Open data and rural regions and cities

Wed 9, October 2019
16:30 - 19:00

The interactive workshop will analyse the current situation of collecting and delivering data and digital services in rural/low-connected or low population areas and will identify future challenges and its possible solutions. A short presentation at the beginning of the workshop by the EU European Data Portal will set the context and share with participants the analysis of the situation in Europe today. Focusing on rural areas, participants will then discuss data and digital literacy and skills, the status of broadband and other infrastructure, how data collection and use might be encouraged, and how to increase data inclusivity for the remainder of the workshop. 

Esther Huyer, Projects deputy lead, EU European Data Portal and EU Support Centre for Data Sharing, Netherlands.
Marit Blank, Consortium member, European Data Portal, Luxembourg.
Gianfranco Cecconi, Projects lead, EU European Data Portal and EU Support Centre for Data Sharing, Netherlands.
Esther Huyer, Projects deputy lead, EU European Data Portal and EU Support Centre for Data Sharing, Netherlands.
Eline Lincklaen Arriens, Consortium member, European Data Portal, Luxembourg.
A Europe Closer to Citizen
Capgemini Invent, Daniele Rizzi
english (en)
Building SQUARE - Brussels Convention Centre, Room 310 (circle 3).
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

At the "Open data and rural regions and cities" workshop, we discussed the concept of rural and introduced the current research we have conducted on open data from rural regions and sectors across Europe.

Rural open data are data from areas that can be qualified as rural e.g. based on the population density, or data from rural sectors, such as forestry, fishery and agriculture. The latter has great potential for organisations focusing for example on environmental protection, sustainable fishing, smart farming, etc. A topic for further discussion is how rural areas can benefit from "their" rural data. Key is smart regions that link smart cities with rural areas to address topics such as mobility, nutrition, education or tourism.

We discussed recommendations to support rural open data in rural regions. Key aspects and learnings are:

  • Different approaches to define rural can have an impact on, e.g. the rural poverty rate that influences policy making;
  • The importance of education in learning digital literacy and skills;
  • Data collection and re-use at a local, regional and national level;
  • Importance of support from the local to government level in opening rural data - including through policies and financial support;
  • The value of sharing best practices and key findings;
  • Creating a network where local champions can share their knowledge with one another and to interested stakeholders, and
  • The value of already available datasets from rural sectors, such as on agriculture, forestry and fishery.

The additional insights from this interactive workshop will be incorporated into the EDP's report "Enabling Smart Rural" that will be published in November 2019.

For more insights into open data in rural regions and cities across Europe, explore the European Data Portal. If you are aware of open data related news, events or examples, share them with us via mail at info@europeandataportal.eu or on Twitter at @EU_DataPortal.

Take away message

How to leverage open rural data:

  • Establish smart regions that link cities and rural regions;
  • Ensure that rural open data is used to answer actual demand;
  • Share rural data with relevant third parties;
  • Support local initiatives and driving forces to spread good practices and make them sustainable;
  • Link rural open data initiatives with digitisation projects, and
  • Support from the local and government level in opening rural data.

The European Data Portal's report "Enabling Smart Rural" will be published in November 2019.


"Despite the clear advantages of open data, it is important to define specific challenges to be addressed with rural open data and in which cases lack of scalability, negative cost-benefit ratio or lack of actual demand makes it less feasible or beneficial." - Esther Huyer, EDP

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