Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RS17_01: Reconfiguring territories: Mobilities, representations and belonging
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: María Jesús Rivera Escribano, University of the Basque Country
Session Chair: Apostolos G. Papadopoulos, Harokopio University
Location: BS.4.06A
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Fourth Floor, North Atrium Oxford Road

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Rural-Urban Connections, The Mobility Transition And Its Social Representations. A Comparative Analisis Of Cases Study in Spain

Jesus Oliva1, Daniel Lopatnikov2

1Public University of Navarre, Spain; 2Public University of Navarre, Spain

The daily mobility and particularly the widespread use of private cars, have led to an increasingly interrelation between rural and urban areas. Many economic processes, residential patterns and labour strategies hybridize both realities through these mobilities. Everyday automobility link peri-urban or remote rural regions to urban dynamics and let its residents to combine some opportunities and advantages of these two environments. These strategies allow key groups for rural areas, such as young people and women, to settle in the countryside. Furthermore, in contrast to the former Fordism commuting patterns, current displacements show a complex range of possibilities and motives, as well as much more personalized times and spaces. However, in spite of the centrality of automobility in the socio-territorial transformation and the fundamental role it also plays for the social mobility of rural groups, we still do not understand well how these mobilities become rural cultures. In other words, how are defined the social representations about the city, the countryside and their connections by diverse rural generations and lifestyles through these strategies. Against the background of the mobility transition to a new shared, no conventional or autonomous paradigm, the paper explores these senses in different case studies developed in rural Spain. The analysis social narratives obtained in-depth interviews to expert informants and selected sociological profiles reveals the symbolic and material relevance of rural-urban connections to explain the rural change. The findings confirm the impact that mobility transition and the way it will be regulated will have on rural future

The Role of New Residents in the Reconfiguration of Peri-urban Territories

Elvira Sanz Tolosana1, María Jesús Rivera Escribano2

1Public University of Navarra (UPNA), Spain; 2University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)

In the recent past, Spain chose a growth model heavily dependent on the building sector and housing development. This model of development contributed to intensify the sprawl of many cities beyond the urban space itself. In so happening, peri-urban space has acquired a relevant role in the territorial restructuring of the country. This has been the case of Pamplona, the capital city of a region in northern Spain. In fact, the peri-urban area of this city has experienced an important population increase as the effect of urban to rural migration. In so happening, the sprawling of Pamplona is involved in a process of metropolisation that reaches longer and longer distances. Furthermore, the orography and traditional habitat of the area resembles that of bucolic images of the countryside: small villages and hamlets, hills, rivers, and so forth. Thus, the resulting metropolitan space can be characterised as a plurality of interstitial ruralities where ex-urban residents and urban life play a key role in the configuration of theses spaces.

This paper looks at the way different profiles of ex-urban population moves to interstitial ruralities and how rural and urban dimensions converge in this space to finally give rise to a new territory.

Rural-Urban Inequalities, Mobilities and Spatial Justice in Rural Greece

Apostolos G. Papadopoulos, Loukia-Maria Fratsea

Harokopio University, Greece

In the majority of the cases, rural areas are considered as areas where economic opportunities, access to services and employment positions are lacking, while there is need for more targeted policy interventions to mitigate economic inequalities. Numerous socioeconomic problems (e.g. demographic decline, low education, low-skilled employment, etc.) are attached to rural areas, while poor infrastructures do not allow for optimistic prospects for the vast majority of them. The demographic decline and social marginalization of many areas lead to rural abandonment.

During the period of austerity, Greek rural areas gathered the attention of urban dwellers and young people who were seeking for alternative life opportunities or for sustaining a quality of life in alignment with their middle-class status. In this way, the perceptions of the rural were (re)constructed on the basis of new entrepreneurial/employment opportunities connected to environmental values and sustainable development goals. This narrative of ‘rural regeneration’, linked to the ‘return to agriculture and countryside’ movement, was contested by the harsh reality of the country’s regional inequalities, peripheralization and insularity.

This paper based on research material collected in the context of the IMAJINE project (“Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe IMAJINE” received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, under Grant Agreement No. 726950), sheds light on the facets of the ‘rural regeneration’ narrative against the ‘austerity’ narrative in an attempt to uncover the complexity of the issues related to rural-urban inequalities, mobilities and spatial justice in Greece.

Rural Development and Internal Migration – Employing Path Analysis for Assessing 2007-2013 Rural Development funds’ Impact on Rural Emigration in Hungary

Gergely Horzsa

Corvinus University of Budapest, Hungary

This presentation summarizes findings of a research that aimed to evaluate the effects of EU rural development funds (EAFRD) on emigration among rural settlements of Hungary in the 2007-2013 period. This case is relevant because in Hungary 1) contribution of EU funds in development was the highest among EU countries 2) ratio of non-urban dwellers and rural-urban social gap is one of the highest in the EU 3) increasing rural areas' "population preserving capacities" is the central, well-defined aim of the current rural development strategy. Furthermore, development policy evaluation analyses according to various authors rarely provide valid results. Availability of reliable settlement-level data on in- and outmigration and on development funds spent allows a detailed analysis.

For the investigation of development-migration interactions, a settlement-level database was developed on per capita rural development funds and various socio-economic background variables, the latter ones grasping relative change in values during the 2007-2013 EU budget period. Having high measurement level scale variables and the lack of any control groups, linear regression-based path models were estimated on different subsamples of Hungarian villages and by using various rural development financial sources (fund spent via different ‘axes’ of rural development).

Results suggest that short-term direct and indirect effects of rural development funds on various labour market outcomes can be identified, however, their effects vary highly between settlements with different spatial-economic and social backgrounds. Results regarding outmigration reinforce previous authors’ arguments on development programmes in many cases trailing different migration results from what is expected by policymakers.