Place Peripheral: Place-Based Development in Rural, Island, and Remote Regions
Rural Policy Implications:
Opening up place meanings is an important first step in exploring the potential policy implications of analyses that are based on agency-in-place. Canadian development policy and practice often adopt a neo-liberal perspective. Such policies completely disregard the role of identity and place on a person’s or a group’s decisions and well-being.
Planning is controlled by planning experts, development institutions, and nation-states that govern largely from the top down, often focusing on single-sector, and frequently large-scale, industrial projects. Meanwhile, local contexts, their subsequent historical contingencies, and the gamut of socio-cultural, political, and environmental specificities and relationships are temporarily suspended or even completely disregarded. this one reason why rural depopulation has been so extensive worldwide in recent decades.
Place-based strategies adopt a territorial approach to planning and development that encourages the integration of contextual endowments and potentials, such as the environmental, economic, social, and cultural characteristics of a locality. Such a style of doing development differently is commonly associated with “bottom-up” or grassroots modes of governance, promoting the leadership, participation, and agency of local actors within development.
Four critical reasons why place needs to be taken into account in development policy and practice:
- place is where assets such as resources are located
- services of all kinds — health, education, sanitation, justice, housing, welfare, recreation — are delivered in places
- governance and decision-making around planning and development occur in places
- identities of who we are, individually and collectively, are formed and reinforced in places