With significant participation, the online event “Smart Villages: A model for co-designing and acting locally” took place on Monday, December 18, jointly organized by Callisto and MedINA, within the framework of the European programme LIFE ARCPROM.
About 50 participants were informed and exchanged ideas about this relatively new model of local development. Initially, Dr. Girogos Chatzinakos (Human Geographer, Callisto) outlined the main characteristics of the model and provided good cases from around the world.
Then, Rigas Zafeiriou (Sustainable Food Systems Programme Manager, MedINA) presented the Smart Rural 21 project, implemented by the Smart Farming Technology Group of the Agricultural University of Athens, and the Smart Rural Leader Network initiative implemented by the Network of Municipalities of the Attica Islands.
These projects were the first pilot efforts in Europe for the implementation of the Smart Villages model and Kythera participated with the Terra Kytheria and Kythera Trails initiatives, among others. Finally, he showcased good examples of smart villages from Europe, which took part in the above projects, as well as useful tools for implementing the model.
Smart Villages are a relatively new concept in Europe, essentially involving local communities in rural areas that, through participatory processes, which invest in collaboration and innovation to address local economic, social, and environmental challenges. At the heart of the model is the Smart Village Strategy, which prioritizes the needs of the community and leverages the unique characteristics of each region.
Smart Villages can utilize financial tools and serve as the link between different social projects, maximizing their impact beyond their completion for the benefit of the community.
In the final part of the event, we exchanged views on the problems of the Greek countryside and how the Smart Villages model could be expanded in Greece, creating vibrant living communities for sustainable development.
The event has been uploaded to YouTube, and you can watch it here.
We warmly thank Callisto for the invitation to co-organize the event and for the excellent collaboration!”