When it goes wrong … learning from challenged (and revived) community initiatives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Both in academia and practice there is an increasing interest for community initiatives. Examples of best practices are often discussed and reproduced. However, there is little attention for the failure of such initiatives. Failed, or seriously challenged initiatives now remain invisible, as the initiators fear stigmatisation and the outcomes do not sell the potential of community initiatives policy-makers and academics envision. From earlier empirical research, after the development of community initiatives in depopulating regions, a significant number of bottom-up projects was identified that experienced serious problems and, in some cases, failed. The aim of this paper is to deconstruct context, causes and consequences for challenged initiatives. In this paper four challenged initiatives from Sweden and The Netherlands are discussed. It appeared that, in dealing with financial, bureaucratic, democratic and organisational challenges, most communities recovered gradually. By acknowledging the existence of failure, we can learn from their resilience and social learning. In conclusion several recommendations for practice are discussed, to provide institutional space for challenged community initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'When it goes wrong … learning from challenged (and revived) community initiatives'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this