IDRISI is looking for partners across Europe to join BUCOLICO (BU.ilding COmmunity resiLIence through CO.mmunication and technology).
BUCOLICO aims to prototype an educational standard to unlock the true potential of inactive young adults aged 15 to 29 (also known as NEETs) starting from those dwelling the inner rural communities featuring the most fragile demographic and socio-economic circumstances.
More specifically, our search focuses on organisations with prior experience in:
* Rural communities development, and
* Gamification of the learning experience
Despite signs of stagnation from the EEA’s two major economies in the last quarter of 2019, the latest available data from Eurostat shows that the unemployment rate in the EU (6.5%) continues on the downward course it began at the start of the series (2000), marginally and stably exceeding those of the US (4.2%) and Japan (2.4%) [see: Eurostat (February 2020) Unemployment rates by country, December 2019 update].
However, within the Union, inter-national and intra-national differences are often extreme and, at times, on the rise [ANSA (1/102019) Giovani in Sicilia primato dei NEET]. The recession hit young adults hard and the level of Not-in-Education-Employment-Training (NEET) aged 15-29 is still higher than before the start of the crisis in most OECD countries [OECD (2016) The NEET Challenge, Society at a Glance, Paris]. One bearing profoundly troubling consequences on the demographic structure as well as on the social and economic fabric of such countries as Italy, Greece, and Spain [see: Eurostat (February 2020) Youth unemployment rates by country, December 2019 update; Brusini C (8/2/2020) Lavoro, Italia verso il buco nero: in dieci anni perderà un lavoratore su tre nella fascia d’età che dovrebbe trainare la crescita, Il Fatto Quotidiano].
Downward scale-shifting from member states to regions, it becomes apparent that not only that 80% of all regions experience youth unemployment rates that are twice as a high as the national average, but also that some areas suffer significantly more than others, a handful featuring youth unemployment rates in excess of 50%: France’s Guadeloupe, Mayotte, Martinique, Spain’s Melilla, Ceuta, Greece’s West Macedonia, and Italy’s Sicily, Calabria, Campania [see: Eurostat (2019) Unemployment statistics at regional level . Regional Variations in Youth Unemployment; Eurostat (2019) Young people neither in employment nor in education and training (% of population aged 15-24), 2018].
While all of these NUTS 2 areas lie out of or on the Southern rim of the Union’s baricentre, the fact that equally-sized border insular areas such as Malta and Cyprus enjoy rates comparable to those of the most virtuous regions of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, challenges the notion of geography being destiny, instead pointing to institutional determinism as a more reliable explanation.
Response to the impending demographic storm, resulting from the en masse retirement of the baby boom generation coupled with below-replacement birth rates across the developed world, has been inadequate both at local and national levels [see: Konstantinos J (2019) Sleeping on a Volcano: The Worldwide Demographic Decline and the Economic and Geopolitical Implications]. Indeed, from the vantage point of Italy’s demographically and economically fragile southern regions, there is evidence that governments over the last 4 decades have pursued a policy which was at best discontinuous, at worst of outright disengagement. The World Bank's cluster and dissolve investment policy standard has only recently been challenged first by Fabrizio Barca and John Bachtler's 2009 An Agenda for a Reformed Cohesion Policy report and secondly by Barca's 2013 (Italian) National Inner Areas Strategy (NIAS), whereby the former Minister for Territorial Cohesion correlated social discomfort to physical remoteness from service hubs and devised a place-based strategy to overturn them applied to 72 sample areas [Barca F (2013) Strategia Nazionale per le Aree Interne: definizione, obiettivi, strumenti e governance, Roma].
These areas hold the highest NEET rates at national and European level, and a potential labour force of young adult age which may prove instrumental in mitigating adverse rural community conditions deriving from diminished accessibility, deteriorating opportunities, housing discomfort, and resulting in a -24% gap in productivity compared to metropolitan areas [see: Istat (2019) Rapporto BES 2018 Benessere equo e sostenibile in Italia, Roma; UnionCamere - Legambiente (2014) L’Italia del disagio insediativo, Roma; Iannotta F (2016) Ghost Towns and Housing Discomfort, Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape and Environmental Design, 1, 273-300].
In such context, two recent pilot projects, one focusing on adults and seniors (Sicani Sviluppo), another on teenage students (Patrimonio Platani) carried out by members of the proponent organisation in a dozen Sicilian inland towns have returned
> declining population, with municipal figures ranging from -0.5% to -17.4% (2000-2020), and
> low institutional confidence,
contrasted by such high
> expectations, and
> participation to cultural project design exercises
as to convince the proponent of the need to expand the trials to a transnational sample.