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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.

New Report: Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a multi-level stress test for the Nordic Region. National pandemic measures have challenged the strong basis of open borders and free movement in Nordic cooperation. Nordregio Researchers Fellows, together with researchers from other institutions, have recently published a report ‘Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions’, drawing attention to the preparedness of the Nordic Region to jointly confront global crises at both national and local levels. The report explores strategies and travel restrictions adopted by four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and studies how the Nordic cooperation functioned in a crisis. At the local level, it examines the economic, labour market and social implications for three cross-border regions, Tornedalen (FI-SE border), Öresund (DK-SE border) and Svinesund (NO-SE border). While there is room for improvement in handling a crisis like the pandemic, the publication finds that there are diverging views on the desirability to have all-Nordic approaches to situations affecting national security. Measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus have taken a toll on society at large. However, the severe impacts observed in border areas have exposed the fragility of communities and businesses located along national borders to global crises.  “Although it is, unsurprising, and perhaps even expected, that each country was to adopt their own national strategy to the pandemic, rather than a joint one; what is most striking, is the blindness towards the social cost of inward-looking policies,” says Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow at Nordregio. Border restrictions undermine all aspects of life and business in border communities. The disruption of people’s lives in border areas has been challenging, frustrating, and a wake-up call to the realities of those choosing a borderless life. Several themes emerge from the cases in these four Nordic countries, including trust, the impact of the measures and border closures,…

New Report: COVID-19 increased the employment gap in the Nordic labour markets

A new study by Nordregio shows that the pandemic has increased social and economic inequalities in the Nordics. In all countries, foreign-born employees have lost their jobs to a larger extent than their native-born peers, especially individuals born outside of the EU, with lower levels of education. But some industries have been thriving during the pandemic and now employ more immigrants than before. The report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” reveals a somewhat complex picture when comparing the Nordic countries, and discusses how to move forward. “Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, were already facing challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets, especially those with low education. The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced these challenges even further. Action is needed to ensure that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic do not end up in a situation of long-term unemployment,” says Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The authors underline the need to quickly reinstate and accelerate on-site vocational training combined with language courses for recently arrived and other unemployed immigrants, to compensate for the less effective online courses offered during the pandemic. If immigrants can obtain skills and competencies that are required or in high demand on the labour market, their chances to find employment should increase. “We can see that many jobs were lost as a consequence of the pandemic, especially in the hospitality and retail industries. But we have also seen an increase in jobs in certain industries, like for instance utilities services. And it seems that the foreign-born population is a substantial part of that increase,” says Oskar Penje, Cartographer at Nordregio. In the report, researchers stress that the current crisis has also underscored the need for uniform social insurance systems. Statistics from Norway show that immigrants from new EU member countries in Central…

Rediscovering the assets of rural areas

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the public attitude toward the rural areas has significantly changed. Peripheries became a refuge for maintaining health, wellbeing, strengthening community ties and local economies. This was clearly highlighted by experts from the Nordic and North Atlantic research organisations in the Nordic Talks discussion hosted by Nordregio. The word “peripherality” is often associated with negative meanings, e.g. under-developed, slow, backward and remote. However, as the study “COVID-19 Economic Impacts & Recovery in the Northern Periphery & Arctic” suggests, the pandemic has challenged the way many see rural and peripheral regions and revealed peripheral factors that have been advantages in the crisis. Well-being and resilient places during the crisis “We have seen for the first time in many years that population is coming back to rural areas for a lot of different reasons. Covid-19 has accelerated that because of the huge amount of extra flexibility in terms of work practices – where people might live and work, how they can combine commuting and working from home,” says Liam Glynn, a practicing GP (community doctor) in an Irish village of just over 250 people, and also Professor of General Practice, School of Medicine at Limerick University, Ireland, and lead partner for the CovidWatch-EU-NPA project. Some factors that define peripherality, such as close-knit communities, adaptation to the challenges of remoteness and pluralistic life and work patterns, have helped peripheral communities to respond more effectively to Covid-19. As Liam Glynn pointed out during the discussion, this response had more positive effects on the health and local economies of rural areas than of many urban centres. Peripherality has demonstrated its resilience factor for local economies. Rural communities have noticed, that many are seeking to move to rural or remote areas as good places to live in. “Our research across the Nordic periphery…

