Smart digital transformation of villages in the Alpine Space


Alpine rural communities often lack a good provision of services as well as a favourable climate for entrepreneurship and social innovation. Digitalisation is a promising approach to counter the situation, but remains unexploited. SmartVillages unlocked the potential of local actors to make their region a more attractive place to live and work through new forms of stakeholder involvement, by bringing together policy makers, business, academia and the civil society. Finally, the transfer of the project results to the policy level contributed to improve the political framework conditions for digital innovation, for both the organisational / societal part and the technical part.


  • 2014 – 2020
  • Innovative
  • Improve the framework conditions for innovation in the Alpine space
    • Group 1: To develop an effective research and innovation ecosystem
    • Group 3: To improve the adequacy of labour market, education and training in strategic sectors
    • Group 5: To connect people electronically and promote accessibility to public services
    • Group 9: To make the territory a model region for energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • 04/2018
  • 10/2021
  • 2.685.381 EUR
  • 2.061.999 EUR


Swiss Centre for mountain regions (Lead partner)
  • Lead partner
  • Switzerland
  • Espace Mittelland
  • Bern
    University of Maribor
    • Slovenia
    • Vzhodna Slovenia
    • Maribor
        • Slovenia
        • Zahodna Slovenia
        • Ljubljana
            Smartis d.o.o
            • Slovenia
            • Zahodna Slovenia
            • Ljubljana
                Poliedra - Service and consultancy centre of the Politecnico di Milano on environmental and territorial planning
                • Italy
                • Lombardia
                • Milano
                    Development Agency Gal Genovese S.r.l. (DAGG)
                    • Italy
                    • Liguria
                    • Genova
                        Energy and Environment Agency of Lower Austria
                        • Austria
                        • NiederAustria
                        • St. Pölten
                            Association for Networking Services andTerritorial Development
                            • France
                            • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
                            • GAP
                                Regionalverband Südlicher Oberrhein
                                • Germany
                                • Freiburg
                                • Freiburg
                                    Bodensee Standort Marketing GmbH
                                    • Germany
                                    • Freiburg
                                    • Konstanz
                                        Tiroler Zukunftsstiftung
                                        • Austria
                                        • Tirol
                                        • Innsbruck
                                            Software Competence Center Hagenberg GmbH
                                            • Austria
                                            • OberAustria
                                            • Hagenberg
                                                Region Lucerne West
                                                • Switzerland
                                                • ZentralSwitzerland
                                                • Wolhusen
                                                    • 46.94680587.4353275
                                                    • 46.559232515.643293707372823
                                                    • 46.04898975000000414.503956692895823
                                                    • 46.06657314.541559309498947
                                                    • 45.46419439.1896346
                                                    • 44.407268.9338624
                                                    • 48.206296315.6255649
                                                    • 44.56196356.0786986
                                                    • 47.99609017.8494005
                                                    • 47.67608529.1650275
                                                    • 47.267921511.4009453
                                                    • 48.368586514.5147141
                                                    • 47.05882868.0734012


                                                    • Open Digital Smart Village Exchange Platform

                                                      The DEP - Digital Exchange Platform is a virtual place of sharing where users not only can discover the achieved results and find all products and tools created within the project SmartVillages.
                                                      They can also compare themselves in the context of application of the concept of smartness in the different fields of life of an Alpine community by assessing the level of smartness of their own community, uploading or seeking good practices to be emulated and communicating with the Regional Stakeholders Groups of other Alpine areas. The DEP has the following objectives: - Enabling transnational knowledge sharing of the overall project findings between partners and wider public - Aiming for collective intelligence and so delivering the project results under open conditions - Being interoperable with existing platforms, using as much shared components as possible, but independent to avoid increasing complexity Have a look at the good practices we acquired from multiple villages in Alpine region or asses the smartness of your village. The Video Tutorial guides the visitor to the discovery of all the contents and documents that are inside it:

