Local Economic Development

A Geographical Comparison of Rural Community Restructuring

Cecily Neil, Markku Tykkylainen
Release Date: December 1, 1998

Restructuring is a widely used concept which denotes rapid, and often far-reaching, socioeconomic transformation processes in communities, localities, regions and nations. This book seeks to explain the processes of restructuring in rural communities, focusing on the trends in the 1990s. The empirical material was derived from case studies in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, the United States, Viet Nam, and Australia. The case studies explore capitalist and neo-capitalist restructuring in the East and West in traditional, modern, post-industrial, and trans-local communities.

The book explores restructuring processes associated with policy on sector-specific issues from the global to the local level. The book concludes with the presentation of a multi-causal theory of local economic development that is intended to assist in understanding restructuring processes in rural areas and, hence, to help design appropriate responses to the pressures restructuring generates.

The case studies demonstrate that communities and entire regions are adapting continuously to changing economic conditions. The authors conclude that local development policy must be reflexive and dynamic. Only economically and socially sustainable solutions which take account of the long-term socioeconomic prospects can be recommended. The development policy followed must possess the ability to adapt to new circumstances and it must be proficient in anticipating economic development and individual needs.

This research was associated with the research programme of the United Nations University World Institute of Development Economics Research (WIDER), Helsinki.