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The purpose of this book, produced in the framework of the TASTE project , is to provide clear answers to two major questions: a) Is there a possible smart development policy for European rural areas? b) Which type of smart development solution (agriculture, business/industry, peri-urbanization, tourism/leisure …) should be selected in view of regional specificities? It also aims to provide recommendations regarding new policies and stakeholder-relevant knowledge on conditions for and factors behind rural development, which can be useful for improving rural and peri-urban development policy at local/regional, national and European levels, be it as part of smart development and smart specialization policies or not. The book identifies issues of smart specialization and forms of development of rural and peri-urban areas, and their relationships with urban dynamics, given the diversity of local configurations. It also examines the contribution of public policy and governance patterns as a consistent and innovative means of intervention to support smart development of rural areas. The chapters aim to identify the main conditions for a Smart Rural Europe and to shed light on the possible role of rural areas in the regional dynamics of Europe, in view of the orientations defined by the Horizon 2020 strategy, the smart development policies launched by EU and of the profound changes that are taking place in rural areas.
Smart development for rural areas
André Torre, Stefano Corsi, Michael Steiner, Frédéric Wallet and Hans Westlund (eds.)
Routledge, 2020, 226p.
Is there a smart development for rural areas?
André Torre, Frédéric Wallet, Stefano Corsi, Michael Steiner and Hans Westlund
Part I. Main analytical results
On smart business in rural areas. Entrepreneurship, innovation and their determinants
Sofia Wixe, Lucia Naldi, Pia Nilsson and Hans Westlund
Smart Agriculture and empirical evaluation of smartness using composite indicator
Stefano Corsi, Frédéric Wallet, Eric Cahuzac, Elise Maigné and Rosalia Filippini
Smart land use for smart rural development. The case of rural and peri-urban regions in Europe
Ségolène Darly, André Torre and Camille Olivier
The Territory Game as a smart development tool for food governance in rural and peri-urban
Sylvie Lardon, Jean-Baptiste Traversac and Frédéric Wallet
Part II. Case studies in Europe
Differences in rural smartness. An analysis of two Austrian case study regions
Johannes Mossböck, Michael Steiner and Carla Apschner
Case studies on innovation and entrepreneurship in rural areas from Sweden. Jönköping County
and Jämtland County
Hans Westlund, Pia Nilsson, Sofia Wixe and Lucia Naldi
An inter- and transdisciplinary, multiscale and mixed methods pathway to study Smart Agriculture
in Italy
Rosalia Filippini, Sylvie Lardon and Stefano Corsi
Smart Agriculture, grassroots initiatives and urban food governance. Case studies in two
metropolitan areas in Southern France
Isabelle Duvernoy and Christophe Soulard
Business strategies for smart rural development. The renewal of territorialized productions
Amélie Gonçalves, Maryline Filippi, Danielle Galliano and Pierre Triboulet
André Torre, Frederic Wallet, Stefano Corsi, Michael Steiner and Hans Westlund
... Since both patents and R&D intensity are geographically clustered towards urbanized regions (Feldman and Audretsch, 1999), it may imply that conventional technology-based measures are unable to capture the type of innovation activities that take place in (peripheral) rural regions. For rural regions, there are other dimensions of innovation that may be more relevant, such as improved services, new marketing, branding, and design methods, and new forms of business organizations (Wallet and Torre, 2016). These dimensions of innovation are not captured in the measure. ...
... Although this paper contributes to the literature by addressing regional heterogeneity in the studied outcomes considering a diverse set of rural regions, which to the author's knowledge has not been done this way before, the analysis is unable to disentangle several important relationships in relation to the smart growth logic. One important issue that limits the scope of the analysis is the obvious challenges in creating indicators more suitable for measuring innovation and knowledge in rural regions (Torre and Wallet, 2016). Another issue is that rural peripheral regions may have varying potential when it comes to their access to resources and social infrastructure, which may significantly affect their growth potential. ...
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This paper studies the role played by factors that are considered central to the concept of smart specialization on firm performance in a European context. The focus is on the type of spatial spillovers that occur at the firm level, which are connected to technological relatedness and knowledge externalities. The influence of such externalities is studied using firm-level data on firms located across Europe and unobserved heterogeneity and spatial dependencies are modelled by employing a multilevel model. Diverging patterns across the urban-rural range are studied by applying a regional typology. Findings indicate that measures thought to reflect smart specialization are positively associated with firm performance. It is also found that indicators of smart specialization do not affect firm performance homogenously acro ss the studied regions.
