Rural and Regional Development Open Access

ISSN: 2959-2119 (Online)

2959-2100 (Print)

Rural and Regional Development is an international and open access journal that covers all aspects of rural and regional development. The journal focuses on sociological and interdisciplinary research on rural policies and economic reforms towards rural and regional development, published quarterly online by SCIEPublish.

Editors-in-Chief

Articles (19) All articles

Article

14 May 2024

Measurement and Structure of Common Prosperity of Urban Residents the Case of Hangzhou, China

Common prosperity is an important feature of the social state that the people of the world aspire to, and an important feature of the Chinese path to modernization. Taking common prosperity as the result of income and assets does not facilitate a full understanding of people’s common prosperity, because common prosperity also includes people’s pursuit of subjective happiness such as happiness and satisfaction. From the perspective of the need for a better life in China, this study constructs a subjective evaluation system of the common prosperity of urban residents, including 5 dimensions and 25 specific indicators. It uses survey data from 460 participants and applies the graded response models to estimate parameters and predict latent variables. We find that 21 indicators are in line with the reasonable range of basic assumptions and parameters. They have a strong ability to distinguish the common prosperity of residents in different regions, but have different functional characteristics. The confirmatory factor analysis shows that the common prosperity index of residents includes four potential factors: income, education, medical care, and old-age care, and ecology, which has a good structural effect. In terms of weight, education, medical care and old-age care are the most important factors influencing common prosperity. Among them, the classification policy of high school entrance examination, the quality and fairness of primary and secondary education, the degree of medical insurance security, and the waste sorting and community security are important aspects of evaluating the Common prosperity of residents. 

Article

19 April 2024

Can Digital Village Construction Reduce Rural Income Disparity?—Empirical Analysis Based on Inter-provincial Panel Data in China

Cutting the income disparity within rural areas is one of the key priorities in seeking common prosperity in China. Based on the panel data of 20 provinces in China from 2011 to 2020, we empirically analyze the impact of digital village construction on rural income disparity by building a digital village construction level indicator system which represents three dimensions of digitalization in rural areas, i.e., digitalization of rural infrastructure, digitalization of agricultural development and digitalization of rural residents’ life. Overall, the level of digital village construction in rural China has shown a development trend of gradual improvement, while the development level in various regions is unbalanced and varies greatly. The results of the fixed-effect model show that, digital village construction can significantly reduce the income disparity in rural areas, whereas the effect is significant in eastern China, insignificant in central and western China. It is recommended to increase the investment in funds and talents and take full consideration and advantage of local conditions, while promoting the development of new rural digital economy, so to achieve the development goal of common prosperity of rural residents.

Article

01 April 2024

Identity, Secondary Vocational Education Options and Return on Investment: Evidence from Children of Rural Chinese Families

With the continuous improvement of living standards, the importance of educational choice becomes more and more prominent. Based on the data of China General Social Survey (CGSS), a simultaneous equation model of identity, secondary vocational education choice and investment return is constructed. On the basis of fully considering endogeneity and sample selection bias, this paper analyzes the influence of identity on secondary vocational education choice and investment return by means of instrumental variables and propensity score matching (PSM). It is found that class differentiation is the main factor affecting class identity. The more blurred class differentiation, the higher class identity. Class identity has a significant positive impact on identity. The higher class identity, the easier it is to form identity. Identity has a direct positive impact on personal investment return. The stronger the identity, the higher the investment return. At the same time, identity has a significant positive impact on the choice of secondary vocational education. The stronger the identity, the more inclined to choose secondary vocational education. Compared with individuals with junior high school education, individuals with secondary vocational education have a higher return on education investment. Therefore, identity can not only directly improve an individual’s return on investment, but also improve the possibility of an individual’s choice of secondary vocational education, thereby improving an individual’s return on education investment, and ultimately increasing an individual’s return on investment.

