Smart digital transformation of villages in the Alpine Space

SMARTVillages Final Conference: highlights and presentations 

The SMARTVillages Final Conference has aimed to present the project results, especially the pilot activities in 11 Test Areas , the “Digital Exchange Platform” (DEP) and the “SmartVillages Charter”. The SMARTVillages project involved 13 partners in six Alpine countries that, since April 2018, worked on the digital transformation in rural areas. The Interreg SmartVillages project has aimed to apply an SV approach and has brought together - in so called Regional Stakeholder Groups (RSGs) - policymakers, business, academia and civil society in a quadruple helix approach (4H) to improve the framework for innovation, through new forms of stakeholder involvement facilitated by Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Builds on existing local strengths and opportunities to engage in a process of sustainable development of their territories.
Relies on a participatory approach to develop and implement strategies to improve economic, social and environmental conditions, in particular by promoting innovation and mobilising solutions offered by digital technologies.
Benefits from cooperation and alliances with other communities and players in rural and urban areas.
Includes ideally all sectors of smartness that are Smart Mobility, Smart Governance, Smart Economy, Smart Environment, Smart Living and Smart People.
These four pillars formed the structure according to which the partnership organised all activities.

Smart villages is a strategic priority for EUSALP. The process is led by AG5. The focus lies on capitalisation of the experiences from the ASP-Smart villages project. Action Group 5 aims to connect people electronically and promote accessibility to public services. The Motto of AG5 is «To make the Alps the forerunners of Digitalization in Europe».

The SmartVillages Digital Exchange Platform (DEP) contains a smartness assessment tool that provides a user with an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular municipality/region in all smartness dimensions . In a second step, the user is guided via the toolbox through a project implementation process where tailored best practices and methodologies are proposed in order to develop a project successfully.
The different components of the smartness assessment and the Toolbox are interlinked with a matchmaking process. The DEP as well as the embedded best practices and methodologies evolve over time and according to user feedback received.

With the Smart Villages Charter the Project Consortium wants to give continuity to the achievements of the SMARTVillages project and its results and outcomes. The charter expresses our will to continue working on the topic of Smart villages in the Alpine region and to exchange on experiences in a dedicated network.


Smart Intermunicipality Royans - Vercors -France

Smart Village Ernen - Upper Valais - Switzerland



SMARTVillages Final Conference: Programme and Registration information

The SmartVillages Final Conference takes place on the 29.04.2021 from 9.15 - 12.15 will be held online via
Zoom (Webinar) in English
with simultaneous translation into German. 

Please register for the SmartVillages final conference directly via:
In the afternoon a special focus will be on pilot activities of smart and successful rural communities in
Germany within the framework of the SmartVillages subproject SmartLand. The event will be in German
with simultaneous translation into English.
Please register for the SmartLand symposium directly via:

Digitalisation is present in all areas of life. Sustainable smart solution models for living and working in rural
areas differ in several aspects from solution models that are applied within the framework of smart city
concepts. At first glance, digitalisation offers many possibilities. But how can these models be effectively
put into practice, and what can politics and administration do to ensure that people benefit from the
opportunities of digitalisation?
The SmartVillages project, which unites 13 project partners in six Alpine countries, has been dealing with
these questions of a digital transformation in rural areas since April 2018. The SmartVillages final
conference aims to present the project results, especially the pilot activities, the “digital exchange
platform” (DEP) and the “SmartVillages Charter”.

SmartVillages has been represented by Consorzio Poliedra at the event "A European rural agenda is urgently needed for rural areas after the covid crisis": Gianluca Lentini has presented the SmartVillages covid-19 coping strategies collected by the project partnership. The event was dedicated to the upcoming EU Rural Agenda with a focus on a long term vision for rural and mountain areas of Europe, a future facilitated by the ICT to guarantee a green and digital transition. The event, hosted by the European Committee of Regions and Cities and Euromontana, saw the participation of the vice President of the European Commission Dubravka Suica. 

