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[ Index ]
Developing rural services
Similarly to employment and the creation of activities, local services are today an essential factor for maintaining people in rural areas. Furthermore, services also generate new forms of solidarity and social cohesion.
The introduction, upkeep and renewal of local services in low population density rural areas makes it necessary to search for appropriate solutions.
The problem of organising services is prevalent, be that in rural areas situated far from towns or the urban hinterland, but the possible solutions vary. The solutions may require the provision of supplementary services or an amalgamation with the services supplied in urban areas or in the different rural areas.
Local services should be adapted to the new needs that arise as a result of changing consumer lifestyles, particularly in terms of quality and the specific categories of clientele such as the elderly, commuters, young couples, etc.
The changes are related to new functions of rural areas e.g. resettlement services, the setting up of decentralised services by large companies, exploitation of the natural habitat, development of sporting and leisure facilities, etc.
These different possibilities place local services at the centre of a strategic reflection that concerns each area according to the sector that the area aims to develop in the future.
The reflection exercise concerns local authorities, private and not- for-profit bodies as well as the service users.
In facing these challenges, this document proposes:
a) a general analysis of the problem
This first part of this document aims to:
b) methodological elements for implementing local services
Support for the upkeep or creation of services in rural areas is often carried out in a sectoral fashion as part of a specific policy. The approach put forward here starts from an area-based approach where local services form part of a overall local development strategy. The second part of this document focuses on several stages, i.e.:
c) examples of tools for the different phases, i.e. identification, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of local services
In this part of the document, five tools are proposed with a view to contributing towards: