Special session on multifunctional rural landscapes – RSA Annual Conference, Slovenia 2023

Bill Pritchard (University of Sydney) and Amelie Bernzen (University of Vechta, Germany) are planning a (closed) Special Session on “New pathways for multifunctional rural regions” for the 2023 RSA Annual Conference in Ljubliana, Slovenia which will take place from 14-17 June 2023. The overarching conference theme is “Transforming Regions: Policies and Planning for People and Places”. They are seeking expressions of interest from interested scholars working on this topic who would like to contribute. Their aim would further be to develop a Special Issue for a peer reviewed journal based on the Session’s papers. Please find the session abstract below and email Bill Pritchard by 31 October if you are interested in participating.

Presentation title and abstracts are due by 30 November 2022.

Special Session Abstract:

New pathways for multifunctional rural regions
 The multifunctional rural transition is a core idea in regional studies. Particularly in structurally disadvantaged rural areas, policy makers have been pursuing approaches for integrated rural development, which assume that increasing multifunctionality has a positive effect on regional futures. While the concept of multifunctionality itself is thus not new, the challenges and intensity of pressures over recent years in these spaces have initiated new rounds of restructuring: energy transitions (gaining speed in the light of the Ukraine war), climate change adaptation, a ruralisation of business activity through online commerce and work-from-home opportunities, the effects of pandemic restrictions on tourism, and food system changes including shifts in diets and fluctuating food prices, among others. While acknowledging the increasing heterogeneity of “rural spaces”, the aim of this session is to examine differences and commonalities in how multifunctional rural regions have responded to these pressures, with a view to identifying key themes relevant to their future condition.


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