Article

22 March 2024

Community Sport, Australian Sport Policy and Advocacy: A Qualitative Study of Stakeholder Perspectives

This article explored aspects of the community sport policy process in rural New South Wales, Australia, focusing on the views of community sport club (CSC) officials relating to policy matters. Community sport represents a complicated policy arena, and rural communities face a level of disparity compared with better-resourced urban CSCs, particularly concerning policy implementation and advocacy issues. Officials at CSCs from ten different sports (n = 10) in a rural setting participated in semi-structured interviews to pinpoint themes common in the community sport policy process. Further, the research identified aspects of the connections that impact CSCs, including those with government and National Sporting Organisations (NSOs). To highlight the beliefs and attitudes of the CSC officials, the interviews had two key thematic foci—implementation and advocacy—and the findings highlighted sub-themes relating to the fundamental interests of CSCs. Overall, the research accentuated the hierarchical nature—a power imbalance—of sport policy processes, the potential for CSCs to have a bottom-up role in policy creation, and the consideration of a policy analysis and evaluation structure such as the Advocacy Coalition Framework. Finally, the outcome points to enthusiasm for strengthening community sport by giving CSCs a voice through localized advocacy.

Review

29 February 2024

Conceptualizing an Informational Paradigm in the Pursuit of Sustainable Cities and Communities

This study seeks to conceptualize ‘Informational Sustainability’ by examining the dynamic relationship between Sustainable Development and the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Revolution through the exploration of two prominent urban theories—Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’ and Castells’ ‘Rise of the Network Society’—to underscore the importance of knowledge integration in the development of informed, sustainable communities. Conducting a cross-country comparison between developed and developing nations, the study underscores the critical role of informational transformation in enabling resource efficiency, knowledge sharing, innovation, and informed decision-making—key for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also highlighting potential risks associated with resisting ICT adoption, including hindered growth, increased inequalities, and reduced social engagement and environmental stewardship. The core focus of this conceptual framework is to validate the precursor role of ICT in building sustainable cities and communities by identifying synergies in Sustainable Development, defining dimensions for effective ICT application within the dynamic interplay of global and local levels, and identifying implementation gaps and necessary presumptions for its effective use.

Article

06 February 2024

Geographical Discrepancies in Higher Education in Sweden

There is a growing awareness of the importance of higher education in Sweden to reduce social differences in society. There are also various mechanisms that individuals relate to that favour either the status quo or change based on an ideal of higher education. Individuals live in a geographical context with a number of ‘key actors’ who influence the perception of higher education with varying degrees of intensity. Paradoxically, despite several reforms to broaden recruitment, it can be seen that relative inequalities persist in terms of residents with higher education in Sweden, not least from a regional perspective. The purpose of this article is to shed light on geographical differences in the higher education level of the population over time from a Swedish perspective. The study shows that higher education has a geographical centre-periphery perspective, but not exclusively. There are thus additional influencing factors that in various ways relate to the social context in which the individual is located. We can conclude from our empirical data that the reforms implemented to broaden recruitment have not had the desired effect, especially for the group of men. We find it likely that what differentiates women and men is who their individual ‘key players’ are and how they interact. From an academic education perspective and as an intermediary of higher education, there is therefore a challenge to be able to identify who these “key players” are in order to be able to be an important actor in contributing to the desired broader recruitment that the government is striving to achieve.

Comment

19 January 2024

New Geographical (Im)materialities in Rural Spaces for a Renewed Countryside in the Global North. Some Key Comments in the Rural Geography Debate

From the point of view of the new (im)materialities and the relevance of vernacular house in the process of rural change and restructuring, this contribution comments some possible innovative ways of research in rural studies. The objective of the study is to bring the attention about the relevance of vernacular houses in the process of global rural change and restructuring and their particular expressions in localities and vernacular houses. The methodology in qualitatively based on auto-biographical and ethnographical research based in three houses of study in a marginal rural area of central Spain. The main conclusions suggest a process of hybridization of people and vernacular houses with two different circuits: new comers and traditional populations.

