Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe

Theory and Reality of Rural and Urban Perspectives in the Context of Territorial Cohesion and Regional Development in the Czech Republic

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Russia, Eastern and Central Europe

Theory and Reality of Rural and Urban Perspectives in the Context of Territorial Cohesion and Regional Development in the Czech Republic

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

The relationship of urban and rural areas has been, for a long time, evaluated rather separately in regional development theories. The main reason was the earlier creation of urban studies, which has been focused on problems of urban growth (i.e., the urbanisation process), ensuring appropriate infrastructure and identification of factors for their development since the Middle Ages. Conversely, the field of rural studies has been established since the 1970s, when general interest in this issue had begun to gradually increase, as a kind of counterweight to the dominant urbanism and urban studies (see Cloke, Marsden and Mooney 2006, 7). This interest was then fleshed out by establishing a new professional journal with a multidisciplinary focus on rural areas, i.e., Journal of Rural Studies, which at the international level was entirely unique for its time. The field of rural studies began to be gradually established and the aforementioned journal achieved an extraordinary acclaim. Since the establishment of the specialised journal, rural studies has significantly shifted this issue in terms of a significant number of different approaches to defining and evaluating the rural area, which also contributed to the fact that this issue has inspired policy makers at national and EU level to create a separate policy for rural areas.

This trend could be assessed as an ideal approach in terms of the time and factual progress. But, other important factors need to be mentioned which were also influenced by the EU's efforts to meet the requirements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the context of the need for the gradual liberalisation of the EU's CAP. Although these processes resulted in the creation of an independent Rural Development Policy (since 2007, even with its own financial instrument, the European Agricultural and Rural Development Fund - EAFRD), but with a distinct dominance of the support of agricultural activities generated by agricultural production. The programming period of 2007-2013 ushered in a period of hope concerning the application of a separate rural development policy, whose agricultural part could be gradually weakened (in the future) in favour of structural measures and tools of this policy that would be aimed at promoting non-agricultural activities and stimulating the inner potential of rural areas by a bottom-up approach in the future. However, rural areas were, and still are, perceived by the prism of the agricultural sector in the context of policy-making.

The theory of rural studies, however, has for a long time showed a significant discrepancy between the theoretical and the factual elements of policy implementation (see Ilbery et al. 1998; Marsden and Sonino 2008; Halfacree 2006; Hill 2012). From the establishment of the cohesion and rural development policy could be discerned that problems of urban and rural development should be sorted out separately. However, according to Caffyn and Dahlstrom (2005, 286), real overlaps exist between these two issues with many interrelationships, which are much more important than the actual level of differences in these areas. The problem also lies in the disunited concept, unclear definition of rural areas and the creation of a diverse range of disparate definitions (see Brown and Cromartie 2004; McAreavey 2009; Woods 2011; McDonagh 2012). The reason for this is the main characteristic of rural areas, which is the heterogeneity (Viktorova and Pelucha 2005). This characteristic causes inconsistencies in the methodological approach to rural studies. Therefore, while there is no inability of the academic sphere to be united in this issue, it is virtually impossible to find any uniform definition and any means with which to determine the appropriate approach.

Pëlucha (2012, 122) noted the broader context of current trends of territorial and spatial development. Notably, the processes of globalisation and development of information and communication technologies which provide access to services, information and employment opportunities, in terms of their coverage in the territory by high-speed Internet. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.