Democracy and integrated rural development : the case of LEADER

  • Zago, Romina (Former PhD Student)
  • Dessein, Joost (Former Project Supervisor)
  • Lauwers, Ludwig (Former Project Manager)

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    The research assesses how and to what extent LEADER can be considered as a place-specific approach for regional development according to the principles of participatory democracy.  The study is one part of the layout of the next European programme period (2014-2020), which frames the direction of the Europe 2020 objectives for inclusive and sustainable growth.  The challenge is twofold.  First, Europe wants a more participatory democracy, one that involves the citizens. Second, territorial cohesion must be ensured by using place-specific and bottom-up approaches.

    Research approach
    A comparative case study is conducted in three areas: Tuscany (Italy), Flanders (Belgium) and Tampere (Finland).  The specific element of comparison is the degree of realisation and success of measure 321 during the programme period (2007-2013).  Measure 321 aims to improve the living conditions and welfare of the inhabitants of rural areas.  Simultaneously, it aspires to increase the attractiveness of these areas by providing more and better services.

    The region-specific context of the cases allows to determine whether and how the so-called Local Action Groups (a tool within LEADER) have contributed to participatory democracy and place-specific development.  Based on the lessons learned from the specific period of study we will formulate pratical recommendations for a new approach of Community-led Local Development (CLLD) in the next programme period.
    Effective start/end date1/06/131/06/17

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