The survey was developed in parallel in all the PoliRural 12 regional pilots during the same period, beginning on Feb 10th and ending on March 9 th 2020. In Häme the survey gathered the interest of a total of 90. The below conclusion is copied directly from the deliverable D4.2 and it reflects all 12 pilots.
The differences among the European territories and population with regard to geographic, cultural, language and other factors, do not mean to be a weakness and could be identified as a strength due to the commonalities that arise from the detail study on the needs and factors of attractiveness for the rural areas.
However, there is a need to create the conditions to improve the attractiveness of rural areas connected to the development of a framework for coordinated program and activities towards different economic sectors in rural areas, which express the need to build the different policies based upon the coherence and strategic planning, of policies, measures and activities with a holistic view.
More than 80 needs where identified in this exercise, however, it was possible to reach to a common understanding of the most important needs with a total number of 32 needs finally assessed that have allowed to develop cluster maps per each of the 7 pillars and needs, integrated into 4 different categories: Quality of life; Social capital; Cultural appeal; and Natural capital (see below image).
Note: The light blue text in the mind-map means that this need is also identified in Häme region.
The digitisation process of the society and the economy is well connected to the factors of attractiveness of rural areas. At this regard there is common concern on the need to have a good internet connectivity (broadband) in the whole territory, which is a framework condition for the further development of other digital services.
The sustainability and environmental aspects are strongly considered as factors of attractiveness of rural areas. All the regions highlighted the importance of these aspects in relation to different categories for the attractiveness: social capital, cultural appeal and natural capital.
One of the most relevant factors, is the one related to the need of finding more employment possibilities to reduce the dependency ratio and improve the conditions to attract new entrants, with a special view to women and youth. Gender equality and the participation of women and youth in business and in the society, is also relevant to consider future actions oriented to rural areas.
Finally, the mobility rural-urban and the provision of public services (medical, educational and dependents care) are very relevant needs identified and prioritized through the exercise. These are considered of importance to improve the quality of life, avoid the abandonment of rural areas and attract new entrants.
COVID-19 has also affected the need to support of tele-working opportunities prioritized by only two regions. It is supposed how tele-working will have a stronger view for the future development of opportunities in the rural areas that cannot be neglected. Another effect is the one related to e-health, e-learning and other digital services, like e-commerce, that will allow to enhance the capacity to develop the factors of attractiveness of rural areas in the future.
D4.2 Grassroot Needs & Factors of Rural Attractiveness, https://polirural.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/D4.2.pdf, https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1-OmW-66_T5saXURTAqMphrghJoGmweJtJv0N7prJP1g/edit?usp=sharing