The countryside is one of the main focus areas of the European Commission in the coming years. Alexia Rouby, rural policy coordinator at the European Commission, presented the 'rural pact', part of the long-term vision for rural areas in Europe, at the Rural Geographies conference in Groningen this morning. The aim of this pact is to strengthen the 'voice' of rural Europe and to get it higher on the agenda. The long-term vision focuses on four areas of action to achieve stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous rural areas by 2040. There is a need for highly trained rural development experts at local, regional and national levels. The Faculty of Spatial Sciences will be offering a master's programme in Sustainable Rural Futures from September 2024 to help meet that need.
Sustainable Rural Futures is a track within the Master's programme in Economic Geography. Students will learn how economic-geographical processes, developments in the labor market, issues in the field of well-being, quality of life and mobility take shape in different regions and in the continuum between urban and rural areas. They will discover how rural communities are organized and how changes in agriculture affect local and regional land use planning. Attention is also paid to the social effects of climate change and the energy transition, and how historical natural and landscape values can be preserved and enhanced in a sustainable manner during those transitions.
Tialda Haartsen, professor in rural geography: “The European countryside is facing a number of major transitions: a turnaround in agriculture, spatial adjustments for climate change, location for renewable energy. In addition, many residents in peripheral regions and rural areas are dissatisfied with whether the politicians are paying attention to them. With the Master's programme in Sustainable Rural Futures, we want to contribute to a sustainable and liveable future for rural areas”.
More information about this training can be found at www.rug.nl/masters/sustainable-rural-futures
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