Leverage points of local economies. Business closures in local artisan food production from a system perspective


  • David Sipple Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg
  • Heiner Schanz Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg




Local economy, Sustainability transformation, Urban development, Urban planning, Municipal business development, Sustainable food system


The diversity of local economies represents a central factor for the success of sustainability transformations at municipal levels. But especially the heterogeneous structures of family-owned, locally based (small-scale) businesses seem to be threatened in their existence by market concentration and branching processes. At the same time, municipal planning departments as well as local administrations and politics have not yet taken account of all sectors of local economies and their differing needs. Searching levers for governance interventions to promote and maintain local economies therefore requires more attention. Family-owned, locally based (small-scale) food trade businesses, which represent the case study of this paper, are currently exposed to existential threats. In a first step, the causes of the business closures and the accompanying expectations and strategic considerations are analysed via qualitative expert interviews with bakeries and butchers in two medium-sized towns in Southern Germany. This is done from a systemic perspective, in the form of modelling causal loop diagrams and the classification of these into so-called system archetypes. The aim is, in a second step, to identify leverage points for governance interventions, through which local authorities can support the branches of the (small-scale) local economy.


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Issue publication date 2021-02-25 (version 2)
Published online first 2021-02-09 (version 1)


How to Cite

Sipple, D. and Schanz, H. (2021) “Leverage points of local economies. Business closures in local artisan food production from a system perspective”, Raumforschung und Raumordnung | Spatial Research and Planning. DE, 79(1), pp. 58-72. doi: 10.14512/rur.33.