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21c Starts a New Horizon Project on Rural Development

Changes in rural areas, such as depopulation, land abandonment and the loss of biodiversity, may proceed very slowly yet are often irreversible. Policymakers can steer these developments in order to reduce their negative impacts but this requires knowing whether current policy instruments are effective, who is benefiting from them and in what measure, what driving forces will be most influential and how will they affect people, planet, profits and land-use. To be truly useful, this knowledge must transcend siloed thinking and be the corollary of a joint effort uniting different actors under a common cause.

21c is pleased to be part of the new H2020 project PoliRural that will provide such knowledge in a bid to make rural areas and professions more attractive, for established rural populations and recent or potential newcomers. PoliRural team unites leading express from across Europe to design effective place-based, human-centric and forward-looking rural policies.

PoliRural consortium at the kick-off in Prague

On 19-21 June 2019 all 37 partners met face-to-face for the first time at the kick-off in Prague to discuss, among other things, how best to turn their vision into reality. Representing 21c at the event, Pavel Kogut ran an interactive workshop during which participants had to work in groups to complete multiple tasks: 1) define rural assets, needs and challenges, opportunities and enablers; 2) based on the above, propose a definition of rural attractiveness; 3) test the definition of another group by viewing it from the perspective of different stakeholders e.g. a web designer living in a rural area, a city worker with an interest in urban farming, a refugee with a farming background keen to set up an agri-business in Europe. The two-hour-long session generated a lot of ideas all of which will be presented in the vision deliverable due the following month (July 2019).

21c-led workshop on rural attractiveness

Over the next three years, 21c will be supporting the PoliRural consortium by leading tasks, work packages and deliverables on methodology, pilot coordination, business modelling, exploitation and knowledge sharing via MOOC. Stay tuned for more updates.

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