Boardroom C219-C220, College Building, Middlesex University, The Burroughs, London NW4 4BT
In the last few decades new types of investors have acquired interests in large amounts of rural land across Europe. Farms, vineyards, processing plants and real estate assets that were once locally owned and operated are now in the hands of different types of investors who take either an active or passive interest in these assets.
The flow of new money into rural areas has connected local assets with the global economy and potentially provides a much needed boost for rural economies. This research examines the ability of these new investments to contribute to sustainable rural development that nurtures the broad range of productive, environmental and cultural assets and values inherent in European landscapes.
The analytical framework applies a capitals and assets based lens to four case studies that exemplify either transformational change of land use (Moominworld theme park, Finland; Trump International Golf Links, Scotland) or the entry of new entrepreneurs into conventional rural land management (Biosabor horticultural company, Spain; Sella and Mosca vineyard, Italy). The analysis highlights the composition of the local asset base, ranging from ecosystem services to place based cultural assets but also the strategies and framings that investors apply to valorise them as central to modulating the impact of investments locally. The significance of a sustainable investor brand for sustainable impacts is clear but investments that seek to valorise local ecosystems services do not necessarily deliver strong sustainability.
Dr Meri Juntti is a Senior Lecturer at Middlesex University, Department of Law and Politics. Her research focuses on environmental governance and sustainable rural development. She has undertaken research focusing on a number of EU member states and has authored books and papers on rural planning and environmental policy decision-making and implementation.