The Covid-19 pandemic effects in rural areas

Rural communities tell us the story of a thousand of years of collaboration between nature, culture and humans. The current Covid-19 pandemic is considerably threating rural areas, posing challenges exacerbated by low available financial resources, not easily accessible health services and greater isolation. Rural areas are also considered safe shelters characterized by better daily living conditions thanks to easy to maintain social distancing and access to nature, to cultural and nature-based recreation activities. The Covid-19 crisis is revealing the crucial role of natural and cultural heritage for social cohesion, local development and mental wellbeing. The paper presents some responses to the Covid-19 crisis collected through an open call for action within the RURITAGE project. It aims at show how rural areas can cope with emergencies and it builds the basis to rethink the current crisis as a crucial tipping point for a resilient development of rural territories. It is key to overcome the idea of rural areas as mere food production system, calling for a broader vision of rural communities as poles of development based on local heritage, natural resources, creativity and social inclusion as essential elements to regenerate rural areas and to rapidly support their transition towards sustainable future.

de Luca, C., Tondelli, S., & Åberg, H. (2020). The Covid-19 pandemic effects in rural areas. TeMA – Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 119-132.

La rigenerazione delle aree rurali a partire dal patrimonio culturale: l’hub del Borgo per l’Alta Val Taro

Abstract: Coming soon

Pivetti, C., Conticelli, E., De Luca, C., & Tondelli, S. (2019). URBANISTICA iNFORMAZIONI, SPECIAL ISSUE, NO. 278 s.i., Marzo – Aprile 2018, PP. 66-71

Inclusion of migrants for rural regeneration through cultural and natural heritage valorization

Rural areas all over Europe are facing similar chronic economic, social and environmental problems such as depopulation, reduced service provision, ageing, decline of agriculture income, inhibited accessibility. At the same time, rural landscapes are continuously threatened by loss of biodiversity, climate change impacts and short-term management decisions and perspectives that further aggravate the economic and social conditions of rural communities. Despite these critical socio-economic conditions, rural areas are cradles of civilization, repositories of old traditions, dialects and languages, of uses, handcrafts skills and social practices which must be preserved and exploited. The majority of the European heritage is found in rural areas, therefore Cultural and Natural Heritage can represent a driver for migrants’ integration, by fostering a heritage based sustainable regeneration of rural territories that is able to support a new model of integration. The overall aim of the paper is to investigate the challenges and possibilities offered by migration trends in rural areas to create rural regeneration models for inclusion of migrants and refugees, based on cultural and natural heritage introducing them to the job market. Section 2 explains the methodology of the study and gives an insight of the research topic within the overall RURITAGE project methodology. Two case studies of rural regeneration through the inclusion of migrants into the valorisation processes of cultural and natural heritage are presented in Section 3, while the preliminary results and main findings are discussed in Section 4. In Section 5, conclusions and future research steps are presented.

Conticelli, E., De Luca, C., Egusquiza, A., Santangelo, A. & Tondelli, S. (2019). Inclusion of migrants forrural regeneration through cultural and natural heritage valorization. In C. Gargiulo & C. Zoppi (Eds.),Planning, nature and ecosystem services (pp. 323-332). Naples: FedOAPress. ISBN: 978-88-6887-054-6, doi:10.6093/978-88-6887-054.6

Thinking beyond the COVID-19 crisis: heritage-based opportunities for the regeneration of rural areas

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck Europe at the beginning 2020 it has, and still is, causing extensive challenges towards rural areas and their communities. Worsened by low available financial resources, inaccessible health services and greater isolation issues, rural inhabitants all over Europe are suffering great challenges. At the same time, rural areas have also been considered refuges for better living conditions during the pandemic as they often ease social distance and access to nature as well as to cultural and nature-based recreation activities. In this regard, the COVID-19 pandemic reveals the crucial role of natural and cultural heritage for social cohesion, local development and mental wellbeing. With this in mind, we aimed to understand the main threats the current crisis is posing to rural areas, but also how these challenges can be turned into opportunities for rural development and regeneration in the future. Insights and recommendations have been summarized in this European Vision paper.

The RURITAGE Vision paper is built upon the RURITAGE methodology, that uses cultural and natural heritage as a driver for rural regeneration by promoting a transversal and holistic approach through six identified Systemic Innovation Areas (Pilgrimage, Local Food Production, Art and festival, Landscape Management, Migration and Resilience). With the help of the RURITAGE SIAs, the paper summarizes how challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in rural areas can be turned into opportunities for sustainable growth in the future. The major conclusions of the Vision paper are recommendations focusing on six capitals (natural, cultural, social, human, built, and financial), where we identified three overarching areas of action that are applicable at EU, national/regional and local level.

Breakfast at Sustainability’s: Cultural & Natural Heritage for regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3)

On Tuesday November 17th 2020, ICLEI Europe ​hosted the 35th Breakfast at Sustainability’s online, focusing on Cultural & Natural Heritage for regional Smart Specialisation Strategies (RIS3). The event was organised in the context of ​RURITAGE​, ​a Horizon2020 project that turns rural areas into laboratories to demonstrate Cultural & Natural Heritage as an engine of regeneration.