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FSD2931 Rural Finland 2013: Rural Development Specialists

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  • Aho, Pauliina (Taloustutkimus)
  • Rahkonen, Juho (Taloustutkimus)


businesses, countryside, rural areas, rural development, rural economics, rural environment, rural migration, rural planning, rural policy


The survey studied public opinion and experiences of the countryside in Finland and beliefs about the significance, development and future of rural areas. This stage of the study surveyed the perceptions of rural development specialists. The study is a continuation of the surveys conducted in the Landmarks Programme of the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) in 2009 and 2011.

First, the respondents were asked to what extent they connected certain qualities and issues to countryside and to urban areas (e.g. burden on the public economy, environmental-friendly way of life, social exclusion, good life, authenticity, culture). Images of the countryside were charted by asking what kinds of places corresponded to their view of the countryside and which areas they saw as part of the countryside (e.g. holiday villages in rural areas, rural population centres, nature areas, rural areas dominated by agricultural areas). The experience of urban/rural identity was examined by asking whether the respondents thought themselves as city or rural residents and how important this identity was to them.

The respondents were presented with a number of statements relating to the countryside, its image and future development and significance. Some questions covered what the respondents would like the countryside to be like in 2025, what countryside meant to them at the time of the survey and what they believed it would mean to them in ten years' time. Further questions explored the respondents' beliefs about whether the significance of rural areas would grow or diminish in Finland. Some questions investigated what kind of business ventures they thought could have potential in the countryside (e.g. logistics services, renewable energy production, tourism), and to what extent they agreed with a number of statements related to entrepreneurship both in general and in the countryside.

Background variables included the respondent's year of birth, gender, education, political party choice if parliamentary elections were held at the time of survey, economic activity and occupational status, annual gross income of household, and job title.

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