing after 1990 started to endanger the position of large housing estates on the local housing market. The question was repeatedly raised in the literature about whether large housing estates of post-socialist cities would experience physical decay and social downgrading similar to the West. This paper investigates the socio-economic differentiation of large housing estates in the former state-socialist countries using a case study approach. Housing satisfaction and mobility of residents in four post-socialist housing estates were analysed through a standardised household survey. Empirical data confirm that despite their similar physical appearance, the attitude of people towards large housing estates and their position on the local housing market vary significantly. The authors conclude that even though socialist large housing estates are affected by social downgrading, nevertheless they represent relative social stability and can offer affordable housing to people who are at the start of their housing career. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Brade I.,Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography
Regional Research of Russia | Year: 2014

This paper analyzes the phenomenon of the Russian "dacha" through the lens of Western European research. This phenomenon is studied in the context of finding the strategies of dacha residents with historical hindsight and the value of dachas in the Soviet and post-Soviet societies. Special attention is paid to social aspects of the lives of dacha residents in the suburbs in post-Soviet Russia. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2014. Original Russian Text © I. Brade, 2014.

In the past years, new patterns of regional disparities between metropolised core regions and the remaining parts of Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) have emerged. Such spatial disparities have lately fuelled concerns about further regional polarisation and the peripheralisation of non-metropolitan regions in particular. This is the case although balancing spatial development has been a major goal of European Regional Policy. The paper argues that there is a clear need to beter understand the social, economic, discursive and political processes constituting regional polarisation and to conduct further research on approaches to deal with and respond to peripheralisation. The proposed research agenda focuses on a multi-scalar relation between core and peripheral regions and applies a process based dynamic understanding of peripherality and central-ity. Following this, peripheralised regions bear agency capacities and cannot be seen as powerless victims of some overarching processes associated with the globalising economy. Applying the notions of polarisation and peripheralisation to guide further research, offers multi-dimensional, multi-scalar and process based conceptualisations of regional development research. With the proposed research agenda, I would like to open up the discussion on new interpretations of the terms peripherality and centrality, rurality and urbanity, border and rural areas, core and peripheral regions, and contribute to the development of new approaches in multi-level governance and ultimately in regional policy. © 2015, Reasearch Centre for Astronomy and Earth Sciences Hungarian Academy. All rights reserved.

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