Changing community perceptions of sustainable rural development in Scotland.

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The growing popularityof community land trusts as a mechanism for greater community participation in the control of local improvement is a particularly significant aspect of sustainable rural development in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Combining purposive selective interviews with members of a local Land Trust,observations at public meetings, anda review of recent literature on the development of the region, a case study of the Galson Estate Trust, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, is presented. Community ownership of land is seen as being instrumental in the shift inperceptions from short-term, marginal, externally-dependent activities towards solutions that are long-term (as indicated by schemes for renewable energy generation and environmental enhancement),core identity (seen as greater community confidence and enhanced local democracy) and locally driven developmental priorities (supported by revenue income streams). The process of local empowerment accompanying this shift in perceptions is regarded as having substantial benefits for social capital and skills acquisition at the community level. Early results from Trust activities indicate that ownership of the land, together withthe capacity-building process of communityparticipation in its management, has encouraged growth in a sense of local empowerment, together with providing employment, confidence, and other social improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rural and Community Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Community
  • Land
  • Rural
  • Sustainability
  • Localism
  • Crofting
  • Energy


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