Skip to main content

Searching for a conceptual nexus? A critical analysis of community, place, and territorial approaches to rural development

Abstract

Despite commonalities, the development of a broad range of approaches to rural development has sometimes produced hermetic language and values which is exacerbated by siloed scientific orientations. In this article, we provide a critical analysis of three popular approaches to rural development among Global North rural researchers, practitioners, and decision-makers: the community-based approach, the place-based approach, and the territorial approach. By locating the disciplinary origins and pragmatic boundaries of each approach as well as the interfaces between them, we argue that working across a potential conceptual nexus could foster collaboration among policy-makers, practitioners, and researchers alike. Our analysis points to shared interests in issues of governance, actors agency and geographical embeddedness; it highlights a shared emphasis on rural defined interests. We conclude future rural development research and practice could be rejuvenated by working at the nexus of these interfaces to achieve the goals of contemporary rural development initiatives.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Akimowicz M, Képhaliacos C (2018) Coordonner la construction territoriale par une vision du futur. Les dynamiques d’investissement agricole dans l’InterScot toulousain. Econ Rural 365:29–50

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Akimowicz M, Képhaliacos C, Landman K, Cummings H (2020) Planning for the future? The emergence of shared visions for agriculture in the urban-influenced Ontario’s Greenbelt, Canada, and Toulouse InterSCoT. Reg Environ Change 20(2):57

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ansell C, Gash A (2008) Collaborative governance in theory and practice. J Public Adm Res Theory 18(4):543–571

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Argent N, Measham T (2014) New rural economies: introduction to the special themed issue. J Rural Stud 36:328–329

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ashley C, Maxwell S (2001) Rethinking rural development. Dev Policy Rev 19(4):395–425

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Badie B (1994) Le Développement politique. Economica, Paris

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Barca F, Mccann P, Rodríguez-Pose A (2012) The case for regional development intervention: place-based versus place-neutral approaches. J Reg Sci 52(1):134–152

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Becattini G (2002) From Marshall’s to the Italian Industrial districts. A brief critical reconstruction. In: Quadrio Curzio A, Fortis M (eds) Complexity and industrial clusters. Contributions to economics. Physica-Verlag, Heidelberg

    Google Scholar 

  • Bhattacharyya J (2004) Theorizing community development. J Community Dev Soc 34(2):5–34

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bollman RD (1992) Rural and small town Canada. Thompson Educational Publishing, Toronto

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolton R (1992) “Place prosperity versus people prosperity” revisited: an old issue with a new angle. Urban Stud 29(2):185–203

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boschma R (2005) Proximity and innovation: a critical assessment. Reg Stud 39(1):61–74

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bosworth G, Annibal I, Carroll T, Price L, Sellick J, Shepherd J (2016) Empowering local action through neo-endogenous development; The case of Leader in England. Soc Rural 56(3):427–449

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Brown DL, Shucksmith M (2017) Reconsidering territorial governance to account for enhanced rural-urban interdependence in America. Annals Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 672(1):282–301

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buttimer A (1976) Grasping the dynamism of lifeworld. Ann Assoc Am Geogr 66:277–292

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Buttimer A, Seamon D (1980) The human experience of space and place. St. Martin’s Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Cejudo E, Navarro F (2020) Neoendogenous development in European rural areas. Springer, Cham

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Chaves M, Macintyre T, Verschoor G, Wals A (2018) Radical ruralities in practice: negotiating buen vivir in a Colombian network of sustainability. J Rural Stud 59:153–162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Colletis G, Pecqueur B (2005) Révélation de ressources spécifiques et coordination située. Econ Inst 6–7:51–74

    Google Scholar 

  • Cook J (1994) Community development theory. University of Missouri, Columbia

    Google Scholar 

  • Cresswell T (2008) Space and place (1977): Yi-Fu Tuan. In: Hubbard P, Kitchin R, Valentine G (eds) Key texts in human geography. SAGE, London, pp 53–60

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • D’Alessandro C, Levy D, Regnier T (2021) Une nouvelle définition du rural pour mieux rendre compte des réalités des territoires et de leurs transformations. In: Couleaud N, Lenseigne F, Moreau G (eds) La France et ses territoires. INSEE, Montrouge

    Google Scholar 

  • d’Aquino P (2002) Le territoire entre espace et pouvoir: pour une planification territoriale ascendante. Espace Geogr 31(1):3–22

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Darly S, Torre A (2013) Conflicts over farmland uses and the dynamics of “agri-urban” localities in the greater Paris region: an empirical analysis based on daily regional press and field interviews. Land Use Policy 33:90–99

