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Crossing dichotomies and breaking mental patterns: Green business development when all else fails?

Conference contribution
Authors Mirek Dymitrow
Pauline Muñoz-Olsö
Stina Rydberg
Dan Melander
Susan Runsten
Published in 8th International Scientific Conference “Rural Development 2017: Bioeconomy Challenges”, 23–24 November, 2017 Kaunas, Lithuania
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Language en
Keywords rural, urban, green innovation, socio-economic deprivation, local communities
Subject categories European research cooperation, Civil Engineering, Infrastructure Engineering, Transport Systems and Logistics, Water Engineering, Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology, Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Technology and social change, Environmental psychology, Environmental Biotechnology, Human Geography, Sociology

Abstract

Obtaining sustainable and inclusive societal organization is not merely a simple matter of ‘doing it’ by subscribing to some winning formula. Given that conceptual frameworks always guide our thoughts, judgments and actions (Latour, 2013; Harvey, 1996; Dennett, 1993), the ways in which we relate to concepts chosen to serve as guiding forces for future development will eventually determine its outcome. As scholarly evidence continuously suggests the concepts ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ are increasingly recognized as artificial barriers for conducting sound and integrated development endeavors in a globalized reality of interconnectedness. In line with the Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to eradicate poverty, shield the planet and safeguard prosperity for all, commitment to universal access to healthy food year round has become an important agenda point. This, however, has been exacerbated by binary thinking and separate ways of doing policy. This paper aims to share experiences from a unique project launched in the northern parts of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city. While the area offers ample resources and immense opportunities for areal economies, it at the same time remains one of Gothenburg’s most segregated, with high levels of unemployment, ill health and crime. The uniqueness of the project lies not only in its way of abridging the rural-urban divide, but also by consciously deferring from the debilitating rhetoric of previous ‘immigrant policies’, and instead focusing on agricultural productivity, small-scale food producers and sustainable food strategies. Such exhortations to bridge between philosophical and material polarities, however, have not come without conceptual and practical challenges, something this paper aims to subsume and open up to debate.

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