La régénération rurale en France : quelles pratiques prometteuses pour quelles dimensions de la ruralité aujourd’hui ?

With the rise of concerns about biodiversity, climate change and health crises (human and animal), interest in rurality seems to be on the rise again, both in the scientific literature and in civil society. By asking the question of ‘rural regeneration’, the European project Ruralization gives us the opportunity to deepen this renewed interest in France. Our objective is to identify the essential factors of this ‘regeneration’ of rurality in the diversity of its configurations in relation to urban spaces; a rurality marked today by the installation of new types of populations (particularly in the agricultural sector) and by specific issues of social, environmental and agroecological transition. Our paper aims to contribute to the reflection on the potential of European rural areas by developing the French case through the study of three ‘promising’ cases, from three different contexts (Granville Terre et Mer, Coutances Mer et Bocage in the Manche; and the Plaine de Versailles in Ile-de-France), based on surveys carried out between April 2020 and June 2021 and long-term collaborations with several local actors (in particular the Mission Locale de Granville and the Association de la Plaine de Versailles). These surveys have enabled us to bring to light three dimensions of regeneration that underline a refoundation of rurality today: young people and their relationship to the territory as a lever for generational renewal in agriculture and in rural society in general; new formal and informal modalities of collective work and networks of actors that redefine local development; nature education, whose central role favours the construction of common projects that bring together a diversity of actors.

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