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16.1 Uneven rural development in times of the polycrisis

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
13:45 - 15:15


Prof. Tomasz Komornicki
Institute of Geography and Sptial Organization
Polish Academy of Sciences

Peripheral rural areas in the European space of flows


Integrated European space, is characterized by intensive flows and connections across borders. Exists a need for analyzing flows and interactions not only from the national perspective, but also from the regional one. This approach causes major challenges in terms of data availability and the methodology. The ESPON IRiE project collected or modelled data on different types of flows (e.g. trade, FDI, migration, tourism, student flows) in matrix terms (297x297 matrix of NUTS2 in the EU and the UK, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein). The results allow the position of the regions to be assessed from the point of view of their external relations. They show an alternative picture of the core-periphery system in Europe. Strong disparities emerge both within the traditional core and in some peripheral countries (Spain, Poland). The results also give a new insight into the convergence processes taking place. They make it possible to assess the vulnerability of regions to external threats. It is related to: a) the intensity of flows; b) the diversity of types of interaction; c) the geographical diversification of partners.
The presentation focuses on the position of rural regions (ESPON typology) in the network of linkages. The territorial effects of external shocks (Brexit, COVID-19 pandemic, war in Ukraine) as well as EU policies (New Green Deal) were shown. The presentation was complemented by more detailed results from Poland at LAU1 level. The dependence of certain rural agricultural areas on specific markets (including Russian market, closed as a result of the war) was presented.
Kristin Smette Gulbrandsen
Lund University

Resisting peripheralisation: Regionalist discourse, and other scalar tactics


Rural and peripheral areas in northern Norway are faced with a number of complex and interlinked challenges. Climate change increases the occurrence of extreme weather events and its associated physical hazards, but also presents economic challenges for a region reliant on natural resources in the fisheries as well as oil and gas sector. The Covid-19 pandemic has invigorated public debate around societal vulnerability and emergency preparedness in the north, while the far-reaching effects of current geopolitical struggles have negatively impacted local industry and people-to-people cooperation in the region, which shares a border with Russia. Coupled with rising discontent over centralisation, infrastructure, and enclosure of the commons – all set within a wider, national centre-periphery cleavage – recent bottom-up contestation in the north illustrates the effects of polycrisis both economically and on social cohesion. To address these interrelated challenges, this paper examines narratives of contestation arising in opposition to mainstream political discourse on the basis of document analysis and key informant interviews related to three northern political interest groups, whose activities include protest against the Norwegian fisheries quota system, advocacy for a new hospital to reduce travel distances, and resistance to a recently implemented regional reform. The paper attempts to situate these narratives in connection to ongoing material processes of political and economic alienation, in dialogue with Vik, Fuglestad and Øversveen’s (2022) work. Examining local narratives of contestation, the paper explores implications of these groups’ mobilisation of regionalist discourse, and other attempts at scale framing, for alternative visions of rural development.
Dr. Olli Lehtonen
University of Eastern Finland

Internal net migration during the times of crises – case of Finland


Over the past year, we have moved from one crisis to another – from a pandemic to an energy crisis. This paper examines the changes in the trend of the internal net migration in the middle of crises through the monthly time series from 2004 to 2022. The aim is to understand the changes caused by crises to the internal net migration flows between municipalities in Finland by using time series analysis. The results show that the spatial pattern of internal net migration flows changed radically. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the net migration flows directed towards rural municipalities, but as a result of the energy crisis triggered by the Ukraine crisis, the migration boom in rural municipalities has faded away. The digital development during the Covid-19 pandemic changed the places of work and study, thus supporting the growth of rural housing. However, during the energy crisis, significantly higher energy prices have increased housing costs, especially in rural municipalities in relation to urban areas, and therefore high housing costs reduced housing opportunities in rural municipalities and led to negative net migration.
Maria Lucia Bellenzani
Federal University of ABC

Rural areas in highly urbanized spaces as strategical places in a polycrisis context: the case of São Paulo Metropolises.


Given the context of the world's growing urbanization, rural areas in highly urbanized spaces such as metropolitan regions are important from different perspectives: food production, and, therefore, the agri-food systems; as providers of ecosystem services, such as water production, climate regulation, biodiversity and as a cultural value. Despite its significance, these territories tend to be ignored in public policies, jeopardizing their development and, as a consequence, the production of life-sustaining ecosystem services in metropolises, especially nowadays due to the new climate regime (Latour 2020). This issue becomes more strategic in the context of the polycrisis (Tooze, 2022), noting that the impacts of the pandemic increased spatial inequalities and highlighted the importance of short food circuits, especially in large South American metropolises, such as São Paulo, Brazil. Speaking of the rural-urban interface in Latin America, it is essential to consider the multiple interactions between rural and urban, marked by different moments of contemporary capitalism and creating new territorialities (Haesbaert,2019). These are unequal territories. In this presentation, we will discuss the role of local dwellers, which includes small farmers, in building up suitable public policies. It is important because, especially in a neoliberal government in the city and state, there is a risk that these territories will be appropriated by external economic agents - formal and informal - without adequately considering the needs of local people, which would lead to an increase in inequality rather than minimize it.

Session host

Simon Dudek
KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Andreas Kallert
KU Eichstätt-Ingolstadt

Michael Mießner
Associate Professor
Trier University



Contact for questions about abstracts or registration: groningen@congressbydesign.com 

Contact for questions about the content of the programme: ruralgeo2023@rug.nl