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dax T, Strahl W, Kirwan J, Maye D (2016) The Leader programme 2007–2013: enabling or disabling social innovation and neo-endogenous development? Insights from Austria and Ireland. Eur Urban Reg Stud 23(1):56–68

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Falk I, Kilpatrick S (2000) What is social capital? A study of interaction in a rural community. Sociol Rural 40(1):87–110. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9523.00133

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Faludi A (2012) Multi-level (territorial) governance: three criticisms. Plan Theory Pract 13(2):197–211

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fluharty C (2002) Toward a community-based national rural policy: the importance of the social services sector. Child Welf 81(5):663

    Google Scholar 

  • Freshwater D, Trapasso R (2014) The disconnect between principles and practice: Rural policy reviews of OECD countries. Growth Change 45(4):477–498

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Friedman TL (2005) The world is flat: a brief history of the twenty-first century. Farrar Straus and Giroux, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Garcilazo J, Martins J, Tompson W (2010) Why policies may need to be place-based in order to be people-centered. VOX CEPR’s Policy Portal. https://voxeu.org/article/why-policies-may-need-be-place-based-order-be-people-centred. Accessed 23 Nov 2020

  • Gkartzios M, Scott M (2014) Placing housing in rural development: exogenous, endogenous and neo-endogenous approaches. Sociol Rural 54(3):241–265

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Goel K (2014) Understanding community and community development. In: Goel K, Venkat P, Abraham F (eds) Community work: theories, experiences, and challenges. Niruta Publications, Bengaluru, pp 1–15

    Google Scholar 

  • Halseth G, Markey S, Bruce D (2009) The next rural economies: constructing rural place in global economies. CABI Publishing, Wallingford

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Halseth G, Markey S, Reimer B, Manson D (2010) Introduction: the next rural economies. In: Halseth G, Markey S, Bruce D (eds) The next rural economies. CABI International, Oxfordshire, pp 1–16

    Google Scholar 

  • Halseth G, Markey S, Ryser L (2019) Introduction. In: Halseth G, Markey S, Ryser L (eds) Service provision and rural sustainability. Routledge, New York, pp 3–18

    Google Scholar 

  • Hanlon N, Halseth G (2005) The greying of resource communities in northern BC: implications for health care delivery in already under-serviced communities. Can Geogr 49(1):1–24

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harrow J, Jung T (2016) Philanthropy and community development: the vital signs of community foundation? Community Dev J 5(1):132–152

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Harvey D (1989) The condition of postmodernity: an enquiry into the origins of cultural change. Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge, MA

    Google Scholar 

  • Hustedde R, Ganowicz J (2002) The basics: what’s essential about theory for community development practice. J Commun Dev Soc 33(1):1–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jauhiainen J, Moilanen H (2012) Regional innovation systems, high-technology development, and governance in the periphery: The case of Northern Finland. Nor J Geogr. https://doi.org/10.1080/00291951.2012.681685

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Jean B (2011) Le développement territorial. Une discipline scientifique émergente. In: Massicotte G (ed) Sciences du territoire: perspectives québécoises, Presses de l’Université du Québec. Québec

    Google Scholar 

  • Kenny S, McGrath B, Phillips R (2017) Communities in governance in a neoliberal age. In: Taylor M (ed) The Routledge handbook of community development: perspectives from around the globe. Routledge, London, pp 12–25

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Kitchin R (2016) Geographers matter! Doreen Massey (1944–2016). Soc Cult Geogr 17(6):813–817

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kosec K, Wantchekon L (2020) Can information improve rural governance and service delivery? World Dev 125:104376

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lévy J (1993) A-t-on encore (vraiment) besoin du territoire ? Espaces Temps 51–52:102–142

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lovell S, Gray A, Boucher SE (2018) Economic marginalization and community capacity: how does industry closure in a small town effect perceptions of place? J Rural Stud 62:107–115

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lovering J (1999) Theory led by policy: the inadequacies of the “New Regionalism.” Intern J Urb Reg Res 23(2):379–385

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luloff AE, Krannich RS (2002) Persistence and change in rural communities: a 50-year follow-up to six classic studies. CABI, Wallingford

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Lundgren AS, Johansson A (2017) Digital rurality: producing the countryside in online struggles for survival. J Rural Stud 51:73–82

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luoto I, Virkkala S (2017) Place-based regional development as a strategic guideline. Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, Helsinki

