rss_2.0European Countryside FeedSciendo RSS Feed for European Countryside Countryside 's Cover Ways of Saint James in Trás-Os-Montes and Alto Douro as an Example of Soft Tourism in Rural Areas<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The objective of this study is to demonstrate the importance of the existing Ways of Saint James in Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, in the northern interior of Portugal, and that being integrated in soft tourism, can constitute a mechanism that allows the revitalization of rural areas, especially the sparsely populated areas, because it allows a series of benefits such as the increase of tourists and pilgrims, the creation of new services, among other structures, thus boosting tourism development. Above all, these Paths linked to soft tourism, allow us to highlight the predominance of tourism linked to nature tourism and slow mobility. In order to carry out this study, the methodology used will be based on interviews to tourists and pilgrims in order to obtain testimonies that can characterise the impact of the Ways themselves on rural territories.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Factors Affecting the Performance of Agri Small and Medium Enterprises with Evidence from Kosovo<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The agri SMEs in Kosovo are facing challenges that are reducing competitiveness and preventing it from fulfilling their production potential. The main constraints in increasing productivity and improving competitiveness are the low use of modern techniques and technologies in both production and management of enterprises, lack of funds, the low use of inputs, and the limited ability to meet international standards of food safety. This paper is focused on the analysis of the impact of agricultural SMEs in the rural economy of the country and the problems related to the impact. The data used for this analysis are the data conducted for the Farm Structure Survey (FSS) which includes the farmers’ list from Agricultural Records compiled by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS) in 2014, as well as the lists of beneficiaries for both direct payments/subsidies and for grants for the period of 2014 to 2017 received by the Agency for Agriculture Development. From the research results, significant factors having an effect on the annual income of agris SMEs are the following: income from the sale of agricultural products, income from subsidies, income from non-agricultural activities, income from salaries, remittances, and income from other activities.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Landscape Tranformation of Small Rural Settlements with Dispersed Type of Settlement in Slovakia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this paper we will focus on one of the five areas of dispersed settlement in Slovakia – Novobanská štálová area and the forecast of its development on the example of selected characteristics (household income and its use, population). The analysis of historical development by using historical maps can relatively and accurately locate areas with permanently low intensity of use and areas that have fulfilled a stabilizing function in the cultural landscape throughout the observed development. At the same time, based on the analysis of the historical development of settlements, we can interpret the trend of the development of land use in the future. The originality of this type of landscape with a dispersed type of settlement also in the sense of the European Landscape Convention lies in its limited occurrence. Besides Slovakia, it occurs only in the Czechia and especially on the Czech-Slovak border. The analysis of demographic characteristics of selected municipalities also indicates qualitative and quantitative changes leading to the gradual extinction of the territory. The presented area as a part of small dispersed settlement has some unique cultural, historical and natural values, which are a reflection of human life and activities in difficult mountain conditions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Closeness is Not Accessibility: Isolation and Depopulated Rural Areas in the Proximity of Metropolitan Urban Areas, A Case-Study in Inland Spain<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The increase of accessibility is one of the most important strategies to achieve territorial cohesion and slow down depopulation processes in rural areas. Accessibility is a wide concept with a range of interpretations. When it comes to rural areas, usual accessibility measures introducing proximity and ease of physical connection could lead to misinterpretations and a lack of knowledge for rural areas. This study proposes an accessibility analysis based on connection and function of one of the most depopulated territories in inland Spain: the province of Guadalajara (NUTS-3) which constitutes an interesting case-study because its proximity to the Spanish capital city (Madrid) and the integration of part of the province on its dynamics and economic processes. Results show different rural accessibility levels useful for public policies and decision making on infrastructures. In addition, the accessibility model suggested can be applied in other depopulated rural areas of Europe.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Rural Policies for Sparsely Populated Areas in Finland – Old Problems, New Challenges and Future Opportunities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Sparsely populated areas are in many countries seen as regressive regions lacking decent future options and demanding continuous support from the more prosperous parts of the country in question. This paper addresses rural policies drawn up in recent years to govern not only the negative trends but also the opportunities which the thinly populated rural areas of Finland are experiencing. Finland is, in the European context, a very sparsely inhabited country with long distances between population centres. Less populated areas account for 68% of the land area of Finland but only 5% of the population. Finland’s long tradition of rural policy implementation has resulted in a comprehensive approach also to the policy measures targeting especially the less populated areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Rural Development in Sparsely Populated Areas. Vranov Na Dyjí Micro-Region in Moravia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article analyses the possibilities of development of one of the most peripheral micro-regions of Moravia on the basis of the theory of sustainability. It notes its above-average focus on agriculture and tourism, which is linked to seasonality, lower education of the population, depopulation and higher unemployment. The settlement structure with predominantly very small villages conditions a worse infrastructure, which is partially balanced by a high-quality natural environment. Possible solutions are seen in the focus on qualitative development and support of social capital. The transition to post-productive development and counter-urbanization gives to regions of this type new opportunities associated with the development of housing and tourism.