Social exclusion, rural poverty and landscape change in Latvia

Bell, S., 2004, Social exclusion, rural poverty and landscape change in Latvia, in: OPENspace, ‘Open space, people space’, OPENspace, Edinburgh

  • Author : Bell, S.
  • Year : 2004
  • Published in Book : Open space, people space
  • Abstract in English : Research was undertaken amongst rural and urban dwellers across Latvia, using focus group and questionnaire surveys, into attitudes and perceptions towards the rural landscape. Rural Latvia is undergoing immense change because of many factors. The research approach was based on personal construct theory and identified that people’s perceptions and values were bound up in a relationship between the physical landscape and the social context. The study found that the rural landscape is associated with two contrasting sets of perception: firstly, positive feelings about the beauty of nature, fresh air and clean water, childhood reminiscences and a sense of Latvian identity, and secondly, negative social issues such as unemployment, poverty, hard farm work, alcoholism, bad roads and economic depression. As young people leave the countryside the population is becoming older and while there is a strong attachment to the rural scene the people living there are becoming increasingly marginalised.
  • Comments/Notes : KEYWORDS: latvia, landscape perception, landscape change, rural landscape, social exclusion