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23.1 Reflections and new directions in a multilevel approach to local (rural) development

Tuesday, June 27, 2023
11:00 - 12:30


Francisco Antonio Navarro-Valverde
University of Granada

Paths in neo-endogenous rural development and social innovation. Common processes from the theory to practice


There is a relevant and evident connection between neo-endogenous rural development and social innovation. This link is reflected in the necessity of social innovation processes in neo-endogenous rural development practices, and the combination of external and internal actors and resources in social innovation.
On the one hand, neo-endogenous development is the approach through which the practice of local development is organized through innovative projects, the use of territorial capitals (Bosworth & Turner, 2018), governance processes and partnerships, and the interdependence of internal and external actors and networks.
And on the other hand, social innovation is the tool and driver, reacting to a social problem, building a new network of actors, being developed through different phases (Neumeier, 2012), giving place to different effects: social changes, organizational consolidation, organizational change, incremental or radical social innovations (Vercher et al., 2022); and the consolidation or change of territorial identity (Belliggiano et al., 2018). In these interdependencies and processes promoted thanks to different projects, rural areas are benefited, facing their problems (Pinilla & Sáez, 2021) and obtaining positive impacts such as the improvement of life quality (Novikova, 2022).
However, in the process that these initiatives go through, the variety of situations and experiences is extremely wide, inviting to increase the complexity of the different models. Definitively, and firstly, the interpretations of these phases from different researchers fit and can be gathered because of their similar points. And secondly, supporting these findings, different experiences of rural development contribute to corroborate these different models and processes.
Dr. Claudia De Fuentes
Associate Professor
Saint Mary's University

Wine making or place-making. The role of the craft wine industry on rural revitalizaton


This paper will contribute to the understanding of how craft industries, like the craft wine industry, through the creation and accumulation of skills, have played a key role in reversing the decline of population in rural areas, transforming them into vibrant communities. We identify craft-based industries as those that require a particular set of knowledge and skills, more tacit in nature, for the production of goods. We argue that these characteristics of craft-based industries play a key role in innovation and place-making, and that they also contribute to community and economic development. The main aim of this research is to analyze how rural place-making was collectively achieved by the actors in the rural regions through attracting resources and accumulating knowledge and skills to innovate. We seek to increase our understanding of how the craft wine industry has the potential to reverse the ebb tide of young people and attract resources, transforming the capacity of local communities. We elaborate on how the local factors (e.g. local culture and identity) play an important role in this process as a source of social cohesion.

We use the systems of innovation framework to analyze the different actors present in the craft wine industry, the roles they play, and the interactions that are necessary for the creation and accumulation of knowledge and skills. Conceptually, we bridge the innovation studies literature with the economic geography literature, and sociology to examine the role of local factors in this process.
Erik Logar
Junior Researcher, Research Centre

Place Branding as an Approach to the Development of Rural Areas in Slovenia


For more than a two decades, place branding is used as a mechanism to increase the prosperity of rural areas in Slovenia. In doctoral thesis we identified 42 rural areas with ongoing process of place branding. Although basic theoretical principles of place branding were integrated in processes of those areas, usually the outcomes of place branding are not resulting in improved image, strengthened identity and stronger cooperation of stakeholders in area.
By the methods of literature review, survey, interviews and focus groups we conduced eight case studies of rural areas to enlighten the ongoing processes of place branding. We focused on developmental steps of place branding process: the introduction and shaping the idea, organising the managing structure for place branding process, dealing with cooperation and participation of local communities and finally, challenges of place branding in rural areas are identified.
The existing theory of place branding is challenged by the research findings of eight case studies in Slovenia. First, in comparison to branding of cities or regions place branding theory is strongly underdeveloped in field of rural areas. Second, place branding processes in rural areas of Slovenia are strongly limited to one or several sectors of stakeholders and is predominately oriented towards productivism and consumerism and never base on holistic approach. Third finding is prevalence of top-down approach and lack of stakeholders’ engagement. Finally, although place branding process should stimulate rural development, usually also contributes to the uneven territorial development and increased regional disparities as well.
Alexandra Theofili
Phd Candidate
Harokopio University of Athens

Reconfiguring local development strategies in rural Greece: Valorising, Learning and Consolidating outcomes from LEADER programs


Local development pursued through the valorization and upgrading of local resources is a major precondition of the neo-endogenous development approach. Local participation is deemed as an essential factor for setting up and activating the objectives and strategies for local/rural development. The implementation of LEADER 2007-2013 in Greece, first launched in the early 1990s, is the focus of this paper. The LEADER programs, as actions aiming to pursue the country’s rural development objectives, were expected to include innovative concepts and organizational structures, with the aim of shaping integrated and multi-sectoral strategies that valorize endogenous resources and promote networking and cooperation between rural areas, contributing to their sustainable development with the participation of the local community.
Mixed methods are considered the most appropriate methodology for studying the implementation of LEADER. Both structured questionnaires addressed to LAGs and qualitative interviews with experts and policymakers were conducted to understand how the LEADER methodology was integrated into the programs implemented in the period 2007-2013. Moreover, some relevant issues were considered important: a) to explore whether the LEADER method was reflected in the design and management of the programs; b) to identify whether essential elements of the method were incorporated in the local development plans; and c) to underline the main drivers which played an important role in the (un)successful implementation of the programs. The paper aims at discussing the innovative elements of the LEADER programs and identifying the mechanisms that allow local communities to define their own local development strategy by valorizing their local characteristics.
Dr. Naja Marot
University Professor
University of Ljubljana

Territorial Impact Assessment – an assessment approach to support place-based policy making in cross-border rural areas


The idea of Territorial Impact Assessment dates back to European Spatial Development Perspectives (1999). Implementation of such assessment would contribute to the increase of territorial sensitiveness of sectors in regard to place-based approaches, and consideration of territorial context while drafting and implementing their policies. Since then, European Commission has committed itself to promote TIA as a tool to support policy making on the European and national level. Furthermore, policy makers should recognise different territorial settings and typologies, such as urban-rural areas, remote areas and other contexts that can lead to diverse or even unbalanced policy impacts. The latest efforts of the EC have materialised in adoption of Territorial Agenda 2030 and introduction of pilot actions in support of its implementation. In this contribution we are presenting results of pilot action aimed to provide the assessment of (un)balanced impacts of the selected sectoral policies on the cross-border areas of Slovenia, The Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany. More particularly, we present the assessment approach to evaluate the (un)wanted territorial impacts of the national cultural heritage strategy 2020-2023 onto the countryside area on Slovenian-Croatian border and how these impacts contribute to rural development. Furthermore, participative approach to the assessment elaborates on how aware regional and local stakeholders are towards the national and European territorial objectives and of territorial impact of sectoral policies. Another added value of the approach is by deliberating the territorial impacts in the cross-border context, thus, to assess the spill-over affects of one national policy into the neighbouring country.

Session host

Lynn-Livia Fynn
Thünen Institute of Rural Studies

Kim Pollermann
Thuenen Institute of Rural Studies



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

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