Second-home population needs more attention in Nordic policy and spatial planning

About half the population of the Nordics has access to second-homes and use them during the summer or winter seasons and weekends. Regular retreats to rural areas by people from the towns and cities have an impact on small towns and municipalities. But it is lacking attention in policy and spatial planning. These and other issues facing small towns are analysed in a recently published book “The Routledge Handbook of Small Towns”. Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Dr. Elin Slätmo has contributed with a chapter about urban-rural integration through second-homes. The chapter ”Urban–Rural Linkages” is based on an analysis of Nordic statistics and qualitative fieldwork in five Nordic municipalities. It seeks to investigate if and how second homes and seasonal tourism are being embraced as part of the Nordic spatial planning and policy agenda. It also looks at the implications of second homes and seasonal tourism for urban–rural integration throughout the Nordic region. “There are several ongoing processes that enforce the urban-rural blurring when focusing on second homes in the Nordic countries. The dynamic between the urban and rural is continuously created by activities such as multilocality and mobility towards second homes,” says Dr. E. Slätmo. According to the researcher, it is crucial to actively include the second-home population into local policy and planning. Because these people are using infrastructure and services in the areas they inhabit, and they contribute to the local economy and social life in rural areas. But the variability of the population due to second-home usage or tourism is still largely ignored in policy and spatial planning in the Nordic countries. The book also addresses issues related to the development of small towns and their role for regional growth in different countries. Read the chapter here. The book is available 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…

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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 vaida.razaityte@nordregio.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…

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…

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.

Apply to the Nordic Arctic Co-operation Programme

The Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers has opened up its call for new project applications for financial support in 2021. Deadline for sending in proposals is 1st February 2021 (12:00 CET). The aim of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Cooperation Programme 2018-2021 is to create sustainable and constructive development in the Arctic and for its people based on the four P’s: planet, peoples, prosperity and partnerships. The programme is administered by Nordregio, with one round of applications per programme years.

Stronger cross-border cooperation after the pandemic

Cross-border activities came dramatically to a halt in the spring of 2020 as a result of measures adopted to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. The ability to work, socialise, do business and use services across borders is an integral part of daily life in border communities all across the Nordic countries and Europe. Since the pandemic hit, border communities have faced extraordinary challenges as national borders were suddenly closed and various other restrictions were put in place. These obstacles were at the centre of attention at an online event “Strengthening cross-border communities: Lessons from Covid-19” organised by Nordregio together with the Bothnian Arc and Svinesund cross-border committees on the 12th November 2020. By Páll Tómas Finnsson, Communications consultant at Finnsson & Co Increased awareness of the value of cross-border cooperation “In times of crisis, it’s always possible to find opportunities,” said Martin Guillermo Ramírez, Secretary General of the Association of European Border Regions. He gave a European perspective on the challenges facing border regions, not only because of the pandemic but also in light of political developments such as Brexit and the increasing nationalism throughout Europe. In his talk, Ramírez emphasised that the current challenges should be regarded as an opportunity to further boost cross-border collaboration in the future. “Many of the nation states in Europe decided to close their borders to contain the pandemic, but in some cases, they were reopened less than 24 hours later because of the high level of interaction in the border areas,” he explained. According to Ramírez, the situation has brought the importance of integrated border communities higher up on both the national and European agendas. “This represents an important turn of events, considering that we started the year with the announcement that there would be a budget reduction for cross-border cooperation in…

