The Polish pilot covers the Mazowieckie region and is managed by the European Rural Development Network (ERDN) with the support of the local stakeholder Lokalna Grupa Działania “Zielone Sąsiedztwo” (LGD ZS). The general ambition of the pilot is to promote rural areas as a place for living and working for newcomers, considering exploiting the opportunities of urban-rural linkages, as well as changing patterns in food consumption, health awareness and lifestyles.
The Pilot is made up of people representing various sectors and professions, but above all loving the region and therefore actively and passionately discussing the future of rural areas, small towns and local communities.
During many discussions, emphasis was placed upon the natural resources and clean environment as the strengths of the Mazowieckie region, which may contribute to the development of tourism, as well as entrepreneurship based on these resources. At the same time, many participants pointed out the low awareness of the society in the field of ecology and care for the environment, but also energy inefficient private and public construction having negative impact on the environment and the climate as the possible threats for regional development. However, more and more activities are undertaken by non-governmental organisations to support pro-ecological policy of municipalities included in the Mazowieckie region.
Thus, the proposed course of action is to develop the post-industrial branches of economy, i.e. based on information processing and knowledge application as well as other types of entrepreneurship that do not threaten environment and do not burden neighbours but create social value and income for residents. Such an oriented income-generating activity of the inhabitants, including social services and individual cultural tourism and recreation services, will be fully adjusted to the principles of social co-existence and environmental protection requirements.
Attractiveness of rural areas is strongly associated with quality of life, public services and economic vitality. But it is peoples’ inventiveness, entrepreneurship and sense of community that will be the main enabler of positive change in the local systems.