Digitally modeling regional development in Europe: A new methodological approach to policy analysis
Författare och institution:
Rene Brauer (Institutionen för geovetenskaper); Mirek Dymitrow (Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Kulturgeografi)
Integrated development of cities and regions. Man-City-Nature, 9th International Conference, 14-15 October 2013, Toruń, Poland,
Konferensbidrag - refereegranskat abstract
Sustainable regional development faces the complicated task of integrating socio-demographic, environmental and economic goals into a functioning policy proposal. The challenges of the 21st century are further complicated by the new nature of rural-urban relations that render traditional dichotomous approaches counterproductive. The latest EU rural development initiative proclaims itself as a fundamental break from older efforts that primarily focused upon agribusiness. This new humanistic vision includes improved quality of life, environmental sustainability and economic diversification alongside traditional agricultural tenets. New research takes this realization further, expressing a need for new conceptual tools to handle this ‘new rural’ reality seen as a composite of material and social aspects. Since older conceptualizations of the rural as agriculturally dominated might still linger on, the achievement of new humanistic planning goals is a complicated task.
Policy planning – a complex actor-network of different interests – heterogeneously engineers different interests into a unified framework. In this case, the major refocus within policy planning, including re-conceptualizations of the ‘new rural’ and the new rural-urban relations, should, accordingly, be accommodated within the actual policy documents. If not, the proclaimed focus of the regional development goals could strike as empty political rhetoric.
Due to their size, policies are often summarized. A policy summary should consequently be an unambiguous representation of the policy as a whole. Qualitative summarizations, however, may be problematic due to human biases. To circumvent this problem, this study borrows a technique from the digital humanities called topic modeling. This technique was applied to the framework of EU’s rural development policy for 2007–2013 and compared with the proclaimed development goals. First indications of the analysis show that there are indeed attempts to accommodate these new conceptualizations. However, the primary focus is still on agribusiness. Thereby, the humanistic focus of seeing the rural as more than agriculture-dominated areas does not appear to be strengthened. By adhering to a rationale different than the assumed one, such tendencies may possibly complicate the fulfillment of sustainable socio-economic development goals.
Ämne (baseras på Högskoleverkets indelning av forskningsämnen):
Data- och informationsvetenskap ->
Språkteknologi (språkvetenskaplig databehandling)
Studier av offentlig förvaltning
Social och ekonomisk geografi ->
Filosofi, etik och religion ->
topic modeling, policy analysis, rural-urban development, actor-network theory, digital humanities
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