Lead project

Innovations in Rural Municipalities. Conditions, Actors and Processes of Creative Community Development

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Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
© spiber.de/shutterstock.com
leitprojekt3-2jpg
© WoGi/fotolia.com
© Dario Lo Presti/thinkstockphotos.com
© pablo_rodriguez1/thinkstockphotos.com
Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
Sitzung des Leitprojekts im Juli 2016 in Klockow/Uckermark
© spiber.de/shutterstock.com
leitprojekt3-2jpg
© WoGi/fotolia.com
© Dario Lo Presti/thinkstockphotos.com

The lead project explores municipalities in structurally weak rural areas where citizens and actors from politics, administration or business seek creative ways to solve local problems. Through establishing these innovative projects, they contribute to the development of their community. Often, these regions are typically characterised by negative development prospects such as structural deficits, below-average economic productivity, unsatisfactory career prospects or inadequate infrastructure. While cities are often seen as innovation laboratories, rural spaces are rarely the focus of innovative action strategies. However, in many places development projects can be observed whose protagonists experiment creatively with new ideas and practices that activate the municipalities’ local potentials.

The lead project’s aim is to investigate these innovative projects in rural areas. The civic engagement under study ranges from renewable energies, local supply as well as arts and culture. The researchers ask which (regional) contextual conditions are necessary to aid the creation and continuation of such creative processes and innovations. Moreover, they investigate who the participating actors are and in which social processes these innovations are embedded. Here, the researchers focus on the different ways of communication or on different forms of knowledge that come into play in fostering the innovation process.

To address the research questions, they conduct focused ethnographies in six rural municipalities in Germany: Bechstedt (Thuringia), Treptitz (Saxony), Frankershausen (Hesse), Kyllburg (Rhineland-Palatinate), Plessa (Brandenburg) and Klockow (Brandenburg). Within this framework, participatory observations of selected groups of actors are combined with document analyses, and problem-centred interviews with central actors. These methods are accompanied by surveys of citizens and actors surrounding the projects.

News
January/25/2021

Over several years, the research unit "Dynamics of Communication, Knowledge and Spatial Development" has been researching how social innovations are driven in rural areas, what problems they can solve and how they can be supported politically. Now it is publishing recommendations for practice; on the one hand in the form of a German-language policy paper, on the other hand in the form of an English-language practice manual. more info

Publications

Richter, R. (2016). Social Innovations in Rural Life Worlds. In V. M. Carlow (Ed.), Ruralism: The Future of Villages and Small Towns in an Urbanizing World (pp. 140-147). Berlin: Jovis.
Richter, R., & Rohnstock, N. (2016). Der Erzählsalon als Verfahren strategischen Erzählens: Konzeptionelle Voraussetzungen und empirische Gestalt am Beispiel des Projektes Lausitz an einen Tisch. Diegesis, 5(2), 84-100.
Christmann, G. (2019). Innovationen in ländlichen Gemeinden. In W. Nell, & M. Weiland (Eds.), Dorf: Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (pp. 235-240). Berlin: J.B. Metzler.
Richter, R. (2019). Sozialer Wandel ländlicher Gesellschaften. In W. Nell, & M. Weiland (Eds.), Dorf: Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (pp. 129-136). Berlin: J.B. Metzler.
Christmann, G. (2017). Innovationen in Landgemeinden: Bedingungen, Akteure und Prozesse. In Ministerium für Ländlichen Raum und Verbraucherschutz Baden-Württemberg (Ed.), Innovationen auf dem Land: Planerische Impulse für Bauten, Orte und Regionen (pp. 23-28). Karlsruhe: KIT Institut Entwerfen von Stadt und Landschaft.
Christmann, G. (2017). Raumentwicklung. In J. Howaldt, R. Kopp, S. Böschen, & B-J. Krings (Eds.), Innovationen für die Gesellschaft: Neue Wege und Methoden zur Entfaltung des Potenzials sozialer Innovationen (pp. 22-27). Wurmberg: Systemedia.
Christmann, G., & Federwisch, T. (2019). Soziale Innovationen in Landgemeinden - wie sie entstehen und was sie begünstigt. Nachrichten : Magazin der Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, 2019(2), 26-28.
Christmann, G. (2020). Soziale Innovationen in ländlichen Räumen. In C. Krajewski, & C-C. Wiegandt (Eds.), Land in Sicht: Ländliche Räume in Deutschland zwischen Prosperität und Peripherisierung (pp. 228-239). (Schriftenreihe der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung; Vol. 10362). Bonn: Bundeszentrale für Politische Bildung.
Richter, R., & Christmann, G. (2021). On the Role of Key Players in Rural Social Innovation Processes. Journal of Rural Studies. DOI: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2021.04.010