The resilience of rural communities is challenged by several changes such as ageing populations, climate change, poverty, the energy transition, the reduced basic service provision, … This study investigates how the province of Antwerp can support municipalities in making their rural communities more resilient. The results of the study are integrated in the recently launched provincial village policy program.

The theoretical framework of the study is based on the socio-ecological definition of resilience and frames a rural community as a system that is vulnerable to a certain extent for challenges and has adaptive capacity to deal appropriately with these challenges. Based on this theoretical framework, the research team developed two instruments: the village monitor and the inspiration book. The monitor measures how vulnerable the rural communities in the pilot area around Mechelen and the Merode are for the indicators of 11 challenges. The results of the monitor give input to participatory trajectories with the local government and the community. Besides the monitor, the research team collected a series of national and international best practices of resilience in rural communities. The best practices are bundled in an inspiration book, that can be used in workshops etc to inspire local stakeholders by showing them how other rural communities have tackled the challenges to become more resilient.

Researcher(s): Kato Allaert, Maarten Van Acker, Tom Coppens
Commissioned by: Provincie Antwerpen
Period: 2016 - 2018

Theoretical framework around the resilience of a village

The 'village monitor': results from the village of Mariekerke in Bornem

The inspiration book: project sheet of the Buurtkar