Hubs, hopes and high stakes for a relatively disadvantaged low tech place

Christina Rundel*, Koen Salemink

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

The transition to a digitally inclusive and knowledge-based rural society can be challenging. Digital hubs are often proposed as a way of overcoming digital exclusion in rural and small-town contexts, yet studies into how to set up such a hub in these challenging contexts are scarce. While hubs are usually associated with an urban environment, this case study deals with the development of a rural digital hub over several years in a small town in East Groningen (NL). In the context of an Interreg project, observations during project meetings, in-depth interviews and document analysis were conducted to closely monitor the hub’s development process. Initially, the hub initiators aimed at stimulating business activities and innovation linked to digital technologies. Thereby, an originally urban digital hub concept was copied into a rural context without a rural translation. Along the way, they were forced to adapt and scale down the scope of the project while at the same time, a broader target group had to be formulated. Moreover, the municipality lacked an overarching digital strategy, which compromised demand aggregation and supply synchronisation – two essential ingredients for rural digital hubs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-668
Number of pages19
JournalLocal Economy: The Journal of the Local Economy Policy Unit
Volume36
Issue number7-8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1-Nov-2021

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