... What is new in this approach to smart development is not the individual elements considered separately but rather their appropriate configuration matching a given locality's circumstances, the structure of their economies, and their diversity (Torre et al 2020). Studies show the potential applicability of the smart village concept in different social and economic contextsfor example, in counteracting the negative effects of rural decline (Komorowski and Stanny 2020;Paniagua 2020), as a factor in sustainable rural development (Guzal-Dec 2018; P erez-del Hoyo and Mora 2019), or as an instrument for mobilizing local communities (Nieto and Brosei 2019). ...
... Implementing smart initiatives is impossible without elements like basic infrastructure (eg roads, sewage system, and Internet), public services (eg transport, water supply, and waste collection), a network of horizontally linked institutions (eg nongovernmental organizations and local businesses) and vertically linked ones (eg government, local authorities, and village council), and various local resources. These elements have been mentioned in other research (eg Ranade et al 2015; Komorowski and Stanny 2020;Torre et al 2020). This study showed that the constellation of these elements depends on the character of the initiatives. ...
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This article considers the smart village concept as a new instrument for creating European Union (EU) policies on a territorial microscale. The goal was to identify the key resources that determine successful implementation of smart strategies at the lowest territorial level, using the example of a suburban area in the Holy Cross Mountains (Świętokrzyskie Mountains) in Poland. The study examined how the local community implements the smart village concept and the extent to which this concept is useful in mountain and foothill areas, where problems caused by natural conditions particularly affect local communities. The intervention took place in Świętokrzyskie province, in the suburban village of Piaseczna Górka. It was assessed through a case study during which 15 individual in-depth interviews were conducted, focusing on several smart initiatives conducted in 2015–2020. The respondents represented 3 groups of stakeholders: initiators, beneficiaries, and local government. The study enabled the key resources of smart villages—human, financial, material, and information—to be identified. Human resources were the most important for the success of the initiatives under consideration, being the driving force for the other 3 resources. Uncovering the mechanisms involved in implementing smart initiatives on a microscale is becoming especially important as a tool in solving local problems, which in mountain areas are often determined by specific natural conditions. The smart village concept is set to be a major instrument of the EU's future financial framework for 2021–2027 and is reflected in a growing number of EU and national documents, including those concerning mountain and foothill areas with varied geographic locations and diverse socioeconomic characteristics.
... The data have been entered into a database available for public use (Wang, Y. and G. Ruhe, 2007). The project has allowed the establishment of a germplasm bank and a register of the millenary olive trees in the selected area, which can be subsequently implemented with a census of all the oldest olive trees in the region (Torre et al. 2020). ...
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This research studies the protection of the rural landscape and agri-food heritage, offering a perspective on the role and contribution of research to support land management processes and the development of local resources.This opportunity for reflection was created by a project developed at the request of Regione Campania, in Southern Italy, aimed at preserving the inestimable source of biodiversity represented by olive varieties from the risk of genetic erosion, and at guaranteeing the production of oils with typical and diversified organoleptic qualities and properties.Within the scope of the project, the geo-cartographic section has analyzed, surveyed, georeferenced and represented, for a selected territory, the presence of centuries-old olive trees and allowed the creation of other research sections, more specifically agronomic and legal.The georeferencing map of the millenary olive trees typical of the territory, together with the genetic identity card of each plant, have been inserted in a publicly accessible database, through which it is possible to trace the origins and, consequently, the quality of the oil produced.
... In linking local and trans-local objectives, this perception follows recent conceptual turns emphasizing Smart Specialization Strategies (Da Rosa Pires et al., 2014;Torre et al., 2020) and the concept of Smart Villages (Visvizi et al., 2019). In addressing recently emerging concepts the mutual influence of LEADER and these ideas should be discussed in nurturing strategies towards intensifying Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) approaches. ...
