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FSD2570 Rural Finland 2009: Municipal Decision-Makers

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Authors

  • Kurunmäki, Seija (Kuule)
  • Leppänen, Anne (Kuule)
  • Hellström, Eeva (Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. Landmarks Programme)
  • Aho, Pauliina (Taloustutkimus)

Keywords

businesses, image, rural areas, rural economics, rural environment, rural policy, rural sociology, telework

Abstract

The survey of local government decision-makers covered opinions on the significance, development and future of the rural areas in Finland. The barometer was developed for the Landsmarks Programme carried out by the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra).

The respondents were asked which descriptions, relating to the type of municipality, characterised the municipality they worked for. The descriptions included, for instance, 'the municipality has many agricultural areas', 'the municipality has a compact, urban-like population centre', or 'the municipality has many population centres'. One question covered whether there had been a municipal merger involving rural and urban areas in the municipality. The respondents were presented with pairs of statements and asked what kind of effect municipal mergers had had on decisions relating to the countryside (e.g. had public services suffered or improved, had the juxtaposition between the municipality population centre and villages in the sparsely populated areas increased or decreased).

Views were probed on the issue of teleworking and to what extent various factors formed a barrier to this type of working. The respondents were presented with a number of ways to develop rural areas and asked to rate their importance. Some questions explored what kind of business ventures they though could have potential in the countryside, what they saw as the most important goals for the development of their rural areas, and what kind of neighbourhoods the respondents saw as fulfilling people's hopes of a good life (living in a city, living in a rural area or alternating between living in a rural and an urban area, living in a neighbourhood that is neither rural nor urban).

Further questions studied what the respondents believed the countryside would be like in 2020 and what they hoped it would be like in 2020. Finally, the respondents were asked to evaluate how the significance of rural areas in Finland would develop in the future (increase, stay the same, decrease).

Background variables included the number of inhabitants in the municipality, type of municipality, region (NUTS) and municipality.

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