Conference Information:



The Countryside in the 21st Century - British-German Perspectives



Date: 3-7 September 2002

Location: Thurnau Castle, Science Centre of the University of Bayreuth


The issues of rural policy and rural governance in Britain and Germany have come to the fore in recent years because of fundamental changes in the economy and society of rural areas.


The economic situation of farmers have worsened in many rural areas leading to a declining number of farms and farm workers while the non-farm population is growing. At the same time the expectations of society for the countryside have changed: Farmers are no longer valued as food producers, but also as producers of landscape and quality products. The roles of farmers must therefor change if they are to survive, and if rural economy is to develop in a sustainable way.


As a result, rural policy needs to broaden away from a narrow focus on farming. The challenge for European and national policy-makers is to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) into a more market-responsive but also environmentally-friendly policy. It is important that networks develop between actors in EU member states and regions so that ideas and information can be shared, and policies can be monitored.


Britain and Germany have contrasting forms of rural governance and different rural problems and priorities. However there are also similarities in both countries, for instance the multifunctional role of farmers and the public and government support for invironmentally friendly farming methods.


The conference will provide a forum for sharing research and identifying common themes/areas for research collaboration. It will comprise fieldtrips and paper sessions, so that all participants can observe and discuss rural policy issues at first hand.


The conference is organised by the University of Bayreuth (Chair for Urban and Rural Geography/Lehrstuhl für Geographie).


For more information please contact PD Dr Doris Schmied:


Tel/Fax +49 (0)921 30611

[email protected]