                                                    • Smart Villages Digital Toolbox

                                                      Smart Villages Digital Toolbox is a digital tool that helps resolving local challenges by empowering communities in development and decision processes. The tool can be used by either individuals, community leaders or other local authorities.
                                                      The Toolbox shows existing good practices in the relevant area and suggests innovative methods that help effectively address the challenges individuals or communities want to address. It works as a guide to lead you through participatory process, helps in establishing group of relevant stakeholders and shows examples of existing good practices from all across Europe. Follow four basic steps and compose your own, personalised roadmap equipped with methods and existing examples that will help your community to effectively address local challenges. What does it offer? It helps you define what your community needs in terms of smart transition. It is a guide, which will lead you trough the participation process and will help you establish relevant stakeholder group and show you how other have resolved similar challenges. It is a collection of methods and techniques for the development of project ideas that builds on the local context and collaboration of the community. The Toolbox video tutorial guides the visitor to the discovery the Digital Toolbox of the SMARTVillages project:

                                                    • SmartVillages Policy Recommendations

                                                      The Policy Recommendations coming out of SMARTVillages project are thus a major contribution to the implementation of EUSALP. They are available in EN, FR and IT.
                                                      The draft recommendations were elaborated in autumn 2020 by the project consortium. Basis was a survey carried out amongst the 13 partners of the project coming from all Alpine countries. The draft recommendations were presented and discussed at the International Smart Villages policy conference of 10th November 2020 with 150 participants from all over Europe. The draft recommendations have been amended after the discussion at the International Smart Villages policy conference. They will flow into the policy cycle of the Macroregional strategy for the Alpine region EUSALP and will be made available to policy makers in the Alpine Area and outside of it like the other Macroregional strategies, the EU Commission, Managing authorities and so on. The Smart-villages-approach is important for villages in mountain and rural areas to become more attractive and vibrant.  The Smart-villages-approach helps those villages to use the potentials offered by digitalization and to bridge the natural handicaps of distances. With the Smart-villages-approach, the communities can contribute to the European Green Deal and master their smart transformation. And last but not least, the Covid-19-crises has shown that Smart villages are much more resilient to such crisis. The Smart-Village-approach is an integrative approach using the potentials offered by digitalization and developing new solutions through participatory processes, thus relying on open and social innovation. This basic understanding of the Smart-Village-approach leads to the following policy recommendations document. These policy recommendations address all institutional levels ranging from EU level, through macroregional level to national, regional and local level. Where appropriate, the respective level is directly addressed and good examples are given.

                                                    • Compendium of the SmartVillages project

                                                      After three years of project implementation, the Partnership of the SMARTVillages project is proud to present to you the main results of the SmartVillages project.
                                                      The Covid 19 crisis has been both a risk and an opportunity for the project and its goals. However, all the project goals set have been achieved and we have experienced extremely high momentum for our concept during the current health crisis. We have seen that “smart villages” have been performing quite well due to better communication, more agility and stronger resilience thanks to the utilisation of digital technologies, participative methods, and new organisational approaches.


                                                    • These documents accompany the use of the Digital Exchange Platform, created within the EU Smart Villages project.
                                                    • The first deliverable in the preparation of development of SmartVillages Toolbox brings forth the first overview and description of most commonly used tools, methods and techniques for involving various stakeholders in the participatory process of co-designing and co-creating products, services and processes for smart village environments. The second document identifies where and what adaptations, and further improvements of the toolbox are needed.
                                                    • The synthesis report shows all results of the project, test areas' activities and recommendations for policy makers.
                                                    • The new open access publication "Smart Villages Policies: Past, Present and Future" is available Highlighting the important role of rural development, this paper represents a review of rural policies. Data were generated, including a broad literature research and online survey on existing and future, post-2020 rural development policies. The survey was shared among project partners from six different EU Member States including eleven regions, all from the Alpine Space. The number of total policies covered in this review paper, together with policy projects, programs or actions, is 114. Based on these, key policy findings and future recommendations are provided, attributing to the future studies on this topic as well as for policymakers at the local, regional, national and EU levels. PUBLICATION By by Simona Stojanova, Gianluca Lentini, Peter Niederer, Thomas Egger, Nina Cvar, Andrej Kos and Emilija Stojmenova Duh E. Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1663.