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(14 February 2020) - Shrinking demographics, urban migration or digital transformation are big challenges for rural areas. ‘Smart villages’ are set to counter all those negative trends. The concept is popular in the Czech Republic.

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The main idea behind the concept is to encourage people to take initiative and find solutions in order to adapt to ongoing changes. This includes support for various forms of local cooperation or the use of digital technologies.

“In short, smart village is mainly about people and for people. It is a return to the partially lost roots in the countryside, to common sense, which our society is lacking,” noted Miloslav Oliva, chairman of the Regional Association of the National Network of Local Action Groups of the Czech Republic.

Oliva said that there are several Czech municipalities where systemic development has been based on adopting several features of smart village strategy – those regarding public lights, remote control and regulation of water consumption, or usage of various devices to improve the energy efficiency of buildings.

But the smart village policy is a long time project that is not only about the use of modern technology. “The main pillar is still people, their creativity and willingness to actively participate in the development of their region,” concluded Sršeň, a vice-president of the Association of Local Authorities in the Czech Republic. (EurActiv)

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