26 October: Scottish and Nordic lessons on reversing depopulation

Welcome to the webinar 26 October at 17.30 -18.45 (CET) about Scottish and Nordic perspectives on the common objective of repopulating rural and remote areas hosted by Scottish Government. This session will offer Scottish and Nordic perspectives on the common objective of repopulating rural and remote areas, identifying similarities, divergences and opportunities for mutual learning. Discussions will focus on approaches to making rural and remote communities attractive places to move to, live, work and bring up families, to ensure sustainable populations, facilitate inclusive economic growth and support wellbeing. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be multifaceted from a population and migration perspective, with higher mortality rates of an ageing population and international and internal migration flows already impacted in the short-term. Moderator: Jane Craigie – Director, Rural Youth Project Speakers: Fiona Hyslop – Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture Karen Refsgaard – Research Director, Nordregio Timothy Heleniak – Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio Jane Atterton – Manager, Rural Policy Centre, Scotland’s Rural College Martin Shields – Isle of Kerrera Development Trust This event is part of the Scottish Government’s Arctic Connections webinar series. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/rural-and-thriving-scottish-and-nordic-lessons-on-reversing-depopulation-tickets-124069853271?aff=erelpanelorg

Webbseminarium – Återhämtning efter covid-19 på Åland: Kapital och Kompetensförsörjning

Den 9 september bjöd Ålands landskapsregering in till lärandeseminarium som anordnas i samband med utvärderingarna av Landsbygdsutvecklingsprogrammet (LBU) och Strukturfondsprogrammet. Seminariet med namnet ”Återhämtning efter Covid-19 på Åland: Kapital och kompetensförsörjning” behandlade de ekonomiska och sociala konsekvenserna av Covid-19, hur Åland ska återhämta sig med tanke på kapital och kompetensförsörjning samt vad LBU-programmet och strukturfondsprogrammet 2014-2020 och kommande EU program 2021-2027 kan tillföra? Seminariet hade 65 deltagare och modererades av Elin Slätmo och Jukka Teräs, seniora forskare på Nordregio, och författare av utvärderingarna tillsammans med ÅSUB. Diskussionen inleddes med att Sölve Högman och Susanne Strand, byråchefer på Landskapsregeringen gav sina perspektiv på hur LBU- och strukturfondsprogrammet kan stötta återhämtningen på Åland. Enligt Sölve Högman finns det mycket att lära av jordbrukssektorn eftersom resiliens och återhämtning är en del av vardagen för lantbrukarna som varje år påverkas av väder och klimat. Inom LBU-programmet finns därför stöd inbyggda, även om dessa kan behöva omformas för att bli mer långsiktiga. Susanne Strand, ansvarig för strukturfondsprogrammen, menar att Åland, som alla andra stater och områden med EU-program, i nuläget funderar på kommande programperiod och undersöker vad det finns för behov i regionerna. Huvudtalare för seminariet var Peter Wiklöf från Ålandsbanken. Peter Wiklöf förklarade att Åland vanligtvis brukar klara sig bättre genom kriser än fastlandet Finland eller Sverige men att krisen åsamkad av Covid-19 varit annorlunda. Den åländska arbetsmarknaden, med generellt låg arbetslöshet, har fått uppleva permitteringar, framförallt på grund av minskad turism och minskad efterfrågan på varor. Dessa perspektiv bekräftades senare med statistik från Jouko Kinnunen från Ålands statistik- och utredningsbyrå, ÅSUB, som presenterade siffror på hur Ålands ekonomi och arbetsmarknad påverkats av Covid-19. Några slutsatser är att det är turism- och transportsektorn som har drabbats hårdast och att det framförallt är unga på väg in på arbetsmarknaden som påverkas mest. Både Jouko Kinnunen…

Online workshop 24 September: NordMap in a nutshell

We are happy to invite you to the 3rd online NordMap workshop on 24 September at 9 am, where you will get a change to be introduced to NordMap in a nutshell and get familiar with the tool in 30min. During the workshop we will show you how to: Find the statistics and infographics for regions Create maps and share them with others Find similar regions and municipalities Use time series to see change over time Play around with map colours or design map in favoured spectrum   Sign up here: https://www.lyyti.fi/reg/Online_Workshop_NordMap_2_1296 And visit Nordmap here: http://nordmap.org/        

Online workshop 27 August: Learn to make maps in 30min!

