The Peaks and Valleys of Connection – Lessons from Smart Village Initiatives and Supportive Policies in the EU and UK for a Canadian Context
Limited by an incoherent government policy regime towards rural connectivity and development, rural communities across Canada, especially in mountainous regions, struggle to access and implement innovative technologies and strategies to address local development needs. Meanwhile, The European Union (EU) and United Kingdom (UK) have begun to experiment with Smart Village policy and pilot projects. Using a mixed methods approach, this research investigates how the Smart Village approach has been employed in the EU and UK to support rural development in mountainous regions. The research findings are a culmination of a content analysis of EU and UK rural development policies and a case study of Smart Village initiatives in the Scottish Highlands and Uplands. Research findings demonstrate the intersection of geography, technology, and policy in rural development, providing several transferable lessons for Canadian policy makers and mountainous communities seeking enhance development outcomes through place and participatory based strategies.