What will be the future of remote work post-pandemic?
– Evidence suggests that increased remote work is here to stay, but a large-scale shift towards a “remote first” mindset looks unlikely, says Senior Research Fellow Linda Randall from Nordregio. She is the lead author of Nordic Knowledge Overview on remote work published this week. The mindset matters when considering the effects of remote work for different places; influencing the extent to which workers can distance themselves from their workplaces. At the same time, we do see some evidence of spatial changes. The number of daily commuters is still well below pre-pandemic levels and migration patterns suggest increased attractiveness of outer urban municipalities, smaller cities, and rural areas within commuting distance of larger cities. From a planning perspective, a range of interesting questions emerges regarding the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of increased remote work. – Most workers do not have the possibility to work remotely and, even for those who do, the advantages and disadvantages will differ between groups. An increasing tendency to split one’s time between two or more municipalities calls into question existing frameworks around taxation and service provision, Randall continues. While remote work may reduce the need for travel, more knowledge is needed about the indirect impacts before assuming favourable environmental outcomes overall. The Nordic knowledge overview was the first part of the project and now you have a chance to get involved and be part of our study’s next part: How is increased remote work effecting your municipality or region? Let us know here (you can answer in English or any Nordic language): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/planningandremotework This report is the first outcome of the project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024. The project is part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning.
Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities
Nordregio Senior Researchers, Nora Sanchez Gassen and John Moodie, will present the key overall policy findings and recommendations from the ESPON Covid-19 project in a digital workshop “Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities”. The workshop brings together the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), associations of local and regional governments, and other networks together, in an interactive process designed to: ✓ Discuss and share information on regional policy responses to the crisis; ✓ Learn about innovative good practice policies that emerged during the pandemic; ✓ Assess project recommendations (policy, governance, territorial and financial) that can help regions recover from the crisis and build resilience in the future. The ESPON Covid-19 project aims to analyze the geographical patterns and territorial impacts of the pandemic across the EU and examine the regional and local level policy response to the crisis. It also investigates whether the crisis presented a window of opportunity for local actors to promote specific regional policy and planning goals/strategies in relation to the just transition, green transition and smart transition. Join the workshop on Wednesday 11th May at 14:00. Find more information about it and register here.
Nordregio researcher offers insight on multi-locality at ESPON event
On 17 March 2022, Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Linda Randall took part in the ESPON Peer Learning Workshop on Housing and Multi-locationality. Senior Research Advisor Linda Randall took part in a session called “Urbanisation patterns before and during the Covid-19 outbreak” with a presentation titled “Distance work: What will be the regional effects?”. It reflected on the early findings of a Nordic project that explores the long-term implications of increased distance work for cities, regions, and rural areas. How will mobility and migration patterns change? Will we see more workers making the shift to multilocal lifestyles? How should planners respond when the nature of potential changes is so uncertain? The event took place online and gathered experts from different research areas affected by multi-locality and the past two years’ changes. The ESPON Peer Learning Workshop aimed to give insight into the current policy processes targeted to the context of smaller cities in regions and combines these discussions with the presentation of results of the ESPON project SUPER, which analysed the main patterns in European urbanisation processes.
Nordic City Network seminar for stronger cooperation and project planning
Nordregio hosted a Nordic City Network seminar. The hybrid workshop aimed to strengthen the cooperation between the network’s thirteen-member cities from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands. The event also sought to identify common themes of interest as a basis for joint activities and projects. Nordregio has had a cooperation agreement with the Nordic City Network for almost a year. This collaboration aims to promote exchange between research, policy development, and practice towards more sustainable cities. “As the main takeaway from the event, we identified common interests in themes such as counteracting segregation and better understanding the effects of different levels of planning as well as the importance of carrying out Nordic comparisons. Overall, there is plenty of potential for fruitful collaboration with the network while the exact form of how this could take place still needs to be concretised”, – says Mats Stjernberg, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio who is also Nordregio’s representative in Nordic City Network’s board. During the workshop, representatives from Nordregio presented how the institution conducts research and works with different types of projects. The main presentations focused on long-term planning for inclusive cities, national claims in spatial planning, the implications of segregation in the light of covid-19, as well as on the ongoing NORDGREEN and TGA2 projects and different ways that we collaborate with various stakeholders. –> Read more about Nordic City Network here.
Stories from cross-border areas during Covid-19
The trust between people in cross-border regions is not gone but has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and municipal and regional micro diplomatic relations play an important role in rebuilding this trust – a recently published report shows. The “Covid-19 in Borderlands” (Covid-19 i gränslandet) report focuses on stories emerging from the Covid-19 crisis and the impact of border restrictions on communities along the Swedish-Norwegian border in Värmland (SE), Innlandet and Viken (NO). “We should not forget that in border areas, the border is, by and large, invisible. People live, work and thrive across borders; it is a promise of opportunity for many. With the COVID-19 crisis, the border became an obstacle to living life as normal. This may affect the future dynamics of cross-border living. We need to recognise that even if Sweden and Norway are two different countries, the countries are highly intertwined,” says an author of the report Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow at Nordregio. According to the researcher, existing collaborative constellations have continued during the pandemic and are an important element in building political and diplomatic resilience. “Covid-19 in Borderlands” was written on behalf of Region Värmland, supporting their report on Swedish-Norwegian relations. Read the report here. (In Swedish)
Stronger institutions lead to higher Nordic trust
Strengthening institutions is crucial for mending Nordic trust and for building regional resilience in a post-pandemic world. This is the premise of a new academic article penned by Nordregio researchers. Alberto Giacometti, Mari Wøien Meijer and John Moodie, Nordregio researchers have worked together on a new academic article published in the Cross-Border Review Yearbook published by CESCI. The paper called “Trust: The social capital of border communities in the Nordic Region” looks into how the Covid 19 pandemic threatened the Nordic integration plans and the cooperation at large and how cross-border communities were heavily impacted. The researchers discuss the role of Nordic institutions and cross-border organizations in protecting the rights of citizens in border areas and introduce the concept of “adaptive institutionalization”. That could help establish a clear distribution of responsibilities across different levels of governance and thus help adapt cooperation to situations of potential future crisis. “We highlight the role of ‘trust’ as the ‘glue’ that keeps the Nordic collaboration in place, both among citizens and governance structures, which is pivotal for addressing future crises and global challenges,” says Alberto Giacometti, Nordregio Research Fellow. The 2021 edition of the yearbook is the eighth one and focuses on the riveting experience of life under the premises of a global and borderless pandemic. The “Cross-Border Review 2021” is intended primarily for the academic community, students of geography and political sciences and for all those who are curious about cross-border cooperation.