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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…

Future Migration Scenarios for Europe: wrapping up the first year

During the first year of the FUME project, the partners have been collecting statistical data on a very detailed level, exploring the main drivers and scenarios for migration, as well as preparing to the case studies in the countries, from which people are moving to Europe. As the first year of the FUME project comes to an end, the project is on track and the first results are being finalised. The FUME team has collected large amounts of data from various sources to inform our migration modelling and worked with national statistics offices and other authorities to gain access to confidential data that can further refine the models. The initial round of deliverables has been uploaded and the first academic articles have been submitted. Finally, we have established a productive network with our sister projects QuantMig and HumMingBird. Like everyone’s life, the project has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. After meeting in person once for the kick-off conference in January, the colleagues at the FUME consortium institutions have mostly been working from home since March and all project meetings had to be held virtually. Moreover, the pandemic has also impacted our planned case studies in countries of origin; however, we are now well underway to start the interviews there with the help of local partners. Besides those country of origin studies, we have a number of activities coming up in the new year: The destination case studies in Amsterdam, Rome, Cracow and Copenhagen will be pushed forward with the local partners; we will conduct a Delphi survey to inform the scenario building; model development will continue and the first results can be expected over the course of the year; and last but not least, we are optimistic that we will be able to meet again face to face…

Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia

Russia is a land of enormous natural resources as well as unique culture and complex governmental and taxation structures. When it comes to transforming traditional industry towards greener and recyclable processes, all those factors are intertwined. Nordregio studied the transition at the Republic of Karelia, Murmansk and Arkhangelsk oblast and how the transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia has begun. On the other hand, some clear obstacles need to be overcome, like lack of knowhow and support mechanisms as well as the absence of a sustainability-based mindset before it can fully take off. Nordregio’s new publications Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia: regional cases of the Republic of Karelia and Murmansk oblast report and a Policy Brief called Transition to a bioeconomy in Northwest Russia – current potential and challenges describe the State-of-art transition process in Russia. Earlier study Bioeconomy in Northwest Russian region; Forest- and waste-based bioeconomy in the Arkhangelsk contributed to the outcome. All regions in question contain a vast amount of renewable biological resources from the sea, forest and land, but these are currently managed and exploited in a rather traditional way. Despite traditions, there are clear signs of change. For example, the use of recycled material is increasing, aquaculture is experiencing growth in Karelia, new blue bioproducts are researched in Murmansk, construction of wooden houses is gaining popularity in Karelia, and Arkhangelsk is a forerunner on environmentally-friendly practices in the forest industry in Russia using wood waste for bioenergy. Incentives from governmental bodies and somewhat independent regional level are supporting the increased processing of raw material but at the same time lack of knowledge and insights to bioeconomy in Northwest Russia prevents exploiting its full potential. Renewing traditional industries The traditional forestry and fishery industries play an important role in the regional economies. One…

Urban gardening demonstrates social empowerment: Taste Aarhus led to 300 initiatives

Urban gardening is much more than just growing food and plants, it is about social engagement. The City of Aarhus has become well known for their ‘Taste Aarhus’ programme, a key driver behind more than 300 bottom-up urban agriculture initiatives and the most successful urban farming area in the Nordic Region. Taste Arhus is one of the five cases the SiEUGreen (Sino-European innovative green and smart cities) project investigated in the Nordic Region and in China. – After studying different cases, Taste Aarhus stood out as a clear example of how social empowerment can create good, scale-up and change the city. Taste Aarhus uses urban gardening as a tool to bring people together, use under-utilised spaces around the city and engage people in the practice of growing their food. It also has an educational element, explains Senior Research Fellow Luciane Aguiar Borges, Nordregio. – Taste Aarhus has changed the city. Thanks to education, guidance and the network we have been building, we now see people using parks and public green spaces in a whole new way. It wasn’t like that five years ago, explains Pernille Thormann Villesen, the project manager for Taste Arhus (Smag på Aarhus). Urban gardening is not just a bottom-up movement. The local authority also plays an active role and uses urban agriculture as a mean of promoting healthier eating habits, encouraging physical exercise and social interaction. In the future, there will be a higher demand for urban agriculture. Population growth will put pressure on urban spaces, so there will be less land available for Urban agriculture and it creates longer physical distances from nature. – At the same time as Aarhus will need to be more densely populated, the quality of urban green spaces will also need to be higher. We need to rethink the strategy…

