Considering the Implications of Place-Based Approaches for Improving Rural Community Wellbeing: The Value of a Relational Lens

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Original languageEnglish
JournalRural Society
Early online date30 Jan 2015
DOIs
StateE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2015

Abstract

This article considers how spatial, place-based approaches to improving rural community wellbeing may be enriched through employing a relational view of space. Wellbeing is a focal point within place-based policy aimed at improving health-related disadvantage, with the expectation that this will have positive effects at the community level. However, the effective implementation of rural place-based policy is challenging, partly due to current homogenous conceptualisations of rural space in policy. This is in contrast to contemporary rural theory that asserts that rural space is relational, and is socially created through connections and flows that produce and reproduce wellbeing. This article synthesises critiques of rural place-based policy within the literature as a means of considering the value of a relational approach to rural space in conceiving and measuring place-based policies.

While a relational approach is not a panacea for all issues associated with place-based policy implementation, it provides a means to inform the measurement and evaluation of rural health and community development policy.

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