Article

11 January 2024

Plant Proteins Availability in Europe and Asia: A Causality Analysis of Climate, Demographics, and Economic Factors

The article examines the availability of plant-based proteins in Europe and Asia, considering the challenges posed by climate, demographics, and economics. The availability of these proteins is crucial given the growing impact of climate, economic, and social variables. Indeed, these factors play a decisive role in the production and accessibility of plant-based proteins across countries. The study employed a causality analysis method using regression models to determine the relative impact of these factors on protein availability. Two indicators were prioritized: total national production and the daily accessible quantity per person. This approach made it possible to construct hypothetical trajectories, showcasing the interrelations between the different variables. The results show that the availability of plant-based proteins varies across regions. Factors such as rising temperatures, increasing pollutants, and rising prices of plant proteins are particularly concerning. In this context, legumes appear as a promising alternative. They offer resilience against climatic variations while being an excellent protein source. The findings also encourage rethinking our consumption. Meat, with its significant ecological footprint, should see its consumption decrease in favor of plant-based proteins, ensuring a more sustainable diet. To facilitate this transition, the importance of appropriate public policies and incentives for producing and consuming plant proteins is emphasized.

Review

09 January 2024

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies for Grape Cultivation in Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan

Climate change impacts agricultural production, especially fruits. Amongst fruits, the grape is economically valuable and highly affected by climate change. Therefore, climate adaptation strategies are essential in overcoming the detrimental effects of climate change on grape cultivation. The study summarises adaptation strategies for grape cultivation in general and focuses on climate change. The Yamanashi prefecture in Japan is taken for the case study. Our findings indicate a decline in grape production in Japan and Yamanashi prefecture. This is attributed to the effects of climate change. Following this, various support measures (adaptative, mitigation, others) provided by the Yamanashi government towards grape cultivation are summarised and analyzed. The study concludes by offering recommendations by drawing lessons from the literature review on adaptation strategies for grape cultivation, focusing on overcoming climate change impact in the context of Yamanashi prefecture.

Editorial

19 December 2023

Article

28 January 2023

Current Challenges to the Sustainable Development of Rural Communities in Russia's Central Chernozem Region

The rural community system in the Central Chernozem Economic Region in Russia is undergoing a radical transformation under the interrelated influence of fundamental factors that have rendered the development of many communities unsustainable. This paper analyses the role of urbanisation processes in population changes and transformation of rural community systems in the region; determines the level of horizontal mobility among the rural population, as well as its impact on settlement evolution; assesses the share of small and extremely small communities in settlement composition; and outlines these communities’ future development prospects. The authors believe that the socio-demographic “desertification” of peripheral municipalities can pose challenges to rural development: a shortage of labour resources, changes in population quality, and problems of innovation diffusion. The study recommends improving the comfort of the living environment and accelerating the technical re-equipment and automation of agricultural production.

NadeshdaChugunova
TatyanaPolyakova
AnastasiyaNarozhnyaya
FedorLisetskii

Article

03 March 2023

Spatial Characteristics and Influencing Factors of Migration in Kanagawa, Japan

In the context of “Tokyo centralization”, population migration has become an important factor affecting Kanagawa's economic growth, living standards, and employment status. On the other hand, with the development of the declining birth rate and aging society, migration for any purpose has an impact on social development. The government has released many policies to attract people from other cities to Kanagawa. This study analyzes the factors influencing the spatial pattern of population migration in Kanagawa based on the current spatial characteristics of population migration in Kanagawa from 2016~2020 and previous population migra-tion research theories. the influencing factors are analyzed empirically by selecting a total of 9 economic, social, and environmental indicators that may affect the spatial pattern of population migration in Kanagawa. The result showed that, when only the economic factor was considered, gross prefectural product, job opportunities, and consumer price index significantly influenced migration; When only environmental factors are considered, the number of pollution complaints successfully handled had a significant positive effect on population migration; When only the social environment is considered, the level of education becomes the main consid-eration for people. Furthermore, when the economic factors, environmental factors, and social factors are analyzed together, the gross prefectural domestic product, job opportunities, consumer price index, and the number of pollution complaints successfully handled all have an impact on migration in Kanagawa and the gross prefectural product is the common influencing factor.

