It was a great honour to talk about my research at The James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen on 14th April 2016. Theme of the seminar was “Regional rural development: a case of island archipelagos”.
This seminar contributes to a dialogue on regional rural island development including island communities, funding and governance, with the rural islands in Scotland, Finland, Denmark and Croatia as the examples. Despite their geographical and spatial remoteness, isolation and peripherality, rural and remote islands significantly contribute to their regional economy through tourism and various ecosystem services. These elements can also represent a growing threat to island sustainable development and lead to social exclusion and slower economic growth. For governments, a better connectedness remains a key concern, including affordable ferry transport, investment into broadband and green technologies and stakeholder engagement. Changing communities’ perceptions about sustainable island management is also vital. Despite their remoteness, there are signs of growing repopulation and resilience that could be contributed, on one hand, to the government’ commitment to sustainable island development, and on the second, to island communities’ greater involvement in decision making process. Lack of comparable statistics and heterogeneity of space and data suggests adopting fieldwork approach, including ethnographic methods as well as storytelling, in gathering a local and regional picture.