The Covid-19 pandemic effects in rural areas

Turning challenges into opportunities for rural regeneration

Keywords: Rural Regeneration, Covid-19, Social Resilience


Rural communities tell us the story of a thousand of years of collaboration between nature, culture and humans. The current Covid-19 pandemic is considerably threating rural areas, posing challenges exacerbated by low available financial resources, not easily accessible health services and greater isolation. Rural areas are also considered safe shelters characterized by better daily living conditions thanks to easy to maintain social distancing and access to nature, to cultural and nature-based recreation activities. The Covid-19 crisis is revealing the crucial role of natural and cultural heritage for social cohesion, local development and mental wellbeing. The paper presents some responses to the Covid-19 crisis collected through an open call for action within the RURITAGE project. It aims at show how rural areas can cope with emergencies and it builds the basis to rethink the current crisis as a crucial tipping point for a resilient development of rural territories. It is key to overcome the idea of rural areas as mere food production system, calling for a broader vision of rural communities as poles of development based on local heritage, natural resources, creativity and social inclusion as essential elements to regenerate rural areas and to rapidly support their transition towards sustainable future.


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Author Biographies

Claudia de Luca, Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna

She is a Ph.D. candidate at the department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna. She is an Environmental scientist (MSc), now focusing on sustainable urban and spatial planning and urban and rural regeneration processes. Specifically, she works on two main research topics: rural regeneration through heritage-led plans and the use of nature into the cities for sustainable and resilient future (Nature Based Solutions). Involved in the Planning and Regeneration research group, she is actively involved in several H2020 and INTERREG funded project (RURITAGE, ClimateKIC ACTonNBS and MATCH-UP).

Simona Tondelli, University of Bologna

She is associate professor of Urban Planning at the University of Bologna (UNIBO). She has 22 years of research experience in sustainable urban planning and regeneration. She is vice director of the UNIBO Interdepartmental Centre for Applied Research on Buildings and Construction (CIRI-EC) and scientific responsible for the Refurbishment and Restoration division of CIRI-EC. At present, she is coordinator of RURITAGE H2020 project, of MATCH-UP INTERREG EUROPE project, of ADRISEIMIC Interreg Adrion project, and partner in one ERA-NET JPI Urban Europe project (SPN), SHELTER H2020 project, SEERRI H2020 project and many Erasmus + projects. She is scientific responsible of many regional/local Research Projects. Vice-Director of the Emilia-Romagna section of the National Urban Planning Institute – INU and national Treasurer of INU. Member of the scientific board of the UNIBO PhD Programme in Architecture and Design Cultures. Author of over 100 publications.

Hanna Elisabeth Åberg, Department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna

She is a Ph.D, student at the department of Architecture, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, with a background in landscape architecture and heritage studies. Her research interests include rural planning, landscape valuation and perception. Åberg’s studies revolve around mapping and foreseeing landscape changes in rural areas due to rapid economic development. As a part of the Planning and Regeneration research group, she is actively involved in H2020 and ERASMUS+ funded projects (RURITAGE, UNINET Cultural Heritage).


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How to Cite
de LucaC., TondelliS., & ÅbergH. (2020). The Covid-19 pandemic effects in rural areas. TeMA - Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, 119-132.
Special Issue - Covid-19 vs City-20