Linhares da Beira
Linhares da Beira is located at 810m of altitude in one of the slopes of Serra da Estrela, in the
Municipality of Celorico da Beira on Region Centro of Portugal. It has an urban structure of medieval characteristics, with buildings of remarkable patrimonial and historical value. Many references from the local history are linked to ancestral legends. The receding of forestry was one of the factors of the village’s economic recession, in addition to the desertification caused by emigration. The current population is scarce and aged, maintaining, however, traditional activities such as agriculture, pastoralism and dairy production. Linhares da Beira is one of the 12 villages of the Network of Historical Villages of Portugal (Collective) Efficiency Strategy (CES) – a policy instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy for the economic
development in low-density territories), recognized and awarded as a tourist destination of excellence. The material and immaterial identity of the network’s territory, referring to architectural, historical, cultural and natural heritage (activities, traditional techniques, customs and traditions), as well as its physical environment and geographical location, differentiate it from other territories. The network, and the collaborative system that sustains it, has taken on a clear alignment with the Europe 2020 Strategy – Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive growth and embody an unequivocal
commitment to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of Agenda 2030, along with the EU Green Deal. In this scope it has been identifying Axes of Smart Specialization in the ECS underway and has been developing a set of common actions in the 12 villages, based on priority key areas leading to a renewed economy anchored on the concept of green growth, supported by inimitable resources with the ability to enhance integrated and sustainable local development.
Samsø is an island located in central Denmark and consists of 22 villages. Since the middle of the last century the island experiences constant depopulation, resulting in a challenging demography with most of its inhabitants being more than 50 years old. Samsø did still have a diverse community consisting of many nationalities. Several of the island’s largest workplaces closed down at the same time as the energy transition began – and a subsequent study showed that the transition brought new jobs to the island. Thus, there were 100 jobs at the slaughterhouse that disappeared, but 130 others were created in connection with the transition. Samsø has been at the forefront of the Danish energy transition for years. With high involvement of citizens and other local stakeholders in planning process, development and investment, Samsø became carbon-neutral by 2007. Samsø is aiming to be a fossil free island by 2030, and one of the biggest challenges faced is decarbonisation of the ferry transport.Details
Häradsbäck is a small village not so far from the municipality centre of Älmhult. It has a several decades long history of strategic development. The aim is to be more attractive, more recilient, offering better access to services, creating jobs and fostering a spirit of togetherness. Through the village association a joint limited company has been formed. The shareholders are 10 different associations (sports, farmers, culture etc). Many projects have been implemented, owned and managed by the company. Today there exist a grocery store, a café, a library and housing for elderly, all run by the village company. There is also an “all-service company”, an activity park and an activity hall with a bar, boule, biljard, shuffleboard etc.Details
Eskola is an active industrial village in Central Ostrobothnia, Finland. The nearest towns are Kannus, Toholampi and Sievi. The population is ageing and decreasing, the services have been stopped by the municipality. There are about 200 industrial companies in the village jobs but little agriculture. Eskola has been chosen twice as national village of the year, in 2001 and 2017. The village is known for its history of forest railways, summer theater activities, village-oriented service activities and specially strong self-commitment.
The main developers of Eskola are the 400 villagers, who have founded Eskola Village society to represent them. Eskolan Kyläpalvelu Oy (Eskola Village Service Ltd) is a social enterprise owned by over 130 villagers and other supporters. It produces many of the local services needed in the village. Eskola House is a diverse and developing service facility with a the lunchtime restaurant Pikku-Pässi, Tenavatalli kindergarten, the village library and the village info office. The old locomotive shed is converted to a village hall for the volunteer societies in the village and it also serves as the base for the village rehabilitative work.
Eskola has also been active in developing its village through experimentation and projects. Among others, developing multiservice models and points, green care and experimenting distance learning for elementary school classes for three years to find out the feasibility, costs and efficiency of organising schooling with the help of digital solutions.Details
Our village has around 400 inhabitants and it is situated in a valley surrounded by smaller hills, in a rural area. It is a “dead end” village located farm from bigger towns, the closest city is 20 kms far. The village is located to some 40-45 minutes drive from Austria and also relatively close to the Slovenian border. The population of our village dramatically decreased in the 1960s and later after the fall of the iron curtain, and ageing and depopulation is ongoing. Nearly 40% of the population is more than 60 years old and 15% are not older than 14 years. People – mostly the well-educated – left the village to seek for work opportunities in bigger cities. Despite of the small size and composition of the population, the village has a cohesive community. People regularly organise voluntary community work. 4 NGO’s have been established to provide frameworks for bottom-up approaches. The village is fighting to reverse the process through innovative approaches, using the latest technologies, smart devices, and new mindsets. Nowadays, new opportunities emerge for small communities like ours: the transportation behaviours and opportunities changed, IT and technology developed a lot. It’s time to change the mind of people, and help them to realise that these goals can be achieved even by a small village with new approaches. Lack of entrepreneurial activity has a great influence on local employment. The limited number of entrepreneurs means economic disadvantage for the village and lack of diversity in local services. Local products, local tourism can be points of growth, but these fields also require entrepreneurial activity and people who can use the natural sources that we have.Details
Älvbyarna are a cluster of six villages situated by the Kyrö river in Korsholm, Finland. The name means the river villages, and is not an official name, but one used also in official contexts. The names of the villages are Veikars, Anixor, Voitby, Martois, Staversby and Miekka. The villages are specialised in transition activities and are known for their innovativeness, openness and that the people in the village volunteer for community supporting activities. There is a market garden and a summer café and many annual events. Activities in sports and music are also arranged on regular basis. Älvbyarna wants to be inclusive and be a good place to live and visit for all ages. The village is piloting local energy solutions, too, during 2023. A road map for a smart food hub towards 2050 will be finished by August 2023 and their local development plan towards 2030 will be updated. They are likely make a Smart village plan out of our local development plan. In addition to this, a group of mostly retired people run a private church and we have a photo project on nordic mythological creatures since they connect to the area and the name of the villages in Swedish. An association also runs a music school and employs one person in order to arrange after school activities for childrenDetails
Piaseczna Górka / Morawica community
Piaseczna Górka is a village located about 10 km from a Kielce city in Swiętokrzyskie voivodeship. Located in Morawica community. The number of residents is 657. Over the last 20 years, the population has increased 4 times.Details
The village of Čierny Balog has an area of 147.18 km2. It is the largest municipality in terms of area in Brezno district and one of the largest in Slovakia. The territory of the municipality is unusually rugged and extensive. It is surrounded on three sides by the mountain wall of the Veporské Rudohorie and lies at an altitude of 550 m. The highest peak is Klenovský Vepor 1338 m.
Since 1970 the village of Čierny Balog consists of eight settlements (originally 13)- Krám, Medveďov, Balog, Fajtov, Jánošovka, Komov, Pustô, Dobroč. The number of settlements has decreased mainly because the individual settlements have merged. The settlements are spread over more than 10 km, along the river Čierny Hron and the side valleys. The history of the origins and development of the village are linked to forestry and timber- its extraction, processing, transport as well as coal mining
Forestry open-air museum, Čiernohronská forest railway (narrow gauge railway), primeval forest – National Nature Reserve Dobročský prales and mountain scenery attract more than 10 000 visitors from all over Europe every year.
Sabugueiro is one of the highest villages of Portugal. It is a parish located in the Municipality of Seia at Serra da Estrela in the Region Centro of Portugal. This village is also part of the Network of Mountain Villages. It is a touristic area visited by thousands of people each year, specially during winter as a holiday destination. It has a very special scenery, stunning mountain landscapes, cultural heritage with hundreds of years and ancestral traditions. Serra da Estrela is a Natural Park, a region characterized by mountain economy, where exist natural values associated with altitude, many of them with an exclusive character. Sabugueiro is called the first Smart Mountain Village. It benefited from the implementation of a pilot project with the support of Vodafone Foundation. The installation of fiber-optic enable the adoption of and technological solutions, contributing to improve the community’s quality of life and leverage environmental improvements and economic development in the rural area. Connectivity: installation of 12Km with fibre-optic cable; 400 termination points with last generation fibre optic (including buildings and local businesses). It was a challenge, as the nearest place with fiber optics was 7km away and far from the main roads. As such, the work had to be carried out without the aid of heavy machinery. In addition, the work had to be planned in function of the cold and the snow.
