Planning strategically in light of rural decline

Experiences from Denmark

Authored by: Anne Tietjen , Gertrud Jørgensen

The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning

Print publication date:  January  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138104051
eBook ISBN: 9781315102375
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we discuss and compare experiences and outcomes of strategic planning through spatial projects in two Danish peripheral rural areas in decline: Thisted and Bornholm. These projects were part of a planning innovation initiative, Land of Opportunities, which was carried out in co-operation between a charitable trust and the municipalities involved, from 2007 to 2012. The projects brought together a wide variety of local actors in a collaborative, place-based and project-oriented approach to strategic spatial planning. Their primary purpose was not directly to achieve economic growth, but rather, with reference to the new rural paradigm, to preserve and strengthen place-based qualities and potentials through physical projects that would enhance local environments and support local activities and networks. Guided by actor–network theory (ANT), we investigate how strategic spatial projects contributed to achieving development potentials in peripheral rural areas, providing answers to the following questions: which elements in the planning process were crucial for strategic success? What were the immediate outcomes, and in which ways were long-term strategic effects delivered?

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