Can digitalization help overcome spatial injustice in sparsely populated regions?
Many sparsely-populated regions in Europe believe that they are left behind because of a reduced presence of public and private services in the area compared to more densely populated urban areas. The use of new technologies can be a means to provide similar services in rural as in urban areas and to reduce costs. However, when services are becoming digitalized, spatial and social digital divides might increase in regions with ageing populations. Nordregio researchers Linnea Löfving, Timothy Heleniak, and Gustaf Norlén, together with the German research institute ILS researched the topic and published an article “Can digitalization be a tool to overcome spatial injustice in sparsely populated regions? The cases of Digital Västerbotten (Sweden) and Smart Country Side (Germany)”. The research compares two similar cases in Höxter and Lippe in Germany and Västerbotten, where digitalization measures have been used to provide public services to the population in order to reduce inequalities or spatial injustice. “The article concludes the need for an inclusive process and the value of a place-based approach when implementing digitalisation measures. It also points to the fact that the two projects complement each other in showing the path towards a more integrated and inclusive approach for rural digitalization policies. While both successfully helped overcome digital divides in diﬀerent ways, aspects of both projects would need to be integrated to achieve greater impact. This is mainstreaming of digital solutions into administrative routines (the strength of Digital Västerbotten) and the involvement of civic actors in the development of digital services according to local needs (the strength of the Smart Country Side project),” says Linnea Löfving, Research Fellow at Nordregio. The article was published in the journal European Planning Studies and is a result of the Horizon 2020 project RELOCAL. Read the article here.
Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?
Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…
Open call for picture submission
Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Nordregio is hiring: Head of GIS Department
Nordregio is inviting applications for a senior position as Head of GIS Department. Working at Nordregio means an opportunity to become part of a truly international research environment with a focus on sustainable regional development in the Nordic region and beyond. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your competences through applied and policy relevant research, achieving an international network of contacts, as well as getting extensive experience in team and project management. You will also get rich opportunities to collaborate with regional and municipal stakeholders in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is currently seeking a new Head of GIS Department with: Expertise in GIS, geo-data, quantitative analysis, and applied research in the field of regional development. Experience in leading a team and managing projects as well as a successful track record in grant applications. Knowledge in geographies and socio-economic trends in the Nordic Region and beyond. A drive for working in teams and in an international applied research environment. Eagerness to present and disseminate results to different stakeholder groups, both orally and in written format. Competences and qualifications As Head of GIS Department, you both lead and manage the GIS-team by planning and organising tasks and activities, communicate with each team member and contribute to their development. You are also a project manager with responsibilities to attract, initiate and lead externally funded research and innovation projects. The geographic scope of your field of interest includes a European and international perspective and expert knowledge in at least one of the Nordic countries. We appreciate abilities in external networking and in communication with stakeholders. Internally we appreciate analytical and creative skills, complemented by abilities to both cooperate and work on your own. For this position, you have at least 6 years of relevant work experience and an extensive network…
- 2021 February
- Baltic Sea Region
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
How to prepare for Home Alone Christmas 2020?
Are you longing for big family celebrations or secretly feeling relieved and excited to spend this Christmas on your own? In 2020, Christmas is going to be more digital and more local than ever. Nordregio’s Home Alone Christmas Map tells you exactly how to prepare for it. A good internet connection and access to grocery stores are very important success factors when one must spend a “Home Alone” style Christmas this year. For those of you who are saddened by the Christmas restrictions, we have good news. The recent developments in digital solutions allow us to meet and celebrate with family and friends online. And for those of you who are feeling relief when thinking about skipping the celebrations, you can still blame it on the poor broadband connection if you live in some parts of Finland, Norway, the Faroe Islands or Greenland, but do not try this excuse in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland or Åland. You could instead find comfort in endless streaming possibilities for Christmas movies! Due to travel restrictions, near and far, the go-to place this year is our very own, local grocery store – plan for an evening to remember with a local twist. Unless you planned ahead and ordered most food items online. If you are running late, as usual, every kilometer and mile counts when you are rushing to the local store to fight over the last piece of ham. We see no reason to worry for late-runners in most cities across the Nordic Region. But if you are in Iceland or the northern parts of Finland or Sweden – well, we really hope you have planned ahead. As you can see on the map, Home Alone Christmas conditions vary greatly across the Nordic Region. Take a look at the municipality you live in and…
Matching skills for future labour market
Regions and regional labour markets are facing many challenges such as the ageing population and lack of skills, digitalisation and automation of the economy along with the current Covid-19 crisis. Education and skills are cornerstones for contemporary societies in trying to deal with these changes. The project “Skills Policies – Building Capacities for Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions” has analysed how Nordic regions work with skills assessment and anticipation, skills development and skills governance. Which skills will be needed in future? And what are the enabling and hampering factors for skills development? We are happy to share our main findings in a report and a policy brief, including recommendations for policymakers on how to create skills ecosystems for resilient societies. The topic was also featured in the third session of Nordregio Forum this year. The project is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020.