Resilient regions: An increasing necessity in volatile societies

Local communities and regional authorities are faced with continuous uncertainty. Emerging technologies, economic crises, political changes and environmental disasters can cause shocks and crises challenging the long-term economic development and wellbeing at the local level. A new report from Nordregio focuses on how to become more agile and adaptable in the face of such challenges. “Resilience” comes from the Latin term “resilire”, to leap back or to rebound, or in a regional development context: to cope with change and continue to develop. Regions and local communities that face sudden economic downturn or other types of major shocks, whether they come from within or from outside, can either “bounce back” or “bounce forward”; they can try to recover their former strength or use the opportunity to adapt towards new development paths. Through a series of cases studies, the report “Regional Economic and Social Resilience: an exploratory in-depth study in the Nordic countries” describes examples of both reactions. It looks at what risks Nordic regions are particularly vulnerable to, as well as what the role of regional authorities is and how regions can best prepare for change. Key findings emphasize the importance of being agile and adapt to changing conditions rather than guarding yourself against them; they also point at the role of people and social networks as crucial factors to successful adaptation. – Solid and efficient institutions, and financial means are important preconditions for regions to be prepared against unwanted developments and to prevent major shocks. However, this study has shown that trust amongst regional actors, social cohesion and human capital are essential to respond to inevitable threats, says Nordregio Research Fellow Alberto Giacometti, the main author behind the report. The report also notes a move from the “planning optimism” of the past towards an increased focus on preparing for the…

Amman, one of the fastest grown cities in the world, is moving towards sustainable city planning

The Jordanian population is constantly growing due to the crises in its neighboring countries, and the pressure of the refugee influx is certainly felt in the capital Amman. Rapid urbanization also creates urban growth in Jordan. During Amman’s relatively short history as the capital of Jordan, slightly over 100 years, it has gone through unprecedented growth from 5000 inhabitants to current estimate of 4 million people. The uncontrolled growth has set several challenges for city planners. Nordic city planning might provide new ideas for sustainable solutions and tools how to manage the urban sprawl. Amman has grown relatively faster than other cities of AsiaCities are a complex mixture of spatial development and people with diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds. City planning has the challenging task of balancing between these factors and institutional frameworks, laws, resources, the environment and social influences. At present, one of the major obstacles facing the public sector and planning in many developing countries is its ability to improve quality of life, provide services, and raise living standards under severe challenges of rapid urban growth. The Embassy of Sweden organized a seminar and a workshop in Jordan on sustainable city solutions to urban development challenges through knowledge exchange between Nordic and Jordanian urban planners 16-17 January. Even though Jordan suffers from an acute lack of natural resources, particularly water and energy, it has successfully accommodated several waves of refugees from Palestine, Iraq and Syria. In 1921, Amman became the capital of the new state of Transjordan with about 5,000 inhabitants. The growth spur started at the same time, quadrupling in the next decade. During 1961-1979 the city grew from 215,000 inhabitants to 777,800 due to population growth, the second Palestinian refugee migration, and the Civil War in Lebanon, with the city extending over an area of 101…


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Building a better future – the Nordic Way

Sustainable building and the new bioeconomy were in focus at the two Nordregio events at COP24. They were part of an extensive programme at the Nordic Pavilion, which for the fourth COP in a row created an exciting platform for dialogue and knowledge sharing. The UN Climate Summit was convened in Katowice, Poland, a heavily polluted coal town, where the need to change from a fossil-based to a bio-based economy was evident in the very air you breathe. The aim of COP24 is to create a rule book or a more concrete path towards realizing the lofty aspirations in the Paris agreement from COP21 in 2015. To highlight Nordic solutions and provide a venue for voices from both North and South, the Nordic Council of Minsters has for the last four years organized a Nordic Pavilion, where amongst many others Nordregio has contributed with events and speakers. Building and bioeconomy This year, Nordregio focused on energy efficiency in the building sector and the potential of the Nordic bioeconomy. This included a presentation based on the Interreg programme Social Green, that aims to increase the ability of European municipalities to make better use of funds for retrofitting old buildings to increase energy efficiency. Likewise, the bioeconomy event drew heavily on another Nordregio project, namely the State of the Nordic Region 2018 report published in February. – Buildings are one of the areas where there’s the most potential to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, said Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Ryan Weber in his presentation. The event also featured a presentation from James Drinkwater, European Director for the World Green Building Council as well as business panel with representatives from Rockwool, Danfoss and Velux, all companies heavily involved in securing a more innovative and sustainable building sector. In addition, a look…