NordMap is easy and free to use web-mapping tool – We are happy to show you online on 27 August at 9am, and it only takes about 30min! Are you studying or working with regional development and planning? Or perhaps just interested in regional and municipal differences when it comes to ageing, employment figures or the economy in the Nordic Region? All topics related to State of the Nordic Region are included in NordMap and data continuously updated. NordMap is easy to use and you don’t need any previous mapping experience. Sign up here: https://www.lyyti.in/Online_Workshop_NORDMAP_5794 And visit Nordmap: http://nordmap.org/          

4 February report is out: State of the Nordic Region 2020

State of the Nordic Region 2020 is launched on February 4th, 2020. The report gives you a unique look behind the scenes of the world’s most integrated region, comprised of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, along with Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland. The main authors, Nordregio researchers Julien Grunfelder, Linda Randall and Gustaf Norlén, present the key conclusions from the report here.  Weekly thematic, in-depth and interactive webinars are organized throughout February – sign up here Also, check Nordregio Magazine #1 2020 coming out 5 February with national stories from the report!   The Nordic Council of Ministers has the vision to make the Nordic Region the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. A closer look at the regional and local level reveals how the Nordic Region is developing and moving towards this target. This unique publication is a valuable tool in detecting and analysing the short-term and long-term changes within and between the countries: How are we realizing the vision? And what more should be done? A comprehensive overview of the Nordics The State of the Nordic Region 2020 presents a series of facts and figures showing the current state of play within core socio-economic sectors. This includes: Demography – with chapters on “Births, children and young people”; Migration and mobility”; Ageing as a major demographic trend”. Labour market – with chapters on “The geographies of labour; “The Nordic labour market in 2040”. Economy – with chapters on “Increased income inequality”; “The role of smart specialization”; “the biobased circular economy”. In addition, you can read about: Wellbeing in the Nordics Energy pathways towards a carbon neutral Nordic Region The Regional Potential Index – a socioeconomic ranking of all regions in the Nordic countries Sign up for thematic webinar series based on the report:  DEMOGRAPHY, 12…

New issue of Nordregio Magazine: Jobs for immigrants

The Nordic countries have received more refugees than most other regions in Europe in the last years.Finding jobs for these new citizens is a major challenge, if they end up staying. The latest issue of Nordregio Magazine presents the highlights from a new Nordic report on labour market integration produced by Nordregio for the Nordic Council of Ministers. It includes a series of policy advice and outlines a path towards better integration of immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. Read the magazine

6-8 March ReNEW conference: Sweden and Finland front-runners in naturalisation

The Nordic societies are increasingly multicultural and the number of the population with foreign background is on the rise. Naturalisation is often viewed as “the last step” of the integration process where a person is granted the citizenship of their host country. This year, the 3rd annual ReNEW conference takes place 6-8 March, in Copenhagen and focuses on global challenges and Nordic solutions, discussing also migration and integration in the Nordics. According to a Eurostat study, Sweden is leading among the Nordics, with more than 18% of the population being born outside of its borders and research from 2016 conducted by Nordregio showed that Sweden and Finland are front-runners when it comes to naturalisation rates. But, there are clear disparities among Nordic countries regarding this process and these might be caused by the differences in requirements. For example: Sweden is the only Nordic country that does not require language skills when applying for citizenship, the duration of residence also varies, in Sweden and Finland it being the shortest – five years, while in Denmark, a foreign-born person has to live for nine years before being able to become a citizen. Furthermore, Denmark has passed a law that requires all people applying for citizenship to shake hands with officials during the naturalisation ceremony. ReNEW, which stands for Reimagining Norden in an evolving world, hosts panels on topics that are extremely relevant in the current climate, such as: Nordic cooperation and region building, democracy and governance, public policy, gender equality, multiculturalism, education and other ones. Nordregio Senior Research Fellow, Anna Karlsdottir, will be facilitating the panel on Nordic variation when it comes to the integration of refugees and migrants. Anna will also offer a presentation regarding the naturalisation process and citizenship policies and their particularities across the Nordic countries, based on findings from research conducted…

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…