Lifestyle / Newsletter of 1 Juin 2019

The digital revolution – a solution for the countryside?

As we are reminded by the Yellow Vests social movement in France, rural areas are increasingly falling victim to the withdrawal of local public services, whereas unemployment is increasing and the population is ageing or migrating to towns and cities.

But this situation is not resigned to fate and the digital revolution could well be used to increase the appeal of an area, to develop social connections and to facilitate access to essential services.

Such is the case in Lormes, a French village of just 1,500 inhabitants in the department of Nièvre, where the mayor Fabien Bazin has since 2014 implemented a proactive policy based on digital tools. After linking up his village with fibre optic technology, the mayor had the idea of developing a local mutual help platform,, in return for a 15,000 euros investment. Today this platform is used by 80% of local inhabitants and enables intergenerational mutual help, of particular benefit to isolated elderly people. Around forty tablet devices have been loaned out by the town council and training sessions have been organised.

With the development of telemedicine between the senior citizens’ residence and the local hospital, the creation of a teleworking centre, easy access to public services online, etc. the village keeps on innovating in order to channel digital technology for the good of its local residents. “Many elected representatives simply don't understand how to use digital technology to meet the needs of residents in rural areas. Money needn’t be a stalling point, but a lack of any project agenda certainly will be”, explains Fabien Bazin to Up Magazine.

According to the think tank Terra Nova, the digital transformation can provide opportunities for businesses and residents in remote areas. In order to preserve rural communities, the report recommends developing the digital skills of local businesses and citizens. The report also suggests that local mayors, who stimulate the dynamics of their local borough, must also receive support.


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