Land use – from a new rural bioeconomy to urban agriculture

The latest issue of Nordregio Magazine looks at land use from two perspectives: the potential of the new bioeconomy in rural areas and the development of urban agriculture in China and the EU. A new biobased economy opens an almost unlimited potential for regional and rural development. But it also leads to possible land use conflicts and a need for new regulations. By encouraging transdisciplinary networks, Nordregio tries to strengthen coordinated action and overcome barriers for bioeconomy development in the Nordic Region. Urban farming likewise shows the way forwards towards innovative land use development. The SIEUGreen project brings together stakeholders in China and the EU to explore the potential of new city-based farming technologies as a transformative and integrated part of resource-efficient and resilient urban environments. Read more in the latest issue of Nordregio Magazine on The Bright Green Future of Land Use.

REVIVAL kick-off meeting in Kazbegi, Georgia

On 1-2 November, the REVIVAL project kicked-off in the stunning mountainous municipality of Kazbegi in northern Georgia, along the Russian border. The project aims at exploring new approaches to study local and regional development in mountainous and sparsely populated areas. The project will investigate the concepts of transitional labour markets and residential economy in two case areas, one in Georgia and one in North West Russia. Some of the methodologies will be based on the experience from another Nordregio project, the ESPON Bridges project. The kick-off meeting was also a good opportunity to get to know the local culture. All project partners participated in two workshops. The first one was on making a local dish khinkaly (Georgian dumpling). The second workshop took place at the venue of the meeting, that actually was in the local felt house – a great opportunity to learn about local craftsmanship, one of the core focus areas of the project. Nordregio, the Leontief Centre and Kazbegi LAG are the three partners of the REVIVAL project, funded by the Swedish Institute.

REVIVAL: exploring regional development in Georgia, Russia and Sweden

On 1-2 November, partners from Nordregio, the Leontief Centre and Kazbegi Local Action Group are gathering to kick-off the REVIVAL project in Kazbegi town, located near Mount Kazbek, one of the highest peaks in Georgia, rising over 5000 meters. This first meeting is a great opportunity to get to know each other, as well as to learn about regional development in Georgia, Russia and Sweden. Two main sessions of the kick-off meeting are based on the workshops organised by Nordregio. They will focus on two main concepts explored in the ESPON Bridges project, namely Transitional Labour Market and Residential Economy. The main expected outcomes of two workshops are to transfer knowledge of these two concepts, to identify areas for case studies that have geographic specificities (mountainous, insular, sparsely populated or coastal) in Georgia and Russia and to prepare a framework for the case study analyses. A study visit in Kazbegi organized by local partners will end the two-day meeting and provide a better perception of this mountainous locality to the Russian and Swedish partners. The REVIVAL project aims at exploring new approaches to study local and regional development in mountainous and sparsely populated areas.

Launch of new local smart specialisation platform for sparsely populated areas

The EU financed REGINA project held its flagship conference in Rovaniemi on Sept 11-12. A new learning platform with development tools for local planners and policymakers was launched at the conference. It aims to empower small communities with resource-based economies to optimize benefits from big socioeconomic changes. The REGINA project involves a broad range of municipalities as well as a series of knowledge partners from the Nordic Arctic and Northern Scottish regions, with Nordregio as the lead partner. The project has not only developed a new local smart specialization framework, but also tested this in the participating municipalities, providing a unique real-life lab for small resource-based communities.  The outcome collected at can now serve as a learning lab for similar communities in the Nordic region and the rest of the world. Empowerment The REGINA project is rooted in the fact that large-scale industrial projects often have a huge importance on the vitality of rural communities in areas that are rich in natural resources. But these communities usually have limited resources to invest in planning and strategic decision-making.  – This project has given us the opportunity to pool our resources together, to learn from one another and share ideas, and to come up with a flexible framework that can be applied in a variety of local contexts, says Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Ryan Weber, who has acted as project lead. –  Our local partners have not only gained new insights to include in their own decision-making, but also contributed to our platform of knowledge and tools that can guide communities facing similar development situations elsewhere, he adds. Three new process management tools have grown out of the REGINA project, to better handle some of the key challenges experienced in remote, sparsely populated areas: changing demographics, land use or other social…

