Journal section "Social and economic development"

The Role of Local Communities in the Development of Small Territories

Kosygina K.E.

Volume 16, Issue 5, 2023

Kosygina K.E. (2023). The role of local communities in the development of small territories. Economic and Social Changes: Facts, Trends, Forecast, 16(5), 210–229. DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.5.89.12

DOI: 10.15838/esc.2023.5.89.12

Abstract   |   Authors   |   References
The paper studies the participation of local communities in the development of small territories and the conditions that increase public involvement in the processes of spatial development at the local level. We apply a socio-spatial approach to study local communities combined with an action-activist concept to spatial development. In the theoretical part, we consider the main approaches to the study of local communities and their role in the territories’ development. We define the basic characteristics of the local community: social community; a common space, place; common interests, living conditions; ties, interaction. We provide the mechanisms of local community’s participation in the development of territories. The empirical part of the study is based on data from the opinion poll, conducted in two large cities and five small ones of the Vologda Oblast in 2021 (N=1550). We consider the average values for large and small cities and compare the indicators of the local community’s participation in the development of territories to reveal the features of this process. According to subjective estimates, we find that the main actors of territorial changes are the governing bodies and the local community, while business is practically not responsible for the development of the territories in which it operates. In small cities, compared to large cities, the local community is more focused on the development of territories and is aware of its responsibility. The local community shows a higher potential and level of participation in initiatives. In almost all practices, the share of participants in small cities is higher than in large cities. We determine that a lack of teamwork experience hinders community engagement in spatial development issues. As promising areas, we consider institutionalized mechanisms of local community participation in territories’ development, such as participatory budgeting and project activities as part of the work of non-profit organizations


large city, development, local communities, non-profit organizations, social issues, participatory budgeting, small territories

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