Innovation, Spatial Loyalty, and ICTs as Locational Determinants of Rural Development in the Catalan Pyrenees

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Abstract

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) open up new possibilities for development in rural and mountain areas. ICTs are analysed as a factor attracting business and enabling a dispersion of economic activity that is usually concentrated in metropolitan areas. Rural and mountain areas have benefited from the increasing incorporation of ICT in companies because development strategies are now made viable, thus bringing local territories into global markets and vice versa. Competitiveness and the added value of local development companies are incorporated into the product through the value given to local identity factors. Other competitive localisation factors of these zones are lower localisation costs and spatial loyalty among companies in the cluster. On the other hand, there may be an a priori shortage of available skilled workers in these particular areas but this deficit could be balanced out by the small size of companies established in these zones. This paper describes several case studies of specific companies in the Catalan Pyrenees where parts of the productive process with the highest added value—like design, organisation, etc—are carried out, while manufacturing occurs in other countries. It also analyses activities and services offered by smart farms and in smart rural areas. ICTs are important for the educational and informative levels of the population and also for the establishment of new companies and services in rural and mountain areas.

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