The idea to transpose the concept of smart cities to rural municipalities in the alpine area is one of the major strategic initiatives of AG5. AG5 has launched an Alpine space program project on this topic which runs from April 2018 to April 2021.
The project aims to apply the Smart villages approach and bring together - in so-called Regional Stakeholder Groups (policy makers, business, academia and civil society) to improve the framework for innovation through new forms of stakeholder involvement facilitated by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The project is therefore not a technology orientated project. It is a user orientated project which shall show the opportunities and potentials of digitalization for rural communities. The active involvement of this population into the elaboration of the project in the various test areas is therefore crucial.
The outputs envisaged by the project are:
- Nine Regional Stakeholder Groups which will assist the assessment of smartness level of Test Areas, give input for best practices and test the Digital Exchange Platform (DEP), codesign the toolbox and facilitate the transfer of project results to the policy level.
- A regional analysis providing the readiness and needs for a Smart Transition in the Test Areas.
- The creation of a Digital Exchange Platform for the transnational knowledge sharing of the project findings within the project as well as with the wider public.
- The elaboration of a Toolbox to access digital tools, methods and techniques that facilitate user engagement and the development of products with high value for the SV ecosystem in all Test Areas.
- Policy Recommendations compiled in a synthesis report by evaluating results and effects of the project.
The test areas participating in the Smart villages project can be identified from the following picture:
The Smart villages approach has many connections to other Action groups. AG5 is therefore cooperating with other AG’s on this topic. The Smart villages approach was presented at the EUSALP-Annual forum in November 2017 in Munich and a major event took place in May 2019 in Courmayeur, organized by Aosta Valley Autonomous Region in the framework of the Italian presidency of EUSALP.
In 2020 two event were organised to spread the smart villages approach: the event "Smart Villages - Key opportunities for a sustainable and attractive Alpine region" in Grenoble and the "Smart Villages Conference - Policies needed for a smart transition of rural areas" from ASP SmartVillages project.
These events gave the smart villages approach a high visibility and political relevance in the alpine area and contribute to sharpen the profile of EUSALP also outside the Alps.
For more information about SmartVillages project, see https://www.alpine-space.eu/projects/smartvillages/en/home