May 24, 2015 - May 27, 2015

Global Growth Agendas: Regions, Institutions and Sustainability

Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy

Rural areas are at times assumed to be characterized by low distribution income and low levels of social and economic capital. This lagging condition was due to a multitude of constraints to development: poor economic potential, isolation, absence of agglomeration economies and creativity. In addition, many scholars thought that these areas were only reservoir of natural resources or specialized only in traditional agricultural activities.

At present, these areas are facing severe pressure: urban sprawl and secondary and tertiary sectors restructuring promote their evident transformation into new territories with non-traditional characteristics. In fact, these changes are not only economic, but also define social and environmental variations; at the same time, the reaction to these changes is not identical for all rural areas. “Rural” space is now a succession of full and empty spaces, marginal and rehabilitated areas, from the apparent concentration of population and economic activities or disorderly dispersion of settlements, sometimes abandoned. It has a variety of landscapes, such as small urban areas and cities, forests, farms, greenfield sites, concentrations of industrial crops. It has also a social structure and relationship that is not based on the most typical values of rural society and an economic structure based not only on agriculture.

Rural areas are facing their traditional isolation, weakness and vulnerability in new ways. This conference would like to invite to critical debate about all these changes. Assumptions concerning transformations on socio-cultural, environmental and economic realities will be analyzed in order to identify their impacts on rural characteristics and their possible resurgence and dynamism. In addition, government and promotion choices about these changes will be studied. The conference aims to bring together papers from a range of discipline, such as regional and rural economics, environmental and social studies.

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