CHAPTERS: November 2018
Gibson, R., & Barrett, J. (2018). Philanthropic organizations to the rescue? Alternative funding solutions for rural sustainability. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
The trials and tribulations of infrastructure and service delivery in rural communities are well documented in Canada. Rural communities struggle to maintain the current suite of services in light of policy changes (Halseth and Ryser, 2006; Hanlon and Halseth, 2005; Kulig and Williams, 2012; Ryan-Nicholls, 2004). What if communities had an alternative source of funds to facilitate service delivery? Could these funds compensate for the challenges confronted related to large distances and low densities? Would the chronic challenges of service-withdrawal from the abdication of provincial and federal governments be overcome?How would access to alternative funding change the dynamics of rural sustainability, if at all?
Halseth, G., Markey, S., & Ryser, L. (Eds.). (2018a). Emerging issues for new rural service and infrastructure models. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
This edited volume has focused on the role of services and infrastructure as part of supporting sustainable economies and resilient communities in the rural and small town resource-dependent regions of developed economies. Drawing upon ten authorship teams, the individual chapters share stories of rural and small town services and infrastructure issues, and of innovations in the provision of those services and infrastructures from four OECD states. The collection itself is divided into three parts. The first focuses upon ways in which new services and infrastructure arrangements are being shaped by changing government policy. The second focuses specifically upon examples of innovative and new service arrangements. The third is on new and/or innovative infrastructure arrangements in rural and small town areas. Together, the contributions highlight both specific and general dynamics of rural service provision. We see how the contextual specificity of certain communities and regions creates unique conditions that foster innovation. More importantly for our purposes here, and when viewed as a collective, we see common sets of challenges and potential opportunities for rural and small town places and regions if appropriate policy attention and investments are made to support new models of service and infrastructure provision.
Halseth, G., Markey, S., & Ryser, L. (Eds.). (2018b). Introduction. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
Discussion and debate about the future of rural and small town places within developed economies have focused upon the need to create and support more sustainable economies and more resilient communities (Brown and Schafft, 2011; Halseth et al., 2010; Halseth and Ryser, 2018; Markey et al., 2012; OECD, 2010, 2014). In study after study, it is clear that rural and small town places have a promising future in the new global economy, but it is equally clear that poor public and private-sector policy choices, and the application of outdated program and funding solutions, are not supporting this transition to more sustainable economies and resilient communities. As a complement to the literatures on rural and small town transformation, this book devotes its attention to the delivery of needed human services and the infrastructure to support those services.
Kelly, W., & Hynes, M. (2018). Remotely connected? A comparative analysis of the development of rural broadband infrastructure and initiatives. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
The popular and commercial development of the internet over the recent past has been astonishing and has initiated and enabled comprehensive changes in virtually every facet of human activity, leading to the creation of a ‘network society’ (Castells, 2002). It has enabled new forms and systems of communication; supported new sources and stores of information; facilitated the development of new businesses and new kinds of media; and allowed new forms of political, social, and cultural expression to emerge. New information and communication technologies (ICTs), improved connectivity, and sustainable infrastructure can be used to help make rural and remote communities more resilient to future challenges and shocks, and generate more equity between rural and urban populations. However, realizing new technology’s universal utility will require investment that increases access to ICTs in remote, often low-productivity, areas, and the development of innovative services and applications that cater to the particular needs of rural and isolated communities. Research has found that internet connectivity benefits these areas by helping to overcome geographical isolation; promote access to resources, services, and opportunities; and encourage better social interactions and community attachment, which lowers the possibilities of outward-migration and stimulates economic development (Whitacre et al., 2014a). The growth and prevalence of high-speed broadband allows greater flexibility in working hours and location, for instance, and the low cost and instantaneous sharing of ideas, knowledge, and skills have made collaborative work easier (Stone et al., 2017). It allows workers to remotely access other computers and information stores easily from any access point on the network. In addition, many people now use the Web to access news, weather, and sports; to plan and book holidays; and to pursue their own personal interests. The importance of an ‘information society’ for maintaining and strengthening human rights has been argued (Klang and Murray, 2005; WSIS, 2003, United Nations, 2016), and although this position has been challenged (Cerf, 2012; Skepys, 2012), the internet can play a crucial role in promoting civil and political engagement (Feezell et al., 2016; Kent and Zeitner, 2003; Smith et al., 2009). The digital economy is defined as the new economic paradigm, which is marked by an increasing reliance on ICTs and digital 143technologies (Hadziristic, 2017), providing a wide range of economic and social opportunities and benefits. For communities and businesses, regardless of location, this means that they need to adopt digital technologies in order to successfully participate in that economy (Whitacre et al., 2014b) as, for instance, the ability to complete transactions online is now an essential part of running a successful business in the 21st century (Kuttner, 2016).
