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Rural Vision
News article27 April 2023Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy1 min read

Revitalising Rural Communities: SHERPA project’s recommendations for social and digital development

The SHERPA project has recently published two position papers aimed at supporting the EU’s Long-term vision for rural areas. The first paper, "Social Dimension of Rural Areas," explores ways to improve well-being and social capital and trigger rural revitalisation. The second paper, "Digitalisation in Rural Areas," provides policy and research recommendations to enhance rural digitalisation.

The paper on the social dimension of rural areas draws on evidence and discussions from nine SHERPA’s Multi-Actor Platforms. The paper identifies obstacles to flourishing rural communities and presents recommendations to strengthen well-being and social capital in rural areas, including creating friendly spaces at the local level and promoting the role of social capital in the LEADER/CLLD approach at national and EU levels. The paper also gathers good practices to revitalise rural areas and enhance their liveability, such as the Vunki mano! Social hackathon in Estonia and a financial scheme for flexible housing in rural Wallonia, Belgium.

The paper on digitalisation in rural areas highlights its crucial role in rural development and formulates recommendations to improve it. While progress has been made, challenges like digital exclusion, access to data, and privacy remain. The paper emphasises the need for public support and cooperation among different stakeholders. It suggests designing flexible funding schemes, providing technical assistance and need-based services, and promoting upscaling of best practices. It also presents examples of successful digitalisation initiatives, such as digital elderly care system in Tamásy, Hungary, and local digital services in Sweden to enhance rural attractiveness and liveability.