In the last decades, depopulation becomes a central issue of the political agenda in Sardinia as well as in Europe. The essay focuses on the local knowledge of territories, where development practices and policies to counteract demographic decline are based. In this perspective the results of a recent empirical research carried out in an area of Sardinia, Meilogu, are presented. Here more than elsewhere, a substantial process of emptying the territories is taking place. On the other hand, the case study shows that in the same area under investigation several material and immaterial resources and knowledge have allowed the implementation of virtuous development paths in some centers. As a result the strategic value that has been given to local resources has promote opposite trends in terms of depopulation, if referred to adjacent areas. A central issue emerged from the research is related to the transmission of knowledge as a source of human capital, carried out through training paths that integrate into development policies.
Keywords: Depopulation, development, human capital, social sustainability, local knowledge, Sardinia.