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.
EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is defined as an international on-line scientific journal in the branch of rural development. It publishes first of all theoretical and methodological articles, dealing with multi-functional development of countryside, articles related to regional aspects of rural development and with problems of individual branches connected with the countryside. EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is a journal supporting European processes of integration, collaboration of experts from European countries and the idea of Europe of Regions. EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE deals with problems of European countryside - although general and/or theoretical problems of rural research from other continents are welcome. Widening of the European Community and common agricultural policy put a joint future ahead of the rural development in whole Europe. Our journal welcomes articles from different disciplines dealing with the countryside having in mine conceptions of sustainability and locality: ecology of rural landscape, rural sociology, demographic development of rural regions, human resources, gender, multifunctional development of countryside, role of agriculture and other branches, rural and agro-tourism, geography of rural micro-regions, problems of rural borderland, rural settlement, small towns as rural centres, rural planning and architecture and other aspects of rural development. The publishing in EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE is open for all experts from universities, scientific institutions and other workplaces of investigation. The authors will pay symbolic amount for the publication of their papers. We go out from the presupposition that a majority of results arise within different grants projects where publication costs are an integral part of the budget. Other expenses connected with publishing of EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE are covered by the MUAF Faculty of Agronomy. On the other side, the papers published in EUROPEAN COUNTRYSIDE will be free accessible to all potential readers through the net. By such a way we hope in better quotation of individual papers and increasing value of the papers and their authors. Additionally, professional way of publishing helps to complete this aim.
The purpose of this paper is to determine the family situation and family preferences in rural parts of the Ukraine. This study investigates social integration of people in various types of municipalities and size characteristics of families. The results were compared with Ukrainian urban families and Czech rural and urban families. Besides the statistical data, results of a questionnaire survey were organised by means of social networks were used. The results suggested that relations between people and their community life and their social integration are influenced by the cultural context, historical aspects and the economic level. The differences between the contemporary Czech and Ukrainian rural families can be observed in different pathways and in a different part of the job market.
Antonín Vaishar, Lenka Jakešová and Miloslava Náplavová
Current problems in the South-Moravian rural landscape
Permanent development trends of the South-Moravian landscape are discussed. Four groups of impacts are observed: changes of agricultural using of the landscape, changes from the agricultural to other ways of utilization, stressing the landscape protection and influences of tourism. The changes in agricultural production occur in the less productive areas in the northern part of the region. Big changes were evoked by residential, commercial and industrial suburbanization in the hinterlands of Brno. About 1,300 rural brownfields can be found in the region. Wind power-plants form a new element in the landscape. The landscape protection has increased within EU. South Moravian landscape itself is the main offer for the tourism.
The authors argue that differentiation of various types of countryside is more important than to look for the definition of the rural against the urban. The paper is aimed at a typology of the Moravian countryside. Based on multifunctional (both hard and soft) data, Moravian micro-regions were divided into four categories – progressive, deficit and suburban countryside and predominantly urban micro-regions. Each of the categories has its own characteristics, threats, and needs. The authors stress that the approach of regional politics and both European and national subsidies have to take into account different categories of rural micro-regions. However, particular decisions have to be made in the intersection of the lowest regional level and the bottom-up approach expressed by community lead local development.
The paper analyses the problem of a rural region in the peripheral position. Bojkovice micro-region on the Czech (Moravian)-Slovak border has been chosen as a case study. Economic transformation of productive and non-productive branches, demographic development (depopulation and aging) and networking in the area were characterized by using statistical data and field research. Development, understood as improvement in quality of life and not in sense of quantitative growth, is highlighted with regard to the changing perception of the countryside. The question remains: how to use peripherality for prosperity? Peripheral countryside is known as “the right countryside” in comparison to suburbanized and globalized countryside in core regions. Based on the research, production embedded in local sources and traditions, ecological agriculture using the protection of landscape and soft tourism are proposed as solutions. Networking like the association of municipalities, LEADER local action group or White Carpathian Euroregion could be the instruments of micro-regional collaboration. The human and social factors seem to be more important than objective conditions. Long-term population stability is the main advantage. However, a lower level of formal education could be a problem. The character of social capital is considered as a decisive circumstance - whether it is passive social capital resistant to outer innovations or active social capital open for now ideas.
The paper describes the development of Mendel University in Brno and its Faculty of AgriSciences during last 100 years. It shows the present state of the University and Faculty, including facilities used for educational, scientific and other activities. The journal European Countryside owned by the University has been established 10 years ago. It is a highly cited per review periodical in the field of rural development. This special number gave the opportunity to the members of the Advisory Board to co-celebrate the anniversary by means of their own topic related scientific article.
Antonín Vaishar, Lucie Vidovićová and Elisabete Figueiredo
The paper discusses the concept of the quality of life and its measuring. It tries to explain its peculiarities in the rural space considering different levels of education, professional activities, mobility, ways of dwelling, access to the social and technical infrastructure. The subjective perception of both urban and rural people to the rural quality of life can be manifested in moving in and moving out. The main shortages of the rural quality of life can be seen (by rural people) in a poor access to the prestigious and well-paid jobs and to a richer social life. The main advantages of the rural way of life are generally evaluated (by urban people) by better access to the nature. A promotion of the local identity is considered as an important tool for improving the rural quality of life (besides of a solution of infrastructural problems), considering the enormous difference among European rural areas of a big differentiation of the European countryside. The last part of the paper summarizes the contributions of the special number.
Antonín Vaishar, Jana Zapletalová and Eva Nováková
The paper analyses the position of small towns in the Czech settlement system. It deals with the definition of small towns, their geographical positions, demographic characteristics and functions in the national settlement system. A typology of small towns aimed at individual pillars of their sustainability is one of the results of the paper. The article discusses the position of small towns as part of the urban world and their position as a part of the countryside. It concludes that small towns are functionally important as rural centres. However, differences between urban and rural seem to be less important than differences among individual types of the Czech countryside (suburban, intermediate, inner periphery, borderland).