Rural infrastructure initiative: smaller towns and villages
Declining populations and migration represent major challenges to rural regions. In order to safeguard services for the public and create perspectives for the future of rural areas, in 2010 an initiative, the "Rural infrastructure initiative” was set up. This initiative relies both on the strengths and on the ideas and cooperation of local populations.
One of the core components is the program "Smaller towns and villages – inter-community cooperation and networks” that was launched in 2010, together with the individual German states. The objectives of the programme are to strengthen small and medium-sized towns as business, social and cultural centres and to allow them to function as hubs, supplying services for the public in the future. The goal: to shore up their key local function in meeting social needs on a lasting, adequate basis and at a high level.
To this end, the programme supports active cooperation between the communities. Within the framework of integrated, inter-community development concepts strategies are devised for coping with the consequences of the shift in demographics and joint goals and focuses for development are formulated. On the basis of these jointly agreed concepts sustained investment in the needs-driven adaptation and modernization of community infrastructures is implemented. In this way, the programme contributes to developing and strengthening these centres as living places, places where people can both live and work.