Urban farming in China

Urban agriculture is a hot topic when it comes to promoting food security, resource efficiency and smart, resilient cities. As lead partner in one of the projects developed under a major EU-Chinese research programme on urban agriculture, Nordregio recently visited urban farm sites in China to explore developments there. On behalf of the SiEUGreen project team at Nordregio, Cartographer/GIS Analyst Shinan Wang visited the project’s counterpart in Beijing, the Rural Development Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). The visit also included a tour of one of the two showcases of urban agriculture in China – SanYuan Farm, located 40km away from central Beijing. Balconies and aquaculture San Yuan Farm is a state-owned farm belonging to the Beijing Agricultural Group Co. Ltd. The farm uses modern agricultural technologies such as paper agriculture, (portable) balcony agriculture, and aquaponics. Balcony gardening is one way of bringing agriculture home, so to speak, which is considered as a solution to the conflict between an increasing demand of farming land from the urban population and limited amount of arable land in urban areas due to the strict land use policy in China. Aquaponics is an ecosystem that combines conventional aquaculture with hydroponics – the method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent – where the main challenge now is to find the nutrient balance of the system. Teaching and traveling Education and tourism are important elements in the development of urban agriculture and thus also a part of the work at San Yuan farm. This includes UA-related events, renting arable land to city dwellers who mainly drive there during weekends, and collaboration with primary schools in Beijing to promote agriculture knowledge. Since 2015, the farm has established a stable collaboration with educational institutions, particularly kindergartens. In early…

SiEUGreen kick-off meeting, Oslo

On 16-17 January, Nordregio joined a multi-disciplinary consortium of European and Chinese researchers, technology providers, entrepreneurs, financiers, local and regional authorities and citizen communities at the kick-off meeting of SiEUGreen, a new EU-Chinese cooperation project. The SiEUGreen project seeks to enhance the EU-China cooperation in promoting urban agriculture for food security, resource efficiency and smart, resilient cities. The project includes showcases in Fredrikstad (Norway), Arhus (Denmark), Hatay (Turkey), Beijing (China) and Changsha (China).   Nordregio will lead the work package under the overall project portfolio that focuses on: “Support to institutional and social structures for creating resilient cities with urban agriculture”, as well as contributing to other work packages. During the kick-off meeting, the partners discussed the work on the first task – mapping the available data on the showcase location with respect to land-use, food security, resource efficiency and social inclusion. Nordregio will collect data for the task in collaboration with our partners at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. SiEUGreen is a Horizon 2020 project and will run until the end of 2021.

Nordic Climate Solutions at COP23

Nordregio will participate in the Nordic Climate Solutions Pavilion at COP23, the UN Climate Summit. Nordregio has three events during the first week of the summit, which takes place from November 6-17 in Bonn, Germany. The event programme at the Nordic pavilion, managed by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM), is organized around theme days, with Nordregio contributing to the Bioeconomy Day, the Arctic Day and the Urban-Rural Development Day. The debates there will focus on whether there is a limit to the bioeconomy or if it has unlimited potential to help alleviate the climate crisis, on how we can increase the synergies between the rural and urban areas in terms of sustainable development, and on what it takes to strengthen the involvement of the Arctic population in local decision making made necessary by a changing climate. The two first events are done in co-operation with Nordforsk, the Nordic science and research institution. The Urban-Rural event is organized together with the Norwegian chairmanship of the NCM. The Nordic Council of Ministers has organized a joint Nordic pavilion at the two previous COPs also, starting at COP21 in Paris. There has been widespread interest in hearing about Nordic perspectives on the climate crisis and getting inspiration from Nordic solutions. The event programmes have attracted thousands of participants and many have followed events online also. Read more about COP23 at

28-30 June, NordMap on display as part of UNECE workshop on statistical data

Nordregio’s NordMap-webmapping tool is part of the The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) workshop on statistical data dissemination and communication in Geneva in June. Along with our static maps, Nordregio has also created an online mapping tool NordMap. NordMap displays most of Nordregio’s maps and its interactive features show development over time. Nordregio hosts NordMap and keeps it updated and harmonized with data from national statistics agencies. NordMap was created to serve Nordic actors, like national administration and planners and developers at regional levels, so most of the maps are available and comparative at regional and municipal level. NordMap is developed to be a free and easy to use tool, where you can create maps for your own need and share them online or e.g. print them for a report. Nordregio’s Junior Research Fellow Shinan Wang and Senior Communication Advisor Pipsa Salolammi present NordMap and State of the Nordic Region 2016 at the UNECE workshop which gathers a lot of national statistic agencies together to share good practices. Read more about the workshop: Visit NordMap UNECE is turning 70 years this year. Read more about UNECE here:

