Boosting Rural Areas Revitalization in the Mediterranean through Cross-cutting Approach Based on Ecological and Social Resilience

C. Echave, A. Palladus, M. Boy-Roura, M. Cacciutolo, S. Niavis, A. Boulanger, TH. Papatheochari, D. Ceh, S. Ponsa, B. Massabo

Urban areas have been identified as one of the key challenges to tackle in the next decades. Most of the environmental impacts associated to urban contexts are linked to an unsustainable use of resources basically due to urban planning and society’s consumption behaviour. Currently, the paradigm of sustainable cities brought out in the past years situates urban contexts as an opportunity to reduce these impacts. There is a wide range of strategies focused on cities and their transition to a more sustainable urban model: compactness, sustainable mobility, energy efficiency, waste management and greening are some of the most relevant approaches with clear indicators and implementation plans. However, rural areas are still pending for  a precise strategy that highlights their ecological added value avoiding to be defined only as “not urban”. Rural areas should be emphasized from their productivity perspective and their key role in terms of resilience and adaptation to Climate Change. In the framework of the Interreg Med Programme, Thematic Communities are working on the capitalisation of projects from different kind of approaches of application in the Mediterranean Area. Four of these communities - Renewable Energy, Green Growth, Sustainable Tourism and Efficient Buildings - have several projects that present rural areas as one common territory of intervention. The aim of this paper is to expose the standards and goals proposed by the Interreg Med Thematic Communities for Rural Areas Revitalization as a resilience strategy in the Mediterranean Region, using a cross-cutting approach. The cross-cutting approach stresses the relation among the environment, society and economy: rural liveability, increasing RES production with sharing microgrid systems & efficient buildings, as well as green economy based on sectors such as agricultural & tourism activities. These standards and results will provide reference values to shape final policies recommendations. Consequently, the present paper is based on the joint cross-thematic effort and work from four thematic communities of the Interreg MED programme, previously mentioned. It includes some references to existing research studies, but the aim is to open the path to identify new challenges of Mediterranean rural areas and find potential solutions from a holistic approach.

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