YongxiJiang
RajibShaw

Article

21 August 2023

Role of Youth in Implementing SDGs Future City in Tosacho, Kochi, Japan

The “SDG Future Cities” established by the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Promotion Headquarters of Cabinet Office of Government of Japan, are being expanded to all municipalities in Japan through government support for the efforts of leading municipalities. Tosa town is a small town with less than 4000 people with high aging population and surrounded by mountains in Kochi Prefecture. The town was selected as one of the SDG Future City in 2020. In this paper, through a literature review, interviews with the Tosa Town Office, and a questionnaire survey and interview with residents of Tosa town, we considered what young people need to do to achieve SDG-11. Although Tosa Town has a variety of local government initiatives, the definition of a town where young people can continue to live, as revealed in the literature review, was found to be insufficient in terms of “economic resources,” “decision-making,” “data,” and “knowledge”. However, it was found that “community leaders,” “nature/topography,” and “community/people” are the most important factors for creating a town where people can continue to live. As for future issues, it is necessary to take measures for “decision-making,” “data,” and “knowledge,” as well as to solve issues specific to Tosa town.

NanamiYamazawa
YasutakaOzaki
RajibShaw

Article

15 November 2023

Local Production, Consumption, and Innovation: Enhancing Sustainability through SMEs in Japan

The study focuses on the process of business development with the use of food tech and open innovation by Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Japan to create a sustainable ecosystem in the regional economy. Production of alternative food materials is introduced in the new business of SMEs with the hope to reduce carbon footprint. SMEs need to create an SME ecosystem that integrates consumers as vital partners in the process of introducing new alternative food items to the market as agents of change. Innovative ways of inventing new food products involve the processes of sourcing ingredients, creating new recipes for alternative food products, and incorporating local food culture and methods of food preparation. Therefore, it is crucial for SMEs to involve local producers as well as consumers as stakeholders in innovation. Some case examples of SMEs producing plant-based alternative meats in Japan are reviewed in this study to highlight key factors impacting the outcome of innovation in the products and processes of SMEs seeking sustainable solutions. The significance of the study lies in acknowledging catalytic roles of SMEs in regional settings and interactive roles of consumers as product buyers as well as active players who consciously opt for certain products and modes of consumption driven by their inclination to support sustainability. Based on the findings of the study, some policy suggestions are also made for enhancing sustainability and revitalizing the local economy through SMEs. 

TomoKawane
RuiyanZhao
YasutakaOzaki
TakumaOtaki
SreelekhaMazumder
RajibShaw

Article

14 June 2023

Spatio-temporal Evolution and Influencing Factors of Farmland Circulation Price at the County Level in China

Farmland circulation is an important way to achieve moderate scale operation to ensure food security. Based on the spatial analysis and spatial econometric model, this paper studies the spatial-temporal evolution and influencing factors of cultivated land transfer price at the county level in China from 2015 to 2020. The results revealed the following: (1) the circulation price of farmland generally shows paddy field > irrigated land > dry land > other cultivated land. The farmland circulation price in Huang-Huai-Hai Plain is always the highest, whereas that in Qinghai–Tibet Plateau is always the lowest. (2) The spatial pattern of farmland circulation price is high in the south and low in the north, presenting an inverted U-shaped structure from east to west in 2015, and high in the east and low in the west, presenting an inverted U-shaped structure from north to south in 2020. Moreover, the spatial agglomeration was enhanced. (3) With the development of land market and urbanization, the restriction of natural factors of cultivated land on the farmland circulation price weakens, while the socio-economic attribute of cultivated land constantly strengthens. Based on the results, this paper puts forward some suggestions to prevent the overcapitalization of land.

XinLiang
JingfengWang
ChengWang

Editorial

19 December 2023

Article

25 September 2023

Depopulation Villages in Poland—Current Status and Possible Transition Scenarios

The picture of many localities undergoing depopulation will change in the coming years. A significant scale of migration and advanced ageing processes will result in an increase in the number of vacant buildings, or the removal of social infrastructure. The term ‘shrinkage’ tends to have negative connotations, but can lead to positive changes, e.g., an improvement in land structure under conditions of fragmented, dispersed agriculture. Depending on the quality of the natural environment and communication accessibility, other functions will develop there, including housing and recreation. However, a large part of the village may disappear completely.