    Google Scholar 

  • MacLeod G (2001) Beyond soft institutionalism: accumulation, regulation, and their geographical fixes. Environ Plan A 33(7):1145–1167

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Maddrell A (2009) An interview with Anne Buttimer: an autobiographical window on geographical thought and practice 1965–2005. Gend Pl Cult 16(6):741–765

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Makuwira J (2007) The politics of community capacity-building: contestations, tensions, and ambivalences, in the discourse in indigenous communities in Australia. Aust J Indig Educ 36(supplement):129–136

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Markey S, Halseth G, Ryser L, Argent N, Boron J (2019) Bending the arc of the staples trap: negotiating rural resource revenues in an age of policy incoherence. J Rural Stud 67:25–36

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Markey S, Breen S, Lauzon A, Gibson R, Ryser L, Mealy R (Eds.) (2015) State of rural Canada 2015. Canadian rural revitalization foundation. http://sorc.crrf.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/SORC2015.pdf. Accessed 20 Nov 2020

  • Markey S (2010) Primer on place-based development. Canadian regional development: a critical review of theory, practice and potentials. http://cdnregdev.ruralresilience.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/primerplacebaseddevelopment-markey.pdf. Accessed 20 Nov 2020

  • Massey D (2005) For space. Sage Publications, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Massey D (1991) A global sense of place. Marx Today 38:24–29

    Google Scholar 

  • Matarrita-Cascante D, Brennan M (2012) Conceptualizing community development in the twenty-first century. Community Dev 43(3):293–305

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McGranahan D (1980) The spatial structure of income distribution in rural regions. Am Sociol Rev 45(2):313–324

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McMichael P (2020) The twenty-first-century land question and its politics. In: Bjorkhaug H, McMicheal P, Muirhead B (eds) Finance or food? University of Toronto Press, Toronto, pp 19–41

    Google Scholar 

  • Moity Maizi P, Muchnik J (2003) Circulation et construction de savoir-faire : questions pour une anthropologie des systèmes alimentaires localisés. CIRAD. https://agritrop.cirad.fr/514188/. Accessed 25 Nov 2020

  • Mollard A, Sauboua E, Hirczak M (2007) Territoires et enjeux du développement régional. Quae, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  • Morphet J (2011) Delivering infrastructure through spatial planning: the multi-scalar approach in the UK. Local Econ. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094211404629

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Muchnik J, Salcido GT (2008) Systèmes agroalimentaires localisés : état des recherches et perspectives. Cahiers Agric 17(6):513–519

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • OECD (2011) OECD regional outlook 2011: building resilient regions for stronger economies. OECD, Paris

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • OECD (2014) OECD rural policy reviews: innovation and modernising the rural economy. OECD, Paris

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Ottati GD (2009) An industrial district facing the challenges of globalization: prato today. Eur Plan Stud 17(12):1817–1835

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pizzorno A (1986) Sur la rationalité du choix démocratique. In: Leca J (ed) Birbaum P. Sur l’individualisme Presses de la FNSP, Paris

    Google Scholar 

  • Polese M (1999) From regional development to local development: on the life, death, and rebirth(?) of regional science as a policy relevant science. Can J Reg Sci 22(3):299–314

    Google Scholar 

  • Pugalis L, Bentley G (2014) Place-based development strategies: possibilities, dilemmas and ongoing debates. Local Econ. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269094214541617

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Randall J, Ironside G (1996) Communities on the edge: an economic geography of resource-dependent communities in Canada. Can Geogr 40(1):17–35

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ray C (2006) Neo-endogenous rural development in the EU. In: Cloke P, Marsden T, Mooney PH (eds) Handbook of rural studies. SAGE, London, pp 278–291

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Reddel T (2002) Beyond participation, hierarchies, management and markets: ‘new’ governance and place policies. Aust J Pub Admin 61(1):50–64

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reimer B, Lyons T, Ferguson N, Polanco G (2008) Social capital as social relations: the contribution of normative structures. Sociol Rev 56(2):256–274

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Reimer B, Markey S (2008) Place-based policy: a rural perspective. Ottawa. https://crcresearch.org/files-crcresearch_v2/ReimerMarkeyRuralPlaceBasedPolicySummaryPaper20081107.pdf. Accessed 20 Nov 2020

  • Relph E (1976) Place and placelessness. Pion, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Relph E (1981) Relational landscapes and humanistic geography. Barnes and Noble, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Relph E (1993) Modernity and the reclamation of place. In: Seamon D (ed) Dwelling, seeing, and designing: toward a phenomenological ecology. Suny Press, NY

