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.
Social housing – a forbidden issue in Sweden?
”There is no generally accepted definition of what social housing is. However, the smallest common denominators are that it is some form of subsidized housing with lower rents that is, at least partially, allocated to households on lower incomes and not just temporarily, but on long term contracts”, says Senior Research Fellow Anna Granath Hansson in the Swedish speaking radio programme ”Ett eget litet hem” on Sveriges Radio. Anna has just started at Nordregio and her main focus is housing. Social housing exists in the Nordics countries, but the topic is often seen as taboo in the Swedish political discussion. ”In Sweden, we are not used to housing policies that target certain groups. This is something new and often misunderstood. In this program, social housing is compared to social contracts for the most vulnerable. When we look at Nordic and European models, these are often much wider, encompassing also mid-income households.” Listen to the full episode here in Swedish: https://sverigesradio.se/avsnitt/om-hyresratten-social-housing-den-forbjudna-fragan
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.
SHERPA project working towards sustainable multi-actor platforms
Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) arranged a workshop to kick-start the second phase of SHERPA MAPs by introducing new Facilitators and Monitors to the SHERPA tools. The session aimed at ensuring that both experienced and new Facilitators and Monitors have the same information and feel prepared to facilitate and monitor multi-actor platforms (MAPs) – rural interfaces that provide a forum for co-learning and co-creation of knowledge with European, national and regional actors. “Our societies are facing extremely complex problems that are connected to global and interlinked processes, such as climate change, poverty and inequalities. These problems cannot be solved by scientists or politicians alone. It demands different fields of expertise – including citizens and experience-based knowledge – to interact and collaborate for new ideas and innovations “, says Elin Slätmo, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. According to the researcher, if the multi-actor group is open to combining different types of knowledge and experiences, research shows that applying this method to rural areas can help deal with issues of lack of trust between local actors and central governments. Furthermore, it can help create common visions for sustainable regional development with a commitment to implementing and strengthening rural areas’ resilience and economic competitiveness. “There are, however, no recipes for success – adaptation and constant learning and development is crucial for processes, outputs and outcomes to be sustainable “, adds Slätmo. SHERPA is a four-year project with 17 partners, funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by Ecorys in Brussels. The project aims to formulate recommendations to redefine European development policies and research agenda for rural areas. There will be established 40 MAPs for actors from science, society and policy to interact. Nordregio’s role is to develop the theoretical framework for the science-society-policy interface in…
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.
Towards local indicators for active and healthy ageing
The concept of active and healthy ageing refers to maintaining and developing opportunities for health, social participation and security to enhance well-being and quality of life as people age. Nordregio is currently carrying out two closely related projects dealing with Active and Healthy ageing. Nordic Welfare Centre commissions both initiatives, and Senior Research Fellow Mats Stjernberg will present preliminary findings from the study on indicators for Active and Healthy Ageing and welfare technology for seniors at the Nordic Welfare Forum 2021. The main focus in Nordregio´s study on Active and Healthy Ageing is on indicators that allow Nordic comparisons. The project examines what types of relevant indicators currently exist, how these indicators are used in policymaking and the main needs for improvement. “The concepts of active ageing and healthy ageing have become highly placed on the Nordic policy agenda, at the national, regional and municipal level, which means there is a need for relevant indicators on multiple territorial levels. However, one of the current challenges is that the currently existing indicators are not that well-suited for policymaking purposes at the local level. For instance, there is a need for more subjective indicators focusing on self-assessment to better grasp differences among the diverse senior population,” says Mats Stjernberg, who is managing these two projects at Nordregio. A key finding is that municipalities and regions lack a coherent body of statistical indicators to assess the status of active and healthy ageing within their respective boundaries. This is mainly because most of the indicators are produced by supranational institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or Eurostat. Thus, they are focused on the national level but can also in some cases be broken down to the regional or municipal level. Another key finding is that very few indicators exist in…