What happens if rural areas shrink? What are the socioeconomic consequences, and beyond that, the political implications?
Lecture series ‘Shrinking Areas: Causes, Consequences & Coping'
Depopulation. The world as a whole is experiencing fast population growth, so what is going on if some places are confronted with population decline at the same time? What might first come to mind are images of deserted villages and abandoned countryside. But did you realise that in this era of large-scale urbanisation, shrinking cities are a reality as well? How can we understand rural and urban shrinkage, and what are its consequences? Are we simply talking about quantitative demographic decline or is more going on? Does it actually matter and, if so, why and for whom? Discover the mechanisms behind dynamics of shrinkage, explore its implications, and discuss perspectives on how to deal with it.
Shrinkage in the Countryside
Worldwide, villages and rural towns are declining and sometimes abandoned altogether. Why is this happening? At the same time, some rural areas even see their population growing. What explains the spatial differentiation taking place, not only between rural and urban areas, but also within rural areas? And to what extent is this problematic? Tonight, Professor Bettina Bock argues that we should look beyond the numbers of people leaving. She presents a more nuanced and refined view on the changing composition of the rural population, initiatives taken to handle the loss of services, and new modes of governance that emerge in the context of shrinkage. Rural shrinkage turns out to be more than only a socioeconomic challenge, and poses important political questions. How can we discuss shrinkage from the perspective of (in)equality?
About Bettina Bock
Bettina Bock works at the University of Groningen as professor by special appointment on population decline and quality of life in the Northern Netherlands. In addition, she is personal professor in rural sociology at Wageningen University & Research. She is involved in research into rural development and rural-urban relations. In the context of population decline, she aims to enhance insight into the opportunities and constraints of civic engagement and social innovation as a tool to maintain the quality of life and preserve social services. Furthermore, she seeks to better understand how rural marginalisation and peripheralisation interlinks with more general processes of territorial inequality. Another research interest is the role of mobility and migration in relation to rural development.