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Title: Locational context and business growth : small rural towns and their hinterlands, England and Wales 2001-2007
Author: Roden, Stephanie Jane
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2011
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Small towns are traditionally thought to be the most economically dynamic locations in rural areas of England and Wales. However, Brown et al (2004) highlighted an unexpected pattern of faster aggregate grow1h in employment in the rural hinterlands surrounding the small towns than in the towns themselves. The implication was that within these rural districts, employment was decentralising, continuing a trend which had been observed across the largest cities in the urban hierarchy certainly until the mid 1990s (Turok and Edge 1999). Brown et al (2004) were unable to account for the business or locational processes which contributed to this trend. Whilst there is a great amount of literature on the spatial distribution of economic activity between urban and rural areas, the influence of locational context upon business performance within rural areas, focussing on the micro-geography of rural small towns and their hinterlands in England and Wales has not been investigated in any previous studies. This thesis addresses this issue and therefore contributes to the existing knowledge on business location and performance. The study focuses on statistical analysis of primary and secondary data collated from established organisations in and around small towns in selected rural districts of England and Wales between 2001 and 2007 to identify significant associations between objective and subjective measures of location, and two established measures of business performance - changes in turnover and employment. This analysis suggests that subjective measures of locational context are more influential on business performance than objective measures. However, whilst basic correlations were revealed between business performance and the availability of land, clustering and the rail transport network, only one objective measure of place-based characteristics (concentration of economic activity) was significantly associated with employment change. The research highlights characteristics of businesses that might be more likely to increase employment in rural small towns and their hinterlands (in a prosperous economic climate), as well as the importance of the subjective perceptions of locations, these in sights might be useful in enabling and supporting economic activity through policy development
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available