Institute of Agricultural Ecomonics, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich

Decentralised settlement: Who can replace agriculture?

Settlement can no longer be assured by agriculture alone. An integrated, regional approach is essential if decentralised settlement is to be maintained. This paper investigates the future prospects of endangered boroughs and the impact of development strategies designed to stabilise employment and population. A dynamic simulation model serves as the basis for this study. The model calculations show that, depending on the type of borough involved, future settlement is influenced by various factors and that promotion concepts and political measures must be differentiated according to the specific type of borough. For example, if the population is to be maintained in a predominantly agricultural borough, a decline in employment due to changes in agricultural structures must be offset by investments in second and third sectors. However, these may not be geared to meet the low domestic demand but must concentrate on the export of services and products. In addition, the paper shows that strong growth in export demand or considerable public transfer payments are essential for the over-all maintenance of decentralised settlement.

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