SUSPLACE website launched – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development

The SUSPLACE consortium bids you a hearty welcome to our newly launched website SUSPLACE is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission that explores the full potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development. SUSPLACE officially kicked-off on October 1, 2015 in Wageningen, The Netherlands and will last till September 30, 2019. The overall aim of the project…

via SUSPLACE – Exploring the potential of place-shaping practices for sustainable development — SUSPLACE

Students invited for the course ‘A Global sense of place’

For whom?
We invite all master students interested in sustainable development, spatial development, community building, place-based policy, rural socio-logy and anthropology for this course.

This course gives an overview of place-based approaches in development. A relational place-based approach is key to the understanding of interrelated rural and urban transformation processes and sustainable development. Places are considered as contingent but in time and space differentiated outcomes of three interrelated, unbounded, transformative processes: political-economic, ecological and social-cultural.
We will have discussions about:
• Sense of place
• Places as sites of negotiation and power struggles
• The constitution of identities, subjectivities and difference.
• Politics of place.

Why should you follow this course?
• Interesting international guest lectures (if enough students attend the course)
• Inter-disciplinary approach
• Urban and rural cases
• Interactive discussions in small groups

Some practical information:
Course code: RSO 55306; ECTS: 6, When: Period 2;
Lectures and Workshops on: Monday-, Tuesday-, Thursday- mornings.
Interested? For more information on the course see the detailed Course outline RSO-55306 (2012-2013) final

DERREG – Final conference and proceedings

Two weeks ago, from October 12-13, we had our final conference of the EU-funded research project DERREG (  in Murska Sobota, Slovenia. Here the major findings of the project were presented.

DERREG coordinator prof. Michael Woods first presented (see presentation) an overwiew of the project and an interpretative model (see below) on how regions are affected by and respond to forces of globalisation mediated by various catalyst and he ended with a typology of regional responses based on the research done in the 10 case study regions. See also the DERREG Summary Report by Michael Woods.


Successively the coordinators of the four Work Packages presented the main findings along four themes:

  1. Rural Businesses, Global Engagement and Local Embeddedness (presented by Andrew Copus)
  2. International Migration and Rural Europe (presented by Birte Nienaber)
  3. The Global Environment and Rural Sustainable Development (presented by Joachim Burdack & Michael Kriszan)
  4. Rural regional learning (presented by Dirk Roep and Wiebke Wellbrock)

Each overview was illustrated with findings for two case study areas presented by the respective partners.

A separate session was dedicated to policy perspective on globalisation and rural development in Slovenia and in particular the Pomurje region in the north of Slovenia were Murska Sobota is located and the Final conference took place.

At the end, guest speakers from the Goriška region in Slovenia, the Övre Norrland in Sweden, the Westerkwartier region in the Netherlands and the Steirische Mur-Drau-Bioenergie-Region in Austria highlighted four good practices of how regions can respond to global processes and benefit from it.

All presentations can be downloaded from the DEREG website: (at the bottom of the webpage).

At the DERREG resource-centre other proceedings are made accessible too, such as the WP reports, the case study context reports and case study summary reports. Look at  Finally, a database of good practice across the WP theme’s and case study areas has been built and made accessible: look  at

Last but not least: video clips are made for each of the ten case study regions and when ready these will be published on You tube and announced at the website.

The project will finish by the end of this year. The partners are now working on several scientific publications in journals and books. By the end of this year and beginning of 2012 DERREG related articles will be published in two special issue of the European Countryside, an online journal (see the content of latest issue). Next will be an edited book published by Ashgate titled ‘Globalization and Europe’s Rural Regions‘  which will capitalise the findings for the 10 case study areas.

Publications will be announced at the resource-centre of the DERREG website, as for the video clips, and information will be posted on this blog.

Capita Selecta ‘Global sense of place’ – a tutorial reading group

Earlier the Capita Selecta course ‘A global sense of place’ was announced here as optional course for master students in the 2nd period, starting Monday October 31, 2011.  Seen the number of students attending the course, the earlier outlined weekly lectures and workshops are now replaced by a tutorial reading group that will meet once a week with the lecturers to discuss the literature of the week (as was listed in the earlier course outline). Those interested in joining the reading group can contact Joost Jongerden (

Capita Selecta ‘A global sense of place’

In the 2nd WU education period running, starting October 31, Rural Sociology will again offer the Capita Selecta course ‘A Global sense of place’ (course code RSO-50806).  Course outline is available here.