8 – 9 March, Nordregio is active on bioeconomy events in Riga

Nordregio’s Research Fellow Anna Berlina participates in the 3rd meeting of the Baltic Sea Region Bioeconomy Council and Bioeconomy Forum discussing about sustainable and innovative practices. 8 March: 3rd meeting of the Baltic Sea Region Bioeconomy Council The main theme of the meeting is how to develop sustainability criteria for the Baltic bioeconomy. The meeting is in two parts – in the first half we hear the views of people from the Nordic Council of Ministers, FAO, CBSS and more but after lunch the Danish think tank Sustainia facilitates a real workshop and dialog about how we can elaborate on the UN Sustainable Development Goals to contribute to a more sustainable bioeconomy in the Baltic Sea Region. The bioeconomy consists of the management of renewable biological resources and their conversion into food, livestock feed, bio-based products and bioenergy via innovative and efficient technologies. It involves tackling major challenges, both now and in the future. These include the sustainable production of sufficient nutritious and safe food for our growing population, developing new and more environmentally friendly sources of energy, and combating global warming, which can have serious consequences both on land and in the oceans. In 2015, the Nordic Bioeconomy Panel was established with the mandate to develop a proposal on a joint Nordic bioeconomy strategy designed to stimulate innovation and support a sustainable transition in the Nordic bioeconomy. As a stepping-stone towards the strategy, the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic Bioeconomy Panel have collaborated with the Danish think-tank Sustainia (Monday Morning) on collecting and categorizing 25 Nordic cases on the ‘new’ Nordic bioeconomy. The publication 25 cases for sustainable change: 9 March: Bioeconomy Forum “Towards a Sustainable and Innovative Bioeconomy” The aim of the Bioeconomy Forum in Riga on 9th March, 2017, is to highlight the venues…

Updating Nordic welfare model: New financing models for social innovation and integration

There are many initiatives emerging from social innovators and entrepreneurs in the Nordic countries as a response to societal welfare challenges. 29 November, representatives from the public, private and third sector met in Oslo to discuss opportunities and constrains of establishing long-term sustainable projects addressing societal challenges. Focus was particularly on integration projects and there are already numerous social innovations that have contributed positively to integrating migrants in the Nordic welfare states. Other just as important focus was the issue of money: How can new financial models be part of this development in the Nordic countries? Successful social innovators and entrepreneurs shared their stories. It has proven that cooperation on ‘neighbourhood economics’ and stimulation of new economic partnerships can mitigate segregation and exclusion of vulnerable groups. State secretary Thor Kleppern from the Labour and welfare department, Norway, emphasized the importance for the public sector to overcome the fear to contravene in institutional regulations and rather focus on how to support the social innovators and entrepreneurs in implementing their ideas for solutions to address current welfare challenges. Next year, Norway is hosting the chairmanship for the Nordic council of ministers and the focus will be on the development of the welfare state. The role of social innovators and social entrepreneurs will be on the agenda. The Norwegian parliament also committed to test and implement Social Impact bonds as a financial tool that focuses on social results. The new tool provides a new approach to improve the social welfare. From Finland, Mika Pyykkö, who is Senior Lead in impact investing in SITRA (The Finnish Innovation Fund ), announced that a new project will be launched, which is focusing on integrating migrants and including them into the labour market. 50 million Euro are being invested by private investors to carry out a tailor…