Resumen: El artículo comienza con un debate sobre el concepto de “contracción” y sus orígenes, fuera del ámbito del desarrollo rural. A partir de ahí, se muestra la distribución de las zonas rurales en contracción en toda Europa. A continuación, se describen los procesos socioeconómicos que impulsan el declive demográfico en las zonas rurales, utilizando tanto la revisión bibliográfica del proyecto ESCAPE como los resultados de sus ocho estudios de caso. Seguidamente, se describe de forma breve la evolución de las intervenciones de la UE para paliar los efectos del declive demográfico, y se hacen algunas observaciones sobre el panorama político/de gobernanza actual. Concluimos considerando cómo una mejor comprensión del problema y del proceso de reducción puede conducir a intervenciones más eficaces, en el contexto de una visión renovada a largo plazo para el medio rural europeo. Este último debe reconocer plenamente el creciente abanico de oportunidades a las que se enfrentan las zonas rurales, a medida que la COVID-19 cambia estas y se aceleran las transformaciones en el comportamiento laboral y en la geografía de la actividad económica, y se cumplen los anteriores cambios graduales en la tecnología y los mercados. Palabras clave: Espacios rurales, declive demográfico, enfoque neo-endógeno, crecimiento inclusivo. Abstract: The paper begins with a discussion of the concept of “shrinking”, and its origins, outside the realm of rural development. Building on this, the paper shows the distribution of shrinking rural areas across Europe. Using both the project’s literature review and findings from its eight case studies the socio-economic processes which drive demographic decline in rural areas are then described. A brief account of the evolution of EU interventions to alleviate the effects of shrinking, and some remarks about the current policy/governance landscape follow. We conclude by considering how a better understanding of the problem and process of shrinking may lead to more effective interventions, within the context of a refreshed long-term vision for Rural Europe. The latter needs to fully acknowledge the expanding repertoire of opportunities confronting rural areas as COVID-19 changes in working behaviour, and the geography of economic activity, accelerate, and fulfil, previously incremental shifts in technology and markets. Key words: Rural areas, demographic decline, neo-endogenous approach, inclusive growth.
... In linking local and trans-local objectives, this perception follows recent conceptual turns emphasizing Smart Specialization Strategies (Da Rosa Pires et al., 2014;Torre et al., 2020) and the concept of Smart Villages (Visvizi et al., 2019). In addressing recently emerging concepts the mutual influence of LEADER and these ideas should be discussed in nurturing strategies towards intensifying Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) approaches. ...
Resumen: Durante mucho tiempo se consideró que el desarrollo local combinaba múltiples esfuerzos para fortalecer las zonas desfavorecidas o remotas, con riesgo de periferización o incluso de marginación. A partir de los años ochenta, la concienciación sobre el potencial endógeno y los servicios rurales permitió centrarse más en la capacidad de acción y cambio local específico de cada territorio. Este cambio en la política regional promovió el apoyo a los territorios rurales, centrándose especialmente en zonas de geografía específica, como montañas, islas y otros lugares “desfavorecidos”. Calificado como “desarrollo regional endógeno”, este planteamiento queda plasmado en el principal programa de desarrollo local de la UE, el programa LEADER, disponible desde 1991. Aunque se centró en establecer incentivos para el desarrollo en contextos rurales, el rendimiento de las regiones rurales, sin embargo, se estancó desde entonces. Este documento concibe el proceso de desarrollo local y la influencia de la cooperación transregional como los motores decisivos e interrelacionados de todo el proceso. Los efectos limitados podrían estar relacionados con la dependencia del camino, el bloqueo institucional y el escaso reconocimiento y énfasis en el papel crucial de la innovación social, lo que ahoga la necesaria adaptación de las políticas. Sin embargo, la orientación hacia la combinación de la experiencia y la contribución de los sistemas de conocimiento externos, con la singularidad y los activos locales, son aspectos que podrían contribuir de manera decisiva a los incentivos y cambios sociales tan deseados. Palabras clave: Desarrollo rural, LEADER, innovación social, cooperación transnacional, desarrollo local dirigido por la comunidad. Abstract: For long, local development was seen as combining multiple efforts for strengthening areas that were either disadvantaged or remote, at-risk of peripheralization or even of marginalization. Since the 1980s an emerging awareness of endogenous potential and rural amenities enabled a stronger focus on the area-specific capability for local action and change. This shift in regional policy instigated support for remote places, focusing particularly on areas of specific geographies, like mountains, islands and other places of “disadvantage”. Referred to as “endogenous regional development” that approach is epitomized by the main local development scheme of the EU, the LEADER programme which was available since 1991. While it focused on setting development incentives in rural contexts, the performance of rural regions, nevertheless, stagnated since then. This paper conceives the local development process and the influence by trans-regional cooperation as the decisive, inter-related drivers. Limited effects might be linked to path dependency, institutional lock-in and little recognition and emphasis on the crucial role of social innovation, stifling required policy adaptation. Yet, particularly the orientation on combining the experience and contribution of external knowledge systems with uniqueness and local assets might contribute decisively to the long-desired incentives and social changes. Key words: Rural development, LEADER, social innovation, trans-national cooperation, community-led local development.
