(05 October 2018) – Social and digital “smart villages” are trending across Europe. Paul Soto and Enrique Nieto (ENRD / AEIDL / Grupo Alba) show that smart villages focus on local communities that take their futures into their own hands, often, but not exclusively, with the help of digital technologies.
Smart villages are not simply about catching up with urban areas by applying the “smart city” concept to the countryside.
Smart cities tend to focus on big data and opportunities for transforming the ways in which cities function through interrelated digital technologies. Smart villages, on the other hand, focus more on local communities taking their futures into their own hands, often, but not exclusively, with the help of digital technologies.
Many smart village initiatives have been triggered by the challenges of depopulation, the loss of young people and cuts in public services. Communities all over Europe have responded by launching a wide range of social innovations in energy, health, care, mobility, food, education and training, but also by seizing new emerging opportunities present in rural areas.