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FUTURAL MAPs are set up and running!

An important milestone in the FUTURAL project has been achieved! Multi-Actor Pilots (MAPs) have been established, and the first core group of stakeholders initiated the preliminary steps of co-creation activities planned for phase 2 (M07-M44). To accomplish this, two key project outputs were necessary, the methodology for setting up MAPs and co-creation activities and a document synthesizing the initial state of the art regarding MAPs’ description and setup.

The Methodology for setting up the MAPs and co-creation activities, outlines methodologies, procedures, and tools to design and implement MAPs (including stakeholder identification and engagement, vision, and goals) and to plan, implement, and monitor co-creation actions in phase 2 of the project. Concerning the six MAPs, a description and setup template was circulated and filled by each MAP leader to attest the initial steps taken by MAP leaders in setting up the next co-creation activities. These steps include reporting the preliminary analysis of geographical contextualization, socio-economic characteristics, trends, and challenges of the rural area(s) where the MAP is located; articulating expectations in terms of desired outcomes from the implemented smart solutions (MAPs vision and goals); and identifying, mapping, and selecting stakeholders based on evidence collected through interviews with key local actors conducted by the MAP scientific coordinator.

More on the synthesis of the six MAPs:


The MAP leader is the Province of West Flanders. Westhoek is situated in the Province of West-Flanders, flanked by the North Sea and the French border.

It is a rural area with about 10% recognized as nature. The largest nature reserves or green areas are represented by the nature reserves in the North along the coastal strip, mainly dune areas; the Ijzer Valley which covers a large area in the middle of the region, and the forest areas on the West Flanders Hills in the south. Socio-economically, the region has quite a nice diversity where the agricultural sector and agro-business complex remains one of the important sectors in Westhoek. Other supporting sectors of the Westhoek economy are construction, healthcare and tourism. Main challenges identified relate to water management issues exacerbated by climate change (mostly related to the quality and shortage of local sources), an ageing population (25% of the population is over 60), and poor accessibility of public services (public health, elderly care services). Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, businesses (mostly in the agriculture sector), research institutes, and civil society.


The MAP leader is the Association for Rural Development of Durangaldea. The region is located at the southeast of Bizkaia, in the northern part of Spain and, except for four main urban municipalities, the rest are mostly rural.

Α quite populated, urban area with high degree of industrialization (with past metallurgical and automotive industries); and an environmentally protected area, the Urkiola Natural Park, a 5.768 Ha. zone under protection, with large sparsely populated rural areas. Main challenges identified relate to the vulnerability of transport systems to natural disasters, potential risks to local infrastructure (e.g., bridges), and the availability of basic services (e.g. health care), jobs, social activities and mobility provision in peripheral, rural and remore areas. Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, businesses, education, and civil society.


Τhe MAP leader is the Regional Association of Municipalities. Under FUTURAL project, Pongau MAP will coincide with the political district of St. Johann in Pongau, encompassing 25 municipalities.

It is a predominantly mountainous and hilly alpine region with a diversified economic structure across services, manufacturing, agriculture, and a strong, seasonally balanced tourism industry. Main challenges identified include poor diversification of bio-derived products and waste production, high dependence on seasonal tourism, infrastructure management, and efficient use of local old buildings. Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, businesses (mostly related to the bioeconomy sector), education, university, and civil society.


The MAP leader is the Jonava Municipality. Jonava district municipality is an administrative territorial unit in the middle of Lithuania, the smallest in the entire Kaunas county. Indeed the region is a small, moderately densely populated municipality, where the majority of the population lives in urban areas.

Thus, Jonava’s territorial context is characterised by proximity to the country’s second city – Kaunas – and its airport, which explains a positive influx of people coming to live in the district from the urban areas around. The district hosts a developed wood and chemical industry and agricultural productivity higher than the rest of the country. Main challenges identified include crop losses due to the local bison population, low employment levels and scarce local entrepreneurship initiatives leading to youth migration, and a general ageing population. Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, education, and civil society.


The MAP leader is the Birda Municipality. Birda Commune is situated in the south-western part of Timis County in the western Romania, in the Timis plain. It is about 40 km away from the important city of Timisoara and around 20 km from the border with Serbia.

The municipality is composed of 3 villages with Birda holding a central position among them. The territorial context is predominantly extra-urban, characterised by a flat area with agricultural and zoo-technical specialisation. Indeed agriculture represents the main economic activity and occupational outlet for local population. Main challenges identified include hydrogeological risks (e.g., floods due to recent severe rains impacting nearby rivers), water management issues (e.g., poor-quality water supply), and inadequate access to facilities for professional development and quality education. Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, businesses (mainly in the agriculture sector), education, and civil society.


The MAP leader is the Kytherian Foundation for Culture & Development – KIPA. Kythira is an island located in the southwestern region of Greece, between the Ionian and Aegean seas, the Peloponnese and Crete. Although it is part of the Ionian islands complex, the island belongs to the administration of Attica Region. The municipality boasts a population of 3,605 (2021 census) with a tranquil density of 12/km² and most of its surface being Natura 2000 protected.

Socio-economically the main activities pertain to tourism, local agrifood production (high quality olive oil, honey and dairy products), residential housing construction and renting, agriculture and services. Main challenges identified relate to poor transport systems (to be enhanced with alternative solutions such as carpooling systems), the need to create job opportunities associated with the island’s natural resources and heritage (e.g. building on ecosystem services coming from the high environmental biodiversity) especially for young people, and access to quality education and professional development. Initial stakeholders identified belong to public administration, businesses (mostly in the agriculture sector), education, and civil society.