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Smart Regions

The concept of Smart Regions – what it means.

A smart region is a regional concept that refers to a place that has advanced a high degree of technology to meet the needs of its inhabitants. It is characterized by a combination of different technological innovations, such as information technology, communications, transportation, and renewable energy. These technologies can be integrated into the economic, social, and political fabric of a region to improve the quality of life of its citizens. In order to achieve this goal, a number of strategies are necessary, including developing an effective local government, improving infrastructure, and increasing the level of education and training.

Urban-rural interrelations in reflections on smart regions

Urban-rural interrelations are the study of interactions between urban and rural space. They are defined by a variety of factors, such as the population range, proximity and centrality of each space, as well as variables related to the urban system.

Urban-rural interrelations are studied to better understand the impact of cities and the countryside on each other. Cities are key players in many cases, providing essential infrastructures such as transport, water and electricity, as well as cultural activities. Moreover, they have a large influence on the labour market. On the other hand, rural areas are rich in resources for food production and recreation. However, they are also vulnerable to various public health crises.

In contrast to the past, urban and rural spaces are no longer considered as separate territories. Rather, they have been rethought as multifunctional environments. This new perspective on rural and urban space is reflected in several words used to describe these spaces. Among them are “rural”, “rururban”, “rural-urban functional fringes”, and “multifunctional”.

Several studies have explored the interaction between these spaces. Some focus on one-way influences, while others take the reciprocal territorial influence into account.

Hybridization

Smart regions are complex spaces shaped by digital technologies and social practices. They are defined by their ability to leverage capital and integrate diverse actors. To achieve this, they must have digitally enabled services and ICT infrastructure.

The smart region concept must be revised to accommodate regional heterogeneity, new forms of urban-rural relations, and a wider range of actors. Moreover, it should be empirically oriented.

While the concept of smart regions is based on technological and spatial innovations, the social construction of these spaces and the various ways of leveraging regional strengths and vulnerabilities are important. These factors help to shape the dynamics of a region’s development. It is also essential to critically evaluate the interests and desires of the involved actors.

Peripheralization

Peripheralization has been one of the major trends in rural development in Europe. This has prompted a re-framing of contemporary understandings of socio-economic development at the geographical margins. For example, it has induced theoretical rapprochement between economic geography and human geographies. It has also triggered debates on how to make regions smart. However, this research often lacks an analytical definition of what smart means.

The’smart’ part of the smart region, is not always about technology, but about more general methods of achieving sustainable economic development in peripheral areas. One method of achieving this goal is intelligent policy design. That is, a policy that enables development in a manner that is tailored to the needs of the area.

Open access

Smart regions are diverse urban-rural areas with a range of assets. These include natural resources, technological solutions, and the broader talent pool of a region. By applying intelligent technologies, a smart region opens new possibilities for business, education, and employment.

The concept of a smart region is a useful heuristic for spatial planners. It helps to avoid one-size-fits-all ICT solutions, and instead offers a more theoretically oriented approach. However, most proposed solutions envision closed networks.

Open data

Using Open Data is an important tool for governments to engage citizens. This approach promotes data-based innovations and helps government officials make data-driven decisions. The key to success is to create an ecosystem of partners collaborating and implementing rules and regulations.

Open source code plays an important role in the development of smart cities. One example is the Barcelona City Council’s ApparkB app, which directs motorists to parking spaces. It also enables online payments.

Another example is the Welcome City Lab in Paris, which works with Paris&Co to develop applications for tourism. Its mission is to provide services to all stakeholders. They have created an event API which has received a lot of attention from various stakeholders.

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