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The opening of rural areas to renew rural generations, jobs and farms

The RURALIZATION  project  is based on the idea that a process of 'ruralisation' can change development patterns in rural areas. This will assist in overcoming population and  economic decline and generating new opportunities. To foster a 'ruralisation' process across Europe, we need new policy-relevant knowledge, which the RURALIZATION project will generate.

Project Objective

RURALIZATION aims to contribute to the development of a new rural frontier of rural areas that provide exciting opportunities to new rural generations to realize their dreams. RURALIZATION focuses specifically on:

  • Facilitating rural newcomers
  • Facilitating new entrants into farming
  • Addressing the issue of access to land


A trend of unequal development exists between urban and rural areas. Economic activity is stronger in urban than rural areas. Rural areas face a series of challenges, such as concentration of landownership or aging of rural population. The non- replacement of retiring farmers will pose certain problems in the future:     

  • reduced workforce
  • increased isolation in rural areas
  • lack of local food supply
  • disappearance of small farms
  • landscape and environmental degradation, among other issues.

'By 2050, the population of Europe’s urban regions is projected to increase by 24.1 million persons - almost 50% of total EU-28 population  (Eurostat, 2016). The population of predominantly rural regions is projected to fall by 7.9 million.' (ESPON Policy Brief, 2017)


RURALIZATION project is based on the premise that rural regeneration is needed to  generate opportunities for new generations of existing and potential rural inhabitants. Newcomers and new entrants into farming are key players for bringing innovation into rural areas. In RURALIZATION innovation is seen as a multi-faceted concept that includes technological, social and cultural innovation.

The RURALIZATION project looks directly at how farming can be part of this new rural reality created by ruralisation. It devotes particular attention to access to land, a fundamental widespread barrier to entering farming. It also looks at wider issues around facilitating new entrants and succession.

RURALIZATION aims at understanding drivers and circumstances of rural regeneration and with an empirical focus to develop, assess and disseminate novel instruments, strategies and policies that cater for rural regeneration.

Expected outcomes

Rural areas should become more attractive, thanks to the diversification of rural economic  activities and the improvement of quality of life. Rural areas would thus welcome increasing numbers of people living and working locally, and in particular young people.

Website www.ruralization.eu 



RURALIZATION H2020 project - The opening of rural areas to renew rural generations, jobs and farms

RURALIZATION (www.ruralization.eu) is a H2020 project aimed at investigating the causes of demographic decline in EU rural areas and identifying and implementing innovative practices to generate stimulating opportunities for economic and social sustainability in rural contexts.

Funded under the Horizon 2020 programme, RURALIZATION gathers 18 partners from 12 different countries including not only research organizations but also partners that implement innovative practices, such as members of the Access to Land network. This diversity will guarantee a wide range of perspectives and situations thus ensuring the project formulates solutions and recommendations which respond to the diverse needs and features of rural areas in Europe.