Now, let's have a look at the characteristics of your setting
Each rural setting has strengths and challenges - that's to some extent common sense and has been demonstrated and elaborated on by our research. Consequently, when it comes to rural development and innovative projects, it is helpful to consider the distinctive profile of resources of a region or village. We propose the so-called "capital framework" as a good way to assess strengths, resources or capabilities of a certain context (a group, a project, a farm, a village...).
On the next page, we'll ask you to reflect on the characteristics and resources of your setting and you can see the result straight away and add it to your personalised guide or have a blank template added to your guide to fill out later. We'll also introduce the capital framework. (If you feel that's too much reflection and theory, you can also skip both now and not have it in your guide.)
"Resources" are key to achieve results. Although at first glance they can seem scarce, there may be more available to us locally than we initially think, if we consider the full range of resources around us. To help you discover these, we suggest you fill in the resource wheel below, to help you visualise the resources that are available in your context. Your "personal" resource wheel will serve you later, when you can compare your wheel with the resource wheel from the practices suggested to you.
Contacts and relationships with political decision-makers.
Biodiversity, scenic beauty, fertility of soils, cleanliness of water and air.
Identity and self-image, living traditions, cultural diversity, creative (social) association life.
Knowledge and skills of people.
People's social skills, for example empathy and solidarity, constructive handling of conflicts.
Public and private funds or the possibility of obtaining such funds.
Existing buildings that can be used as residential and commercial space or for community projects.
|Social value||Political value||Financial value||Built value||Natural value||Cultural value||Human value|
Welcome to our interactive Good Practice Guide generator!
So you are interested in ruralisation? This is great because it means you are joining others and contributing to creating new rural environments in Europe. This website wants to address practitioners mainly from rural professions and people who live in or want to live in rural areas. However, we also welcome people from other contexts who want to contribute to ruralisation.
Based on a wide range of case studies, types of action and overarching inspirational texts - resulting from the research project "RURALIZATION" - this website will pre-select resources that suit your context and we hope that you as a practitioner find relevant. Based on our suggestions (which are based on your role and local setting) you can compile your personal Good Practice Guide. This process will take approx. 15 minutes and the steps are as follows:
If you are in a hurry right now, you can skip steps 1 to 4 and download all the information and work your way through it on your own. (However, this means you have to work your way through a lot of resources later.)Skip and download the guide
Please be aware: this is not a survey, we will not document any of this information and none of the information that we provide has been statistically assessed. Please use your good judgement and common sense to decide which options to take. Now, let's talk less and go ahead!
Provide some information about you and your context: what is your current situation and interest, where you are located or planning to start a new life project and what type of resources are available to you in this context. The information you provide will only be used to select the most appropriate resources for you, as well as to illustrate your personalised guide with meaningful case studies from contexts similar to yours.
Please choose what applies most.
Exploring benefits that individual and community actions can have on the surrounding rural area.
In rural areas there is potential for innovation. Rural areas are full of resources that can support change and be the sources of rural renewal, such as:
Rural areas of course often have critical resource and skills gaps but:
Transformative change may take time and experience bumps in the road. Tackling the key issues at the heart of rural decline is never simple or easy. However:
Self-learning and learning from peers.
In contemporary times, knowledge has become something we can think about as gained in the classroom or from books. This is of course an important source of learning. However:
People that have spent their livelihoods focused on one profession often possess knowledge, skills and techniques that cannot be best learned in formal education settings.
We can learn from others in the sense of the old idea of master and apprentice. If you might be lacking skills, important learning can also be gained from:
Why network as part of a community building process?
Local people are key to innovation and rural change, but no man, community or project, is an island. Connecting with others is also important to initiate rural change and community building.
There are a range of other actors and stakeholders to consider.
These actors and stakeholders may be local, but also perhaps regional, national and even international, depending on the issues and objectives the community is working to address. There could also be groups in other places already on the road your community is working to get on. They could:
Diverse human skills as a rural change driver
When we think of our skills we can focus on know-how or the ‘hard’ skills we possess that might be gained through formal training or hands-on experience. But what is clear from our case studies is that also ‘soft’ skills are relevant for almost any project. Some people might be gifted with these skills while others acquire them through a life of work experience. A number of types of skills emerge from the case studies:
The range of skills show how a more traditional view of rural skills as technical know-how isn’t the only driver of rural change.
