The region of Österbotten in Finland and Norrbotten and Västerbotten counties in Sweden is characterized by rural and sparsely populated areas. In various pre-discussions, project partners have concluded that the combined knowledge and cooperation across the border can generate more outcomes for the future of the areas.
The third sector is central to the development of sparsely populated and rural areas, it has the opportunity to take over where the state and municipality are not enough. The Interreg Aurora funded project SMART RURALITIES works to find a new form of symbiosis between the third sector and municipality/state/county council (in Sweden)/welfare care district (in Finland). Also, cooperation with micro companies in the countryside is crucial. The intended target group covers a large area of knowledge. The project will pilot and develop concepts which can have long carrying capacity into the future. Extra focus is placed on creating living environments and conditions for young people. By arranging two planning workshops, one in Sweden and one in Finland, the project can capture the knowledge and experience of these actors more concretely, and the idea is that they participate in the working part of the workshop with input, knowledge and experience. In the preliminary study, the project is primarily aimed at organizations, companies and research institutes that conduct various forms of rural development projects. Everyone has their special knowledge and by bringing these special skills together, it is possible to shift the project idea to a new common level. Initially, the project partners envision the following actors among others: Hela Sverige ska leva Västerbotten and Norrbotten, Coompanion, Luleå University of Technology, SÖU, Åbo Akademi regional science. On the basis of the combined knowledge and joint discussions, a final project plan will be formed.