“Original formulas must be sought to reactivate those local areas that have been losing part of their sociodemographic vitality and economic strength, being the community approach valuable for drawing strategies to find viable development alternatives involving their populations “, he understands Vicente Zapata, director of the Tenerife Immigration Observatory and professor at the University of La Laguna.
Zapata will participate in the SER forum on insularity and depopulation in rural areas in La Gomera on September 17 on the Colombian island. For Zapata, the challenge of depopulation is to reconnect all the people who at one point or another in their life have had some kind of link with that place. “Strategies in which the role of the administrations is fundamental, favoring and facilitating the promotion of processes that deepen the development of community relations”, explains the professor.
In his speech at the Zapata forum he intends to “broaden the simple reflection on the greater or lesser number of people who reside in a specific place in our geography and on the various implications of their presence or absence, towards a somewhat more complex idea that connects with the maintenance, or not, of the community vitality that those same places show, “he explains. And it is that, in the interaction that takes place between the inhabitants of a certain territory are many of the keys to their survival, even recovering people who may be outside for various reasons.
What most worries the teacher about the emptying of certain places is not only the absence of people or their significant aging, but “the loss of their community coordinates, an endless number of complicities and strategies that kept our towns and neighborhoods alive,” he explains. Vicente. The current withdrawal towards our own homes, a more sedentary life and connected to the digital world, the lack of interest in the common, the scarce empathy, the delegation of affairs in the administrations, among many other factors, mean that, although many territories seem inhabited, really offer a worrying situation of community void“adds Zapata.
La Gomera: a unique territory from all points of view
La Gomera has some worrying indicators of population aging. But, at the same time, it constitutes a space of opportunities. Its appeal has increased not only for people who may be candidates to visit the island on an episodic or temporary basis, but also for former residents and its own population. In a context of security at all levels, adequate services and good communications and connectivity on a global scale, La Gomera becomes a refuge island. “If to this we add that it is an island that has not lost its identity and maintains some of its community coordinates, we have the willows to face the most adverse sociodemographic processes,” concludes Vicente Zapata.