2015, August 25th - 28th
Special session during ERSA meeting - Lisbon, Portugal
Towards a Smart Rural Europe
Reflections for the future of European Areas in an era of smart specialization

(André TORRE, Frédéric WALLET, Stefano CORSI, Michael STEINER, Hans WESTLUND and the other members of the TASTE team)

The EU growth strategy for 2020 builds on the ambition to become “a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy”. This objective relies on the identification, in a context of global competition, of comparative advantages of the regions and their consistent inclusion in global value chains and innovation processes, but also to prior sectors, allowing peculiar local development spirits. Considering innovation processes as core drivers for regional developement, smart development strategies are based on the exploitation of the related variety of EU areas and their ability to initiate new activities and/or technological fields.

The notion of rural development and the related policies are components of EU policies and one of the pillars of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). A substantial part of the rural policy for development of nations and regions can be found in the CAP, which does not only include measures for agriculture, but also targets at a wider institutional and economic setting. But, in recent years emerged an agreement on the idea that the rural sector approaches have not achieved the expected results, and a growing demand for policies involving territorial dimensions (place-based policies) to better reflect the new challenges and differentiated growth potential of EU rural spaces. The recognition of the multi-facet character of rural areas puts the stress on the necessity to assess not only the agricultural development and its impact in terms of externalities or agroecology, but also the other dimensions of rural areas, be there business, services, tourism or nature, considering the emerging forms of organization, practices or technical innovation. All this also fits in a context of increased territorial competition, pressure on public funding for agriculture, and claims for administrative and fiscal decentralization, putting a greater emphasis on the ability of local actors to renew their proximity relations and connect to external networks.

At the same time the increasing urban sprawl and the growth of cities justifies the need for more research on the relation between rural and urban areas, in terms of peri-urbanisation processes as well as regarding the soil occupations and competition between different land uses. Europe is considered as being one of the most desirable and healthiest parts of the world according to various index measures. It belongs to the most urbanized world area, with an expected growth of the urban population. This anticipated development can in several ways be a challenge for the European economy as well as the remaining rural areas, their contribution to the overall growth and their development paths.

Several authors consider now that a new paradigm of rural development is emerging; gaining autonomy from the dominant agro-industrial production and including strong links between rural areas and the increasing proves of urbanization. Accompanied by the rise of agroecology, it is thought to be emerging both in the practices and interventions of actors on the field and in public policies: rural development is seen as a multi-level, multi actors and multi dimension process. The new paradigm pleads for a renewed approach of scientific research towards these areas. It involves the question of territorial modes of governance, in order to understand the ways decisions and rural development projects are undertaken involving different stakeholders participating in the decision making process.

The aim of this special session is to identify the main conditions for an enlarged definition of a Smart Rural Europe, given the regional dynamics, facts and figures, the profound changes in rural areas and the new regional and rural policies. The participants can choose to discuss around the two major following questions:
a) Is there a possible smart development for European rural and peri-urban areas?
b) Which type of smart development (agriculture, business/industry, peri-urbanisation, tourism/leisure …) of these zones can be privileged with regards to regional peculiarities?

This session is organized under the umbrella of the TASTE project of the Ruragri Era-Net. Papers are welcomed from the members of the project and from other scholars in the field.

ERSA Special Session 2015Download ERSA Special Session 2015

  • Agenda

  • TASTE Final Seminar
  • Future paths for a smart rural Europe?
  • September, 28th, 2017 Agroparistech, 16 Rue Claude Bernard, 75005 PARIS - Amphi Coleou (Ground Floor) >> read more
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  • Smart rural development and beyond
  • Call for papers for a special session, ERSA Groningen, 29 August – 1st September
  • André Torre, Fred Wallet, and the participants of the TASTE project >> read more
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  • Recently published on Vertikals website
  • This is smart rural growth
  • Lucia NALDI, Pia NILSSON, André TORRE, Frederic WALLET, Hans WESTLUND, Sofia WIXE >> read more
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  • Recently published in Journal of Rural Studies
  • What is smart rural development?
  • Lucia Naldi (a), Pia Nilsson (b), Hans Westlund (c), (d), Sofia Wixe (b) >> read more
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  • 3rd Geography of Innovation Conference 2016
  • Abstract Submission Deadline Fast Approaching
  • >> read more
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  • TASTE special sessions during the 18th Uddevalla Symposium 2015 on:
  • Regional development in an international context Regional, national, cross border and international factors for growth and development
  • June 11-13, 2015 Venue: University of Southern Denmark, Alsion, Sønderborg, Denmark >> read more
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  • 2015, May 12th and 13th
  • TASTE Spring meeting - Milan
  • >> read more
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  • Job advertisement : CDD Ingénieur ou Master
  • Analyse et cartographie des dynamiques agricoles territoriales en Languedoc-Roussillon et Midi-Pyrénées à l’INRA UMR Innovation, Montpellier >> read more
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  • 2015, August 25th - 28th
  • Special session during ERSA meeting - Lisbon, Portugal
  • Towards a Smart Rural Europe >> read more
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  • Job advertisement : Post-doctoral position
  • « Développement des espaces ruraux : Dynamiques des clusters agro-alimentaires en Midi-Pyrénées » >> read more
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  • 2014, November 4th and 5th:
  • TASTE Annual meeting - Ivry-sur-Seine
  • >> read more
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  • 2014, August 28th:
  • Special session during ERSA meeting - St Petersburg
  • >> read more
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  • 2014, August 28th:
  • Meeting of the team leaders, St Petersburg
  • >> read more
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  • 2013, October 30th and 31st:
  • Kick-off meeting - Paris
  • >> read more
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  • 2013, September 24th:
  • Kick-Off Meeting of RURAGRI funded projects – Brussels
  • >> read more
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  • 2012, November 28th
  • Pre-meeting organized by leader team
  • >> read more
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TASTE is supported by the European Commission
and funding bodies in 4 countries
in the framework of FP7
European Commission FP7 Ruragri
Keywords Smart rural development - Land use and management - Innovative agriculture and business - Territorial governance
- Entrepreneurship - Rural Urban relationship

Scientific Coordinator : André TORRE (INRA) -
Project Manager : Frederic WALLET (INRA) -