The types of skills outlined above present a wide range of skills and aptitudes. At best, the people involved in our case studies had a good mix of these skills. This also means that not every person needs a full profile of skills, but everyone adds something valuable to the mix. Going beyond this, the case studies also give us hints around capitalising on the skills we possess and not letting those we don’t hold us back. Our previous inspirational texts also highlight key strategies. Some ideas on what is important are:
The capital framework aims to systematically assess the strengths, capabilities or resources of a context or a person. These are called "capitals" and are classified into seven categories.
"Capital" refers to all the resources, the "treasures" that local people can draw on to develop their rural areas. These seven types of capital provide a broader view of the existing preconditions and the possibilities of self-determined rural development in a region. The capital framework takes into account that for example a place can have biodiverse and healthy nature while the built infrastructure might be in a very bad condition; or it can have reliable networks and local cooperation but an average financial situation. Such an analysis will help to understand a setting and consider its strengths and weaknesses.
The approach can also be helpful in case you want to transfer one of the case studies or apply one of the types of action from this guide to your own context. The so-called resource wheel is used as a tool to visualise the set of resources - or types of capital - for a given context and is depicted for all the case studies and types of action in this guide. By comparing your own wheel with the ones from the guide, you will be able to prioritise your activities and select the best starting point based on the best match of your "own resources" with the "required resources".
Embedded in rural areas is the potential for transformative change. Rural areas are full of resources that can support change. Rural society contains people and organisations with different types of skills, for example from their professional expertise to local knowledge. The rural economy contains businesses and entrepreneurs often of many types. More tangible assets such a built heritage, landscape, digital infrastructure and less tangible culture and creativity can also provide sources of rural renewal. Rural areas of course often have critical resource gaps but individual projects and initiatives can also fill in the cracks. Problems are often connected to others and dealing with one rural issue can be the start of addressing another. Transformative change may take time and experience bumps in the road. Tackling the key issues at the heart of rural decline is never simple or easy. However rural communities know the problems they face and need to address. Rural communities can underestimate the potential they hold for innovation and how they have been innovative in the past. Rural innovation can simply be a new, promising approach to tackling a local problem and does not have to be a technical or scientific solution, but a more everyday innovation. Local actions may not seem radical but in hindsight become known as the catalysts of change where synergies emerged to drive an upward spiral.
In contemporary times, knowledge has become something we can think about as gained in the classroom or from books. This is of course an important source of learning. But there is also a wealth of knowledge and skills to learn from doing. We can learn a lot from our experiences and by doing, hands-on, in practice. People that have spent their livelihoods focused on one profession often possess knowledge that cannot be learned more formally. The farmer that has worked the same land for years will understand the capacity of its soil and how this differs between their fields. The artisan that has honed their craft can demonstrate their methods but to truly learn their skilled ways will need closer and longer attention. We can learn from others in the sense of the old idea of master and apprentice. But important learning can also be gained from our closer peers, from understanding their approach and looking at it alongside ours. Spaces, places and time for this kind of learning to happen are also crucial, such as mentoring or peer to peer group exchanges. This can result in bringing together more formally, classroom learned knowledge with life-learned and practiced knowledge. Learning becomes produced and changed by collaboration that is shaped by a mix of different kinds of knowledge.
Local leaders are key to transformative change, but no man, community or project, is an island. Connecting with others is also important to support transformative change. This can unlock resources such as new ideas, funding and even a shoulder to lean on when developing new projects and initiatives. Working as part of networks can also connect with groups unlike ourselves that have particular important perspectives to take into account, such as young people and migrants. There are a range of other players to consider. Government authorities, politicians, stakeholder groups, development organisations and educational institutions are some examples. These players may be local, but also perhaps regional, national and even international, depending on the issues and objectives the community is working to address. There could also be groups in other places already on the road your community is working to get on. They could have valuable experience to shape change in your community. They might even be potential collaborators to work with on cooperative projects and to upscale initiatives.
The levels are subjective, this is not a mathematical model. You should select the level of resources available based on your perception: none, a little, some, abundant, unlimited.
To do so, hover your mouse over each type of capital to read its definition.