Rural Areas

For rural areas, which are increasingly equipped with digital infrastructure, the digital transformation provides a wide range of opportunities. In particular, empowering digital and hybrid educational and learning environments can make a decisive contribution to rural regions that are threatened by youth outmigration and demographic change. Thus, in our projects, we explore the potential of digitalisation for non-formal and informal learning and education. Moreover, we take a look at the opportunities provided by the participatory development of educational and cultural landscapes. We identify, systematize and analyse “good practice” for education and participatory regional development in the post-digital age. Special consideration is given to the issues of voluntary engagement and attachment to rural areas and to the associated beliefs.

Selected Publications

Birnbaum, L., Sonnert, G., Chen, C., Sadler, P.M., & Kröner, S. (2022). Intervening opportunities between home and college: Students’ geographic mobility by college type. Community College Journal of Research and Practice. Advance online publication.

Birnbaum, L., Wilhelm, C., Chilla, T., & Kröner, S. (2021). Place attachment and digitalisation in rural regions. Journal of Rural Studies. 87(7), 189-198. (open access)

Third-Party Funded Project

Recent developments in digitization may be seen as threats, however, they also provide the opportunity to foster a positive relationship of people with their communities via participatory regional development. This may be particularly positive for sustainable development of rural areas at risk of demographic decline. The project's aim is to synthesize, systematize and analyse Europe-wide examples of 'good practice' related to digital strategies and instruments on this issue. These examples will be compiled, resulting in an orientation framework that is being made available in the form of a digital toolbox for further use in regional development...