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Social and Spatial Relation Between Small Towns and Villages in Peripheral Regions: Evidence from Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article deals with the important issue concerning that small towns and villages play an important role in the development of many European regions, not only from the point of view of agricultural function, but also due to the preservation of identity and heritage as well as social relations and management of spatial structures. On the other hand, in small towns and villages, there are growing problems related to the migration of people to big cities, leaving farms and villages. Progressive unemployment is observed, especially in peripheral areas. The research question is: what are the similarities and differences of social and spatial relations between small towns and surrounding villages in the selected countries? The article aims to present the interface between social and spatial relationships in small towns and surrounding villages in the context of analyzing the potential of rural areas and models for their development. Authors compared the specificity of small towns and villages of selected regions of Poland, Lithuania, and Slovakia. The following methods were used in the research: analysis and synthesis of literature and documents (legal and strategic), descriptive method, secondary data analysis, comparative method, visual data representation, case study.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00What Do Public Policies Teach us About Rural Depopulation: The Case Study of Spain<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study evaluates the policies developed in Spain to address depopulation and explains the reasons for their low effectiveness. We consider that the low impact of these policies is due to an incorrect diagnosis and design in terms of their content and governance. Therefore, we propose that depopulation policies should have the objective of enabling citizens to reside where they wish and obtain the best possible quality of life. These policies should be implemented within a new governance framework in which the foundations on which they are based and the way in which they are implemented are renewed. With the support of the European Union, such action could be carried out more efficiently and could constitute a reference of successful territorial cohesion contributing to erasing the populist opinion in places that believe that they do not matter.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00‘Cosmovillagers’ as Sustainable Rural Development Actors in Mountain Hamlets? International Immigrant Entrepreneurs’ Perceptions of Sustainability in the Lleida Pyrenees (Catalonia, Spain)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In recent decades, small villages in some mountainous regions in Europe have been suffering from ageing and depopulation, yet at the same time, immigrants have been arriving and settling there. This paper sheds light on the perceptions of sustainable rural development among international immigrants living in municipalities with fewer than 500 inhabitants, which are already the home to some ‘cosmovillagers’. If immigrants’ views are left unattended, an important part of reality will be lacking in the picture of mountainous areas because today immigration is qualitatively relevant in rural Europe. This paper aims to answer the following questions, among others: What dimensions of sustainability are underscored? What are the main challenges for sustainability and the proposals for improvement? What are the local sustainability challenges? This paper provides research results and insights based on original data gathered during fieldwork in the Pyrenees as well as analyses of documents, maps and statistics. Specifically, the main focus is on some several sparsely populated areas in the Lleida Pyrenees, e.g. dozens of municipalities in Alt Urgell, Cerdanya, Pallars Sobirà and Val d’Aran. Thus this paper aims to help fill that relative gap in the existing academic literature by offering original qualitative information.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Stable Mobilities and Mobile Stabilities in Rural Estonian Communities<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>By analyzing the relations of communities and places in sparsely located rural areas, this article argues that rural community is not a stable unity tied to a place, but a phenomenon closely tied to its members’ connections to the interdependent concept of urban/rural, especially in terms of their mobility practices. In this study, the new mobilities paradigm was applied to reveal how everyday relational and routine aspects connected to material, structural, socio-cultural and economic conditioning dynamically intertwine to form a rural community. The analysis is based on three regional case studies in Estonian sparsely populated areas, which are diverse in terms of geographical location, demographic composition, type of settlement, history, and welfare conditions. By using qualitative in-depth interviews with people (N=60) who were involved with the locations, the article analyses everyday mobilities in these communities, especially in terms of interrelatedness to structural, social and material factors. The study has brought out interrelated themes that are connected to the use of rural representations in terms of individual and social self-reflection, the importance of social and material infrastructures, and the dynamics of these borders in communities and shaping community relations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00The Lack of Attention Given by Neoendogenous Rural Development Practice to Areas Highly Affected by Depopulation. The Case of Andalusia (Spain) in 2015–2020 Period<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>How are the problems of depopulation being faced by the Local Action Groups (LAGs) and the LEADER approach? What kinds of proposals are being pointed out to tackle young people’s exodus, the economic depression, the physical and virtual distances, and the marginality from the political and economic centers by these local public-private partnerships to the areas having the more worrying situations? Andalusia, a southern region of Spain, has many municipalities with these severe devepopulation problems. According to this aim, the Local Development Strategies documents (LDSs) of the LAGs for 2015–2020, have been reviewed. The predominance of the top-down approach has limited the attention given to face the rural depopulation. It is relevant to note, as well, the reduced presence of specific objectives and projects to combat depopulation in these deep rural areas. The last finding is that these municipalities with extreme depopulation have been left aside; as no solution placed. Definitely, as empty areas to promote rural development. Depopulation concept and depopulation areas have been forgotten for neoendogenous rural development practices.