Small towns as centres of rural micro-regions
Small towns ensure services on the basic urban level, jobs, social contacts, occasions to travel outside the micro-region, services of the state administration and sometimes also an identity of the micro-region. Mass commuting from villages to small towns is usual for Czechia for a long time. Small towns in peripheral regions are of our interest. Character of these towns is given by the remoteness and bad accessibility from regional centers, by the lack of investments, problems of human capital etc. Nevertheless, the peripheral small towns remain the definite centers of their hinterlands because of the lack of competition in majority of cases. The second demographic transition leads to ageing of rural population. Sub-urbanization and counter-urbanization impacts on the population shift from big and medium cities to the countryside. In the process of globalization, the countryside including small towns plays a role of bearer of the traditional way of life. Transferring the jobs from productive to non-productive branches endangers the countryside by losing jobs in industry. Increasing value of leisure, environment, space, security etc. offers new chances for small towns.