Governments are seizing the opportunity to plan infrastructure updates, including higher speed internet, and offering a variety of programs like grants to build social enterprises, monthly stipends to take up residency, and even “up to 30,000 euros for the purchase or restoration of a house.“
[The office of Anna Laura Orrico, member of Italy’s Parliament], selected 12 villages across the country to become experimental hubs for innovative technology in the fields of environment, sustainable transportation and culture, funded through a project called “Smarter Italy.” Beginning in summer, 90 euros million will be allocated across these towns to fund diverse projects, including virtual museums and seismic monitoring.
This returnee trend has also been happening across Europe, not just in Italy.
Spain has witnessed a population surge in its hinterlands. In Romania an estimated 1.3 million citizens have moved home since the beginning of the pandemic, while in nearby Bulgaria as many as 800,000 have returned to the country’s rural areas, according to the United Nations Population Fund.
A great deal of scepticism as to the longevity of these moves is certainly appropriate, but considering some of the other trends in younger workers, like more reasonable work-life balance, finding meaning in their work, more freedom, and a slower life, seem like a great fit for smaller villages.
So the question might end up being if these perks of country-side remote work outweigh the hubbub, culture, and nightlife of larger cities.