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Innovative Local Policies in Portuguese Low-Density Rural Areas<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Nowadays, the issue of rural development has a central place on the agenda of policy-makers, prompting a discussion on the instrumental and procedural options of public policies. This paper seeks to contribute to the reflection on the potentialities and limitations of promoting rural development based on innovative strategies sustained by territorial governance modalities, which entail an active involvement of local agents, especially local authorities. For this, it takes as case studies three public policy experiences led by local authorities within a Portuguese low-density region, with one of the lowest development rates among EU regions. Specifically, it aims to discuss: (a) the effectiveness of adopting innovative policies in the context of low-density rural areas; and (2) the role of territorial governance in the success of those policies. The research followed a document analysis and interviews with local development actors. The analysis suggests that peripheral rural areas are not condemned to human desertification. There is a wide spectrum of opportunities for these areas. They can bring together a strategic view of the future, and an institutional leadership capable of dynamizing an adjusted territorial governance model. This is the challenge currently facing rural development policy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Tunnelling the Peninsula of Trolls: A Case Study of Road Infrastructure Improvement and Demographic Dynamics in Northern Iceland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Geographical isolation is closely associated with rural population decline and policies for regional and rural development frequently emphasize better transportation infrastructure improvements. Although poor access to jobs and services may lead to negative rates of net migration and skewed age and gender distribution in rural and remote areas, research on the association of road infrastructure improvement with rural demographic dynamics remains sparse. The current study adds to the understanding of these issues by examining the effects of a large-scale road tunnel project in Northern Iceland. The results suggest that improved road infrastructure coincides with a break in long-term population decline through parity in net migration and positive changes in the composition of the population of sparsely populated areas.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-07-12T00:00:00.000+00:00Institutional Provision of Destination Management in the Most Important and in the Crisis Period the Most Vulnerable Regions of Tourism in Slovakia<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The aim of the presented paper is to examine the specific situation in the institutional provision of tourism in Slovakia with special regard to the most important and in the crisis period the most vulnerable tourism regions, their identification is a partial goal of the paper. With regard to the current crisis period, the survey is supplemented by identifying factors of employment change, focusing mainly on the region’s competitiveness in tourism. The importance of regions is assessed in the article on the basis of potential for tourism development, further in terms of their importance for tourism in Slovakia based on tourism performance expressed by the number of overnight stays and on the basis of industry concentration of tourism measured by employment in tourism. We consider the most vulnerable regions to be those that reach the level of specialization in tourism (based on the localization coefficient) and it has a growing tendency. The research results show that the importance of regional competitiveness in tourism for employment change (which is a regional component) is very different despite the established destination management, it is even negative, and in the case of positive figures, it is without an obvious advantage over other factors analyzed in the shift-share analysis. Also, it is possible that the current crisis period caused by measures in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic will help to find endogenous solutions to fragmented destination management in the most important and vulnerable tourism regions, or legislative solutions related to the amendment to the Tourism Promotion Act.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-21T00:00:00.000+00:00Searching for Success Factors of Agritourism: The Case of Kleve County (Germany)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Agritourism is increasing in popularity as more urban residents appreciate the slower paced rural environment and its authenticity. External influences (political crises and pandemics) have recently reduced mobility which makes agritourism an attractive alternative to former more distant holiday destinations. Agritourists are interested in working farms, local production and animal husbandry. Some European regions (e.g., Bavaria and South Tyrol) have successfully developed agritourism whereas the majority of rural regions are left behind. Agritourism diversifies farmers’ business model and increases their income. For our study, we chose Kleve County (Lower Rhine Area, Germany) as an exemplary region for a touristically unknown rural area. Regional opinion leaders, farmers and industry experts were interviewed to share their experiences about factors that could further and contribute to successful development of agritourism. The results of our case study and supplementary market interviews suggest that its success in less known rural regions depends on the geographic location, mutual efforts of local visionary entrepreneurs, regional beneficial networks and on committed political stakeholders to develop a sustainable business model. The results may be useful for other comparable European rural regions to diversify their farming and develop their own business model.