Through the installation of technological solutions, the project objectives were to:
– make the village of Sabugueiro a showcase of good practices and innovation in terms of environmental sustainability, creative economy, urbanism, mobility and new technologies;
– value the potentialities and the socio-economic assets of mountain areas and rural populations, anticipating the future technological needs that inhabitants increasingly have in terms of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. The project is characterized by a holistic perspective, integrating interventions in several areas benefiting inhabitants, visitors and tourists. Always respecting the traces of the village and its surroundings, the Vodafone Foundation and its partners have implemented functional and utilitarian technology in areas as diverse as Energy Efficiency, Mobility, Health and Water management. On the ground, there was the installation of M2M (Machine to Machine) and IoT (Internet of Things) solutions.
The village Castelo Rodrigo is located in one of the ten parishes of the Municipality of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo in the Region Centro of Portugal. The municipality holds varied tourist potentialities, ranging from scenic beauty to historical, archaeological, and architectural values, from artisanal and gastronomic diversity to very characteristic festivals and pilgrimages, as well as fishing and hunting capacities.
Castelo Rodrigo has been considered a Historical Village of Portugal since 1991. Due to its rich cultural and architectural heritage, with unique monuments and landscapes, is has been awarded with the distinction of one of the 7 Wonders of Portugal – Authentic Village and is considered one of the best Tourist Villages in the World by the World Tourism Organization (WTO).
In addition to the City Council strategy that has been implementing a set of initiatives to establish people and businesses in the Municipality, as well as to move and retain services that could create jobs and generate economic growth, Castelo Rodrigo is one of the 12 villages of the Network of Historical Villages of Portugal (Collective Efficiency Strategy (CES) – a policy instrument of the EU Cohesion Policy for the economic development in low-density territories).
The Collective Efficiency Strategy of Historical Villages of Portugal has the overall objectives to diversify and strengthen the economic fabric of villages by stimulating the entrepreneurial base associated with rural innovation and innovation in tourism and fostering territorial innovation with the development of the concept of sustainable and smart Historical Villages.
It is intended, through this Collective Efficiency Strategy, assert the historic villages as sustainable territory supported on the green growth, recognized as tourism destinations of excellence and sustained by inimitable resources, capable of potentiate the integrated local development, differentiating itself as innovation leader in the low density territories.
Sytovo is a sparsely populated, essentially seasonal, and relatively isolated mountain village located in the Natura 2000 zone in the Rhodopes Mountains. The village has existed since the Thracian era and several archaeological sites are close by. It is an ensemble architectural monument of traditional Rhodope house buildings with “dry stonework” and roofs covered with stone slabs.
In 2019, the local community set up a civic association and reestablish the “chitalishte”, a traditional Bulgarian community culture centre providing opportunities for socialization, education, and local self-government. The efforts of these two civil society organisations, mainly on the bonding and self-organising of the community, improve the village connectivity (transport and digital ones) basis on asphalting of the road connecting the village with the nearest town and delivery of broadband internet connection to it. This leads to a halt of its depopulation – the registered villagers have increased from 11 to 61 in the last ten years (in the summer, the temporary inhabitants of the village are about 500 people).
The lack of local industry and improved digital connectivity, which allows teleworking and distance education, have made the place appealing to young families who want to raise their children in a healthy ecological environment, providing access to the mountain air, water, and food.
The village has a concept for its development with a vision of preserving its appearance as an architectural reserve and turning it into a place for crafts, local traditional food productions and a creative hub for gathering artists and researchers. The primary approach is the revitalisation of the village and improving its living environment by attracting a population of active age, which fosters economic activities related to tourist and education services and food production all year round.
Neighbourhood Dishoek is located within Koudekerke district in the municipality of Veere and has an area of 34 hectares. Its inhabitants are a small, close-knit community. In 2017, around 100 people from the community met to explore the possibilities of making their neighbourhood more sustainable. As a result of that evening, a cooperative was established: “Coöperatie Energieneutraal Koudekerke-Dishoek” (EKD). The cooperative benefits inhabitants and is driven by inhabitants. The EKD is focused on making sustainable ideas concrete and encouraging people in Dishoek to participate in realising the innovations.Details
The village Kirchanschöring is located in southeast of Bavaria. Since decades their main focus is sustainability and social equity. This is underlined by the fact that the balance sheet of Kirchanschöring is oriented on economy for the common good.Details
Košeca is a village and municipality in Ilava District in the Trenčín Region of north-western Slovakia.
The village is one of the oldest settlements in Trenčianske Považie, with the first written mention dating
back to 1272. The village lies on the main railway line between Bratislava and Kosice, well connected
by road and rail, and in close proximity to the district seat [town] Ilava. It is also an “entrance gate” to
Strazovske mountains. The village has a long tradition of organising a wide variety of festivals, special
events and activities in collaboration with local clubs and associations.
The municipality of Košeca became the winner of the European award;THE INNOVATION IN POLITICS
AWARDS 2020; with its project „NO DATA WASTE IN KOŠECA“ under the category of DIGITALISATION.
Tílos is a small Greek island and municipality in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the Dodecanese archipelago and lies halfway between Kos and Rhodes.
It has an irregular shape and an area of 61,487 Km2, an intense relief and lacy beaches, while its population is 780. It is surrounded by 16 small islands and the small island of Antitilos is about 2 miles away. The main settlements of the island are Megalo Chorio, the largest village, Livadia, the port of the island and Eristos, a fertile valley.
The climate on the island is Mediterranean, with mild winters and cool summers. The island has long been known for its rare medicinal plants and herbs, and its inhabitants are involved in fishing, agriculture, beekeeping and tourism.
The island is the first energy-efficient island in Greece. An innovative hybrid system is being developed and operated on the island, using solar and wind energy. Via a battery, a storage system will cover the electricity needs of the inhabitants of the village of Livadia (~500 inhabitants).Details
Kythnos is a Cycladic island between Kea and Serifos. It is 3 hours from the port of Piraeus and just 1 hour and 40 minutes from the port of Lavrion. It administratively belongs to the South Aegean region and since the 12th century it is also known as “Therma”. This name is due to the hot springs that exist up to today in the bay of Loutra. The baths of Kythnos were enjoyed by King Othon and Queen Amalia (1837-1862). Kythnos has an area of 99.3 square kilometers, a population of 1456 and a coastline of about 104 kilometers, with 92 coves, coves and beaches, most of which are accessible by road. There are two mainland villages on the island, Chora or Mesaria and Dryopida or Sullaka. There are also three main seaside settlements: Merichas-the main port-, the Baths with thermal springs and Panagia Kanala with the church of the same name. Kythnos has daily connections with Piraeus and Lavrion port.Details
The village of Hrušov is located in the south of Banska Bystrica region, in the western part of the Veľký Krtíš district, surrounded by the Krupina Plain. The first written records mentioning the village date back to the end of the 13th century. The village has been characterized by dual type of settlement consisting of a core village and dispersed farms. The core village lay out and architectural character changed significantly after large fires at the beginning of the 19th century destroyed nearly all houses. Individual farms scattered throughout the cadaster lost their prime function after establishment of agricultural cooperative and collectivisation of farming in 1979. Despite the changes Hrušov retains its unique character underlined by strong cultural heritage and folklore legacy. The village strives to preserve its traditions and among the important activities in the village calendar, is the annual festival Hontianska paráda (since 1996).Details
Astypalaia, is a Greek island with 1,334 inhabitants (2011 census). It is part of the Dodecanese, an archipelago of twelve larger islands in the southeastern Aegean Sea. The island is 18 kilometers (11 miles) long, a maximum of 13 kilometers (8 miles) wide, and covers an area of 97 km2. Together with numerous smaller uninhabited offshore islands (the largest of which are Sýrna and Ofidoussa), it forms the municipality of Astypalaia, which belongs to the regional unit of Kalymnos. The municipality has an area of 114.077 km2. The capital and the former main port of the island is Astypalaia or Chora, as it is called by the locals. The coasts of Astypalaia are rocky with many small pebble-strewn beaches. A narrow strip of land about 126 meters wide almost divides the island into two parts at Stenó.
