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Journal Articles Ter es tarsadalom Space and Society Year : 2022

Smart development for peripheral areas. A never-ending story?



Many European countries have implemented development policies for regions and territories in order to contribute to their growth and reduce inequalities. The EU has developed policies for cohesion and smart development which aim to promote the growth of all territories and reduce the gaps between them. The implementation of those policies raises questions about the place of and role of peripheral areas in terms of development. Will they remain under-developed regions, lagging behind? Or are they able to participate in overall development processes? The topic of our paper is an exploration of smart development for peripheral areas, and more especially, rural areas, in Europe. The question arises as to whether these areas are, despite their handicaps, capable of meeting the challenges of development, and most of all of satisfying the conditions for a smart development process. In order to address the question of the development potential of peripheral areas, we start by presenting the European policies of cohesion and smart development, before highlighting the limits of their acceptance by local people. We then show that there are other types of territorial innovations than those identified in the most well-known policies, and finally we propose development strategies for a particular type of peripheral area: rural territories. We found that even while the development policies devoted to these territories have multiplied over the last thirty years, the inhabitants of peripheral areas very often feel dissatisfied with their situation and express their opposition through extreme votes or public demonstration. One of the major reasons for this growing gap between the proliferation of EU policies and the dissatisfaction of the population is that innovations and novelties coming from these areas are rarely considered and encouraged by the current policies. The latter attach too great an importance to technological dimensions and are mainly directed towards industrialized and densely populated areas, whereas innovations stemming from peripheral territories, which are very real, are concentrated primarily in the social, institutional, and organizational fields. In the end, many policies are disconnected from the needs, the will, and the skills of local populations in peripheral areas. In order to avoid these problems and to reduce the obstacles on the development paths of peripheral areas we advocate policies that are better adapted to these territories and which seriously consider their innovative character. The case of rural areas in Europe provides interesting insights because it shows that a mix of ‘traditional’ and more social and institutional policies is possible, and that various mixes can be adapted to the peculiarities of these regions; from peri-urban areas to remote agricultural or forested lands. In any case, it is important to stress that the measures that are applied must be adapted to the respective characteristics of the different categories of territory and not be based on a catalogue adaptable to any type of peripheral areas. It is at this price that we may avoid the disjunction between the different territories of the EU and the appearance of zones of separatism, or even the dislocation of the European community.
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hal-03768853 , version 1 (05-09-2022)


Attribution - CC BY 4.0



André Torre. Smart development for peripheral areas. A never-ending story?. Ter es tarsadalom Space and Society, 2022, 36 (3), pp.10 - 27. ⟨10.17649/tet.36.3.3423⟩. ⟨hal-03768853⟩
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