1 PURR: POTENTIAL OF RURAL REGIONS UK ESPON WORKSHOP Newcastle 23 rd November 2012 Neil Adams
2 PURR: Potential of Rural Regions Introduction Context for the project A spectrum of knowledge Rural Potentials Pyramid Methodology to identify rural potential Benchmarking in a broader context Regional context and stakeholder perspective North Yorkshire case study: people, place, power So what can we learn from PURR?
3 PURR: Introduction 91% of territory of EU is rural 56% of population of EU live in rural areas Generative capacity of rural Rhetoric and reality of rural
4 PURR: Context for the project Notodden, Norway Amata, Latvia Cambrian Mountains, Wales
5 PURR: A spectrum of knowledge
6 PURR: Rural Potentials Pyramid
7 PURR: Methodology to identify rural potential
8 PURR: Benchmarking in broader context
9 PURR: Regional context and stakeholder perspective
10 People Strengths Positive overall population trends Strong identity / identities and resilience of local population Weaknesses Ageing population and imigration limiting access to services Reliance on public sector employment Limited opportunities for employment growth in Well developed social networks key sectors Low unemployment and high economic activity Limited investment capacity of agricultural rates businesses and SME s Opportunities Threats Stimulating the dynamic and resilient SME sector Increasingly unbalanced demographic structure Harnessing capacities and reslience of population to strengthen third sector Harnessing strength of local identities and networks Pool of human resources with funds to invest as a result of loss of employment in public sector Lack of integration of in-migrants Counter-urbanisation processes diluting local identities Increasing economic and social disparities between upland and lowlands Increasing cost of living and transport poverty due to fuel and energy prices Reduced access to services of general interest
11 Place Strengths Diverse territorial capital with lowland, upland and coastal areas High quality landscape, heritage and natural environment assets Attractive and traditional market towns and villages Nationally important north - south transport links Developed and diverse tourism infrastructure Opportunities Exploitation of territorial capital and increased promotion of regional assets Development of market towns Proximity to major urban centres Further development of the NRE Landscape and nature development Promoting EGS, renewables and the low carbon economy Weaknesses Dispersed settlemement structure with limited connectivity Unbalanced economic structure Predominantly low wage economy (particularly in upland areas) Limited east west connectivity Limited accessibility and infrastructure in more remote areas Threats Overreliance on tourism and agriculture in upland areas Austerity and declining public sector employment Vulnerability to external shocks and commodity prices (lamb) Challenges due to counter urbanisation Conflicts between economic development and environmental designations Lack of recognition of rurality of the region due to scale of EU rural typologies
12 Power Strengths Considerable knowledge and expertise within existing governance networks Opportunities Supporting dynamic knowledge networks, communities and arenas Optimisation of new governance arrangements Strenghtening of voluntary sector Weaknesses Lack of recognition of rurality in European context Fragmented and highly fluid governance structures and networks Perceived policy vaccuum following abolition of regional tier of governance Limited local control over the power and means to steer rural development Perceived and real distance from key political arenas of UK Government Dissolution of regional knowledge networks and resources Threats Ongoing climate of austerity and reductions in public spending Uncertainty regarding governance and funding arrangements A potential lack of long-term strategic planning Austerity and loss of support structures and networks Further fragmentation of evidence base under new governance arrangements External factors such as commodity prices, post-oil economy
13 PURR: issues and options for North Yorkshire Limited scope to shape future of region Problems demonstrating rurality in European context New governance arrangements (LEP) and opportunities for community planning provide opportunities for some areas and communities Loss of knowledge networks and policy vacuum in field of strategic planning Tensions between strategies to mitigate or adapt to impacts of climate change and landscape Small-scale community based renewables, EGS, innovative land management and environmental stewardship Adapting to rather than shaping future Localised tailor made context sensitive local strategies focusing on landscape, nature, cultural heritage...
14 PURR: issues and options for Dumfries and Galloway Proximity to Government Struggling to compete with areas with stronger rural identities and lobbying mechanisms Struggling to establish coherent identity Rurality and the city regions agenda Economic development with focus on main towns Economic role of natural heritage reliant activities Well established policy agendas and framework Well established policy networks Role of voluntary sector and social enterprises Adapting to rather than shaping future
15 So what can we learn from the PURR experience? Rural areas are highly diverse Data issues (availability, scale...) ESPON data is useful but only part of story Spectrum of knowledge Rural regions need to be creative and proactive Regional resilience (economic, social, environmental...) 4-step methodology: adaptable, flexible and intuitive Holistic approach: people, place and power Challenges and opportunities for territorial governance Spatial planning processes can help to identify and realise territorial potential