Data Scraping Training Recap!

Data Scraping Training session Rustik toons at the workshop, talking to each other next to a giant computer with a presentation on it.

A Data Scraping Training session was hosted by MCRIT Multicriteria Planning, Work Package 2 (Co-design of data collection approaches, databases, and RUSTIK information system) leaders on 29 April, 2024. This training was tailored to meet the specific needs of Living Labs involved in the data experimentation process.

 What is Data Scraping?

Data scraping, also known as web scraping, is the automated process of extracting information from websites or databases. This enables us to efficiently gather large volumes of data for analysis, uncovering valuable insights and trends.

 Training Highlights

  • From Data to Geospatial Information: Participants learned how to convert raw data into meaningful geospatial information. This process is crucial for visualizing and understanding the spatial dimensions of the data collected.
  • Relevance of Geographical Information for RUSTIK: This part of the session highlighted the importance of geospatial analysis. Moreover, participants gained insights into territorial dynamics and learned how geospatial data facilitates informed decision-making in various domains such as urban planning, environmental management, and transportation logistics.

Scraping Techniques

Attendees discovered methods to extract data from various online sources, automating the process for streamlined workflows and access to up-to-date information. Tools such as Apify and Geofabrik were introduced.

  • Apify: A platform that allows users to automate web scraping tasks without writing any code, making it accessible to users of all skill levels.
  • Geofabrik: Provides geospatial data extracts and tools for OpenStreetMap, enabling users to access and process geographic data for a wide range of applications.
  • Transforming Scraped Data into Useful Information for Living Labs: the training focused on how to process and transform the data extracted from websites into actionable insights for the Living Labs‘ experimentation processes. Participants learned best practices for cleaning, structuring, and analysing the data to support their specific needs and objectives.

To conclude, as the training wraped up, it’s time to put the knowledge into action. Our Living Labs partners will leverage these tools for their data experiments. Stay tuned and follow the project to catch the exciting results!

Unveiling the Rural Renaissance: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding Functional Rural Areas

In a webinar hosted by the GRANULAR project on February 28, 2024, we witnessed a pivotal moment in the redefinition of our perception of rural areas.

In a webinar hosted by the GRANULAR project on February 28, 2024, we witnessed a pivotal moment in the redefinition of our perception of rural areas. This event, organized by the European Association for Innovation in Local Development (AEIDL), marked the 2nd Knowledge Transfer Accelerator activity, bringing together thought leaders, researchers, and practitioners from over 22 EU Member States, the UK, Switzerland, Turkey, and several African countries. Notably, the webinar featured active participation from the RUSTIK project,  contributing valuable insights to the discourse.

Historical Context: A Call for Nuanced Understanding

Traditionally, rural areas have been characterized by simplistic metrics such as population density and proximity to urban centers. However, this approach oversimplifies the complex reality of rural spaces, ignoring the diverse functionalities and rural-urban interactions that shape these regions. Recognizing this limitation, the latest EU Council conclusions on the EU’s Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas (LTVRA) emphasized the need for a more profound understanding of rural diversity. This is seen as a crucial step toward fostering place-based rural development and aligning with EU policies and strategies, including Cohesion Policy and the Common Agricultural Policy.

The Webinar’s Vision: Functional Rural Areas as the New Frontier

The webinar aimed to introduce a transformative perspective on rural diversity, focusing on the lens of rural (multi)functionalities. A ‘Scoping report on rural typologies across Europe’ provided an analysis of existing rural typologies, setting the stage for a conceptual framework centered on functionalities and synergies with urban territories. Leveraging insights from the Horizon Europe RUSTIK and GRANULAR projects, the webinar initiated a crucial discussion on the necessity for more comprehensive rural typologies for assessment and statistical purposes at both EU and national levels.

Insights Unveiled: A Glimpse into the Webinar Presentations

The agenda featured enlightening presentations that deepened our understanding of this paradigm shift:

  • Overview of Rural Typologies in Europe by Mats Stjernberg (Nordregio):

    Unveiling findings from the ‘Scoping report on rural typologies across Europe, ‘ Stjernberg provided a comprehensive state-of-the-art analysis of territorial typologies at the EU level and across 27 European regions.

