Smart Villages support in France

How is the concept of Smart Villages defined?

There is a definition of ‘Smart Villages’ in France.

Firstly, the national association Ruralitic has defined the concept of Smart Villages’. But this definition is not an official one yet. According to Ruralitic a ‘smart village’ implies different key elements that contribute to a holistic approach:

  • Allow access to a good internet connection to enable a better access to services;
  • Allow citizen participation (via digital tools) and participatory democracy;
  • Use new technologies to achieve energy sobriety (smart grid, car-sharing…);
  • Promote sustainable development (buildings, architecture…);
  • Ensure the development of human capital (training, online courses…);
  • Develop a culture of entrepreneurship and help stimulate employment on the territory (telework…);
  • Ameliorate access to public services, notably through the internet (website, digital mediation);
  • Is open to exchange with other territories (at the national or international level);
  • Enhance the circular economy (food, production…).

Secondly, the French Rural Network launched a study in 2021 on Smart Villages, the first step of which was to share a common definition, in partnership with the French association ADRETS (focused on local development networking). The definition they developed for Smart Villages is the following:

“A territory which acts for a sustainable development, by appealing to cooperative logics and collective intelligence and possibly using the potential of digital technology to answer to its current challenges and future.”

Source: Smart Villages Manifesto (2015), (ADRETS, 2021), Association and forum RURALITIC

Is digital a key feature of Smart Villages?

No specific information available on this aspect.

Is social innovation a key feature of Smart Villages?

Social innovation is a key criteria in the definition provided by the above organisations. This is reflected in the co-definition of the solutions by local stakeholders. The development of collaborative logic makes it possible to answer differently to the needs and problems observed in the territory and to diffuse an alternative view on the challenges at stake.

How is the CAP supporting Smart Villages?

CAP 2014-2022

Indirectly, no specific Smart Villages intervention

CAP 2023-2027

No information available yet on Smart Villages support

CAP Network support

Several network activities have been implemented on Smart Villages.

Training/ workshops: The French Rural Network, in partnership with the French local development association ADRETS, has organised three consultation committee meetings between October 2021 and February 2022. The objective of these consultations was to build a common vision on Smart Village strategies and concept. The NRN also organised a good practice webinar, on 18 May 2021.

Regularly dissemination of information : The NRN is regularly sharing information on experiences and  good practices on its social media channels and website.

Smart Villages Thematic Group of similar forum: The NRN launched a mission, in partnership with the ADRETS, to define and help implementation of Smart Villages strategies, aiming to:

  • Analyse how the ‘Smart Villages’ concept can contribute to local development;
  • Develop a guide for local stakeholders and elected representatives to assist in the implementation of Smart Villages strategies, as well as produce recommendations, ideas and feedback from this first experience.

Collection of specific examples/good practices: A survey, identification of 50 territories with inspiring practices (out of which 15 will be selected and elaborated), factsheet for each of the selected territories: those are the results of the data collection performed by ADRETS and the NRN.

Smart Villages Guidance: A guide for local elected representatives on the implementation of Smart villages strategies.


How are other policies supporting Smart Villages?

Other policies support Smart Villages in France.

National ERDF

The ERDF supported indirectly projects in rural communities including the smart approach, with a focus on integrating the issue of digitalisation in rural areas. It supports the development of synergies between local stakeholders (R&I, companies, universities) to foster local and smart development. This approach was promoted through the Interreg Alpine Space programme presented below.

EU – Interreg

The transnational approach makes it possible to bring new ideas and new tools for the implementation of a smart village strategy. The Smart Villages project in the Alpine Space is one example that brings together 13 partners from six countries.

Please find further information about Smart Villages support in France on the Smart Rural 21 project’s France country page.

Smart Rural 27 – Smart Villages Taskforce

No taskforce is set up yet

Smart Villages in France

Want to get involved or know more on what Smart Rural 27 is doing in France? Contact us!

Last update: May 24, 2022