The Interreg Alpine Space project SMARTVillages held its final conference on the 29th April 2021. From 2018 to 2021, this project contributed to the development of the Smart Villages concept and to its adaptation to the Alpine context. The concept was tested it in several pilot regions and tools were developed by project partners to facilitate its uptake by Alpine communities.
How can the Alps become smarter?
The Smart Villages concept can help alpine villages to identify the current and future needs of local communities by involving local stakeholders. Digital and social technologies as well as better knowledge transfer are used to improve the economic, social and environmental living conditions and increase the quality of life of the population.
Participatory processes ensure that the strategies and/or tools developed are adapted to the needs of the users, while guaranteeing the acceptance of the population for the use of new “smart” solutions. In this sense, Smart Villages are not limited to the use of new technologies but are intimately linked to social innovation and local development, shaped by members of the same community.
Some of the examples developed during the SMARTVillages project were presented during the event. For instance, in the test area of Löffingen (Germany), a taxi service was developed for people without a private car and who have special appointments. In Pitztal (Tyrol, Austria), the “Ummadum” car-sharing app was developed thanks to the project; it facilitates daily mobility and also gives discounts in local shops to car-poolers. In the region of Luzern West (Switzerland), 9km of fiber-optic cable was deployed thanks to social innovation and capacity building activities.
Spreading Smart Villages across the Alps
During the final conference of the SMARTVillages project, the Smart Villages Charter was launched. The Charter intends to sustain the achievements of the project in the long term by creating a SmartAlps network gathering smart regions and villages of the Alps. To disseminate the tools developed during the project, the Smart Villages Digital exchange platform will also remain active beyond the end of the project. The platform for example also features the smartness evaluation tool, available for local stakeholders and villages to define their assets and room for improvement in their area.
The Interreg-project SMARTVillages was a strategic initiative of the macroregional strategy for the Alpine area EUSALP and contributed to a large extend to its visibility. Euromontana’s Board member Thomas Egger from SAB is leading the respective Action Group of EUSALP. The ambition of this Action Group is “to make the Alps the forerunners of digitalisation in Europe”. The results of the SMARTVillages project shall now be made available to as many as possible mountain villages and regions in the Alpine area.
Alpine regions and villages that have also engaged their transition towards smartness are therefore invited to sign the Charter and join the SmartAlps network. For more information, please consult the SmartAlps presentation document. If you wish to join the network, you can fill and sign the Charter and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org before the 25th May 2021 preferably.
The SmartAlps network will be officially launched on the 28th May 2021 at 11:30 during the DigitalAlps online conference, to which you can still register.11 May 2021