A new port has been built at Agios Andreas in the center of the island, from which there are now connections to the west and east with the Athenian port of Piraeus and the other islands of the Dodecanese. Air connections with Athens are available from the airport near Maltezana.
Villages : Astypalea or Chora (1.036 inhabitants), Analipsi or Maltezana (149), Livadi (39), Vathi (14)
Islands : Agía Kyriakí, Astypálaia, Avgó, Glynó, Zaforás, Kounoúpoi, Koutsomýti, Mesonísi, Ofidoússa, Plakída, Pontikoúsa, Stefánia, Sýrna, Fokionísia, Khondró, Khondronísi (all uninhabited except Astypálaia itself)
Vila Boa do Bispo
Vila Boa do Bispo is a parish council from the North of Portugal, situated in the municipality of Marco de Canaveses, next to the Tamega River. The town hall serves a community of approx. 3000 people, providing diversified services in the areas of public infrastructures maintenance and improvement, Formal-Education for children and Non-Formal Learning activities for youth and disadvantaged adults, as well as post office, information and legal support services for all the population. The town hall also develops projects in several areas of interest, such as culture, heritage preservation, youth and sports, nature, and the environment.
The town hall has been implementing international cooperation projects in the fields of youth participation, community engagement, sustainable development, and cultural preservation. All this has allowed Vila Boa do Bispo to expand the impact of its initiatives, bringing in and sharing good practices for the development of innovative, inclusive, and sustainable policies.
On the field of education: 1- Management of several components of the local primary and pre-schools; 2- Organization of summer camps for children and youth every year; 3- Implementation of sustainability education policies (Green-Schools program, from the Blue Flag Association, and Usual Suspects Exhibition, raising awareness on littering); 4- Collaboration and organization of workshops and training courses (small and long duration) for youth and adults, mainly on the fields of sustainable development, culture and identity preservation, gender equality and community building (The Town Hall has been involved in several international projects funded by the Erasmus + and the Europe for Citizens
program, developing significant partnerships and networks in the above-mentioned fields).
Lantula Village Association
Lantula Village with around 250 inhabitants is situated 50 kilometres southwest of Tampere. In fact, it comprises several villages. An interesting fact is that the village Association has more members (399) than the village has inhabitants. The age pyramid is quite balanced between the different age groups. Most of the inhabitants go to work either in Tampere or Vammala. A big number of cattle stock farms have disappeared. The village has a community house providing various services to people of different age. There is a good spirit, caretaking mentality and everybody is listened to. When covid19 struck the village, support services were immediately put in place. The ideas are implemented. The village has managed to keep the village active, alive and welcoming to new villagers. The village has implemented Leader-projects from circular economy to welcoming immigrants. Ecological thinking has been part of the development projects. Young people are employed by the village during summer. In 2021, five young people from the village were employed. We need the add fundraising activities, capacity building, nature/skiingtrail, cultural activities, events, a village quarterly newssheet and a big voluntary effort (6000hrs /year) by the whole community. A new village plan is under preparation in 2022. Lantula was chosen in 2021 as Village of the year in 2021 i Finland.Details
Ylläsjärvi Village Association
Ylläsjärvi village is located in the area of two municipalities: Kolari and Kittilä. Both municipality centres (town halls) are located about 40 km by road from Ylläsjärvi. Ylläsjärvi is a small village (350 inhabitants) and is located in Western Lapland, 150 km north of the Arctic Circle. Village Ylläsjärvi has a lively community with both young and older active inhabitants. The most active group is about 20-30 people and seasonally cottage owners participate in the activities. The village covers about 50km2 and is surrounded by very sparsely populated area. Yet, Ylläsjärvi is a very international village with tens of thousands yearly visitors. We are located next to Pallas-Yllästunturi national park and 40 minutes to Kittilä airport, Kolari railwaysstation and the border of Sweden. The air is clean, pure nature products and clean spring waters available. Winters are cold and snowy, the midnight sun during summer and an autumn full of colors. Our harsh nature is our strength and the main driver for people to visit, work and live here.
Tourism is the main livelihood, but it is still very seasonal and not offering all year round jobs. The Village also has traditional reindeer herding, small-scale nature based product making and remote workers that would like to move here. We have about 700 cottages around the village that are mainly owned by people out-of-village. The village does not have public transportation but the technology and other smart solutions (e.g. MaaS) could help solving the needs locally. We have taken part in Ylläs Around and YlläsTiketti – MaaS pilot projects few years ago. MaaS is a new concept aiming to provide consumers with flexible, efficient, user-oriented and ecological mobility services covering multiple modes of transport on a one-stop-shop principle. MaaS could offer multimodal route planners and different services under one fare and on the same ticket. In 2020 was built the wide fiber broadband network mainly funded by EAFRD, voluntary work and private funding. The budget was over 900 000 euros. The village was selected village of the year in Lapland in 2020.
Tourism is our main livelihood but it is still very seasonal and not offering all year round jobsDetails
Viroinval is a municipality assembling 9 villages ( Dourbes, Le Mesnil, Mazée, Nismes, Oignies-en-Thiérache , Olloy-sur-Viroin , Treignes , Vierves-sur-Viroin and Viroinval) in the south of Namur Province in Belgium. The whole 9 villages has around 5,700 inhabitants on 120,89 km2 out of which 22,5 % of farming land and 65,68 % of forests. Viroinval is the municipality in Belgium with the highest density of its territory in Natura 2000 and in natural areas with protected status. This asset is valued within a sustainable tourism development strategy. Viroinval has also received the European EDEN prize in this category.It is also a forest town with the PEFC label which is studying a sustainable strategy for a wood energy sector. The municipality already has a wood boiler for social apartments and for its nursing home.Details
Bertrix is a municipality assembling 5 villages (Auby-sur-Semois, Bertrix, Cugnon, Jehonville, Orgeo) in the Luxembourg Province of Belgium. The whole 5 villages has around 12,500 inhabitants on 137,7 km2 out of which 41,03 % of farming land and 48,86 % of forests.
The Municipality of Bertrix has made new technologies (smart village) a main focus of its Declaration of municipal policy 2018-2024.
Arvieu is a small village located in the Occitanie Region, in France. Despite a rich heritage, the village was suffering from desertification and a lack of opportunities. In the 2000s, it changed with the installation of the cooperative Laëtis, specialized in digital. Thanks to several initiatives (creation of a third place, accessibility of new services, organization of several events…) initiated by its members, the life of the village starts again. Inhabitants are also included in the local life through public meetings, to discuss about municipal policies and decisions.Details
Trojanovice is a village in the Moravian-Silesian Region near the southeastern border with Slovakia. The cadastre of the village has an area of 35.6 km², with two thirds of the area covered by the forests of the PLA Beskydy. In 1898, the chapel of St. Cyril and Methodius. In 1940, a chairlift from Ráztoka to Pustevny was put into operation, the first of its kind in the world. The village has persistently protested efforts to renew plans to mine coal in a nearby deposit. The municipality of Trojanovice belongs to progressive municipalities that already have a lot of experience with the successful implementation of ecologically and economically sustainable projects. For a long time, the village has managed to cultivate public space through quality architecture, sensitively dimensioned for rural space.Details
Slavičín is a smaller town located on the southeastern border with Slovakia. Apart from the central part of Slavičín, the city has three other local parts. The area of the city is approximately 30 km2, half of which is occupied by agricultural land, mainly permanent grasslands, and forests cover 38% of the area of the city. The town is located in the foothills of the White Carpathian Protected Landscape Area and is not far from the famous spas in the town of Luhačovice. It is a modern municipality with dynamic development changing the city.Details
Territori de Masies (Lower Solsonès region) is a rural cooperative formed by residents, associations and companies from the villages of the lower Solsonès that is interested and works to promote, vindicate and protect the ways of doing things, the landscapes, and the life in the villages of the lower Solsončs. It is a mixed, agricultural, service and consumer cooperative.