The event page and materials can be found here:

Poliedra's input was also reported by the Italian news agency ANSA:

International Policy Conference on Smart Villages: policies needed, goals, activities and good practices on "Smart villages" for a smart transition of rural areas"

Many people attended the on-line Conference on Smart Villages. The conference offered participants the opportunity to learn more about good SmartVillages examples and to contribute to policy recommendations aimed at improving the conditions for digitisation and social innovation in mountain regions. In this phase SMARTVillages project's partnership is collecting and elaborating contributions from Regional Stakeholders Groups, Authorities and other Institutions to outline policy recommendations. Recommendations will be addresed to the policy decisions makers of the Alpine Region and they will be available to the whole "alpine citizenship". Smart villages is also a strategic priority for EUSALP: the aim is to turn as many as possible mountain villages into Smart villages. Foreseen activities are: 1. Survey on exisiting Smart villages in the Alpine area 2. Survey on existing financial support mechanisms for Smart villages 3. Promoting the Smart villages approach in the whole alpine area 4. Creating a network of Smart villages in the alpine area to encourage the exchange of experiences


The SmartVillages Story: From Eusalp to SmartVillages and back by Thomas Egger,  Director Center for mountain regions (SAB)

Official welcome by Maria Lezzi, Director of the Swiss Federal office for Spatial Development ARE

The Interreg Alpine Space SMARTVillages Project, an overview by Peter Niederer (SAB)

Presentation of a SmartVillage, the Local Hero concept in Slovenia by Emilija Stojmenova, University of Ljublijana

Many thanks goes to all spekers of the Participatory plenary: Franc Bogovič, Member of European Parliament; Stefan Østergård Jensen, Policy officer, Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development (European Union) ; Eric Jakob, Head of Economic Promotion, Swiss federal state secretariat for Economy ; Esther Schlumpf, Project officer, Regional economic agency Oberwallis (Switzerland).

International Policy Conference on line "Smart villages: Policies needed for a smart transition of rural areas"

 Since 2018, the Interreg project SmartVillages has initiated about a dozen projects in 9 test
regions throughout the Alpine Space, ranging from village coworking spaces to car-sharing applications and
from digital village platforms to the installation of public Wlan transmitters and the realisation of fibre optic
networks. The interim conclusion of this project phase: new technologies can indeed trigger a revolution in
rural areas, but only if the technical component and the social component are well combined. Which
means, firstly, that the digital infrastructures must be available and secondly, projects must be organised in
such a way that citizens and residents can actively participate in the development of new services.
Politicians at local, regional, national and European level are called upon to create good framework
conditions for this. The conference offers participants the opportunity to learn more about good
SmartVillages examples and to contribute to policy recommendations aimed at improving the conditions for digitisation and social innovation in mountain regions (see Programme).

After your registration under and not later than 2 November 2020 you will receive a ZOOM link and a short description of how to participate and contribute to the online conference. In the same mailing you will also receive the draft of the SmartVillages policy recommendations for review.

We are looking forward to meeting with you online!

SMARTVillages at 18th European Week of Regions and Cities

The European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC), held online in October, 2020 is an event dedicated to regional policy which brings together regions and cities from all over Europe, including their political representatives, officials as well as experts and academics. As a relevant communication and networking platform for political communication, it promotes policy learning and exchange of good practices, raising the awareness of decision-makers about the fact that regions and cities matter in EU policy-making. Cities and regions have a chance to showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance.

The whole event consisted of online sessions divided in three themes: “Empowering citizens”, “Cohesion and cooperation” and “Green Europe”. As part of the second theme, dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia  participated in sessions on topic “Building a long-term vision for rural areas” together with commissioners, representatives from ENRD, LEADER and OECD. The panel sessions presented the importance of why do we need a vision, what is the Commission doing about it, awareness raising and follow-up of consultation activities via the communication on a long-term vision. During the sessions participants exchanged views and debated about a long-term vision for rural areas addressing four important aspects of the future vision: digital, green, resilient and socially inclusive future.

Recorded versions of both panel sessions can be found online, on the following links:

Building a long-term vision for rural areas
Building a long-term vision for rural areas - key political messages


October 5-6th 2020 Vercors/Grenoble - SMART VILLAGES EUSALP Meeting - "Key opportunities for a sustainable and attractive Alpine region"

Within the events scheduled for the French Presidency of EUSALP, the association ADRETS organizes an event to bring together politicians, project managers, researchers, associations and all those people who are involved or interested in the topic of Smart Villages.

The meeting will be held in a two-days format : a Day 1 consisting in an exploratory visit across the French Regional Natural Park of Vercors, to encounter some Smart Villages Pilot activities, and a Day 2 dedicated to an European Meeting to be held in the Isère Department County Hall, in Grenoble.

