Good Practice Catalogue & Roadmap

 

Nowadays’ global social and economic processes have posed new challenges not only to the communities of cities but also to that of smaller settlements and villages – regardless of their geographical location and their places in settlement hierarchy. After a few years (or even decades) of research on smart cities in recent years, the focus has undoubtedly oriented to small communities both in academic platforms and in policy practice. Technological innovations, digitalization, and the ever-accelerating world around us require fast responses from the members of society. The growing importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is perceivable, as it influences all aspects of life, relationships, and local development. But the smartness is not just about ICT. It is also about new solutions and ways in infrastructure development, tourism, and recreation, transportation technology, or even in public services.

Despite some negative aspects that small rural settlements are facing (e.g. aging, emigration of working-age population and depopulation, lack of adequate infrastructure and services), these areas on the other hand are considered to have important opportunities as well. From an environmental and agricultural point of view, they have a crucial role in food supply and production, and the fight against climate change. The continuous appreciation of the rural way of life, the rich cultural and historical heritage (and their contribution to sustainable rural tourism), or even the changing labour market environment (co-working and co-living places, teleworking) all make these areas important in the recent approaches of local development initiatives.

 

Our Good Practice Catalogue has been written to collect, summarize, and introduce some (30 exactly) formerly initiated (and still working) initiatives from different countries all over the world. As it was previously mentioned, in our point of view the most important elements of the “smartness” cover digitalization, ICT and infrastructure sector, new solutions in local development and public services, and all efforts that are being made against negative demographic and economic changes in these areas. We grouped the good practices into seven different categories, namely: health, ICT/infrastructure, local economic development, public services, smart communities, tourism/recreation/culture, and transport.

In the case of the category “Health”, we discuss two good practices from Finland and Portugal. Both focus on the elder population and provide services and new solutions that can help and facilitate the care of the elderly. “ICT/Infrastructure” contains seven case studies, all of which cover the topic of digitalization in different forms (village remoting, business network supporting, accessible superfast broadband, gigabit infrastructure in thousands of villages, etc.). “Local Economic Development” with its three good practices provide some examples of new, sustainable solutions in rural areas (e.g. how could a village be self-sustaining, how to support remote working, or how to build and maintain a greenhouse that uses a hydroponic system). The group “Smart Communities” covers a wide range of countries from Europe to Southeast Asia generally intending to introduce new digital and service solutions in rural villages. The four case studies in “Tourism/Recreation/Culture aim at providing examples on developing new tourism attractions and tools to facilitate access to 5 natural and historical landmarks, on developing online hiking tools and smartphone apps, on community networking for the organization of cultural events, etc. Last, but not least the “Transport” category with its five good practices mostly focuses on public transport facilities and community-based transport services. The main aim in these cases is to help elder people and children/students who are lacking mobility options, in some cases supported by other aspects, e.g. prevention of social isolation of the elderly, healthcare, or socialization with friends.

 

Available soon

 

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