and 2005 I was working at the General Research Division of the International
Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) - doing research on
"Sustainable Rural Development (SRD)".
The work was initially focused on Sustainable Regional Development in
China. This was a follow-up activity to IIASA's
European Rural Development
Project, which was terminated by December 2002.
The main idea of
the research was to analyze demographic, economic, geographical,
socio-cultural, political and environmental reasons for the widening
disparities in the development of rural and urban-industrial areas in
China over the last 20 years. We also investigated development
options for rural areas outside the traditional sectors of agriculture
The research followed the approach of previous work on China's food security, which
resulted in the publication of the ChinaFood CD-ROM and Web Site. One
output of the SRD research was a Regional Analysis and Planning System
for China (RAPS-China), which is a software tool for analyzing regional disparities in
the economic and social development of China.
The main purpose of
RAPS-China was to bridge the gap between regional development research
and policy. It should facilitate the transfer of research results to
politicians, planners, the media and the interested public. RAPS-China
can also be used as an educational tool at the college and university
level. It is a tool for data mining and explorative analyses.
researchers and planners can use RAPS-China to quickly and easily access
and analyze large amounts of relevant regional development data and
demonstrate their ideas or concepts to each other. Since data retrieval
is extremely easy, one can use RAPS as a "background" information system
on China's regional development, which can be consulted immediately
during planning meetings or political debates.