  • Rural Multi-Functionalities by Henk Oostindie & Bettina Bock (Wageningen University):

    Demonstrating the integration of multi-spatiality and multi-functionalities into a Rural Diversity Compass, Oostindie and Bock showcased a prototype that categorizes rural functionalities into residential, productive, recreational, and environmental components.

  • Developing a Definition of Functional Rural Areas by Lewis Dijkstra (Joint Research Centre):

    Dijkstra introduced the recently-developed EU definition for Functional Rural Areas (FRA), offering an analytical picture of rural territories and service provision.

  • Functional Rural Areas and Beyond by Francesco Mantino (CREA):

    Mantino, author of RUSTIK’s report on “Methodological framework to define Functional Rural Areas and rural transitions,” emphasized the need for a new definition of “rural” based on functionalities, neo-endogenous theories, and network connectivity.

Reflecting on the Future: Redefining Ruralities

The webinar culminated in a thought-provoking round table discussion where speakers reflected on how redefining ruralities can enhance rural understanding and policy-making. The consensus was that a functionality-based approach provides a more nuanced and granular picture of rural areas, acknowledging their diverse needs and opportunities.

Looking Ahead: The Path to a Functional Future

As we navigate the post-2027 programming period, the insights from this webinar echo the sentiments expressed by the High-Level Group on the Future of EU Cohesion Policy. Identifying spatially concentrated challenges and understanding multiple dynamics emerge as key challenges for future EU territorial development policies.

In conclusion, the webinar has set the stage for a new era in rural development. By shifting our focus from traditional classifications to a functionality-based approach, we can unlock the true potential of rural areas. The collaboration between GRANULAR and RUSTIK, along with the active engagement of experts from diverse regions, showcases the collective effort towards a more comprehensive and insightful understanding of rural landscapes. The journey has just begun, and the road to functional rural areas promises to be transformative for the future of rural policy and development.

For more detailed information you can watch the webinar recording!

Join us in reshaping the narrative around rural areas and contributing to the Rural Renaissance!

 

RUSTIK Shines at the European Research Showcase 

RUSTIK

RUSTIK made a remarkable appearance at the European Research Showcase, a significant segment of the European Researchers’ Night event held in September 2023. This event was orchestrated under the aegis of the Intersections 2023 UKRI funding project, signifying its importance in the world of research and innovation. 

At the heart of this event was the mission to foster public engagement and facilitate the dissemination of research findings across a spectrum of fields, spanning sustainability, history, virology, and more. One of the voices representing RUSTIK at this gathering was  Petri Kahila, the Director of the Karelian Institute at the University of Eastern Finland. 

During his engaging presentation, he provided valuable insights into the RUSTIK project, particularly its significant role as the leader of Work Package 4: Evidence and Indicators in Practical Strategy & Policy Implementation. In addition to shedding light on the project’s objectives and contributions, Petri Kahila took the opportunity to give attendees a glimpse into a day in the life of a researcher specializing in social sciences. 

As an esteemed expert in a multitude of domains, including regional and local governance, social and territorial cohesion, rural policy, and evaluation results, Mr. Kahila brought forth a wealth of knowledge and experience. His presentation not only underscored the paramount significance of the RUSTIK project but also unraveled the profound intricacies of social science research. This research serves as a linchpin in molding policies and strategies that uplift and enhance the well-being of communities and regions. 

Bryony Goodwin-Hawkins, Senior Research Fellow affiliated with the Countryside and Community Research Institute at the University of Gloucestershire and WP3 leader, took also the stage at the European research showcase, shedding light on the fascinating world of living labs. At the forefront of innovation within RUSTIK project, this endeavor boasts 14 living labs that serve as dynamic ecosystems for the transformation of inventive concepts into tangible solutions. These living labs act as crucibles of experimentation, harnessing the power of emerging data insights to guide and navigate the intricate landscape of rural transitions. Bryony’s presentation highlighted the invaluable role of these living labs in fostering sustainable development and sparking innovation in rural communities.

About the European Research Showcase 

The European Research Showcase is a grand stage where over 60 researchers from diverse fields across Europe take the spotlight. This illuminating event spans two enriching days, from September 29th to 30th, commencing at 9 a.m. and concluding at 9 p.m. CET each day. The rich tapestry of content generated during the event finds its home on various social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. 

