Resilient villages

Call Reference: 
RUR-01-2018-2019
Short description of project idea : 
CALL: RUR-01-2018-2019: Building modern rural policies on long-term visions and societal Engagement - Scope A: Rural society-science-policy –hub The local impact of global socio-economic changes is experienced severely in many villages (for example: disappearing of local shops, aging population). Changes in the villages themselves, but also changes in the relationship among villages or between villages and cities. These changes ask for different policy- and decision making processes and tools. This project aims at enlarging the resilience of villages by research, design and testing of innovative tools and models for policymaking (on different government levels: local, regional, national).
Challenge Global changes (demographic, economic, social, mobility and climate/energy) manifest themselves locally. For example: the globalisation of retail will locally result in the disappearance of neighbourhood shops and in vacant buildings. The global demographic changes will locally result in changing housing needs (more single-person houses, housing for elderly), or more need of care for the elderly. Local communities need to adapt to these global changes. In the case of villages, these changes often are of great impact, and the process of adapting to changes does not come easily. If the villages do not adapt, the viability of villages in the future is in danger. In some regions in Europe this is already visible, by dynamics and population in villages declining resulting in ‘sleep’ or ‘ghost’ villages. Cities seem to have a large capacity to adapt to these global changes: there is more opportunity for experimental learning and due to the density of a city the socio-economic resilience is higher. Also, the cities experience positive effects of these global changes: money often flows from the rural area towards the cities, jobs tend to be more available in cities than villages, etc. In the whole, villages seem to experience more (negative) impact from the changes compared to cities. Besides the changes having more effect on villages than on cities, they also have impact on the relationships among villages and between villages and cities. Villages, cities and the rural area are very much interdependent. To be able to adapt to the global changes we believe cities, villages and the rural area have to work together on building strong relationships. Goal The goal of this project is to enlarge the resilience of (rural) villages by enlarging the adaptive capacity of villages to global socio-economic changes. (theoretical) framework [based on the study of ‘resilient villages’ by the University of Antwerp, commissioned by the Province of Antwerp] The resilience of a village is dependent on two elements: • The extent to which the change manifests itself in the village, and the vulnerability of the village. Example, a village with a high amount of elderly people and without good care facilities is more vulnerable for the demographic change of aging, than a village with less elderly or great care facilities. • The capacity of the village to adapt to change. Example, a village with enough capacity to ‘transform’ itself and to organize transport to nearby care facilities, or to create an informal care-network, will suffer less of the demographic change of aging. On the scale of a village the local impact of the changes is difficult to influence. But we believe the adaptive capacity is something you can enlarge, which is therefore the goal of this project. Project actions In this project three different aspects of enlarging the resilience will be addressed. All actions are a combination of research, developing innovative models and tools, and testing them in cases in different villages in several regions of EU. A. Measuring socio-economic resilience Being able to measure and monitor the socio-economic resilience of villages to global changes will enable us to discover in which way the resilience is enlarged effectively. By measuring resilience before and after actions that are meant to make the village more resilient, we can see which actions have most effect. In this project a good methodology for measuring resilience will be developed, and tested in the different cases. This study could build on the research done by the University of Antwerp, where a first concept of a village-monitor is developed. Also the Province of Noord-Brabant (Netherlands) has a ‘social resilience monitor’ that could give good input. Probably many more examples already exist in the EU. Sharing knowledge with partners from other EU countries will lead to the development of a good methodology to measure socio-economic resilience of villages. B. Network approach Approaching villages as part of a network of villages, cities and rural area, and strengthening their relationships, can enhance the adaptive capacity of a village. The interdependent relationship among villages and between villages, cities and the rural area should be studied: what are these relations? Where do people live, work, shop, recreate, visit family? Where is money earned, and where is it spent? What are the existing networks based on how people live their daily lives? Probably different kinds of networks will exist, in different regions of the EU. When it is known which kind of networks exist in a specific region, models and tools to assist governments (local, regional, national) with strengthening the relationships can be developed. In this project the different networks will be studied, tools and models will be developed, and these will be tested in the different cases. C. Enlarge adaptive capacity Our partner, the University of Antwerp, defined six factors influencing the adaptive capacity of villages. This project will work on models and tools for governments (local, regional and national) that work around these six factors, making the research result in practical actions in villages. The six factors are: 1. availability of information 2. variety and diversity of solutions 3. possibility of social learning and joint fact finding 4. possibility to experiment and evaluate 5. possibility of organisation and action 6. scale of actions
Smart Cities
Main areas of expertise: 
Our policy working on villages is part of the rural development policy.
