Day 10-Rural development policies

Dan Yuhasz, Lindsey Lunsford, Megi Zala

Morning section

The morning classroom session started with a presentation of Bianca Cavicchi, a researcher in Bioenergy and Bioeconomy, from Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research. Cavicchi presented a case study of Regional Bioeconomy Development from Emilia Romagna Region (Italy). After the economic crisis in Italy, a new approach was initiated in the Region in order to create new jobs for unemployed farmers and locals by creation Bio-gas plants. A complex situation was created due to lack of information and engagement from the community.

Therefore, a research with a qualitative system dynamic approach was used by Cavicchi in the creation of the mapping feedback to identify the interrelations of economic, social and environmental processes.

This methodology helps to identify policies, stakeholders, and sectors to assess effects on economic development.

The second presentation was a case study brought by William Ashton, Director at Rural Development Institute, Brandon University. Ashton presenteda soybean processing initiative from Brandon, Manitoba (Canada) that took place in five rural communities. The initiative was designed to create a community commitment model and building capacity by involving different actors including Brandon University as a Chair Member, by creating an action plan (Strategic road map).

The last section (30 min) was focused in a groupwork exercise to generate a Regional Economic Development Initiative proposal. The participants were divided in 4 groups, with a different topic each.

The proposals created and identified the RED strategy activities, the Important Impact of Regional Activities and Budget requirement by following the template given.

Key Highlights and Learnings:

  • The limited time helped in the brainstorming process to bring every idea on the table and put them in order. “You get to the action and during the process figure out the plan.”
  • Different capabilities and experiences within the group helped in the creation of the plan.
  • Many groups identified University as a neutral Chair in their proposals.
  • The budget created debates in between the group.
  • In practice the budget is an important driver in the proposal process.

Afternoon session

The afternoon classroom session included two presentations of regional development approaches. Francesca Regoli, project manager for the Business Department at the University of Bologna, presented on the Territorial approach for the development of rural areas in Europe, which represents a new approach to rural development. It is used with a multi-sector alliance and a community-based approach. The effort at relocalization seeks to boost local awareness and minimize any decontextualization of a village’s appearance. Examples were shown from Romania. Ultimately this all leads to networks and synergies that boost the awareness of the territorial capital and make territorial governance possible. Informal networks and multi-level cooperatives are seen as critical components. Kristiina Jokelainen, the Director of International Relations for the Regional Council of Lapland, presented on Arctic Smartness.

Before the talk we each got the latest copies of the Arctic Smartness Excellent News to peruse. This publication promotes the economic development efforts of the regional council. The overall effort has a goal to make Lapland the most innovative sparsely populated region in the world by 2022. Lapland has vast deposits of natural resources and wants to be self-determinant about its development strategies when extracting them. Among their strategies is the modern cluster approach. Using Smart Specialization, Vision 2030 has established sustainability goals with three interconnected priorities for economic growth.

Evening Session

The group travelled to Pilke Science Center. The Pilke House is located on the bank of the Ounasjaoki in Rovaniemi’s Sahanperä. The idea behind Pilke is to express environmental ethics and to do justice to wood, which represents the only fully renewable building material. The carbon emissions of Pilke are one-third of those of a steel or concrete building of equivalent size. Pilke represents a marvel in ecological wood construction and a striking piece of Finnish architecture. The ICRPS team had a great time exploring the space and engaging in interactive games and activities that focused on the ecological aspects of Finnish culture.