Audiences are not passive spectators, but participants are encouraged to engage by watching the showcase, posing questions, and immersing themselves in the content. The ultimate goal is to accentuate the international and intersectional nature of research and emphasize its far-reaching impact on multifarious aspects of society, ranging from societal and policy issues to health and economics. At the helm of this initiative stands the Intersections project, steadfast in its mission to forge a platform where researchers and the public can unite in an enlightening exploration of the world of research. 

RUSTIK Colleagues presenting at RSA Annual Conference in Ljubljana

The Regional Studies Association’s Annual Conference is just around the corner, and we are excited to announce the participation of several esteemed colleagues from the RUSTIK project. The conference, organized in collaboration with the School of Economics and Business, the University of Ljubljana, and the Slovenian Ministry of Cohesion and Regional Development, will provide a platform for knowledge exchange and discussion on a wide range of topics related to regional and urban development, policy, and research.

The RSA Annual Conference in Ljubljana promises to be a stimulating event, and our RUSTIK colleagues will be actively contributing to the knowledge exchange. The following partners will be actively participating in the conference:

In this article, we will highlight the presentations by our RUSTIK partners and their contributions to the conference.
  • “Entrepreneurial Ecosystems and Challenge-oriented Regional Innovation: A Research and Policy Agenda for European Startup Villages”
    • Date: Thursday, June 15 | Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CEST

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, along with Fabrizio Guzzo, Fernando Merida Martin, and Simone Sasso, will present a paper that focuses on entrepreneurial ecosystems and challenge-oriented regional innovation. Based on their work with the JRC for the Startup Village Forum, the presentation will shed light on the EU’s Long-term Vision for Rural Areas and discuss a research and policy agenda for European startup villages.

  • “Conceptualising Functional Rural Areas: Policy Directions and Research Foundations” 
    • Date: Friday, June 16 | Time: 2:50 PM – 4:20 PM CEST

Simone Sterly, Project Coordinator, and Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, Living Labs Coordinator will be presenting a compelling paper in this session. The paper, titled “Exploring Functional Rural Areas: New Pathways for Multifunctional Rural Regions,” and prepared together with the consortium members Franco Mantino, Ilona Rac, and Aimee Morse, delves into the conceptualization of Functional Rural Areas which is directly based on the work developed by the RUSTIK Consortium on rural functionalities

This research, rooted in the RUSTIK Consortium’s work, offers valuable insights into policy directions and research foundations in this emerging field. We look forward to their presentation at the RSA Annual Conference and the stimulating discussions it will generate among scholars, policymakers, and researchers interested in the future of rural-urban dynamics and regional development.

  • “Accommodation and Housing of Asylum Seekers and Recognised Refugees in Rural Areas – Two Cases from Rural Austria”
    • Date: Friday, June 16 | Time: 2:50 PM – 4:20 PM CEST

Ingrid Machold will present a paper that examines the accommodation and housing of asylum seekers and recognized refugees in rural areas, focusing on two cases from rural Austria. While this paper is not directly related to the RUSTIK project, it highlights the importance of supporting our colleagues and their valuable research.

  • JRC SMARTER Conference Stream Policy Dialogue Session: “Making Policy Work for Future Generations – Sustainability Transitions as a Long-term Recovery” –
    • Date: Friday, June 16 | Time: 4:50 PM – 6:30 PM CEST

Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins will be participating in the JRC SMARTER conference stream policy dialogue session, where she will interview Slovenian MEP Frank Bogovic. Additionally, she will contribute to a panel discussion with Lars Coenen and Peter Benczur. The session aims to explore sustainability transitions as a long-term recovery strategy.

Don’t miss out on the chance to be part of this enlightening conference!, the RSA Annual Conference is a remarkable platform for sharing knowledge and fostering collaboration in the field of regional studies. Our RUSTIK colleagues’ presentations highlight crucial areas such as entrepreneurial ecosystems, functional rural areas, and refugee accommodation in rural settings. Their contributions will undoubtedly enrich the conference and inspire fruitful discussions among attendees. We wish them all the best for their presentations and look forward to the valuable insights they will bring back to our RUSTIK community.