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Building new relationships in rural areas under urban pressure

The purpose of this research project is to help actors in rural areas under urban pressure to develop strategies to provide rural goods and services (RGS) related to the landscape, and to get compensation payments for the use of the green landscape through new relationships with the urban society. RGS are quality and health products, ecological services, accessible nature, and leisure activities. The project will analyse the relationships between rural and urban actors in order to assess their role and to enhance the diversity of rural landscapes. Since agriculture and forestry are the most important land uses in European rural areas, the project will pay attention to their role in safeguarding the green landscape and providing RGS.

Five research objectives have been defined:
1) to analyse the green landscape in a rural/urban context, in particular land use policies, rural-urban relationships, property rights, RGS and compensation payments
2) to identify trends and motives by consumers to demand RGS, and their willingness to pay for RGS and a green landscape
3) to identify strategies by intermediate actors to enhance RGS
4) to provide RGS, in particular the identification of trends and motives by rural producers and local politics to supply RGS, and to preserve a green landscape
5) to find new relationships between rural and urban areas, in particular compensation payments and RGS to preserve the green landscape.

Progress to Date
The analysis of the intermediate actors in the five M-areas (metropolitan) and T-areas (tourist) has been based on desk research and interviews with 150 stakeholders representing land-users, RGS-producers, instruments and public relations. It has included the type of intermediate actors, their strategies and their co-operation to transmit rural goods and services (RGS). Generally, the co-operation to transmit RGS is often fragmented and sectoral with a lack of local leaders who have networks both inside and outside the area. The role of intermediate actors in the study areas has been summarised in three models: the French 'multiple', the Dutch and Finnish 'organized' and the Hungarian and Spanish 'impulsive' models. The 'multiple' model has regional multiple and decisive IA roles without a strong central hierarchy. The 'organized' model is based on public institutions, quasi-governmental bodies and interest organizations within a central hierarchy that has integrated local interests. The 'impulsive' model shows a starting co-operation with the dominance of non-coordinated actions at an individual base.
Results from the local meetings show the necessity of a suitable development model, which is often lacking, because there is not a coordination among the municipalities to include conservation objectives in their spatial plans. The marketing of RGS could be improved, if there are mainly local consumers and hardly any city-dwellers or tourists.
The analysis of the supply of RGS in the five M-areas and T-areas has been based on interviews with 200 representatives of private producers in and outside agriculture and public providers of leisure and nature. The role of newcomers among the producers to renew the rural economy and the innovation level of the other activities in and outside agriculture has got a particular attention. RGS have a clear connection to traditional activities in the rural areas but they must be seen also as 'a rural expression' of the culture and symbol economy. In the M-areas, the willingness of farmers to develop RGS is marginal compared to the opportunities of selling land. There is also competition between farming and RGS production. RGS-producers are mainly locals, well educated and/or with more social capital, but also newcomers are found, many of them seeking a new lifestyle. Women play an important role in the services development. In Hungary and Spain, there are also foreign investors.


Scientist responsible for the project

Burgemeester Patijnlaan 19 Box 29703
2502 LS The Hague
Netherlands (The) - NL

Phone: +31 7033 58100
Fax: +31 7036 15624


Project ID QLRT-2001-01696
Organisation Agricultural Economics Research Institute
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 December 2003
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 1 094 729 €
Total EC contribution   849 729 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

The partners

  • Laboratoire Dynamique Sociales et Recompositions des Espacescentre National de la Recherche Scientifique , France - FR

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