The Resilient Village : contribution of regional initiatives to a resilient development of rural areas. A case study using the leader project ”Day of the Village” of the local action group Altmühl-Jura e.V.
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Geography
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Oulu : L. Steinbach,
This Master Thesis offers a contribution for the operationalization of resilience of communities at the local level and aims to make the initiatives of regional development especially LEADER projects evaluable for its contribution to resilience of local communities. In rural areas, the effects of crises and change are particularly visible. This manifests itself in a wide variety of ecological, economic and social symptoms that pose challenges to rural village communities. In regional development, the concept of resilience has therefore become a suitable response concept to constant crises and change and can be seen as a general guideline for handling theses. Through an interdisciplinary and systems theoretical approach to resilience, it is conceptualiszed as the self-controlling capacity of social systems. The LEADER program of the EU is considered to have resilience-promoting potential. The researched question is therefore to what extent LEADER projects can contribute to the resilience of village communities.
Using a mixed methods approach, resilience-promoting system characteristics are identified, and an own model is developed for the Resilience of Village Communities. The model is tested on nine villages under investigation of the case study. Furthermore, the contribution of a certain LEADER project called “Day of the Village” of the Local Action Group Altmühl-Jura in the middle of Bavaria, Germany, to the resilience of these village communities is measured. The results show that a positive effect of LEADER projects is determined, which can unfold under certain conditions. The evaluations show that the villages of the Altmühl-Jura region show strengths above all in the resilience dimension of value attitudes, mindset and belief of the individual people and strong bondings of social relationships and networks within the communities. These are resilience dimensions of particular importance for the villages and strengthen the self-organization and self-help ability. They also show a strong identification of the people with their home village. These characteristics are also those that could be strengthened by the LEADER project. In particular, the LEADER project has improved the situation of the social meeting places in the villages, but they still show here an insufficient situation. Weaknesses emerge in those resilience characteristics that describe the villages’ relationships with public institutions and administrations and its representatives, which limits their willingness to cooperate with municipalities and regional development organisations. Overall, it can be concluded that LEADER projects have a positive effect on the resilience of local communities. LEADER, through its creation of an enabling environment and its principles like the bottom up approach achieve resilience-promoting effects.
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