Between 1945 and 1992 rural development policy in the UK was characterised by its sectoral approach, with agriculture dominating. Since then, reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy, and the UK government's commitment to sustainable development, have signalled a policy shift towards integrated rural development. Implementation is partly constrained by an institutional framework that evolved to set, deliver and evaluate sectoral policy. A particular legacy of this framework concerns the way data are gathered. This issue has been explored in a case study on the rural data infrastructure of Scotland. The findings highlight: the currently low level of user awareness of data sources; the lack of central government engagement in and individual awareness of related UK data infrastructure initiatives; and the current focus on top–down data provision being a constraint on community-led development. The commentary explores the interplay between policy and technology drivers and we argue that, whilst data sharing has been assumed to be a technical problem, there is evidence to suggest that it is more a social one concerning power relationships both within and between institutions. This is discussed in relation to other infrastructure projects in Europe and North America.
- Rural development
- Rural policy
- Data infrastructure
Birnie, R. V., Geddes, A., Bayfield, N., Midgley, J. L., Shucksmith, D. M., & Elston, D. (2005). Improving the rural data infrastructure of Scotland: an overview. Land Use Policy, 22(2), 145-152. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2003.08.005