Project

Leisure-led Regional Development: A Complexity Perspective on Fryslân

Goal: How do you deal with planning for an unpredictable future full of uncertainties? This project applies this problem to leisure as a factor in regional development in Fryslân. By trying to understand the complexities of leisure and regional development, this project aims to provide new tools for planning in an adaptive way, allowing for a better recognition of and response to fundamental uncertainties in the effects of planning measures and policies. In this way, we open the door to the successful propagation of leisure as an important factor in the regional development of Fryslân.

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Project log

Jasper Meekes
added a research item
Connections between socio-spatial complexity in a social domain and Foucauldian discourse analysis gain momentum in the wider social sciences, but have been marginalized in leisure and tourism research. We combine, explore and expand theories of socio-spatial complexity with leisure-led regional development and Foucauldian discourse analysis, for the first time in tourism studies. Based on interviews with 37 local leisure and tourism stakeholders in the Dutch province of Fryslân, we analyze how discourses condition leisure development. Through Foucauldian analysis we uncover powerful discourses behind interactions that drive socio-spatial complexity. Values and meanings in these discourses condition a region's tourism and leisure development. Established discourses structure which tourism and leisure developments are pursued, and shifts in these discourses trigger structural societal changes.
Jasper Meekes
added an update
During the 26th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research, held in Falun, Sweden from 4-6 October 2017, the fourth paper in this project was presented by Jasper Meekes, first author in this project. This presentation, with the title Grasping the complexity of leisure-led regional development through discourse analysis, was part of a session on 'Complexity in leisure and tourism research: challenges and directions in the era of interconnectedness'.
The accompanying paper is in progress and is due to be submitted for publication within the coming months. For more on the symposium, see http://www.du.se/tourismandhospitalityresearch.
 
Jasper Meekes
added a research item
Local and regional governments in western European peripheral areas aim to spur leisure-led regional development. We explore planning for leisure by applying an evolutionary economic geography (EEG) approach from a complexity perspective. We identify conditions which enable and constrain leisure development and its effects on the region as a whole. This means combining the local level of individual adaptations with the institutional setting and with the regional scale. We examine the Dutch province of Fryslân and explore by means of case study analysis how current leisure development processes can be explained in a complex evolutionary manner. We explore economic novelty as a result of individual adaptations; how such adaptations through interactions create emerging spatial patterns; how these spatial patterns form self-organizing new types of order; and the way this process is dependent on previous paths whilst also creating new pathways. Our findings show that although development is dependent on individual adaptations often stemming from a few actors, for such adaptations to have an effect on the region requires a connectivity between actors and a sense of urgency amongst those actors. Using a complex EEG approach allows us to explain leisure-led regional development as the product of these conditions. This can help planners deal with the complexity and unpredictability of this process, focusing not on a desired end goal as such, but on creating the conditions in which a more autonomous development can take place.
Jasper Meekes
added 2 research items
Local and regional governments in western European peripheral areas aim to spur leisure-led regional development. Assuming that planning for leisure is a complex and highly unpredictable process, we explore this process by applying an evolutionary economic geography (EEG) approach from a complexity perspective. We identify conditions which enable and constrain leisure development and its effects on the region as a whole. This means combining the local level of individual adaptations with the institutional setting and with the regional scale. We examine the Dutch province of Fryslân and analyze by means of a case study how current leisure development processes can be explained in a complex evolutionary manner. We explore economic novelty as a result of individual adaptations; how such adaptations through interactions create emerging spatial patterns; how these spatial patterns form self-organizing new types of order; and the way this process is dependent on previous paths whilst also creating new pathways. Our findings show that although development is dependent on individual adaptations often stemming from a few actors, for such adaptations to have an effect on the region requires a connectivity between actors and a sense of urgency amongst those actors. Using a complex EEG approach allows us to explain leisure-led regional development as the product of these conditions. This can help planners deal with the complexity and unpredictability of this process, focusing not on a desired end goal as such, but on creating the conditions in which a more autonomous development can take place.
Planning for leisure is a complex and non-linear process. We acknowledge this by exploring leisure development through an approach based on complex adaptive systems (CAS) in an evolutionary economic geography (EEG) perspective. We illustrate our approach with the Dutch village of Appelscha in the province of Fryslân, where moving an amusement park led to unforeseen and drastic consequences. We argue that focusing on adaptivity – a balance between robustness, flexibility, unity and diversity – provides the opportunity to explain these consequences and understand changes to the regional system. This contributes to the field of planning for regional development and leisure.
Jasper Meekes
added a project goal
How do you deal with planning for an unpredictable future full of uncertainties? This project applies this problem to leisure as a factor in regional development in Fryslân. By trying to understand the complexities of leisure and regional development, this project aims to provide new tools for planning in an adaptive way, allowing for a better recognition of and response to fundamental uncertainties in the effects of planning measures and policies. In this way, we open the door to the successful propagation of leisure as an important factor in the regional development of Fryslân.