Rural areas cover approximately 80% of the European Union’s surface and represent 30% of its citizens. Yet, rural areas are very different from one another. Geographical specificities, as well as economic and social characteristics, environmental and cultural assets, all play a role in making rural areas heterogeneous.

Today, there is not a clear agreement on the definition of “rural”. Besides, policy makers and scientists lack data at the appropriate level of granularity to be able to grasp rural diversity. They also lack practical tools to develop place-based policies that fit rural specificities and are able to guide rural areas in their multiple transitions: agro-ecological, demographic, industrial and energetic.

GRANULAR – which stands for Giving Rural Actors Novel Data and Re-Usable Tools to Lead Public Action in Rural Areas” – will contribute to bridging this gap. It will generate novel datasets and methods to better understand the characteristics and dynamics of rural areas.

In addition, GRANULAR will create a Rural Compass to help rural actors in grasping the specificities and diversity of their territories, with the aim of identifying main challenges and designing tailored place-based policies to address those challenges.

To pursue its main objective, GRANULAR will:

Support just digital, economic and ecological transitions in rural areas

Conceputalise rural diversity, its multiple characteristics and functionalities

Inform rural actors on the diversity of rural areas

Empower rural actors to engage in just, carbon-neutral and inclusive transitions