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Proximity, territory and sustainable management at the local level: an introduction

This introductory article presents the general theme studied in this special issue of the IJSD, concerning the relations between proximity economics and sustainable environmental management at local level. Interest in this research theme has grown significantly in recent years because of the rising concern about the environment but also following the realisation that environmental processes and changes have local origins and impacts. The articles published in this issue all highlight the local dimension of these processes, showing that organised proximity facilitates sustainable environmental management by local actors. To start with we show that the globalisation of activities and of human relations has paradoxically been accompanied by the realisation of the importance of the 'Local', which has also affected public policies. We then present the main concepts of our analysis in terms of geographical proximity, before testing our hypotheses by examining the changes that have occurred in agricultural activities, and their environmental impacts in European countries. To close our introduction, we present the articles included in this issue.

Keywords: proximity economics, sustainable environmental management, sustainable development, local level, geographical proximity, local environmental management

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