Rural2040: Rural Network updates vision for future

The European Commission is preparing a long-term vision for rural areas in the EU by 2040. The Rural Network has provided Finland's views on this work, which have been compiled through participatory work. This vision has been built in three different workshops, one of which was aimed at young people.

At the beginning of the year, not everything needed start from scratch as the Rural2030 foresight activities prepared in the spring of 2018 were used as the basis for building the vision of the Finnish Rural Network. The work done then has now been updated together to fit RuralVision2040.

Work on Rural 2040 started with a foresight coffee hour in December 2020. The keynote speaker for the programme was Ville Rinta, a multidisciplinary entrepreneur from Iso-Kyrö, who is a co-owner of the Finnish Asenne surf brand and runs a cabbage farm and the organic honey company Sugar Daddies Honey Company. Rinta represents a new kind of rural entrepreneur who knows how to invest in brand creation and understands the global market. Rinta highlighted the need to hear young people's voices in rural areas as well as the need for functioning telecommunication networks.

In January 2021, the first future workshop focused on what changes have happened in the world and in ideas after the foresight activities of Rural2030. The coronavirus pandemic has both accelerated and slowed down various development cycles.

Young people share their visions in Minecraft

Youth Future Day was held in two parts: On Saturday morning, young people built the future they hope for in Minecraft. In the afternoon, they shared it in a more traditional discussion. Around 30 young people between the ages of 11 and 25 attended the youth workshop.

The game educators and students of the POKE Vocational College had already created a world in Minecraft with an area for a farm, cottage life, domestic living, and recreational activities. Young people were free to move around the area and build a future of their liking.

Minecraft was paired with the Discord app, where you could follow the construction using live feeds. Discord was also a discussion platform for the builders as the game was in progress.

Young people's visions of the future highlighted recycling, good telecommunication connections, the versatile use of technology, and decentralised energy and food production. Common and shared things and the productisation of experientialism were also built into the world of young people.

What changed?

During the three days of future work, the aim was, no more and no less, than to achieve a common rural vision for 2040 and to formulate the messages to be sent to the European Commission. Together, the desired and probable visions of the future and the archetypes of the rural population were updated.

Finland's vision for the future was finally crystallised with the following words:

Rural enchantment 2040 – the seed for a good life. Together it thrives, tries, and creates something new together.

The idea behind the vision of the future is that the rural areas are a vibrant, communal, and partly mystical place from which those who see its beauty cannot stay away. There is also the idea that the number of people living in rural areas will increase because its positive aspects are so strong. In rural areas, everyday life is good.

The vision also includes the fact that rural areas will bring prosperity to the whole country. A wide variety of rural businesses draw from their roots, but also create extensive networks. As the current pandemic has taught us, rural areas offer opportunities even in the face of crises.

Finland's vision papers were sent to the European Commission at the end of January.

Further information:

Date updated: Apr 1, 2021

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