One of the most important problems about the Sustainable Development of Rural Areas is the isolation of those zones. In RUSDELA project we are not only thinking in physical isolation but also in social, economic and psychological isolation. If we don’t find connectivity solutions in rural areas, the risk of population decreasing can be very high.
Taking into account this reflexion, one of the main topics to promote the Sustainable Development of rural areas is to improve the connectivity of rural towns and citizens. The concept includes not only rural-urban connections but also rural-rural connections.
Good “connections” in rural areas not only ensures equal economic and social opportunities for all (possibility to carry out economy activities, access to education and jobs…), but also their social inclusion and access to other elements of quality of life.
It is evident that securing equal connection rights is a much more difficult task in rural, less/sparsely populated areas. All this is even more truth for groups who are additionally hindered by their physical, mental or social ”handicap” (invalids, young people, mental patients, woman in more patriarchal societies…).
The topic “connections” includes different approaches:
- Sustainable mobility.
- Use of ICTs.
- New Natural Resource Economy
Taking into account all the connections issues indicated above, we can offer very different solutions to improve the current situation in rural areas through better connectivity. Examples are:
- Sustainable mobility:
- Elaboration and implementation of Sustainable Mobility Plans in Rural Areas.
- Improving of mobility infrastructures.
- Environmental mobility infrastructures linked with eco-tourism (greenways, cycle paths, etc.).
- Public transport (including transport on demand projects).
- Car sharing and car-pooling initiatives.
- To facilitate transport to young people (reducing population decline).
- Use of ICTs to increase and improve the connections:
- ICTs used in on-demand public transport.
- ICTs to reduce mobility needs for the rural areas development
- Telework initiatives
- Development of small sustainable businesses that contribute to local food production can be an important part of the New Natural Resource Economy (NNRE), and create needed jobs and economic activity.
- Environmentally conscious use of natural resources to produce new products and/or reach new markets;
- Multifunctional landscapes that include a mix of production, non-consumptive or amenity uses, and preservation/restoration;
- Support for very small businesses.
Finally, according with the RUSDELA project objectives, we will link connections with economic, social and environmental approaches.
Laura Bas – Manra