How can services in rural villages be improved and innovations and cooperation be increased? How can this be done according to the principles of sustainable development and in a manner that ensures services are accessible to everyone? How can people from different age groups and backgrounds be inspired to get involved and participate?
33 villages from all over Finland have applied and been accepted to participate the Finland's Smartest Village competition. The competition involves a search for villages with the willingness and need to become more vital, active and innovative, in order to thrive now and in the future.
The ‘Finland’s Smartest Village’ path aims to help and encourage villages to find smart solutions (based on phenomena such as digitalisation) to the challenges of today and tomorrow. A smart village is one that actively seeks new solutions for providing services in areas such as healthcare, education, food and energy production, mobility, retail, hobbies and culture. ‘Smart Villages’ is a common theme of the European Union.
The Smartest Village competition is organised by the Rural Network (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development) in cooperation with the structural funds ESF and ERDF, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Rural Policy Council of Finland (MANE), the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the Village Action Association of Finland.
Although ‘Finland’s Smartest Village’ is a competition, development is the key issue. The winning village will be chosen by a panel of experts at the end of 2019. The selection criteria include higher service accessibility and quality, idea-rich solutions and the number of villagers actively involved.
One and a half years of guidance, examples and peer support will be offered to the participating villages.
- Network Expert Salla Pätila, The The Rural Network Support Unit of Finland, +358 (0)505345731, firstname.lastname@example.org