Several projects are carried out:
– collective purchase of solar panels to boost self-production of energy
– Cultural tourist route to encourage the discovery of the territory
– Online store for the sale of local products
– Fairs, meetings and events to publicize the territory
Smart village Hoher Flaeming
The smart village Hoher Fläming is not a single village but rather the region around the small town Bad Belzig with 14 localities around it and the municipality Wiesenburg/Mark, consisting of 15 localities. It encompasses 30 localities spread throughout roughly 450km2.
The region is approximately 80km southwest of Berlin, which is a 1h train ride away. Therefore, young creative minds from the capital are coming here for recreation or a change of scenery, but also to settle here. A network of people with smart ideas has developed in the last years, making the region even more attractive. The main goal is to establish smart solutions for a sustainable future (economically, ecologically, concerning social issues). The aim is to implement good urban ideas in a rural area without urbanizing the countryside and to include newcomers and long-established habitants in this process.Details
Saldes is a small town of 265 inhabitants in the Catalan Pyrenees. Its location, at the edge of the Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park, and just below the massif of Pedraforca (2.507m) offers a very iconic and well-known image of the Catalan Pyrenees. People from Saldes are concerned about many issues, and work together and coordinated in order to improve living conditions (that become very tough in winter season) and facilitate the establishment of new people in the municipality.Details
Smilyan is a relatively large Bulgarian village nestled in a lively valley along the upper stream of the Arda river in the Rhodope Mountains. Located at the entrance of a tourist area – the Arda River Upper Stream region, 15 km from the regional center – the town of Smolyan and just 20 km from the border with Greece. The village has a well-developed social infrastructure and operates a visitor information center – providing information and guidance about numerous sites: caves, historical, archaeological, and cultural sightseeing. As a grass-roots approach initiated by the Mayor of Smilyan in 2001, an initiative group of local stakeholders agreed on a long-term concept for future development to prevent an economic decline and depopulation of the area. Its flagship initiative is territorial marketing promotion started in 2003 with the first edition of the Smilyan Beans Festival. Smilyan beans are specific varieties of delicious beans grown only in this area. Six of them are with the protected name “Smilyan Beans” and registered geographical designation since 2007. The Smilyan Beans Festival – an event involving producers, hotel and restaurant owners, cultural operators, local micro-crediting cooperative, associations of beans and dairy producers and the whole community. Since its first edition, Festival visitors in the last five years have reached about 6 000 visitors annually, triple the number of the village population Smilyan Beans is the first Bulgarian Slow Food Presidia, set up in 2005. Since 2005 the Cultural Community Center ventured to become a focal point addressing the needs and initiatives of different community groups and delivering services tailored to their demand – information and training to producers, social support campaigns for vulnerable community members, regular meetings of local stakeholders in tourism services and training to improve the effectiveness of their marketing, awareness-raising on public health issues raised by parents groups, non-formal environmental education to youths and adults.Details
Cootehill is a market town and townland in County Cavan, Ireland. Cootehill was formerly part of the neighbouring townland of Munnilly. Both townlands lie within the barony of Tullygarvey. Cootehill was formally established as a market town in 1725 when Thomas Coote obtained a charter to hold markets and fairs; thereafter strong ties to the Irish linen industry were cultivated. A description from 1844 states: “The town is comparatively well-built and respectively inhabited; and is not equaled in appearance by any place between it and Dublin except Navan.” Agriculture and related industry (such as chicken processing and mushroom cultivation), as well as retail, are the main employers. The surrounding lakes and rivers provide a backdrop which attracts visitors and sports enthusiasts. The estate featured several lakes, gatehouses at the numerous gates, pasture, forest, drumlins, and wildlife which includes wild deer and corncrakes. It is bordered by the Dromore River and Dartrey Forest (once part of the former, Dartrey Estate). Most of Bellamont Forest is now designated as Natural Heritage Area by Ireland’s National Parks and Wildlife Service. An ‘Enterprising Town’ awards winner, it is home to an array of unique businesses and industries – big and small.Details
Abbeyleix is a market town situated on the old main road between Dublin and Cork. Indeed it’s central, convenient location makes it an ideal focal point to explore the midlands of Ireland. In recent years the town has been bypassed with the building of the M8 between Dublin and Cork. Abbeyleix is a town rich in culture and heritage. It has some beautiful architectural buildings with many of them with a special story to tell. One of the first buildings a visitor to Abbeyleix will see is the beautifully restored Heritage House. It dominates the northern aspect of the town and is open all year around and well worth a visit. It was built in 1884 and formerly called The North School. It was taken over by the by the Patrician brothers in 1933 for the education of the Catholic boys of the area. Abbeyleix Tidy Towns is charged with creating a community that continues to be an attractive place to live, to work and to visit. Their focus is now on placemaking and on reimagining their beautiful heritage town as a smart and sustainable community that is fit for the 21st Century.Details
Edenderry is an historic market town that lies within the functional area of Offaly County Council approximately 31km to the east of Tullamore. With a population of 7,480 1 Edenderry is placed as the second largest town in County Offaly in terms of population. The town is situated close to the source of the River Boyne which runs to the west and northwest of the town and forms the county boundary between Offaly and Kildare. The Grand Canal runs in an east to west direction south of the town and a harbour branches from this in a northeasterly direction right into the centre of town. The more recent history is strongly associated with peat extraction in the nearby Bog of Allen. The layout of the town dates principally from the turn of the 19th Century, the historic Main Street, known as JKL Street, and Market Square provide a central spine from which the remainder of the town emanates. In the suburban areas
of the town there exists a number of large-scale housing estates which were constructed at various stages from the nineteen sixties to the nineteen eighties. From 1996 to 2016 Edenderry has experienced a population growth of 95%. These levels of population growth have resulted in pressures on services and employment opportunities in Edenderry. The Strategic Vision for this town is that Edenderry will be a vibrant, successful and sustainable town reinforced by strong local identity and civic pride. The Mission to achieving this vision is built around the principle of the sustainable development of the town and encouraging development to take place in a consolidated and coherent manner.
Skaistkalne-Kurmene Smart Village
Skaistkalne and Kurmene are territorially, socially and economically connected villages. The total area is 2181 km2, population – 1654 inhabitants. The factors that unite the area are: marginal border area, Mēmele river, services and infrastructure (school, post office, pharmacy) ecologically helthy environment, agriculture, forestry and tourism. The area is also united by rural roads in poor condition. Many local farmers and foresters work very hardly on their farms, but do not gain economic stability, young people and people of working age are going abroad to make a profit. The most important resource of the area are people. Their challenge is to find, smart solutions for the resilience of the local community.Details
Lormes is municipality located in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Region. “Let’s Invent together the rural territory of the Future” is the slogan of the project, initiated by Lormes in 2015. This journey began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with a ground-breaking territorial 2.0 policy to foster the economic and social potential of ICT and Internet for remote rural areas. Since these years, the municipality developed different solutions : the creation of a platform “Faire compagnie” to answer isolation of the elderly, a “digital mission” to promote digital inclusion or the implementation of transportation facilities to the different schools of the area.
Lormes has an ambition to be a village of the future. Connected to global digital opportunities but also galvanising the community to co-create priority local services. The fibre-optic internet in every street and a multi-functional digital hub/fab-lab and related services, create new opportunities for business, local government modes and the rural community.
