The smart village concept. Examples from Poland

How is the concept of the Smart Village understood by rural residents? – What mechanisms serve to de-marginalize rural areas?

– Are there differences in the understanding of the Smart Village concept by different groups of rural residents?

– How can a program to support Smart Villages be drawn up in the years to come?

– What are the resources necessary to implement Smart initiatives?

– What is the impact of Smart solutions on the environment?

– What guarantees the sustainability of Smart solutions in villages?

– What are the differences and similarities between the Smart Village and Smart City concepts?

– What can be done to make Polish villages more liveable?

– Answers to these and other questions were attempted in the monograph „The Smart Village concept. Examples from Poland” by authors Sławomir Kalinowski, Łukasz Komorowski and Anna Rosa, employees of the Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Without wishing to reveal the content of the book, you will find in it answers to the indicated questions from theoretical, scientific, practical and application points of view. The book is the result of in-depth research conducted in 10 communes, from which were chosen the winners and participants of the ‚My SMART Village’ competition conducted by the Institute in cooperation with the National Rural Network. Let the words of the book’s reviewer Prof. Tomasz Wojewodzic of the Agricultural University of Kraków be an additional incentive to read this item: „The research undertaken by the Authors should be regarded as very important in the context of the need to search for and promote solutions conducive to the improvement of living conditions in rural areas. The work contains very well-prepared theoretical introductions to individual issues; significant items of domestic and foreign literature were skilfully used. All considerations have been convincingly documented with rich empirical material, which constitutes a very good illustration for the presented arguments and analyses. Not only the authors’ extensive economic and sociological knowledge, but also their knowledge of local conditions and ability to take a comprehensive look at rural areas deserve recognition. A major added value of the work is the carefully described and illustrated examples of smart villages initiatives. The authors have fulfilled their task very well, creating an original, coherent, substantively valuable and interesting study”.

The topics addressed stem from the ongoing discussion on increasing the effectiveness of rural development policies and the search for new approaches to their programming at the local level. They are also the result of a growing sentiment that it is necessary not only to achieve sustainable development goals more effectively, but also to reduce disparities in the social and economic dimensions between rural and urban areas. In addition, in recent months, discussions of ‚Smart Villages’ have proliferated across all forms of media. This is usually accompanied by the question of what is behind the term, what does such a village look like, what features should it have, and what should the inhabitants do to be able to talk about their village in the smart category.

Furthermore, it turns out that the Smart Village instrument will be financially supported in the proposed Common Agricultural Policy for 2021-2027. However, this does not at all mean that we already know everything about this concept – there are still many questions left unanswered. Therefore, in 2020 academics from the Department of Rural Economics at the Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences decided to go into the field and, on the basis of many conversations with local residents, local leaders and local government officials, search for answers to the questions posed.

The result, in the form of a scientific monograph, was published in September 2021 by the Institute of Rural and Agricultural Development of the Polish Academy of Sciences in cooperation with publishing partner Grupa Cogito Spółka. We hope that the book – aimed at rural residents, local authorities, scientists and other people and institutions interested in this topic – will offer each reader something interesting, inspiring or simply useful in their work or everyday life.

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