Territorial capital in rural policy development

Authored by: Francesca Regoli , Dezsö Kovács , Natalija Bogdanov , William H. Meyers , Matteo Vittuari

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:


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At the European as well as the international level, rural policy is increasingly focusing on strategic long-term potential for agricultural and rural areas to contribute to the satisfaction of society’s needs. Farmers and rural entrepreneurs provide services and are engaged in the preservation and enhancement of public goods which are often underestimated but extremely important at multiple scales and for multiple purposes. These public goods include: preservation and enhancement of landscape, farmland biodiversity, water quality and availability, soil functionality, climate stability, air quality, resilience to flooding and fire, and the provision of social goods such as rural vitality, food security, animal farm welfare, and health. From this perspective, rural areas are primarily resource centered with their endogenous assets defined as capital goods composed of a set of resources. This territorial capital is formed from both natural endowments and social constructions contributing to natural, cultural, social, human, and institutional relationships. The chapter will develop this concept of territorial capital and will focus on its connection with the rural diversification process. It will discuss the territorial approach in Southeastern Europe in terms of rural poverty alleviation and the adjustment of the rural policy framework towards EU standards. Three case studies from this part of Europe will demonstrate different applications of the territorial approach.

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