Smart Villages Virtual Meeting - 9th June 2020

The virtual conference of the SmartVillages project took place yesterday: the partners discussed the different project activities and planned the next actions.

Smart Villages Project Meeting - 11th - 12th February 2020 - Innsbruck, Austria

The EU SmartVillages project meeting took place on 11th and 12th February 2020 in Innsbruck. During these two days of work, the Partners discussed the different project activities and visited the best practices in smart mobility, digitalization in SMEs and smart governance in the pilot area!   

Smart Villages Project Meeting - 11th - 12th February 2020 - Innsbruck, Austria

The meeting of the SmartVillages project will take place tomorrow Tuesday 11 February and Wednesday 12 February in Innsbruck.

During the meeting, the partners will address the state of the art of all project's workpackages and future actions, including the organization of the next conference to be held in Bern in June 2020.

The second day will be dedicated to the Study visit in the pilot area and to the presentation of local good practices.

SmartVillages Meeting in France

France welcomes in 2020 presidency of EUSALP.

In that frame, and as an event to show results and findings from SmartVillages project, ADRETS organizes a 2 days event to show rural areas potentials for smartness. On the 5th of october study visits will be held in Royans Vercors SmartVillages test area  and other places. On the 6th of october an important meeting will be held in Grenoble, mixing conferences, workshops, towards politicians, local technicians, NGOs, at a french and european level.  More info:

Project meeting and MidTerm Conference in Koper

You can find here all SmartVillages presentations, the conference video and the photo gallery of the project meeting, study visits and conference in Koper, Slovenia.

Exploratory Meeting around Smart Village initiatives in the French Alpine Space

2nd of July  - St-Jean en Royans (FR)

Within Smart Villages Interreg Alpine Space Project, the PP ADRETS will host a Regional meeting about exchange of experiences and good practices of Smart Villages through collaborative workshops . The event will gather both the French Alpine Smart Village group supported by ADRETS, and the local community of actors involved in the Test Area of Royans-Vercors. Participants will have the chance to visit in the morning inspiring initiatives, particularly an innovative Third Place dedicated to digital innovation and promotion, and a Community center involved in innovative mobility solutions and strategies runned by citizens. The event will thus strengthen collaboration between local actors and other alpine territories, and speed-up Smart Village initiatives spreading.

More info 

SmartVillages presentation on the occasion of the P-Iris project study visit 

4th-6th of June - Milan (IT)

SmartVillages has been invited to present its activities in the events hosted in Milan on June 4th to 6th by the project Interreg Europe P-IRIS, that focuses on policies to improve rural areas’ innovation systems by professionalizing networking activities and use of innovation tools.

P-IRIS works on a rationale similar to SmartVillages, and synergies have been created between the two projects thanks to Poliedra’s role in both partnerships. Poliedra will be presenting SmartVillages activities to the P-IRIS partnership, with a presentation focusing on the assessment and rating of smartness for villages developed within WPT-1, in the context of a session dedicated to Urban rural cooperation, good practices and tools supporting business innovation in rural areas.  

More information 


23th and 24th of May - Courmayeur (IT)

Within the events scheduled for the year of the Italian Presidency of EUSALP, Regione autonoma Valle d'Aosta organizes an event to bring together politicians, researchers, project managers, associations and all those people who are involved on the thematic of Smart Villages.

Starting from the ESPON study Alps 2050, particular attention will be paid to the development of the Smart Village concept as a possible way to find a solution to the depopulation of the Alpine villages. During the event will be presented best practices, projects and ideas related to the emerging theme of Smart Villages as an innovative perspective to provide better services and improve the quality of life in Alpine villages.

Action Group 5 main focus are the development of the connectivity and the provision of services of general interest (SGI) in the Alps. Those are a possible starting point for the Smart Village approach, and during the event to further develop the theme we will work with other AGs, in particular AG3 (dual education), AG4 (mobility) and AG9 (energy efficiency).

Programme of the event

EURO Working group on Multicriteria Decision Aiding 2019 meeting: The SmartVillages pilot case

11th - 13th of April will take place in Trento the "EURO Working group on Multicriteria Decision Aiding 2019 meeting" organized by the MCDA and the University of Trento. In this occasion SmartVillages partner Poliedra will present an abstract entitled "Assessing and rating the level of smartness of mountain areas by the use of Electre Tri: the pilot case of the ongoing Alpine Space project SmartVillages" by Lentini, Polettini, Luè and Colorni Vitale. The abstract has been accepted as a 'discussion paper' in the section 5 - Multicriteria Decision Aiding applied to territorial and Urban Planning.

