Understanding Brexit and Trump in Post-Industrial, Peripheral Areas: Implications for Regional Development
The rise in anti-establishment populism across Western nations is understood to be symbolic of the gulf that has opened up between wealthy, apparently metropolitan, often urban ‘core’, regions; and peripheral localities in decline. As we have seen in recent elections in the UK, US, France, Germany, and Italy; the breadth and depth of disparities between core and peripheral regions indicates an urgent need to better understand what is going wrong, in order to figure out how to make things right. This has an important potential impact on the practice and measurement of economic development.
Current research into the efficacy of regional investment focuses on quantitative and qualitative factors around funding programmes, how they have been implemented, their impact on human capital and regional knowledge systems, and how they interact with the local environment (Rodriguez-Pose and Fratesi 2004; Rodriguez-Pose and Crescenzi, 2008; Crescenzi and Giua, 2016; Camagni and Capello, 2015; Barca et al. 2012). However to date, studies overlook how ordinary members of the public perceive, experience, and feel about the individual projects pursued under strategic development agenda’s, how these developments are fitted into local cultural schemae, and what impact this has on a general perception (and approval rating) of the funding agenda. This study aims to explore if there is a link between how development is perceived and experienced, and discontent with anti-establishment anger.
This research will explore these questions through a case study of Brexit voting Cornwall in the UK, and the Trump voting Mount Rogers area of Virginia, USA. Both are peripheral rural regions that have seen significant economic changes over recent decades, and have received development funding in order to try to help the regions mediate these changes. This study will explore the stories that are told about the case study regions, in order to understand the relationship between these stories, the intentions of strategic planners, and development policy outcomes.