Nordregio joins the climate discussion at COP22 in Marrakech

The Nordic countries have a joint pavilion at the UN Climate negotiations in Marrakech, November 8-17 2016, under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic pavilion at COP22 will highlight New Nordic Climate Solutions and Nordregio is present in the Arctic theme day 12 November. GREEN INNOVATION ZONE 11 NOVEMBER State of Green, Business Sweden, FinPro and the Nordic Council of Ministers have organised a shared Nordic business pavilion in the green innovation zone at COP22 taking place 7-18 November in Marrakesh. Nordregio’s researcher will participate a panel discussion “Nordic Perspectives on Green Growth”, 11 November 11.00 – 12.00. Focus: Public-Private panel debate aimed at sharing hands-on green growth practices and solutions. The aim is to share perspectives that highlight key characteristics of Nordic green growth, i.e. close public-private collaboration, financing models, solutions and perspectives, designed to be a source of information for businesses and policy-makers alike. ARCTIC DAY 12 NOVEMBER Since much of its territory, both on land and at sea, falls within the Arctic Circle, the Nordic Region is strongly involved in issues that concern this unique and harsh, but also vulnerable area. The Arctic Day at the Nordic Pavilion digs into the latest research and Arctic climate solutions. Nordregio’s researchers Anna Berlina and Lise Smed Olsen are present at the Blue Zone, Nordic pavilion and Nordregio’s Director Kjell Nilsson participates a panel debate at a Nordic-Moroccon seminar on urban development and and gives a morning talk at the Arctic Day on Saturday. 15.45 – 17.15 SESSION 3 – NORDIC SOLUTIONS FOR THE SOCIETY (NordForsk and Nordregio) 16.10-16.45 Sustainable bio-economy in the Nordic Arctic: Implications for regional development policy, Anna Berlina and Lise Smed Olsen The Arctic is thawing! Is there a future for mankind? How can we adapt to new realities? Can research and…

Nordic Geographers Meeting June 18–21 2017: Call for papers is open!

The 7th Nordic Geographers Meeting takes place in Stockholm June 18-21 2017 and submissions of abstracts are now welcome. The theme of 2017’s conference is “Geographies of inequalities”, an interesting topic and perhaps more actual than ever. Some of the topics that will be discussed at the different sessions include social injustices, segregation, climate change, regional and gender inequalities and climate change; all covered by and integrated in the general theme. Researchers from Nordregio will hold five different sessions, you can read about them below. All sessions can be found here. The deadline for abstract submissions is December 15 2016. Sessions held or co-held by researchers from Nordregio: Is there a Nordic ‘planning culture’? Exploring commonalities and differences in times of growing complexity and inequalities From a European perspective, the commonalities of Nordic national planning systems are often emphasized with a focus on the prevailing legal frameworks as well as administrative and political structures. However, such structuralistic perspectives often overlook other more culturally embedded characteristics and cognitive frames that have received increased recognition in recent comparative planning research. It is argued that approaching planning as ‘culturized practices’ can offer valuable insights into the praxis, performance, and perception of planning. In doing so important analytical tasks are to uncover taken-for-granted beliefs, ideologies, normative mindsets, and the ethos among planning professionals in both private and public organizations. Also, it might be fruitful to question the extent to which organizational-led rules and procedures have underpinned how planning practices have evolved over time. In addition, within the Nordic region, we can observe a number of policy experiments currently taking place to respond to urgent societal and spatial challenges such as the introduction of new contractual arrangements, re-scaling of institutional layers, and soft governance approaches. These divergent and/or convergent responses will not be inconsequential in…

25-27 October, launch of the new Interreg project Social Green

The launch and a kick off meeting of a four year project Social Green takes place in Porto, Portugal 25-27 October together with all eight partners from six EU countries. Social Green focuses on developing regional policies towards greening the social housing sector. Social Green is continuation to RE-GREEN project 2012-2014. The Social Green project intends to address the issue of green social housing in order to contribute to reduce the GHG emissions as well as to reduce the fuel poverty indicators in EU regions towards a lower carbon economy. In more concrete terms, Social Green aims promote the greening of the social housing sector through mutual learning and development of improved regional policies. It will provide the opportunity to explore green building practices and significantly reduce GHG emissions through cost-effective means while providing much needed housing in a healthy and sustainable manner. Through interregional cooperation Social Green stakeholder regions will identify, share and transfer innovative methodologies, processes and good practices in developing and implementing greener social housing sector policies, targeting new constructions or retrofitting existing buildings. The partnership includes 8 partners from 6 countries (Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Estonia, Sweden, Romania), with capacity to influence the policy instruments related to greening the social housing sector. Nordregio will be lead partner as well as advisory partner by providing scientific and technical support to the consortium. The other partners, mainly municipalities, energy agencies and Managing Authorities will jointly work in the development of the main project’s activities, mainly to develop a produce regional self-assessment reports and regional action plans.