The Smart Villages concept aims to “help local communities address issues of inadequate broadband connectivity, employment opportunities and service provision in a clear and comprehensive manner”. It also aims to improve the attractiveness and well-being of inhabitants in rural areas. Social innovation can play a key role in the development of the full potential of rural areas. By working together and through social innovation, some communities have taken leadership of the provision of key rural services such as health, education, energy, mobility and other social services of key importance in rural, mountainous and remote areas where such services were of poor quality and often in decline. How can we capture their success in social innovation in marginalised rural areas and use it as an inspiration for all? How can we best support social innovation and Smart Villages in the future programming period?
On 13th April 2018 in Bled, Slovenia, a joint conference between the European Commission and the European Parliament was organised on “European Action for Smart Villages: for a brighter future of rural areas in the EU” (for more information and to see the streaming of the plenary session, click here).
This high-level conference shows an appetite for Smart Villages to be developed in the future programming period and the wish to put the concept into practice, as shown in Slovenia. If an EU project is currently developing a proper definition for Smart Villages (our blog post here), several high-level speakers shared their views about this concept and how to develop it in the coming months.
The concept of “Smart Villages” is gaining more and more attention at EU level and is likely to play a role in future policy. In light of this, a Pilot Project has been launched on smart eco-social villages or “Smart Villages” in short. The aim of the Pilot Project is to explore strategies to become a “Smart Village” and refine a definition to clarify what a “Smart Village” is or can be.
SIMRA has just released its second brochure collecting examples of social innovation in marginalised rural areas in Europe and the Mediterranean regions.
This brochure focuses on rural services, more precisely on how social innovation can help rural services such as health, education, energy, mobility and other social services of key importance in marginalised rural areas where these services are often in decline. A sneak peek of what you will find in this brochure includes mountain therapy for people with disabilities in Italy, a residence with grandmothers to attract young people in Bulgarian depopulated villages, an eco-social farm in Slovenia and an initiative to integrate unemployed women in Spain.