What is rural development?

What is rural development?

The modern definition of the term “rural development” implies the integral and multi-sectoral and sustainable development of rural (non-urban) space. Integral, ie complete development of rural areas is important because of the diversification of the rural economy, which, in the course of modern structural processes and developments, faces numerous problems such as depopulation, aging of the population, fossilization of landscapes and generally worse socio-economic indicators that make this area passive and undesirable for life. Diversification of the rural economy is crucial because it is a precondition for demographic stabilization, which in turn is the basis for the sustainability of all components of development.

Sustainability is a key component of the development process because of the need to balance the development of society, the economy and the environment leading to sustainable and continuous development, without the risk of jeopardizing any element that forms an integral part of the development process. The ultimate goal is a clearly defined development path that will lead to economic, social and political change in order to improve the quality of life of the entire rural population.

A poorly developed rural area with poor economic and social characteristics is not only a problem area in itself, but also a much wider area. Namely, in the context of the state, the low development of rural space is a burden on the development of the country as a whole, which consequently implies that the development of problematic (mostly rural) areas is an imperative of any state in which a significant part of the territory and population are spaces of mentioned characteristics.

In case of neglected development of rural space, the consequences for the whole country can be: non-use of the resource base and poor valorisation of existing strategic advantages due to poor structural indicators of problem areas and weakening of spatial and functional integration of territories due to depopulation of a significant part of space.

In order to reverse the above-mentioned trends of weakening socio-economic indicators, it is necessary to identify and activate local actors who would become the initial drivers of development in their area. Furthermore, it is important to develop a flexible small business as a driver of innovation and a constructive local partnership of different stakeholders from multiple sectors of activity.