Minnes, S., Breen, S.-P., & Vodden, K. (2018). Innovations for sustainable rural drinking water services. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
Water is recognized as both a basic human right and a fundamental component of environmental sustainability and human development (UNESCO International Hydrological Programme, 2014). The management of drinking water from source to tap is a key facet of sustainable development. A key characteristic of sustainable communities is having a sustainable water system (Robinson et al., 2008). The sustainable management of drinking water infrastructure plays a vital role in the delivery of safe and clean drinking water to residents, but beyond quality of life for residents, water systems also impact the economy and the environment (Breen and Markey, 2015). For example, boil water advisories can deter tourism, and the over-consumption of water can interfere with natural water systems needed to support aquatic life.
Ryser, L., Halseth, G., & Markey, S. (Eds.). (2018). Pursuing alternative infrastructure arrangements to strengthen service provision in British Columbia, Canada. In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge.
As with many rural and small town places within developed economies, rural British Columbia (BC) has been experiencing an ongoing transformation of its human services and associated infrastructure. Since the 1980s, public policies have increasingly called upon local agencies and providers to devise more integrated or shared service arrangements as a part of ‘bottom-up’ community development (Argent, 2011; Paagman et al., 2015). These policies, however, are challenging the transformative capacity of these same rural organizations by demanding change while withholding adequate funding to support the activities needed to build and maintain partnerships, by not following through with supportive policies or the training and mentoring needed for local groups to assess and successfully launch new service arrangements, and by not delegating an appropriate level of authority to accompany new mandates. Small communities are working through these changes while at the same time being burdened with the challenges associated with aging and inadequate infrastructure – much of which was developed in the period of resource frontier expansion (1950s –
Sherry, E., & Shortall, S. (2018). The needy rural Does living in a rural area mean that you are in need? In G. Halseth, S. Markey, & L. Ryser (Eds.), Service Provision and Rural Sustainability. Infrastructure and Innovation. Routledge
This chapter considers rural proofing, a form of rural mainstreaming, as a method of measuring whether access to services in rural areas is problematic or successful. Similar to gender mainstreaming, rural mainstreaming does not identify a particular problem but says all policies must ensure they do not discriminate against rural areas, particularly in relation to service provision. Rural mainstreaming is a conceptual tool intended to deliver fair and equitable treatment by ensuring that the particular needs and circumstances of rural areas are routinely considered across government. In practice, rural mainstreaming can be complex and take on various and multiple forms and characterizations: for example, in England and Northern Ireland, key phrases are rural proofing and rural champion; in Canada it is rural lens; and most recently in Northern Ireland it is rural needs. The rural proofing and rural champion models are relatively unique to England (Organization for Economic and Co-operative Development [OECD], 2011), with similar approaches appearing in some parts of the United Kingdom (UK) and other countries with historic or institutional ties such as Sweden, Canada, and New Zealand. Rural proofing is the means of ensuring all policies are evaluated to see if they have an adverse impact on rural areas. The rural champion is the body tasked with ensuring that rural proofing takes place, and in England and Northern Ireland they are the departments with responsibilities for rural affairs. In this chapter, we are focusing on the recent legislation to address rural needs in Northern Ireland and what impact it will have on service provision.