The Living Lab in rural Poland will look at how to enhance participation in rural planning and how can digitalisation improve the involvement of local communities in spatial planning processes in the Lodz region.
According to the smart rural development research results undertaken in the Lodz region, only few municipalities have implemented GIS technology in spatial planning procedures at local level. E-services are on a rather low level due to financial, human and technological obstacles.
The region of Lodz has a total area of 2500 km2, of which 20% is the city of Łódź, 20% are urban-rural areas and 60% are rural areas.
The planning interactions of the areas happen at different levels. The urban-rural fringe has new business developments. Entrepreneurs relocate their activities to rural areas surrounding urban hubs because of the low fees and taxes, with simultaneous good access to resources and markets. New developments associated with agriculture (e.g. large-scale pig and poultry farms) are being located in this area, sometimes in close proximity to urban areas.
On the less economically active and depopulating peripheries of the region, manufacturing plants, wind farms, a recycling plant, and controversial social facilities such as a prison or a centre for migrants are located, also causing conflicts in local planning, which could be limited along participatory procedures assisted by digital technologies.
Living Lab coordinator: University of Lodz