Managing the diversity of the enlarged European Union (EU) is a central task for European policies. It is argued that this diversity leads to the development of a core-periphery pattern, separating cores of economic strength from peripheral regions being on the margins and lagging behind with mainly rural areas playing the peripheral part. This chapter describes the approach taken by the FP7 EU research project RUFUS – Rural Future Networks. It concentrated on rural regions and tried to work out the implications of the diversity of European rural areas by creating an interdisciplinary typology. The RUFUS typology is based on nine economic, social and ecological indicators and included regions (NUT3 level) from 10 European countries. A factor and cluster analysis was performed leading to a set of types of rural areas displaying their strengths and weaknesses related to their economic, social and ecological characteristics. The analysis was performed with different combinations of countries. The data set based on countries within the EU15 led to a first typology of four types showing a specific distribution of strong(er) and weak(er) types of regions already functioning for a longer time in the context of EU integration. Including more Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries led to a set of five types combined with the change of type distribution within and between the countries. The approach is an easy to understand classification and visualisation tool to show the relative development status of European regions as well as the relationship of the status with their location (core or border region).
The work has been funded under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme within Theme 8: Socio Economic Sciences and Humanities. Contract no. 217381.
Werner, J., Herrmann, S. and Lovett, A. (2017), "Clusters of Rural European Regions: An Approach to Show the Multi-Dimensional Character of Core-Peripheral Patterns", Pascariu, G.C. and Duarte, M.A.P.D.S. (Ed.) Core-Periphery Patterns Across the European Union, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 177-197. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-495-820171006
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