Deurbanisation: Hardly noticed, but yet shaping the future of the countryside and bringing along massive changes - also for the life in cities
Source & Copyright Zukunftsinstitut
Author: Vivien Vollmer
Cities have a magical attraction, which becomes evident in the trend of urbanisation turning metropolises into exciting and diverse places. Thus, the attractiveness of cities is great, but some facets are simply good marketing. As a result, the urbanisation megatrend, just like other trend explosions, triggers a countertrend - deurbanisation: a longing for the countryside and an opportunity for courageous forward thinkers who need more space.
Deurbanisation is already advancing with new trends and innovative concepts. But without the tools, the budget and the media attention for a major counter-campaign, the progressive province is creeping up quietly and cautiously. For a long time, the rural landscape in Germany was overlooked in trend research, but it has a lot to offer:
- Innovative agriculture: symbiosis between digitalisation and sustainability
- Mindset shift: city and country merging
- Village dialogue: campaigns by the regions for a better quality of life
- Shaping future rural trends creates opportunities for companies
Linking sustainability and digitalisation in agriculture
The countryside continues to be a producer for the city and thereby takes on a vital task. The role of agriculture has not changed, but the process itself is changing radically. Technification in agriculture ensures maximised and automated production, but is also one of the main actors in climate change.
The study "Progressive Province - The Future of Countryside" shows however, that digitalisation plays a decisive role for sustainable agriculture. A thoughtful symbiosis of innovation and tradition can greatly reduce the burden on the environment. For example, food production can be relocated to laboratories and by this way biodiversity can be protected. If more and more actors get involved and the trends shift from the niche to mainstream, sustainable agriculture will transform more quickly.
Source & Copyright Zukunftsinstitut
The boundaries between town and country are blurring
In Germany, most people live in small and medium-sized towns. In other words, something between a big city and a small community. For this reason, the discussion about deurbanisation does not focus on numbers and sizes of villages or towns. Much more it is about attitudes, lifestyle and mentality, as they are becoming responsible for people's identity. As a result, the categorical dichotomy of village and city is gradually being dissolved.
Because with the increase in infrastructure, mobility and innovative and creative spirit in the country, urban qualities emerge on the one hand, while on the other hand rural concepts are integrated into the city. The result is social innovation - the merging of country and city, which leads to new, hybrid constructs and living spaces.
Rural USP creates fascination and quality of life
Villages and smaller regions often already have deeply rooted histories and close communities. This provides a good basis to increase the local attractiveness and tourism offer. The Corona pandemic has promoted the province to a top holiday destination. This opens up new opportunities and possibilities to showcase the attractiveness of each region. Regional development not only strengthens slow tourism, but at the same time consolidates regional structures and promotes the quality of life of the citizens.
For many long-term city dwellers, the country is not only becoming a relaxing retreat, but also an occasion to change residence. Last but not least, the high housing prices in the metropolises are pushing people to the surrounding regions. Different groups meet in the countryside and form new networks and communities. These, in turn, are exciting for companies as well as visionaries and researchers.
Deurbanisation brings opportunities for vigilant businesses
Companies often underestimate the opportunities that the countryside offers. As designers, you can be part of the trend development right from the start and create and use future opportunities in rural areas. If suitable solutions can be found here for the needs of the people in rural areas, they can also be used as models and templates for urban problems. This in turn would make it affordable for the actors involved.
If an organisation is also committed to the region, they can not only build up an attractive corporate image. Much more, they make a positive contribution, which is rewarded with loyal employees and a great deal of creative freedom.
Source: Zukunftsinstitut from the Trend study Progressive Province - The Future of Countryside