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Civic Engagement and Governance in the Urban-Rural Fringe: Evidence from Ireland

Marie Mahon, Frances Fahy, Micheál Ó Cinnéide and Brenda Gallagher

Keywords: CIVIC ENGAGEMENT; COMMUNITY; LOCAL DEMOCRACY; LOCAL GOVERNANCE; PLACE

Abstract

The urban-rural fringe in Ireland harbors diverse and often competing visions of place that unfold against a backdrop of rapid physical and socio-economic change. The desire to develop and articulate a shared sense of belonging rooted in place might be reasonably expected to lead to community-level expression through diverse local organizations. These in turn become embedded in wider institutionalized systems of governance. The importance of place vision, and the extent of civic engagement to create and protect such a vision, is the focus of this article. The ongoing and predominantly developer-led transformation of fringe locations has coincided with a shift from government to governance (particularly at local level) and associated changes in power relationships among various stakeholders. This article investigates the extent to which residents of fringe locations perceive themselves as part of local governance processes and explores the implications of such perceptions for citizenship and local democracy.

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