Smart Village Scotland: Web communities for Scotland’s rural towns and villages

Smart Village Scotland is a platform aiming at helping the development of Smart Villages in Scotland, by equipping rural territories with the same technologies as those existing in large cities. It provides a dedicated webpage to promote local businesses and social activities of smart villages in Scotland.

What is Smart Village Scotland?

Smart Village Scotland was created by Digital Scotland, a business network supporting the Scottish Government’s ambitions in realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world. Smart Village Scotland aims at applying cities’ technologies and innovations to rural territories in order to boost economic competitiveness and social attractiveness.

The platform provides rural villages with online services and tourism portals to help them in promoting their territory. Each village has the opportunity to promote local activities and celebrations or local businesses like hostels and restaurants, to show how their region is dynamic. The purpose is also to include smart data feeds, like weather conditions, road traffic and flooding alerts, to help communities, businesses and tourists adapting their agenda.

What does Smart Village Scotland promote and how?

The concept was first applied in Strathyre, in the Highlands, and is now replicated all over Scotland’s rural areas. Strathyre is Digital Scotland’s first Smart Village, where several initiatives have been implemented to revitalize the village, such as:

  • Re-routing the National Cycle Network Route 7 to the village
  • Closed hotels purchased and open for business
  • River level monitoring and early warning system added to protect the village
  • Live music sessions in the White Stag Inn

These initiatives attracted more tourists in the recent years and encouraged local communities in developing opportunities in the region. The success of Strathyre’s transformation led to the creation of Smart Village Scotland. The platform promotes the village and enables the community to add more information and website links to the village’s webpage.

The information can include listings of local businesses and their opening hours or explanations on the history and heritage of the village, it can guide tourists through the region and promote local celebration days or any other information of value to the community or future visitors helping to boost the local economy. Each village can adapt its broadcasted content depending on its specific resources or local activities. Lanark has for instance made the choice to promote its William Wallace heritage to attract visitors. Its website gives thorough information on Wallace’s history and touristic information on local castles to visit.

Who can benefit from the platform’s services?

For the creator of Smart Villages Scotland, Kenny Higgins, “there has never been a more important time to introduce a fresh, unique strategy to help safeguard the future of Scotland’s 2,112 rural villages and 273 towns”. Thus, any one is welcomed to start and lead for free a Smart Village on the platform, from local authorities to local business owners and citizens.

The main activities for involved persons will be to:

  • Build a local team of citizens motivated to animate the webpage and to develop the village’s activities
  • Edit the content of the village’s website, based on local news

The platform also provides useful good practices for villagers willing to start their Smart village webpage or for those looking for new actions to implement to keep their territory vibrant and attractive. Many more examples of social innovation can be found on SIMRA’s database available here.

If you are interested in promoting your community on Smart Village Scotland, you can directly send a message on the website with your contact details and information on your village.


Blandine Camus (Euromontana)

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