Smart Village: Solutions for Sustainable Development of Rural Areas in EU, Lesson Learnt for Vietnam

One of the solutions towards achieving the higher commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals is to find appropriate ways to address economic inequalities, climate change, accessibility access to modern technologies and other necessary infrastructure. While the concept of smart city has been studied well such as "Smart City", the concept of "Smart Village" is still a matter of debate among scholars, researchers and policy makers. In fact, in recent years, the rural areas of the EU are facing increasing difficulties and challenges, which are the increasing decline of the rural population, the ongoing trend of population aging. In addition, income disparities are widening between rural and urban residents (GDP per capita in rural areas is 66% in EU-28 compared with 118% in urban areas). The proportion of people living in rural areas at risk of poverty and lack of social cohesion is higher in cities with 22.4% of the population compared with 21.3% in urban areas. Besides, in many remote rural areas, it is difficult for them to access public services, etc. With an objective to implement initiatives based on the global trend of building smarter and more sustainable communities, the European Union has launched an action program called “Smart Villages” in 2017. Accordingly, Smart Villages are understood as communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to demonstrate resilience by exploiting local strengths and opportunities. Rural communities will rely on a participatory approach to implement development strategies to improve economic, social and environmental conditions on the basis of applying technology platforms and solutions. Models aimed at ensuring rural areas will continue to play an essential role in creating a stronger, resilient community, leading to more prosperous development.


The objective of the research project is to contribute towards complementing and completing the academic knowledge on smart village initiatives, systematizing and analyzing all EU policies and models in this field and making policy recommendations for Vietnam

This research project will use the methodology: (1) Literature review of current policies in the European Union related to the smart village initiative; (2) Data collection through paper review and Eurostat statistics.

To understand and assess the impact and effectiveness of Smart Village initiatives on how rural communities accept and use digital solutions, it is necessary to recognize and analyze policies and initiatives. Accordingly, the specific objectives of the research project are:

       • Identify the factors that support or deter the development of smart villages in the European Union.

      • Analyze EU policies and initiatives with a focus on the European Cork 2.0 Declaration (Cork, Ireland) entitled “A Better Life in Rural Areas” ; the Bled Declaration (Bled, Slovenia), rural and digital development policies.

      • Analyze Smart Village policies and models in EU member states such as Germany, France, and Italy. Research will clarify the involved factors; solution- application initiatives on transforming digital services for the food supply chain; technology application in connecting rural areas with urban areas;  solutions to develop co-working areas in rural areas.

    • Propose policy suggestions for applying initiatives, models initiatives in Vietnam. This benefits policymakers, local authorities and rural development policy in Vietnam.



Vu Thi Thu Phuong


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