Could Croatian Smart Villages Concept See Rural Areas Advance Digitally?

Lauren Simmonds

Updated on:

Copyright Romulic and Stojcic
Copyright Romulic and Stojcic

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, after the concept of a smart city came to be, which is already very widely known and applied to a greater or lesser extent in many cities across Croatia, the focus is now being placed on the concept of Croatian smart villages, which will not only help rural areas to develop further, but also enable them to withdraw money from European Union (EU) funds.

The huge potential that opens up in this segment of rural development has been recognised by the young team working at Revent Smart, which therefore launched the Smart Villages of Croatia initiative last summer. Behind them is already a reference in Zadar County, and keen interest was shown by municipalities from the areas of ​​Northern and Southern Dalmatia, Istria and Medjimurje, revealed the project manager, Tea Kurfürst.

“Over more recent years, and especially last year, the trend of returning to rural areas has increased, and recently the trend of digital nomads coming to Croatia has received a lot of attention. The more rural areas of Croatia are rich in natural beauty, and by applying the Croatian smart villages concept to them, which will create a modern infrastructure, can significantly raise the quality of life and increase the attractiveness of rural areas. The ultimate goal of our project is to increase the quality of life for rural residents, provide more content for visitors and strengthen the economy,” explained Kurfürst.

The Smart Villages of Croatia initiative is intended for municipalities, and in order for a certain environment to become “smart”, a planning approach is needed that differs significantly from the classic general development strategies.

”The strategy for the development of Croatian smart villages as a smart living environment implies a smaller number of activities and measures that are primarily realistic, concrete and achievable in relation to the possibilities of a particular municipality,” pointed out Kurfürst. In Croatian smart villages, traditional and new services will be enhanced by digital telecommunications technologies, innovation and the overall better use of knowledge for the benefit of local people.

For the needs of creating a smart environment, Revent has prepared its own database with more than 300 digital solutions that are often supplemented and updated, and can be applied in all sectors of the agro-processing industry, the provision of public and social services, tourism, the environment and mobility.

Digital technologies and innovations can improve the quality of life, contribute to creating a higher standard of living, improving public services for residents, enable the better use of resources, reduce the negative impact on the environment and create new opportunities for economic development.

In addition to the above, the allocation of at least 5 percent of funds for the development of the Croatian smart villages concept is the responsibility of all EU member states respectively in the programming period for 2021-2027. Croatia hasn’t yet announced how this will be implemented here, but it is certain that there will be tenders, and this has already been announced by Dubrovnik-Neretva County.

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