Rural areas face new and old challenges, such as the rural exodus (despite the existence of new rural ones), the aging of the population, the indulgence of agricultural activity, the difficulty of changing practices for a more sustainable production and consumption, and the changes climate change. These territories present a set of vulnerabilities that make the context of the investigation the one of economic crisis, of uncertainty and of great complexity. With 25 years of implementation in Portugal, the LEADER approach is one of the tools available to these territories for the development, animation and implementation of local development strategies (EDL) in rural areas, where Local Action Groups (LAGs), local partnerships, play a key role.
The transition path to green growth is a path of change for the sustainable development of rural areas. In this sense, the research work plan is based on the following question: How can LAGs and EDLs, through processes of innovation and experimentation and adaptive governance processes, promote transition paths to green growth in rural areas? This issue aims to achieve a set of objectives: (i) to understand how new visions of development of the rural territories emerge and consolidate, namely those related to green growth; (ii) to understand how the values, behaviors and practices that contribute to the transition to green growth emerge and are consolidated; (iii) to understand to what extent transactional proactivity exists on the part of local actors (public, private and citizen organizations); (iv) understand what factors of change have in the past led to innovation and experimentation, and what factors of change can, in a context of transition adaptation, currently contribute to the process of innovation and experimentation; (v) starting from the previously established objectives, to perceive the differences and similarities between different rural areas in the Southwest Europe (Portugal, Spain and France).
The chosen methodological approach starts from a documentary analysis. The research work is mainly based on methods and techniques of qualitative research. Questionnaires will be carried out, but above all semi-structured interviews will be based on a script (which will be subject to a content analysis from Bardin's perspective as an information processing technique). Interviews can be complemented by observation.