Project Steering Committee in Saint Jean en Royans

12th and 13th of March 2019 ADRETS (Association pour le Développement en REseau des Territoires et des Services) has organized the SmartVillages Steering Committee in Saint Jean en Royans. In the first day partners shared the project's updates with the observers. 


Place: Hôtel Le Castel Fleuri, 16 Place du Champ de Mars. 26190 SAINT JEAN EN ROYANS Participants. All Smart Villages Partners and Observers 
9.00-9.30 : Welcome by Policy makers and leaders of the selected Pilot territory 
9.30-10.15 : WPT-M - Technical and financial issues (by LPs SAB and UM) 
10.15-11.00 : WPT-C - promotional video and mid-term conference scheduled in Ljubljana summer 2019, by University of Ljubljana (by LAG Appennino Genovese, University of Ljubljana) 
11.00-11.15 : WPT-1 – Review from the RSGs (PPs leading RSGs) 11.15-12.00 : WPT-1 Information on Smartness Assessment and Report on preparedness and needs and links to WPT-2/WPT-3. 
14.00-17.00: WPT2 Open Smart Villages Digital Exchange Platform workshop Feedbacks on the DEP, Capacity building on the DEP (ADRETS / University of Maribor) 
17.30-18.15 (optionnal ): visit of the Local Social Center invovled in alternative mobility and in community activities, partner of the TA pilot activities.         

DAY TWO                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Participants. All Smart Villages Partners and Observers 

9.00-12.00: Pilot territory / pilot activity places visit and meetings with local stakeholders (Adrets) 
9.00–11.30 Visit of innovative places of Royans-Vercors territory 
11.30-12.30 Crossed presentation of TA pilot activities between partners (please bring one picture/object that could represent TA’s pilot activities) 
13.30 - 14.30: WPT-3: Presentation of a first draft of the toolbox and discussion. Information on next steps (interactive tutorial workshop). 
14.30-15.00: the observer’s feedback 
15.00: next steps and closure of the meeting.


The smart eco-social villages pilot project and the future of Smart Villages - WORKSHOP

21th and 22th of February 2019 Brussels 

SmartVillages was been presented in the European Parliament in Brussels during the workshop “The smart eco-social villages pilot project and the future of Smart Villages” by University of Ljubljana. Emilija Stojmenova Duh as a speaker in the panel on the role of digital technologies in Smart Villages presented our view on their importance for inclusion of communities and for improvement of economic, social and environmental return on investment in basic IT structure. The key findings of the workshop are very encouraging for our future work on Smart Villages. They evolve around participatory, bottom-up approaches and community engagement, where digitalisation is not seen as merely a goal but as a tool for inclusion and new opportunities.   

Steering Committee and Capacity Building Seminar in Milan               

27th-28th of November 2018 Poliedra organizes the project’s Steering Committee and the Capacity Building Seminar for the work of the Regional Stakeholder Groups in Milan, hosted in the premises of Regione Lombardia at Palazzo Pirelli. The two days will be highly interactive and participative: partners and representatives of the Test Areas’ Regional stakeholder groups will work together on the needs and aims of the Test Areas towards their smart transition, and will be led in a step-wise path structuring their work for the coming years. Particular attention will also be given to the selection of indicators of smartness for villages.  PHOTOS                                                         


REGION LUZERN WEST Regional Stakeholders Group “Forum SmartVillages” 

5th of February 2019 Took place in Switzerland the Kickoff of the Regional Stakeholders Group “Forum SmartVillages” of the REGION LUZERN WEST. In that Forum there are 5 regional policy makers, 4 Entrepreneurs and CEO‘s, 4 representative of universities and education and 2 students involved. The group worked very constructive and goal-oriented. Together they stroke a new path and provided a basis for the further development of the REGION LUZERN WEST.


20th-21th of November 2018 The 2nd EUSALP Annual Forum 2018 will take place in the heart of the Alps at the Congress Innsbruck. The event, jointly organised by the Tyrolean EUSALP Presidency and the European Commission Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, will address the motto "shaping.future.together. with the next generation". SmartVillages will be promoted by Action Group 5.

More information, including a draft agenda and practical information, could be found here.

