The LEADER Approach
Why is LEADER specific?
THE SEVEN SPECIFIC FEATURES OF LEADER
2. Area-based approach
An area-based approach takes a small, homogenous, socially cohesive territory, often characterised by common traditions, a local identity, a sense of belonging or common needs and expectations, as the target area for policy implementation. Having such an area as a reference facilitates the recognition of local strengths and weaknesses, threats and opportunities, endogenous potential and the identification of major bottlenecks for sustainable development.
A LEADER area must have clearly defined geographic borders, which don't have to follow the administrative borders (perhaps rather the functional ones). The area chosen must have sufficient coherence and critical mass in terms of human, financial and economic resources to support a viable local development strategy.
The population must meet the critical mass criteria.
"The micro-regional scale is small enough to address the identities of local communities as a driving factor of local development, and it is at the same time large enough to bundle forces for attaining a critical mass for tangible projects and to effectively perform as a partner in global networks." (Lukesch & Schuh 2007)