Moncontour is a small village in Brittany. As the village suffers from ageing population and the lack of economic development, the municipality decided to offer new opportunities to the village through digitalization. In order to meet the needs and attract new inhabitants, the municipality supported the creation of the third-place “Chez Yvonne”, in partnership with local stakeholders. Created in 2020, this third-place offers digital services, places to meet or to organize events. It is meant to enhance social life and to create a communal place to meet.Details
Weissensee is a rural village in Carinthia withy mainly Agriculture and Tourism related economy. Tourism has a long tradition and is with approximately 3.200 beds and 450.000 overnight stays (2019, status before COVID19) economically quite important. The farm units get their income mainly from tourism sector too.
The area of Weissensee is mainly protected. Highly relevant is that lake shore is mainly unobstructed,not built up with transport infrastructure and buildings.
The Weissensee region is an EU prizewinner for tourism and the environment (1995) and bears the title of “climatic health resort”. We have been a “climate alliance community” since May 2005 and a “nature park community” since May 2006.
Weissensee is referred to as a pilot community regarding nature protection, soft mobility and smart energy: Member of Leader Region “Karnische Region” and Member of Alpine Pearls – a alpine network for car free tourism. Weissensee is e5-certified, that means a high energy efficient village.
Pilotdestination KEM Tourismusdestination Nassfeld-Lesachtal-Weissensee.” The aim is to ensure the high quality of life of the people in the valley, to preserve the beautiful nature and to value the local resources, to position the region as an ambassador for efficient and sustainable tourism.
Focus points Weissensee:
-Sustainable Community Strategies -Nature Park
-Mobility: nature park bus; Weissensee shuttle
-Regional products: Culinary Organic farms, farm products, 1st SlowFoodTravel region in Austria with a set of sustainable quality criteria.
-Model tourism businesses: Sustainable building, certifications/awards (organic, eco-label, etc.)
-Sustainable offers: ice skating lake Weissensee, cross-country skiing, hiking
Trofaiach is located in an alpine basin at 650 meters above sea level and was merged with two neighboring communities in 2013. Historically influenced by the nearby ore mining and iron processing, there are strong ties to the metallurgical industry. The city is valued for living quality close to nature and offers a family-friendly infrastructure. An intensive process of change has been in progress for 10 years in order to equip the city for the challenges of the future. Various strategies and development models were introduced with the strong participation of the population and experts. Among other things, a concept to strengthen the town center.Work is currently continuing on the ISEK/integrated urban development concept as a smart city.Details
Kalopanagiotis is located in the Troodos mountain range, in Marathasa Valley area of Nicosia District. Kalopanagiotis is one of the most beautiful resorts on the island with its sulphur springs, traditional architecture and panoramic valley views, and is ideal for agrotourism due its peaceful surroundings.
The Monastery of Agios Ioannis Lampadistis at Kalopanagiotis, is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, and features three Byzantine churches with well-preserved frescos dating back to the 9th and up to the 15th century. Other interesting sights include the Venetian bridge and the Kykko watermill. The 16th century bridge was constructed from local stone and until recently served as the only access between the village and the monastery. The watermill has been declared a ‘cultural heritage monument’ by the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and is an imposing site, characteristic of the pre-industrial architectural period.
Kalopanagiotis’ charm with its old chapels and churches, the quaint, cobbled streets and footpaths that lead to beautiful nature trails should not be missed. Kalopanagiotis is located in the Troodos mountain range, in Marathasa Valley area of Lefkosia (Nicosia) district.
Kalopanagiotis is one of the most beautiful resorts on the island with its sulphur springs, traditional architecture and panoramic valley views, and is ideal for agrotourism due its peaceful surroundings.
Jaunlutrini and Skede county
The smart village “Jaunmuiza” consists of two parishes. The village has an elementary school and an amateur theater. Various activities are regularly organized in the village. The Smart Village projects are managed by the Jaunlutriņi Development Association (currently the association has 26 members). The association has implemented several projects by attracting funding from various sources.Details
Bernati Rural community
Small village in Nica district, close to the key port city Liepaja. It has a very special nature park at the sea coast owned by the locals, which is a recourse to be protected and sustainable used. Bernati is a famous destination for the open sea vacation during the summer. It has a strong local NGO, which involves the locals in interesting actions.Details
Rural village located on a beautiful plateau in Tennengebirge/Salzburgerland. Tourism has had a long tradition here and been very important in the local economy. The farms get their income mainly from the tourism sector too (approx. 280.000 overnight stays, 50 % in the summer, and 50 % in the winter season).
Based on a tourism strategy developed in 1994, Werfenweng is consistently pursuing the path of sustainable development. The model town has made a name for itself in soft mobility and is a member of the Alpine Pearls, an Alpine-wide network for car-free tourism.
The community is located close to the capital of Latvia (Riga), but it is a rural area with large forests. The values of the community are: a quiet, relatively natural environment, active and responsible people, nurturing Latvian traditions and creating their own community traditions. The community has not yet invested much in innovations, but it is proud of its people’s ability to share their experiences, celebrating common holidays and traditions, created their own forest story trail, flower beds, book cabins and more.Details
Sant Pere de Torelló
Sant Pere de Torelló is an inland village of about 2500 inhabitants. A biomass-fired thermal power plant and municipal heating network was installed 25 years ago. The municipality was a pioneer in the implementation of its municipal heat network system in the 80s, which was and still is an extremely unusual practice in the Mediterranean countries. Following that path, a very ambitious plan has been developed for the municipal energy transition between 2019 and 2030. By that time the village will be 100% self-sufficient in terms of energy, coming from renewable and local sources.Details
Kuartango is a rural valley of 84 square kilometres located in the southwest of the Basque Country. It involves 20 villages, some of them very small. Until recently the only economic activity was the primary sector. Nowadays new horizons are opening.Details
Villages of Luunja municipality
Luunja municipality is located on the northern bank of the Emajõgi River, the municipality extending from the city of Tartu to the Emajõgi Suursoo is very diverse, covering both modern residential areas and areas of untouched nature. The area has a fascinating history and beautiful nature, long-standing farming traditions and a diverse economy. The Emajõgi meandering in the picturesque primeval valley and the Emajõgi Suursoo with its unique biota attract people to discover and enjoy. The grandeur of the manor-era parks and alleys testifies to the dignity of the manors of that time. The only river raft in the Baltics operates in the village of Kavastu.
The inhabitants of Luunja villages are active, youthful and cultural. Villages have enterprising people with a strong sense of community who want to create a better and more innovative living environment. In addition, there are successful and helpful companies.
The greatest values are youthful population, historical sights, diverse nature and many small businesses – unfortunately there is no systematic overview of these and therefore there is a need to create a virtual map of all important information in the village area that can be updated in real time for all residents and tourists, creating completely new opportunities for the entire community. The virtual map / app / database provides an opportunity for the sustainable operation and development of creative entrepreneurs and food producers, and ensures a greater sense of community, which in turn helps to create more cooperation and bring more people to the area. An interactive map and a common strategy would help to connect villages, be a universal service, revitalize entrepreneurship and the availability of tourism and community services in different areas, and create a whole new way of communicating information and interacting with different stakeholders.
