Solutions to adapt public services to demographic change

The ADAPT2DC project is drawing on the experience and expertise of public authorities across Central Europe to develop innovative solutions to maintaining public services in the face of shrinking populations. This cross-border cooperation is helping to both improve governance structures and reduce costs.

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ADAPT2DC is helping public authorities adapt their services to demographic change. ADAPT2DC is helping public authorities adapt their services to demographic change.

" ADAPT2DC showed us how to distribute day-care nurseries rationally. If children are forced to leave their rural hometown regularly from a young age, they will be less likely to choose that settlement as an adult. Appropriate childcare facilities are thus one way to counter depopulation tendencies. "

Zsuzsa Mester, Hungarian Authority of Social Affairs and Child Protection

Dramatic demographic change poses challenges to many public authorities in Europe. As populations in some regions become smaller, older and more diverse, the tax base is reduced. At the same time, local and regional governments still need to provide such services as health care to seniors.

Communities in Central Europe are facing a series of questions as more young people move away from small towns – leaving in their wake a community with an ageing population: Is it possible to finance a primary school if only five pupils attend? How far can people travel to get to a hospital in the case of an emergency?

Is one bus stopping in a village twice a day sufficient? How are the elderly affected when the last shop in the neighbourhood closes down?

This demographic shift means changing demands. And all against the backdrop of decreasing public funds earmarked for the provision of public services and infrastructure.

A dialogue about appropriate solutions

As the issue of ageing societies is one that affects many regions, it is essential to create a dialogue about appropriate solutions. The ADAPT2DC project seeks to provide a platform for such a dialogue and to identify transferable approaches that will evolve into a common strategy for dealing with these issues. The project has no intention of reversing these demographic changes, but instead seeks to adapt to what seems to be an irreversible process.

To accomplish this, ADAPT2DC provides shrinking towns and regions with support for developing sustainable, cost-effective social and technical services and infrastructure – including health care, housing, public transport, social care and water provision.

ADAPT2DC in action

ADAPT2DC acts through pilot actions, each of which addresses a wide range of infrastructures and test innovative solutions. For example, in Poland, tele-medical units using modern communication platforms were able to provide remote medical monitoring and testing. The result was earlier diagnosis and thus reduced health-care costs for the elderly. Likewise, in Germany, civil servants are receiving demographic coaching and learning how to better deal with the unique needs of ageing, shrinking populations.

The experiences gained form these pilot activities will be combined with a scientific analysis of demographic developments and infrastructure spending around Central Europe. At the project’s conclusion, ADAPT2DC will make recommendations to policy makers on how to prepare their regions for demographic change.


Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project Adaption to Demographic Change (ADAPT2DC) is EUR 2 570 637.74, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 2 075 678 from the Operational Programme “CENTRAL EUROPE” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.


Draft date

19/11/2014

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