Emerging Rural Research:By Ashleigh Weeden
Project: Rural 2.0: Investigating Place-Based Rural Innovation Systems and Their Implications for Public Policy and Community Development Practice
Innovation has become a central public policy concern, evidenced by the proliferation of innovation agendas‚ across all jurisdictions. Because rural communities differ not only from urban communities, but from each other, and are increasingly responsible for their own development, provincial and national policies can become barriers to rural innovation and community development if the diverse and specific place-based contexts, needs and aspirations of different types of rural communities are not recognized.
While some research on innovation in rural regions exists, it often encounters difficulties in applying generally accepted, urban-centered notions of innovation systems, indicating opportunities for re-imagining innovation systems through an explicitly rural, place-based lens.
Ashleigh‚Äôs doctoral research program is focused on investigating models of place-based rural innovation systems, including the influence and role of: (i) spatial, relational, and structural dimensions in the development of place-based rural innovation systems, (ii) infrastructure investments (particularly broadband as an enabling technology), and (iii) provincial/state and national policy frameworks on rural community innovation systems. Structurally-oriented comparative case studies in rural Finland, rural Scotland, and rural New Zealand, will be used to identify both common and place-specific drivers for rural community innovation systems and point to potential applications in rural Canada. Learn more at http://ruraldev.ca/place-based-rural-innovation-systems/