The biggest development needs are the availability of information and finding the necessary information, the lack of a business incubator, the lack of shops in the villages, the lack of transport organization, the lack of possibilities for hobbies.Details
Neeme village is located in the northern part of one of the smallest articulated coastlines of Northern Estonia, the Ihasalu Peninsula. As far back as is known, fishing, to some extent the hunting of seals and agricultural activity have been the main sources of livelihood for the local population. It is a typical fishing village. After Estonia regained independence, the village has grown steadily. Over the years, many young families have moved here, thanks to which life has flourished again. Neeme kindergarten and school are highly valued among parents, community is active. In the village there are high-quality restaurants such as Ruhe Restaurant, Wana Kala Kõrts and Neeme Pood & Café established by locals. The cape has very good access from the sea, because there is a decent small port. The port does not currently offer services to tourists. However, the location is favorable for tourism – the nearest small ports of the Neeme are in Kaberneeme, Koljunuk, but also in Vainul, Rohuneeme, Prangli. The summer recreational sea traffic on small vessels has gained momentum as a trend.Details
Network of villages in Otepää municipality
Otepää municipality is located in Valga county in South-Eastern Estonia. It is an area of 520.2 m², which ranks 39th among 79 municipalities in Estonia. It is clearly a center-hinterland type municipality with one larger center – the town of Otepää. Otepää municipality differs from several other county municipalities in that there are 4 sustainable schools in the municipality. Preserving local schools is a very important issue for communities. In the last two years, the number of inhabitants in Otepää municipality has increased precisely due to the positive migration balance. Although the natural increase is still negative due to the age structure of the municipality (high proportion of the elderly), the positive migration balance has compensated for this in the last two years. In the last two years, many young families with children have started living in the municipality, due to which the local government has had to open an additional group in kindergarten. At the same time, the number of inhabitants has increased in villages, while the number of inhabitants of the town of Otepää continues to decrease.
For the villages in the Otepää area, smart village means finding innovative solutions through collective problem solving. In the strategy process, 4 areas of smart approach were mapped: 1) Community collective intelligence – new knowledge, perspectives, ideas; 2) Information technology intelligence – electronic bulletin boards, information picks, electronic application system; 3) On demand services – transport, intelligent logistics for children’s hobbies; 4) Social innovation – intergenerational communication.
Municipality of Athienou
The municipality of Athienou is in the south edge of Mesaoria plain. During the Ottoman occupation itused to be a mid-road junction connecting the port of Larnaka with the capital Lefkosia. In Athienou the following educational institutions operate: nursery center, kindergarten, two elementary schools and a three-class high school. Towards the intellectual and aesthetic polishing of the people, contribute the Kallinikeio Municipal Museum, housed in the Municipal Hall, the Municipal Library,Konstantinelenio Center for Adults and private art workshops. Athienou exhibits an intense cultural life. Main conveyors of cultural activities are the Municipal Cultural Society, the Cultural Association of Rea and the Cultural Association of Malloura with choirs, dance and drama groups. Apart from the cultural services of the ministry of Education and Culture great support to these cultural groups are provided from the municipal Authorities. The municipal authorities offer their premises’ halls for art exhibitions and lectures.Details
Phini is one of the most picturesque villages in Cyprus and is built in a green environment in the Troodos Mountains at an average altitude of 920 meters, between steep slopes and high mountain peaks. The village is located 44 km northwest of the city of Limassol. It is connected in the northwest with the village of Agios Dimitrios, in the south with Kato Platres and in the east with Pano Platres. Much of its area is occupied by the forests of Troodos and Paphos. To the north of the village is the Monastery of Panagia Trooditissa and to the southwest is the church of Agioi Anargyroi which was a Monastery. The beauty and picturesqueness of the village is complemented by the waterfall of Phini, located in the green area of ”Chantara”.
The morphology of the soil and the limited arable land forced the inhabitants of Phini to engage in various other works in order to survive. Thus, over time, Phini became known for its pottery, the manufacture of traditional furniture and the manufacture of the local delight named “Phiniotiko Loukoumi”.
The local and traditional pottery is recognised as such and it is characterised as a “Cyprus Intangible Cultural Heritage” Activity from the Cyprus National Commission for UNESCO.
An engaged village where nature and family are the top priorities and where smart and innovative solutions are tools to create a vibrant and sustainable village close to a larger city. The village is using the close connection to the academy and research in Lund municipality to create a research village for smart and sustainable solutions for society. The main interest for the villagers is sustainability and resilience. This is the focus of the plans for expanding the village from 5000 to about 8000 inhabitants until 2040.Details
The area has five communities, two of them have about 1200 inhabitants each and the others vary from only few permanent inhabitants to about 300. The smallest communities are the islands with quite many summer houses. The area goes along the river (or stream) Nätraån from the inland village of Sidensjö out to the island of Ulvön and has a very clear connection to the UNESCO world heritage of Höga Kusten (The High Coast). The area offers rich opportunities to culture, nature and outdoor life.Details
In 1970 Ovenhausen became part of the district town Höxter in the eastern part of Northrine Westfalia. Since the community participated in innovative digital projects like “Smart Country Side”, “Digital competences for citizens in rural areas” , “Dorf.Zukunft.Digital” and “Dorf.Gesundheit.Digital” Ovenhausen became a digital village and known as a lighthouse example for future oriented village development. About 800 participants are using regularly digital applications for communication in the village and in other neighbouring villages. Ovenhausen was awarded for being “integrative commune” and the village is recognized for its networking and cooperation.Details
The village Cherni Osam is surrounded by hills and mountains. On the northern side of the village, the main road ends and there are only small paths leading to the different hills, peaks and huts. Not so far away you can also find also the “Central Balkan” National Park. In the village there is a restaurant, some shops and the Natural Science Museum. Apart from that the houses and gardens of the 1050 inhabitants form the little village adapted to the flow of the river. In the south you can follow the road to the next villages, which Cherni Osam is for now highly dependend on concerning healthcare, shops and other public institutions. The plan is to have more autonomy and improve the public services through the smart transformation.Details
Alsómocsolád is a village of 320 inhabitants, located in the Northern part of Baranya County, in the south of Hungary, the gateway of the Baranya Ridge, one of the pearls of our closer environment thanks to its outstanding natural values.
The municipality has all public utilities, modern telecommunications, and IT connections. The village has primary health care, day and residential care for the elderly, a tourist complex and a number of community scenes.
We in Mocsolád are proud of our past; we are endeavouring to build our future on our talents and values, while honouring our traditions.
We do it together. We have developed a new type of local government model with the involvement of all the actors of the municipality – citizens, economic organisations, NGOs – which focuses on the institutionalisation of strategic management and a jointly defined vision.
Our vision is: “Alsómocsolád is a 21st century, liveable, friendly, innovative village, preserving and renewing its values, growing from the local economy and increasing its population.”
Our mission: “To create a liveable settlement, protected, valued, and loved by its citizens, which retains its population and attracts its former inhabitants back. It responds to the challenges of our times. It seeks and finds its breakthrough points. It develops on a human scale. It is constantly renewing itself. It makes itself open, interesting, and attractive to the world. It seeks out opportunities that can serve local, regional, and wider needs in an economically viable way.”
