Sustainable regional development.

Author:Theodoropoulou, Helen
Position:Report
 
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INTRODUCTION

The internationalization of markets and the socio-economic realignments of globalization influence the productive activities of Greece. These developments create particular difficulties of adaptation in small, traditional economies of rural regions in Greece. On one hand "the new order" that creates the globalization and on the other hand the slow processes of reformation and import of new technologies in combination with the lack of basic infrastructures, make visible the dangers of weakening the economy and social web in these regions (1-4). Therefore, rural regions in order to avoid depopulation and to accomplish local development, they are focused in the exploitation of particular regional advantages and capabilities and their residents for the creation of opportunities of employment and the maintenance of places of work (2), (3). Successful policies of regional development aim in the mobilization of local forces and in the attendance of residents in the publics in a sustainable way (4-9).

In order to evaluate the regional development of small, traditional economies of rural regions in Greece from the social-economic point of view, three municipalities of southern Peloponnese were examined with the aim to record their adaptation in the requirements of reformation of economy and globalization of markets. All three municipalities are old cities with old civilisation, but now are affected significantly by social and economic changes, because of the increase of tourism. The economy of those areas is becoming more diversified as the service sector grows significantly at the expense of other sectors, like agriculture. Demographic changes has increased the social and cultural diversity of these areas causing an expansion in the cultural and economic horizons of local people and producing at the same time conflicts in their interests, values and lifestyles. More specifically, the study examines the endogenous development based on the exploitation of local resources and its sustainability for future generations (4-9).

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Study area: Three municipalities of southern Peloponnese in Greece namely Koroni, Methoni and Pilos (Fig. 1) were selected for the study. These three municipalities were selected because they constitute regions of common historical heritage, big natural beauty and high environmental importance. However, during the past few years they suffer intense changes, mainly the shrinkage of the primary sector, the demographic reduction and the weakness of exploitation of "dynamic" sectors of local economy as the tourism, the small to medium-sized enterprises and the cultural and environmental heritage.

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Data collection: An empirical investigation took place during April and May of 2007 and included visits to local institutions for data collection and a questionnaire survey of local residents. The questionnaires were distributed to men and women irrespectively of age, family status, income, residence and educational level. The following data on factors that may influence the social and economic development of the three municipalities of Peloponnese were collected: Family status of residents, educational level, income, role of tourism, infrastructures, transportation, participation of citizens in public affairs, treatment of groups of people like immigrants, women and youth, access of residents to information and technological progress, as well as quality and...

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