The course offers a comparative perspective on place-based approaches in rural and spatial development. Next to lectures and readings on place-based development, five guest lecturers are invited to present a case and discuss the relevance of place-based development. 

The interdisciplinary course is open to MSc-students from different Master programs that want to broaden their understanding of place-based approaches for sustainable development.  The course aims to make students acquainted with different  disciplinary approaches to study and understand the sustainable development of places, necessary for thoroughly understanding transformation processes, rural and territorial development.

From the course outline:

A global sense of place gives a critical overview of approaches and discourses on sustainable place-based development and is a constituent and contingent expression of three interrelated, interdependent and relational processes: economic, ecological and social-cultural. Places can then be seen as the constructs wherein the varied interactions between these three interconnected processes are expressed. We will focus on an action-perspectives based on ecological and cultural processes as a starting point, which can create autonomy and a repositioning of economic relations, a regrounding in ecological capital and self-efficacy in the cultural sphere.

We will focus on two main approaches: 1) places as arenas for negotiation, conflicting interests and power struggles, influenced by capital and global forces, where place-based struggles occur as multi-scale, network-oriented subaltern strategies of localization; 2) Spaces endowed with meaning and the constitution of identities, subjectivities and difference.

The themes for the six weeks and invited quest lecturers are:

Week 1 Analysis of place-based development (Dirk Roep)

This lecture introduces an analytical model for sustainable place-based development where place-shaping is a constituent and contingent expression of three interrelated, interdependent and relational processes: economic, ecological and social-cultural. Places can then be seen as the constructs wherein the varied interactions between these three interconnected processes are expressed. The lecture deals with the issue how place-based development based on an action-perspective takes practices based on ecological and cultural processes as a starting point, with the aim of creating autonomy and a repositioning of economic powers, a regrounding in ecological capita and self-efficacy in the cultural sphere. Continue reading

The diversity of rural areas as background for place-based policy and planning

Last week June 22 Dr. Sylvia Herrmann gave a presentation titled ‘The diversity of rural areas as background for place-based policy and planning’ (see the Presentation WASS-seminar by Dr Sylvia Herrmann).

Dr Sylvia Hermann is affiliated at the Institute for Environmental Planning, Leibniz Universität Hannover and was coordinator of the EU-funded FP7 research project RUFUS ( Based on the findings of RUFUS dr Hermann pleads for place-based policy and planning to cope with rural diversity in the EU.

In her lecture she presented findings of the RUFUS project and argued that the specific characteristics of places have to be included in planning and policy to reach a more successful implementation of sustainable and site related policy measures. Ergo: policies and planning need to be more place-based.

In the discussion about future rural development, the diversity of rural areas in Europe increasingly raises the interest of policy makers and stakeholders. The strategic paper Europe2020 states that the common EU targets for future development ‘must be … capable of reflecting the diversity of Member States situations and based on sufficiently reliable data for purposes of comparison’. Rural areas have to be recognised as places with diverse combinations of historical, social, cultural and environmental features and the installation of relations among local actors (Cisilino et al., 2010). This shows that the diversity of rural European areas is more and more recognized as a key potential for intelligent growth. Thus, society seeks for development approaches based on regional diversity to better understand the development opportunities and challenges of diverse types of rural areas in Europe. Consequently, research has to combine quantitative and qualitative approaches to deal with the diversity. It also has to support the improvement of endogenous potential and governance approaches reflecting the diversity of the specific regions.

The EU FP 7 project ‘RUFUS’ (Rural Future Networks) tried to meet these challenges with a research approach supporting politicians with knowledge about the diversity of rural regions. RUFUS combined a set of methods to provide a’ mosaic’ of answers to policy makers and stakeholders. It has created a new classification system to map the diverse combinations of economic, social, and ecological conditions of European rural regions in nine EU countries (the UK, Germany, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Poland, and Hungary). This could help target rural development policy and provide insight into the need for CAP’s interaction with other policy areas. Maps showing the diverse development potentials of rural areas have been created. By the help of case studies the linkage between the top-down approaches of mapping with the reality in the regions has been established. The findings have been translated to policy relevant recommendations.