The planned vision is embodied in the economic programmes, cycle programmes, sub-strategies, and development plans approved by the Body of Representatives and its realisation is continuous through the application of the instrument system developed, as a result of which, during the past 32 years, Alsómocsolád has become a municipality with a developed infrastructure and active citizens, open to the challenges of the times. The following directions institutionalised during our work:
≠ strategic management,
≠ local economic development,
≠ social development,
≠ the role of a regional development engine, and
≠ network organisation/network development
Kurtovo Konare is a relatively large and lively Bulgarian village. It is located between two rivers in a very fertile part of southern Bulgaria, 20 km from the second largest city of Plovdiv and 10 km from the Rhodope Mountains. It is located in Stamboliyski municipality – one of the most densely populated municipalities in Bulgaria. The village has a well-developed social infrastructure: City Hall, Chitalishte, school, kindergarten, health service, post office, church, stadium. In the land of the village is a former royal palace. The whole mansion is located on an area of 2 thousand acres, over 1400 of them are riparian forest, about 300 acres are a decorative park with unique and rare species of vegetation. From the middle of 2020 the palace and the park to it were open for visits by tourists. Kurtovo Konare is famous for its agriculture and its contribution to the economic history of Bulgaria. The first early tomatoes in the country, the first peanuts were grown here, the first Bulgarian red pepper factory was opened. There are varieties of apple, peach and pepper, which bear the name of the village, but are almost extinct. In the last 10 years, several local varieties – pink tomato, bean, apple “Kurtovka” and pepper “Kurtovska Kapiya” have been listed in the World Ark of Taste of the Slow Food organization. We are also one of the six Bulgarian Slow Food Presidia. Since 2009, the annual three-day festival ‘Kurtovo Konare Fest / Festival of peppers, tomatoes, traditional foods and crafts’ is held, which is already known throughout the country, but also attracts guests from abroad. The village is known as the “Mecca” of lyutenitsa – a popular mash of peppers and tomatoes in Bulgaria.Details
Oliete is located in Aragon (Spain), province of Teruel (in the region of Andorra-Sierra de Arcos). It stands out for a rich Iberian culture and eccentricities shaped by nature. Touristic, cultural and natural highlights include the Iberian Museum, the route that leads to the Iberian ruins, Sima de San Pedro that stands out for both its forceful depression and diameter of 100 meters ending in an impressive lake, giving home to hundreds of species of birds, as well as the reservoir of the Cueva Foradada (on the river Martín). Oliete’s olive grove of the Empeltre variety is abundant. However, currently 70% of the olive grove is abandoned. Oliete is part of the Denomination of Origin Aceite del Bajo Aragón. Since 2014, the apadrinaunolivo.org initiative has recovered 100,000 abandoned centenary olive trees through an environmental, social and sustainable rural development manner.Details
Hilvarenbeek is a rural municipality with about 15.500 inhabitants, located in the south of Central Brabant, at about 10 km southeast of Tilburg on the Belgian border. The village with surrounds covers an area of about 97 km2. On and around the erritory of Hilvarenbeek several vulnerable estates and nature reserves are situated, which also determine the character of the landscape and at the same time are of great importance for the touristic and recreational attraction of the area. Preserving these vulnerable areas is one of the major challenges facing the community.Details
The small village Torup is situated on a peninsula between sea and fjord, 60 km to the northwest of Copenhagen. Part of Torup is an eco-village (Dyssekilde) initiated more than 30 years ago by a group of people who moved here to form a community based on organic and sustainable principles. The village has a high level of active participation and is one of very few growing Danish villages, so called “Warm Zones”. Its inhabitants enjoy a diverse range of initiatives and activities, including parent-initiated school and kindergarten, Coop initiated shop and café, and a lot of other activities, all enabled due to a strong tradition for initiative and involvement. An almost 50 % extension of the village (Hvideland) is also a local initiative. It is both planned and implemented by Torup Ting, the local community association. Crowdfunding done by the local Torup Foundation made it possible to purchase the 5 ha land for the project including the farm-house. The extension is now in progress and like Dyssekilde it will be following sustainable principles.Details
The Virtsu borough is situated on Virtsu peninsula on the western coast of Estonia. With a population of 500, it is small, yet important place – its harbour connects mainland Estonia with its biggest island, Saaremaa.
Trade routes and coastal activities have been here since ancient times. The village has a rich history, which we try to preserve and present to locals and tourists: ruins of 15th century fortress and coastal defence battery, Virtsu manor house remains, and a lighthouse. Another side of Virtsu is its proximity to truly unique nature – Puhtu-Laelatu reserve park, well-known to bird watchers all around the world, is just on the outskirts of the village. During the last two decades, Virtsu, as many rural areas around Europe, has been facing challenges such as depopulation, limited entrepreneurship and somehow fragmented community.
Stanz im Mürtzal
Stanz im Mürztal is located in a rural area in the province of Styria in Austria. It has a total population of 1 844 inhabitants and a surface area of 70 km2. The region is industrial and has been affected by economic structural change in recent decades. As in many European regions, people tend to move into metropolitan areas, which is one reason for depopulation. The economy is small-scaled, which is reflected in the high percentage of people who commute from the municipality. Our village decided to search for new ways to deal with these challenges. Therefore, we started a ‘Local Agenda 21’ process in 2016 to enable an integrated development of the village with the knowledge and support of the inhabitants. Since then, about 80 active residents deliver ’hands on’ on the development of a local strategy and implementation of measures in different areas with great commitment.Details
Sollstedt is located in a rural area in the north of Thuringia, formerly part of the German Democratic Republic. Since the German reunification, Sollstedt has been heavily impacted by economic and demographic change. This has included the collapse of salt (‘Kali’) mining, job losses, outmigration, and population ageing. In addition, important institutions of social life had to be closed and building vacancies and investment backlog have arisen. All these disadvantages have impaired the development of Sollstedt.
Keeping Sollstedt independent is the main vision for the village and the strategy should be to become smart and digital by 2030.
Transforming Sollstedt into a smart village could prove an enabling factor to provide the right work-life balance that this age group is looking for.
Uppony is a small village of 280 inhabitants in Borsod-Abauj-Zemplen, one of the most lagging behind counties of Hungary. The beautiful natural environment of the village is in sharp contrast with its current socio-economic status. The micro-region of Ózd, where Uppony is located, is situated in north-east Hungary and is one of the most disadvantaged and poorest areas in Hungary. The region is mostly characterised by small-size villages. Population is decreasing and ageing, while the unemployment rate is high.
Our main motivation to become a ‘smart village’ is to demonstrate that even marginalised and disadvantaged communities like ours have a ‘way out’ if the right solutions are identified and implemented.
Tomaszyn is a small village located in Warmia and Mazury. It consists of ten households and a cooperative. The region is classified as the Green Lungs of Poland and has the lowest population density in the country. There are eight landscape parks in the voivodeship, which shelter natural phenomena on a European scale. It is said to be the Land of a Thousand Lakes. While creating Ostoja Natury, we were inspired by nature’s already existing solutions. Just as in a prehistoric forest – the circuit is everything, waste is non-existent. Our goal is to create an ecosystem designed to provide economic efficiency with minimal influence on the environment. Methods tested over the ages, such as crop rotation, raised seedbeds, home recipes, and many more, are refreshed and implemented, using technological innovations of modern times..Details
Šentviška Gora Plateau
The Šentviška Gora Plateau comprises a group of small villages in the hilly part of western Slovenia. Its residents (approximately 600) mainly engage in agriculture, especially livestock and crop farming.
Over 40 km of beautifully landscaped trails are available to hikers, runners, and cyclists, with all major intersections properly marked. Hikers can climb up Črv Peak (974 m), the highest peak on the Plateau, or visit the Kostanjevec Gorge and its main section called Žlebi, where speleologists have the opportunity to explore natural karst caves. There is also a winter sports centre featuring a ski slope, a cross-country skiing area and two ski jumping hills. The people who live and work at the heart of the Plateau also create its everyday life. The products and services offered by the local providers reflect high quality, tradition, and harmony with the natural environment. Nevertheless, like other rural areas, the Plateau is facing the problems of ageing population and outmigration.
Vuollerim is a small village in the middle of Swedish Lapland by the Arctic Circle, neighbouring the beautiful Nordic woods. The northern lights in the winter and the midnight sun in the summer are among of the reasons that inspire the villagers to stay and work hard for this amazing place. With only 700 inhabitants, the village has managed to launch about 40 non-profit associations. Entrepreneurship is well-embedded in the local culture and is evidenced by the number of local companies, among other things. Today, there are about 60 companies in Vuollerim. Several of them are so-called limited liability companies which re-invest their profit in the local community. The current goal is to create more visibility for Vuollerim, to attract young people and families to live and invest in the village. The area has very good internet connectivity and a lot of possibilities for digitalisation that should be capitalised on.Details
Located in the mountainous area of the Giurgiu Basin in Harghita county, Romania, Remetea is one of the largest villages in the region, with a population of 6 171 inhabitants. The total surface area of the village is 10 774 hectares.Remetea is a settlement of several hundred years of history, with strong traditions and eloquent cultural characteristics. One of the biggest assets of the village is the natural mineral water springs and supplies. We hope to revive the ‘bath culture’ of the region by opening a wellness and bath centre, while using resources efficiently.The traditional economy is based on agriculture, forestry and handicrafts. The community has entrepreneurial spirit, including service providers, a chocolate and sweets factory, and an office furniture enterprise. In this context, the priority is to identify and eliminate factors that limit the pursue of new business opportunitiesDetails
Raudanmaa is a rural area with some 600 inhabitants, which consists of several small hamlets and houses surrounded by beautiful lakeside nature, woods, and fields. People live very close to nature which is a great asset that our village can offer both to new residents and visitors. Our main aspiration is to be a service-oriented, innovative village where daily life runs smoothly. We want to bring new, innovative enablers in order to boost the village economy and living conditions.