    Google Scholar 

  • Requier-Desjardins D (2009) Territoires–Identités–Patrimoine: une approche économique? Dev Durable Territ. https://doi.org/10.4000/developpementdurable.7852

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Requier-Desjardins D, Boucher F, Cerdan C (2003) Globalization, competitive advantages and the evolution of production systems: rural food processing and localized agri-food systems in Latin-American countries. Entrep Reg Dev 15(1):49–67

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Roberts E, Beel D, Philip L, Townsend L (2017) Rural resilience in a digital society: editorial. J Rural Stud 54:355–359

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sack R (1986) Human territoriality. Its theory and history. Cambridge University Press, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • Salemink K, Strijker D (2016) Rural broadband initiatives in the Netherlands as a training ground for neo-endogenous development. Local Econ 31(7):778–794

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seamon CD, Sowers J (2008) Place and Placelessness (1976): Edward Relph. In: Hubbard P, Kitchin R, Valentine G (eds) Key texts in human geography. Sage Publications, London, pp 43–52

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Seravalli G (2015) Spatially-blind versus place-based policies. In: Seravalli G (ed) An introduction to place-based development economics and policy. Springer, New York, pp 1–21

    Google Scholar 

  • Shucksmith M (2018) Re-imagining the rural: from rural idyll to Good Countryside. J Rural Stud 59:163–172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sorensen J (2018) The importance of place-based, internal resources for the population development in small rural communities. J Rural Stud 59:78–87

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stead D (2014) The rise of territorial governance in European policy. Eur Plan Stud 22(7):1368–1383

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Suire R, Vicente J (2014) Clusters for life or life cycles of clusters: In search of the critical factors of clusters’ resilience. Entrep Reg Dev 26(1–2):142–164

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Swanson LE (2001) Rural opportunities: minimalist policy and community-based experimentation. Policy Stud J 29(1):96–107

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tolbert C, Mencken F, Riggs T, Li J (2014) Restructuring of the financial industry: the disappearance of locally owned traditional financial services in rural America. Rural Sociol 79(3):355–379

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tonts M, Plummer P, Argent N (2014) Path dependence, resilience and the evolution of new rural economies: Perspectives from rural Western Australia. J Rural Stud 36:362–375. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrurstud.2014.04.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Torre A (2008) On the role played by temporary geographical proximity in knowledge transmission. Reg Stud 42(6):869–889

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Torre A (2015) Théorie du développement territorial. Geogr Econ Soc 17(3):273–288

    Google Scholar 

  • Torre A (2018) Les moteurs du développement territorial. Rev Econ Reg Urb 4:711–736

    Google Scholar 

  • Torre A, Rallet A (2005) Proximity and localization. Reg Stud 39(1):47–59

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tuan YF (1971) Geography, phenomenology, and the study of human nature. Can Geogr 15(3):181–192

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vicente J, Balland PA, Brossard O (2011) Getting into networks and clusters: evidence from the Midi-Pyrenean Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) collaboration network. Reg Stud 45(8):1059–1078

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vodden K, Gibson R, Baldacchino G (2015) Place peripheral: Place-based development in rural, island and remote communities. ISER Press

    Google Scholar 

  • Wassenhoven L (2008) Territorial governance, participation, cooperation and partnership: a matter of national culture? Bul Assoc Geogr Esp 46:357–362

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiggins S, Proctor S (2001) How special are rural areas? The economic implications of location for rural. Dev Policy Rev 19(4):427–436

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Winnick L (1966) Place prosperity versus people prosperity: Welfare considerations in the geographic redistribution of economic activity. In: Program RER (ed) University of California. University of California, Los Angeles, Essays in urban land economics in honor of the sixty-fifth birthday of Leo Grebler, pp 273–283

    Google Scholar 

  • Woods M (2010) Rural. Routledge, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Woods M, McDonagh J (2011) Rural Europe and the world: globalization and rural development. Eur Countrys 3(3):153–163

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (2009) Reshaping economic geography. World Bank Development Report 2009. The World Bank: Washington, DC

  • Zdenek R, Walsh D (2017) Navigating community development: harnessing comparative advantages to create strategic partnerships. Palgrave MacMillan, London

    Book  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mikaël Akimowicz.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Akimowicz, M., Weeden, S.A. & Gibson, R. Searching for a conceptual nexus? A critical analysis of community, place, and territorial approaches to rural development. Ann Reg Sci (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-022-01125-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-022-01125-x

JEL Classifications

  • R00
  • O18
  • O20