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Research article2015Peer reviewed

What is Smart Rural Development?

Naldi, Lucia; Nilsson, Pia; Westlund, Hans; Wixe, Sofia


In 2010, the European Union adopted the notion 'smart' in its new ten-year growth strategy Europe 2020 stating that Europe should become a smart, sustainable, and inclusive economy. The broad and policy-oriented concepts of smart growth and smart development are part of the strategy introduced as a response to the observed low growth rates of innovation and productivity across European regions. In all its essence, the growth strategy states that smart growth supports sustainable development, which is achieved by promoting research, innovation, and knowledge in order to attain regional economic growth. What is made less clear is how the concept of smart growth can be translated to fit a diverse set of rural regions. Other outstanding issues discussed in this paper relate to the possibility to measure and empirically address the outcome of policies for smart rural development. Hence, in this paper we conceptually analyse and bring together the ideas that underlie the logic behind policies for smart growth by focusing on smart growth from the perspective of rural regions. The paper also presents indicators of smart rural development and analyses their relevance in future empirical studies. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Smart growth; Smart specialization; Europe 2020; Urban-rural classification

Published in

Journal of Rural Studies
2015, Volume: 40, pages: 90-101

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Economic Geography

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