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This paper aims at expanding the scope of the dominantly pragmatic, local scale-oriented smart village scholarship towards a perspective that recognizes that smart village development is a multiscalar political process. To show the necessity of this move, the shaping of smart village policies and practices in Hungary is examined through a qualitative lens. As the authors argue, path-dependent structural obstacles and interscalar relations undermine the prospects of smart village building in the sense of bottom-up integrated rural development, and there is a risk of a bias towards technological innovation. This exploratory article, using Hungary as a case study, argues that smart village scholarship should draw on the results of critical smart city scholarship to acquire in-depth understanding of current debates regarding potential smart village developments.
The paper proposes an integrated view of the territory in which there is no conflict between rural areas and urban areas. This is in line with the indications of the 2007 EU Charter of Leipzig which calls for integrated planning strategies between rural and urban, small, medium, large, and metropolitan areas. Therefore, an ecological multidisciplinary approach to the territory, using the concept of ecology proposed by the 1950s by Dioxiadis, is suggested, concept then taken up by Appold and Kasarda in the early 1990s. And it is the key word of the Encyclical Laudato Sii for the Care of the Common House of Pope Francis 2015 which refers to the principles of the 1992 Rio Conference based on the centrality of “human ecology” and on the alliance between man and nature, which in 1995 Scandurra had requested in L’ambiente dell’uomo (The Environment of Man). The phenomenological, from the Greek world phenomenon, is the methodological keystone of the paper. The well-being of the person and of the communities must be the objective of those who deal with the development of the territory. Rural areas in this sense can offer great opportunities, generated today by the many technological innovations, both tangible and intangible, potentially available. However, this should not overshadow the need for links that facilitate access to these areas. One of the important positive effects of the presence in rural areas is the reduction of hydrogeological risk thanks to the presence and daily maintenance of them. Among the aspects that raise questions that are difficult to answer is the risk that the more accessible an area becomes, the more there is a threat of its loss of uniqueness. Last but not least, it should be pointed out that the rural areas are a sort of territorial “reserve” for populations that have to abandon their lands due to climate change or who seek a quality of life not possible in large metropolitan areas. All this means that some geographical areas, primarily Calabria, are potentially territories where scenarios can be hypothesized for a different modes of anthropizations indispensable to move toward the objectives of the UN 2020–2030 Charter on sustainable development. In light of the COVID 19 emergency, these indications are even more relevant.
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Today, the question of rural-urban peripheries and their place in development processes is being raised all over the world. Once overlooked as areas of secondary significance and places that don’t matter in comparison with cities - with their smart development peripheral areas and regions are now emerging and are having their revenge by causing a series of unexpected electoral victories, such as that of Donald Trump in the United States, of Brexit in the UK or of populists in Italy, by counteracting votes from big cities. The revolt of the so-called Yellow vests in France can in part be explained by the isolation of peripheries, which are faced with difficulties related to rising fuel prices and the demise of public services. The EU's growth strategy, whose ambition is to make the EU a "smart, sustainable and inclusive economy", represents the core priority of the European policy, relating to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as economic governance. This objective requires the identification, in a context of global competition, of a region's comparative advantages and that they be taken into account in the context of global value chains and innovation processes, but also in priority sectors. The purpose of this book is to provide clear answers to two major questions: a) Is there a possible smart development policy for European rural areas? b) Which type of smart development solution (agriculture, business/industry, peri-urbanization, tourism/leisure …) should be selected in view of regional specificities? It also aims to provide recommendations regarding new policies and stakeholder-relevant knowledge on conditions for and factors behind rural development, which can be useful for improving rural and peri-urban development policy at local/regional, national and European levels, be it as part of smart development and smart specialization policies or not.
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Rural development policies have existed for decades, especially in OECD countries, and their impact has always been acknowledged by local actors. Our survey puts the emphasis on the diversity of policy instruments and public authorities, but also on the plurality of objectives, supporting and promoting economic activities (including agriculture), land planning, residential attractiveness and maintaining the quality of life of populations, conservation and preservation of local resources. We show that these policies have been subject to many shifts in vision and strategy – shifts which echo the changing perceptions of what rural development means and of what its objectives should be. Both the policies and the concept of rural development have evolved with economic circumstances, been discussed in the same debates, and have undergone the same reversals. They have changed in parallel with the recognition of the multifunctionality of agriculture, or with transitions from centralized decision-making to greater inclusion of the various users of rural areas and even greater consideration for social criteria and ecological and environmental variables. Following a long period in which rural development policies were essentially top-down decisions imposed by state and central governments, the policy-making process has since been decentralized (or “regionalized”) and localized and has in more recent years sought to include the views of the populations concerned.
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