Smart villages: the concept of Smart Villages in the State Council of Slovenija 

19th of October 2018 University of Ljubljana, Faculty of electrical Engineering, through its representative, dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, togheter with Franc Bogovič, Slovenian member of European Parliament have presented the concept of Smart Villages in the State Council of Slovenija. They presented European-wide initiatives and more specifically the role of Slovenia and its national projects within this process. The main focus of the presentations was on future financial perspectives and the modernization of Slovenian countryside and rural areas.


European Week of Regions and Cities in Brussels

9th - 11th of October 2018 Assist. Prof. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh (University of Ljublijana) participated in three workshops organized by Broadband Competence Office, DG Agri and ESPON where she presented project work in the field of digitalization in rural areas.

5th Thematic working group meeting on Smart Villages in Brussels

4th of October 2018 University of Ljubljana, Faculty of electrical Engineering, through its representative, assist. Prof. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh, has took part in the 5th Thematic working group meeting on Smart Villages that was organized by European Network for Rural Development and took place in Brussels, Belgium. Around 40 stakeholders from 16 countries have exchanged ideas on strategies of designing Smart Villages. The important conclusion has been reached, namely that becoming/being a smart village is rather a process of aspiration than a mere method or measure tool and that digitalization is an important tool in this matter, but not the only one. You can read more information concerning this meeting and see the presentation on this connection.

Smart Villages presented in Slovenia

3th - 5th October 2018  The Slovenian Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS) hosted plenary sessions and workshops of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Independent Regulators' Association (IRG)  in Portorož, Slovenia. Before the plenary sessions, a workshop was held where participants discussed the way BEREC will operate in the future.During the plenary session, University of Ljublijana and AKOS presented Smart Villages project to the European national agencies directors.

SmartVillages Kick Off meeting

11th - 12th June 2018 - University of Maribor (Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science).

Day one - 11. 06. 2018

9:30 – Welcome by the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science                                                                                                                              9:45 – Input by the Slovenian MEP Franc Bogovič on the EU Action4 Smart Villages (Jure Osredkar and Lejla Kogej)                                                            10:15 – Presentation round one representative per PP                                                                                                                                                                     10:45 – Presentation of the pilot project –; Alice Dos Santos, Ecorys                                                                                                                      11:15 – WPT Technical and financial management: recommendations by PC, activities, time frame, deadlines, responsibilities and task for PPs (Peter Niederer – SAB and Muhamed Turkanović - UM)                                                                                                                                                                               11:45 – WPT1 Regional Analysis or readiness and needs for a Smart Transition in the Test Areas (Gianluca Lentini – Poliedra)                                       12:30 LUNCH (Restaurant Hotel Maribor)                                                                                                                                                                                            13:50 – WPT2 Open digital Smart Village Exchange platform (Guillaume Doukhan – ADRETS, Muhamed Turkanović –UM, Mario Pichler – SCCH)               14:50 – Input from Mr Enrique Nieto from the ENRD Smart Village Initiative                                                                                                                               15:00 – WPT3 PAs and RSGS: short presentation (template) of the 9 test areas/RSGS                                                                                                               17:15 – WPT3 SV Toolbox (Emilija Stojmenova - UL FE)                                                                                                                                                                    18:30 – Dinner: Excursion towards Pohorje mountain, where possible tourism points of view for Podravje region were discussed and presented.

Day two -  12.6.2018

 8:45 Wrap up (by Peter Niederer): action plan, upcoming activities, tasks/responsibilities                                                                                                        10:00 – Excursion: Svečine-Špinik, Visiting Dreisiebner Tourist Farm – Networking                                                                                                                   13:30 – End of the Kick-off meeting

Smart Villages "Modern Agriculture and high quality of life in rural areas in the era of digitalization” - AGRA the International Agricultural Food Fair in Gornja Radgona, Slovenija

27th of August 2018 At the roundtable, assist. Prof. Dr. Emilija Stojmenova Duh (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of electrical Engineering),  told that “the main question we have to answer is how to use modern technologies to stop the processes of emigration of young people from rural to urban areas. In the project Smart Villages we are dealing with this issue through the use of the so-called living laboratories. We are developing new business models, working on digital transformation and we are helping the municipalities going through the processes of digital transformation. Digitalization actually means to have knowledge, trust, and the skills. Smart Villages are a long-term project and for this we need smart people, smart communities, smart cities, smart decisions and a smart state; and all of them have to work together for the common good.”