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Conference paper2015Peer reviewed

Assessing interventions supporting sustainable development in rural areas - a dialogical approach

Magnus, Fredricson; Magnus, Ljung


Based on the Community Capitals framework, developed by Professors Jan and Cornelia Flora of the Iowa State University, the paper puts forward a dialogical method for assessing, mainly public, interventions supporting sustainable development in rural areas. The framework proposed by Flora & Flora identifies seven types of capital, collective resources that serve as basis for sustainable development. These capitals include for instance natural, social, human, cultural and economical capital. The paper expands the understanding of natural capital by introducing ecosystem services to the framework, hereby bridging the concepts of a bio based economy and sustainable development. By basing sustainable development of rural areas on ecosystem services the notion of the city as resourceful and rural areas as scarce is challenged. The paper presents the adapted framework.Via contextualization and operationalization of the different kinds of capitals in a Scandinavian setting indicators are established. These enable initial assessment of a community aimed at tailoring (public) interventions supporting sustainable development based on ecosystem services. The method has been successfully tested in a few cases in Denmark and Sweden within the Interreg IV A KASK project "Rural Regions". Further adaptation and development is to take place in upcoming research and projects. In the paper it is demonstrated how the community capitals framework is used as a structure in participatory dialogical processes, raising awareness within the community itself as well as guiding public bodies supporting sustainable development in rural areas.The method is based on initial surveying of available data followed by a semi structured dialogue with representatives from the community resulting in a graphical representation of the assessment. Based on the assessment it is possible to discern whether an intervention ("investment') in the community is meaningful, and how it should be designed to strengthen the community's capacity for sustainable development.


ecosystem services; community capital; sustainable development of rural areas; dialogical approach

Published in

Title: Nordic view to sustainable rural development: proceedings of the 25th NJF Congress, Riga, Latvia, 16th-18th of June, 2015
ISBN: 978-9934-14-548-3
Publisher: NJF Latvia


25th NJF Congress on Nordic View to Sustainable Rural Development, JUN 16-18, 2015, Riga, LATVIA