The Role of Asset Owning Community Organisations in Place-Based Responses to COVID-19

Activity: Talk, evidence or presentation typesOral presentation

Description

Approximately three per cent of Scotland’s land is owned by community groups, with land purchases since 2003 directly or indirectly enabled by land reform legislation and policy that supports the transfer of land and assets into community ownership. During the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns, landowning community groups often played an important role in place-based, community responses. Our paper discusses the extent to which ownership of community assets enabled a resilient response to the Covid crisis in rural areas.

We studied four case studies in two administrative regions in Scotland to explore factors of rural community resilience in place-based responses to the pandemic and lockdowns. The case studies were in the Western Isles region (the island of South Uist and Stornoway) and in Fife (Burntisland and Elie and surrounds). Interviews with local and regional actors enabled assessment of: socio-economic impacts; community responses; the importance of resilience and community capacity; opportunities for recovery; and variation of responses between communities. In all of the case studies, community organisations have played a critical role during the pandemic in many ways. In the Western Isles, where 40% of the land is owned by local community organisations, asset-owning community organisations were generally able to respond rapidly and in a flexible way, particularly in relation to obtaining and distributing available financial support locally. These organisations are also fully engaged in addressing issues that will help or hinder recovery, including: depopulation, reliance on the tourism industry, and the availability of housing.
Period1 Jul 2021
Event titleLANDac international conference 2021: Land, Crisis and Resilience
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational

Keywords

  • community
  • resilience
  • land reform
  • land ownership
  • community assets
  • community development
  • Covid-19