MonikaOlgaWesołowska

Editorial

25 August 2023

Article

12 October 2023

Risk Analysis of Crisis Management on the Example of Rural Areas in Poland

The aim of this article is to analyze and assess the risk of crisis hazards and to introduce possible improvements on the example of the Municipality of Branice. The types of threats and the consequences associated with their occurrence are also described. The quality management method (FMEA) was used to develop the risk assessment, as well as an indication of the risk values presented by the risk matrix made. Thanks to the research part of the study, the most probable possible risks and their consequences were detected, and improvements were proposed to prevent the occurrence of such situations in the future. The main conclusions of the study are: (1) a properly prepared crisis management plan is the most important and effective method to deal with emergencies that threaten the life and health of citizens; (2) hazards have been, are, and will continue to accompany people, so adequate preparation is needed to minimize their effects or even eliminate them altogether; (3) during the occurrence of an emergency, the sphere of logistical action is very broad and determines the methods and actions of the relevant services in order to reduce the effects of the threats that occur; (4) the conducted analysis of threats possible to occur in the area of Branice Commune indicates that the highest probability of occurrence of a threat is floods and waterlogging as well as hurricanes and strong winds; (5) the conducted FMEA analysis indicates that a very important factor preventing the creation of the threats discussed in the point above are periodical inspections and cleaning or modernization works of the given threat areas. In summary, the FMEA analysis showed that in the analysed municipality, the most serious risks were flooding and flooding, as well as hurricanes and high winds. The following remedial actions are proposed in the analysis and to improve these areas in the rural areas: water surge in the riverbed (cleaning of the riverbed; repair of dikes; securing roads and communication bridges against possible damage; securing drinking water reservoirs against pollution; securing sewage treatment plants against possible leakage of faecal matter into flood waters); obstruction of field drainage (regular mowing and cleaning of ditches; checking the patency of ditches; roofs of residential and commercial buildings and fallen trees in villages close to houses (inspections and pruning of dangerous tree branches and possible removal of trees threatening danger of falling; inspection of roof structures by building supervision) and fallen trees in riverbeds (cleaning of banks and riverbeds; inspection of tree stands near rivers). The policy implications of this study may be far-reaching, not least because it may determine rural managers to change their management and attention to and response to crisis threats that may occur in such areas. Regarding the limitations of the study, it is important to remember that it was conducted on the author’s chosen terrain. In most cases, changes in the terrain, the population or its management have a determining influence on the shaping of emergency response principles. Therefore, the study conducted should provide an overview of the research issue undertaken. In the future, it is planned to extend the study area to equal rural areas occurring in the world, and it is also planned to verify the existing hazards on the ground on a continuous basis. In addition, it is intended to extend the deeper cooperation with both the rural authorities and the rescue units in order to imply the research results in the actual territorial units.

DariuszPawełMasłowski

Review

29 February 2024

Conceptualizing an Informational Paradigm in the Pursuit of Sustainable Cities and Communities

This study seeks to conceptualize ‘Informational Sustainability’ by examining the dynamic relationship between Sustainable Development and the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Revolution through the exploration of two prominent urban theories—Lefebvre’s ‘Right to the City’ and Castells’ ‘Rise of the Network Society’—to underscore the importance of knowledge integration in the development of informed, sustainable communities. Conducting a cross-country comparison between developed and developing nations, the study underscores the critical role of informational transformation in enabling resource efficiency, knowledge sharing, innovation, and informed decision-making—key for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while also highlighting potential risks associated with resisting ICT adoption, including hindered growth, increased inequalities, and reduced social engagement and environmental stewardship. The core focus of this conceptual framework is to validate the precursor role of ICT in building sustainable cities and communities by identifying synergies in Sustainable Development, defining dimensions for effective ICT application within the dynamic interplay of global and local levels, and identifying implementation gaps and necessary presumptions for its effective use.

IlonetteAbdehTabar
Elizelle Juaneé Cilliers
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