We are proud of our local community which is very active and supportive of new initiatives. We have several associations organising activities and enabling dynamic communal lifestyle enjoyed by the villagers. We organise regular gatherings on matters that concern everyone and share news and issues of interest on social media.
Profondeville is a municipality assembling six villages in the Haute-Meuse river valley situated 80 km south-east of Brussels, in the Namur Province, Belgium. All six villages count around 12 000 inhabitants.
Profondeville is not famous for its cathedrals, museums or monuments, but for its rich and picturesque nature (out of 50,34 km², 50 % is farming land and 27 % are forests). The area is famous for its paragliding spots, underground cavities good for speleology, outdoor activities such as hiking and bicycling and, above all, water sports on the Meuse river.
Profondeville’s villages also have a reputation for the vivid social life they offer. All year long festivities set the pace for gatherings that strengthen social ties and help newcomers to get involved.
Located near the city of Namur, Profondeville faces the stakes of many suburban villages. It has to keep its rural identity and quality of life while accompanying the unavoidable development of housing and tertiary sectors.
The Municipality of Penela has a population of about 5,983 inhabitants. It is located in the district of Coimbra, in the Region Centro of Portugal.
Cumeeira is a village and also the seat of the Parish in the municipality of Penela, with an area of 19.53 km² and 1,072 inhabitants (2011). The village itself has 106 inhabitants, of which only 9% are aged under 20 years.
The village community lives maintaining relations with the agricultural and natural surroundings, although most of the employment is on the third sector. Regarding services, it provides cultural and recreational activities through the Cultural association, and provides an easy access to health, education, culture and leisure due to the proximity to the town of Penela and the city of Coimbra (at a distance of 12 and 36 Km, respectively).
Ferraria de São João (Penela)
The Municipality of Penela has a population of about 5,983 inhabitants. It is located in the district of Coimbra, in the Region Centro of Portugal.
Ferraria de São João is a schist village located in this municipality, with a remote location on the top of a mountain. It has 43 inhabitants, of which only 9% are aged under 20 years. It offers a high quality of life to its inhabitants. Apart from the exceptional features related to the environmental and built heritage, it provides access to health, education, culture and leisure due to the proximity to the town of Penela and the city of Coimbra (at a distance of 15 and 39 Km, respectively). In addition, it has a local community that, although aging, takes a very active role in the decisions-making process towards the village’s development. In the last years, it has registered an increasing investment in the tourism and agriculture sectors
Ostana is an Occitan multi-centric settlement in the north-western Alps, in the Po valley, facing the Monviso mountain in Italy. In 1921 there were 1 200 inhabitants. At the end of the 20th century only six were left with a depopulation rate of 99,5%. Nowadays, the inhabitants count 50 permanent ones, while in the summer and high season this number grows to 500 tourists and second-home owners in total. T
Over the years, Ostana was able to attract a network of qualified supporters and build a system of competences and alliances from outside the valley. A small and tough community created the conditions for a better life, including work around architectural renovation, providing services to the inhabitants, developing cultural projects, and taking care of the deployment of renewable energy, agriculture and forest management.
We are a village 35 km away from our capital Prague with 2500 permanent inhabitants (and some 500 residents who have houses in the village, but are not officially registered here). Our municipality consists of three formerly independent villages: Mukařov-Buda – an ancient settlement with our church, school, medical centre and shops laying at the crossroads of traditional trading routes, Srbín – a former agricultural village with extensive recent construction of new family houses, and Žernovka – a village known for its stonemasonry tradition.
Most of our working-age citizens commute to work outside the municipality. One of our aims is to improve communication and linkages between our citizens and the local government administration. Among others, we would like to improve e-governance practices, allowing flexibility in administration for citizens who are not in the village during working hours (due to every-day commuting).
Mouans-Sartoux is a small town, located in the French Riviera in the south-east of France. For 40 years, we have been committed to an ambitious and sustainable local food policy, aiming to protect both environment and the health of our citizens, while supporting economic development. With this in mind, we have developed projects involving local stakeholders 100% organic and mostly local school canteens, creation of a municipal farm supplying most of the vegetables consumed in canteens, sustainable food education actions towards pupils as well as citizens in general, support to the settlement of organic farmers in the area.
Today, most of the inhabitants are convinced that this development option contributes to improving their quality of life and to promoting the resilience of our area.
The island of Kythera is one of the largest islands in Greece and is characterised by a large number of small settlements, with a total population of around 4000. Our greatest expectation is to keep our youth in the area, by creating the appropriate conditions for young and active people to live and work on the island. Our local economy is based predominantly on tourism and agriculture but also other areas such as trades and services, including education and health. We would like to promote agricultural and environmental sustainability on the island by introducing new technologies. The goal is to enhance the production of local products, mainly olive-oil production, honey, as well as aromatic and medicinal plants, while promoting and preserving Kythera’s landscapes, ecosystems and biodiversity.Details
Dingle / Daingean Uí Chúis is the main coastal settlement on the Dingle / Corca Dhuibhne Peninsula, one of Europe’s most westerly peninsulas. Our peninsula has a population of 12,500, of whom 3,500 live in Dingle (and environs). Our peninsula’s stunning landscapes, calendar of festivals, strong cultural heritage and distinctive identity, combined with our internationally renowned reputation as a place of welcome and hospitality have been drawing visitors to the area for generations. Tourism is thus the mainstay of our local economy, with agriculture and the marine also playing important roles in our area’s economic, social and cultural lives. Most of our peninsula is also a designated Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). Dingle / Daingean Uí Chúis is the main service centre for our peninsula’s many rural communities, all of which have their own local identities and dynamics.Details
Babina Greda is located in Vukovar-Srijem County in Croatia and has a population of 3 585. The municipality of Babina Greda has an excellent geo-traffic position, it is connected to the system of European road routes, and there is a plan for the multi-purpose canal “Danube-Sava” to run through the municipality. Babina Greda is rich in authentic Slavonian villages, customs and culture. The local community is very active, organising numerous events, exhibitions and associations to promote social, cultural, entertaining, artistic, sports and other activities that contribute to enriching the touristic offer and social life. In addition, agricultural holders, business owners and other actors contribute to the economic development of Babina Greda. Areas that need support include: broadband connectivity; employers’ encouragement of teleworking; awareness of the potential benefits of a rural-urban partnership; attracting foreign investment and developing market value-added products.Details
Ansó is the main village in the Ansó Valley which is part of the Western Valleys of the Pyrenees Natural Park in Spain. It is a peaceful area without much tourist development. The village has preserved well its traditional Pyrenean architecture and thanks to this has been declared a Place of Cultural Value/Interest. Its 405 inhabitants have access to simple, but ample services, including a health clinic, banks, post office, pharmacy, grocers, butcher, bakers etc. The state school stands out as innovative. Ansó has an extensive territory (251,83 km²) of great beauty and exceptional biodiversity which is a treasure for nature lovers and for mountain sports.Details
Alsunga is one of two villages in the second smallest municipality in Latvia with 1 390 inhabitants. The local community is mainly made up of people with old cultural traditions – called suiti. The Suiti Cultural Space was inscribed in UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding in 2009. Alsunga is a good place to live, but ongoing depopulation is reducing available resources , thereby changing the living environment and the need for services. The main priorities are to develop sustainable local food and a craft market to increase marketing volumes for home-based producers and to develop the local school. Due to administrative reforms, the Alsunga municipality will be incorporated into a much larger municipality and will become an outskirts parish. This will require the development of a strong village strategy and team to keep the development of Alsunga.Details