Main objectives of the project and how will they be achieved: 
Title: 
The goal of this project is to enlarge the resilience of (rural) villages by enlarging the adaptive capacity of villages to global socio-economic changes.
Description: 
In this project three different aspects of enlarging the resilience will be addressed. All actions are a combination of research, developing innovative models and tools, and testing them in cases in different villages in several regions of EU. A. Measuring socio-economic resilience Being able to measure and monitor the socio-economic resilience of villages to global changes will enable us to discover in which way the resilience is enlarged effectively. By measuring resilience before and after actions that are meant to make the village more resilient, we can see which actions have most effect. In this project a good methodology for measuring resilience will be developed, and tested in the different cases. This study could build on the research done by the University of Antwerp, where a first concept of a village-monitor is developed. Also the Province of Noord-Brabant (Netherlands) has a ‘social resilience monitor’ that could give good input. Probably many more examples already exist in the EU. Sharing knowledge with partners from other EU countries will lead to the development of a good methodology to measure socio-economic resilience of villages. B. Network approach Approaching villages as part of a network of villages, cities and rural area, and strengthening their relationships, can enhance the adaptive capacity of a village. The interdependent relationship among villages and between villages, cities and the rural area should be studied: what are these relations? Where do people live, work, shop, recreate, visit family? Where is money earned, and where is it spent? What are the existing networks based on how people live their daily lives? Probably different kinds of networks will exist, in different regions of the EU. When it is known which kind of networks exist in a specific region, models and tools to assist governments (local, regional, national) with strengthening the relationships can be developed. In this project the different networks will be studied, tools and models will be developed, and these will be tested in the different cases. C. Enlarge adaptive capacity Our partner, the University of Antwerp, defined six factors influencing the adaptive capacity of villages. This project will work on models and tools for governments (local, regional and national) that work around these six factors, making the research result in practical actions in villages. The six factors are: 1. availability of information 2. variety and diversity of solutions 3. possibility of social learning and joint fact finding 4. possibility to experiment and evaluate 5. possibility of organisation and action 6. scale of actions
Challenges that may determine the impact of the project: 
Title: 
Applying research in actual villages as test cases
Description: 
Applying research in actual villages as test cases: the link between research, designing tools/models and testing in actual villages is an important aspect and challenge of this project.
Title: 
Availability of information and data
Description: 
Availability of information and data: information and data, on the scale of villages, on all different aspects of resilience, is not always readily available. This has impact on the precision and quality of measuring the resilience of villages.
Title: 
Involvement of local government and inhabitants of villages
Description: 
Involvement of local government and inhabitants of villages: the involvement of local actors is important to be able to let the research, models and tools have actual impact on the villages. By involving these actors from the start of the project, this challenge can be met.
Profile of partners sought and expected role: 
Title: 
universities or research institutes, testcases, organisations 'in the field', lead partner
Description: 
universities or research institutes for the research and developing tools and models, in different regions. test cases (villages and their different levels of government: local, regional and national), to apply the research and innovative tools and models. organisations that work ‘in the field’ in villages, being able to work alongside governments, for a participative approach in the villages and for testing the tools and models. Lead Partner
First Name: 
Veerle
Last Name: 
van Westen
Name of the organisation: 
Province of Antwerp
Short description of organisation: 
Province of Antwerp: regional government The province has an area of 2,867 km2 (1,107 sq mi) and with 1.8 million inhabitants it is the country's most populous province. This project is proposed by the office of agricultural- and rural developement policy.

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