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 Village. But this definition is not an official one yet. According to Ruraltic a ‘smart village’ implies different key elements that contribute to a holistic approach :

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

Secondly, the French National Rural Network has launched a study in 2021 concerning Smart Villages, the first step of which is 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?

Ministry of Agriculture and food

Pierre Poussard (Deputy Manager of the Rural Development Coordination Unit)

Email :

CAP 2014-2020

Indirectly, no specific Smart Villages intervention

CAP 2021-2027

No information available yet on Smart Villages support

French National Rural Network

CAP Network support

Several network activities have been implemented on Smart Villages


Training/ workshops on Smart Villages

The French National Rural Network, in partnership with the French local development association ADRETS, has organised three consultation committee meetings on the topic of Smart Villages between October 2021 until February 2022. The objective of these consultations were to built a common vision on Smart village strategies and concept.

The NRN also organised a webinar on Smart Villages good practices, on May 18th, 2021


Regularly sharing news/ information on Smart Villages

The French National Rural Network is regularly sharing information about Smart Villages experiences or  good practices on its social media channels and on its website.

Smart Villages Thematic Group of similar forum

The French Rural Network launched a mission, in partnership with the ADRETS to define and help the implementation of Smart villages strateg, with the objectives to:

  • Analyse the idea and concept of Smart Villages and how it can contribute to local / rural development.
  • Realise a guide for local stakeholders and elected representatives, in order to implement Smart Villages strategies, as well as produce recommendations, ideas and feedbacks from these first experiences.


Collection of specific examples/ good practices on Smart Villages

ADRETS worked on collecting data on Smart villages in France, in collaboration with the National Rural Network, including: a survey, identification of 50 territories with inspiring practices identified (out of which 15 will be selected and elaborated), factsheet for each of the selected territories.


Smart Villages Guidance

The Smart Villages activities will lead to the production of 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.

EU – Interreg

The transnational approach makes it possible to bring new ideas and new tools for the implementation of a smart village strategy. The in the Alpine Space is one example that brings together thirteen 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

Smart Villages in France

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

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