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Heritage, Nature and Development Outside the Metropolis; Discussing Issues of Attractivity, Growth, Participation and Sustainable Development
Published: 16 October 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Social Values for a Sustainable Economy
Abstract: Heritage and nature are both prominent landscape features and resources for different forms of use. They could also be main assets for creating sustainable development, especially in rural and non-metropolitan communities. However, they are also contested areas, involving different groups of actors and interests. In this paper three contested areas, and suggestions for methods to move forward, will be discussed. The first ara may be labelled attractivity. Small municipalities in Sweden tend to experience demographic and economic downturns as many young people move out, and traditional industries close down. In order to turn the negative trends new ways of competeing for attractive citizens, not least the new creative class, and business are emerging. In this game heritage and nature are rendered new importance and new meanings. But these new meanings will probably enhance social stratification, as less attractive segments of citizens are excluded. The second area is (economic) growth. According to politicians from top to bottom, the economic future of rural and smaller non-metropolitan areas lay in tourism, albeit long histories of various forms of industries and production. But tourism does not go well with lifestyles and relationships with nature and heritage of most local inhantants. Also, so far most of the small scale nature and heritage business have problems of becoming profitable enough. The third area is the, by the authorities, increased demand for citizen participation in management of protected nature and heritage. Participation has so far mostly been a top-down affair, as the authorities have not been willing to step down from deciding which values that should be protected, only the work and costs for management. The retraction of the authorities is challenged by the citizens\' demands for information and knowledge, that is, and increased presence of experts. Nature and heritage, and how these resources may contribute to a sustainable development, is thus contested. There is a need for new ways of working in order to turn contestion into inclusive strategies, and thereby enhance the strengths of the contribution from nature and heritge to sustainable development. In this paper the possibilities of living labs and the creation of innovative systems for sustainable development as means for turning nature and heritage into sources of socially inclusive, sustainable development will be put forward.
Keywords: nature, heritage, rural, non-metropolis, living labs, innovative systems for sustainable development