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-21T00:00:00.000+00:00From Valued Stayers to Working Hands? the Social Consequences of Changing Employment Relations Among Polish Migrants in Farmed Salmon Industry in Rural Norway<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>International migrant workers in European rural regions have supplied rural industries with necessary labour, stimulated the demography of host communities and raised questions about the inclusion of migrants. Using the case of Polish post-accession migrants employed in the farmed salmon industry in rural Norway, we explore the social consequences of changing employment relations in rural industries. By using a temporal perspective, we identify a transition from an inclusive employment regime experienced by the migrants who arrived in the locality within the first years after the EU enlargement in 2004, to an increasingly exploitative, insecure and competitive work environment for recently arrived migrants. We emphasise how employment conditions offered to different ‘waves’ of migrants affect the ways they perceive their status and value in rural hosting communities. Ultimately, we reflect on the potential long-term consequences of international migration to rural areas.</p></abstract>ARTICLE2021-05-21T00:00:00.000+00:00The Role of Local Products in Tourism<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>There is a resurgence of regional and local products in Hungary today. Thanks to the development of local businesses, communities and towns are also able to derive a number of economic, environmental, social and cultural advantage. The products in focus are emerging in tourism more often, frequently acting as foundations of tourist attractions built upon them, providing the receiving end with a unique and authentic force of attraction that follow the present trends. The aim of our study was to explore tourists’ needs for local products and the role of local food in regional tourism services. The region of our empirical research was the area of Baranya and Tolna counties in Southern Hungary where we analyzed local producers’ and their consumers’ attitudes towards local products.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-03T00:00:00.000+00:00Causes and Effects of Spatial Chaos in the Polish Carpathians – A Difficult Way to Sustainable Development<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Mountainous rural areas are vulnerable to inappropriate land management, which is particularly visible in the Polish Carpathians. This paper attempts to diagnose the causes and effects of spatial chaos in this area, using the DPSIR method. The Three Questions method was used to assist in analysing the effects of disorder in the context of violating sustainable development. The analysis demonstrated that the causes of spatial disorder were mainly of legal and historical origins, with the most visible effects of this chaos being those related to the dispersion of buildings. Minimising spatial chaos requires extensive education, as well as amending legislation to limit the scope of decisions on development conditions. A national financial mechanism supporting the development of the Carpathians would also seem to be a desirable improvement.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-03T00:00:00.000+00:00Making Landscapes of (Be)Longing. Territorialization in the Context of the Eu Development Program Leader in North Rhine-Westphalia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The participation of residents in development processes is a keystone in current rural governance arrangements. The European Union’s rural development program LEADER is an example of this, as it requests local residents to take action in the development process. Similarly, participatory forms of natural and cultural heritage preservation have increased significantly with the aim of revitalizing the socioecological fabric of territories. Following the Anthropology of Policy, the study employs an ethnographic approach to analyze the effects of bio-cultural heritage preservation strategies in the context of LEADER. Drawing on ethnographic data gathered during several field observations and semi-structured interviews in a LEADER region in North Rhine-Westphalia, the article investigates how a local LEADER initiative reconstructs a historical cultural landscape in order to valorize and exploit the biocultural heritage resources of their village. Residents articulate four interrelated senses of (be)longing while (re)making the biocultural heritage: 1) Political claim to use a resource; 2) place attachment; 3) politics of in/exclusion; and 4) nostalgic-utopian longing. As new knowledge actors in landscape governance, residents posit their perceptions, interpretations and valuations of the landscape vis-à-vis institutional actors of landscape governance and negotiate large-scale landscape transformations in the region investigated.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-03T00:00:00.000+00:00Work Demands, Independence, Valuation as a Farmer, and Mental Health in Farming. A Study of Mental Health Among Dairy Farmers and Vegetable- And Potato Farmers in Norway<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this study, the aim was to advance the knowledge about mental health status in the Norwegian farming population. Based on the dimensions in the Job Demand and Control model (Karasek, 1979); work demands and control, and the importance of recognition and dignity (Andrew Sayer, 2011), the aim was to study the effects of work demands, sense of independence and valuation on mental health status among farmers. It included an assessment of how the sectorial level, the sectors of dairy production and vegetable- and potato production, explains farmers` mental health status. A postal survey was conducted in 2012 using a structured questionnaire, and I included farmers from two sectors in the Norwegian agriculture: dairy farming (n = 493) and vegetable and potato farming (n = 122). The analyses were carried out by multigroup structural equation modeling (SEM). This study concludes that low work demands in farming, strong sense of independence as a farmer, and farmers` perception of valuation associate with good mental health. The mental health status in dairy farmers and vegetable and potato farmers and the effects of work demands, sense of independence and valuation on mental health status, were equal across groups.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-04-03T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1