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Monitoring and assessing digital inclusion in the Nordic-Baltic region

Our Nordic and Baltic societies are becoming more and more digital, where digital skills are required to seek jobs and educational opportunities, use health care services or perform economic activities. This leads to a paradox – causing a higher degree of digital exclusion for those who cannot, or choose not, to use these services. Digital Inclusion in Action launches two significant publications during a launch webinar. The event, led by researchers Sigrid Jessen and Maja Brynteson, unveiled a policy report on national digital inclusion initiatives in the Nordic and Baltic countries and a discussion paper on monitoring practices in these regions. The policy report, co-authored by Nicola Wendt-Lucas, Sigrid Jessen and Maja Brynteson, delves into the national policies and initiatives of the Nordic and Baltic countries concerning digital inclusion. It reveals a substantial increase in initiatives related to digital inclusion, evidenced by the publication of 19 new strategies in less than two years. Despite the lack of a common definition of digital inclusion across these countries, there seems to be a shared understanding of its fundamental aspects, emphasising social justice and inclusion. The report also identifies the primary target groups for digital inclusion as older adults and people with disabilities, with some policies also focusing on immigrants, women, younger adults, and lower-income and education groups. A key takeaway from the report is the necessity for more harmonised monitoring to develop in-depth studies and evidence-based policies. The discussion paper, presented by partners from Digital Europe, Louise Palludan Kampmann and Lasse Wulff Andersen, emphasises the importance of monitoring digital inclusion to understand its scale and to foster evidence-based policymaking. The paper suggests that while the Nordic and Baltic countries have made significant strides in digital inclusion at the policy level, there is a gap in implementing corresponding monitoring practices. Key recommendations from…

Report to ensure gender equality in the Nordic blue economy

The blue economy, including maritime industries like fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, is a vital sector in the Nordic region, and particularly for many coastal communities. However, the participation and representation of women in this sector have lagged behind, raising concerns about gender equality, inclusion and even harassment. A new report from Nordregio sheds light on this issue, offering insightful data and actionable recommendations, is now launched to increase gender equality in the blue economy. The “Ensuring Gender Equality in the Nordic Blue Economy” report, authored by Anna Karlsdóttir and Hjördis Guðmundsdóttir, was launched at Arctic Frontiers in Tromsö, Norway – a conference for science, policy and business in the Arctic region. The report highlights significant strides in gender equality within the Nordic blue economy, but also points out areas needing attention. “The notion of gender, women or equality is, with very few exceptions, absent from literature relate to the blue economy. This needs to be fixed! This lack of prioritizing gender equality is a challenge, not only for women, but for securing local communities along the coast, and creating equitable opportunities for leadership”, Karlsdóttir explains. Nordic Council of Ministers Secretary General Karen Ellemann, opening the joint Nordregio, Nordic Council of Ministers and ProTromsø event at the Arctic Frontiers, emphasised the importance of this research, stating, “Women are significantly underrepresented in the blue economy, and that is a problem for several reasons – not only because gender equality in these sectors boosts sustainability. When women are involved in natural resources, it benefits sustainability.” Harassment and harsh culture a problem for the sector Even though advancements have been made in several sectors, challenges remain – and some challenges come in the shape of sexual harassment. Susanne Mortensen, fisher and author of the opinion piece that set in motion the fishing industry’s Metoo…

Enhancing economic competence in Åland: Insights and strategies for policy enhancement

How can Åland improve its economic competence to manage future challenges? A new policy briefing on the topic emphasises the island’s importance of addressing contemporary megatrends, including demographic shifts, globalisation, digitalisation, and climate change. The article is a contribution to the Centrum Balticum Policy Briefing series and is written by Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and co-author Jukka Teräs at NORCE. Åland, the autonomous region with slightly over 30,000 inhabitants in the Baltic Sea, is both an island economy and strongly interconnected with its neighbours in the global world, for example through international shipping, trade, tourism and international networks. In this policy briefing, the authors explore the implementation of the EU Structural Funds in Åland (2014-2020) and discuss how Åland can improve its economic competence to manage future challenges. The development of firms is closely linked to the macro-level economic development of the region, and to release systemic benefits and foster sustainable development, it is important to analyse current megatrends and engage with stakeholders from different levels of government. Moreover, to improve the organisational, technical and learning capabilities in a small economy such as Åland, attracting talent and competence and fostering place-based solutions is important. Read the policy briefing here.

Unwrapping Generational Delights: Nordic Christmas Care Map Revealed! 

As the year approaches its grand finale, the prospect of holiday relaxation beckons. However, we empathise with parents from whom the jolly chaos of keeping up with little ones can sometimes make you yearn for the tranquillity of your regular day job. Fear not! In some parts of our Nordic Region, help is closer than you might think.  Nordregio presents: The Generational Guardian Map  Our research led us to discover hidden corners in the Nordics, where the magic of Christmas care unfolds in a delightful generational dance. Here’s your sneak peek into the heartwarming narrative of our “Generational Guardian Map.”  As it turns out, the Generational Guardian heatmap puts the spotlight on Värmdö, Täby, Stockholm, Solna, Älmhult and Växjö in Sweden; Tårnby, Høje-Taastrup and Rødovre in Denmark; Ii, Laukaa, Sipoo in Finland; Lemland in Åland, Grimstad, Vegårshei, Hægebostad, Hareid, Frøya, Overhalla and Bodø in Norway; Borgarbyggð and Vestmannaeyjabær in Iceland; Vágar in Faroe Islands; and Kujalleq in Greenland. In other words: this is where you, parents of young children, can ensure your Christmas is not only festive but restful too.   Mapping Generational Harmony  Imagine a village where the wisdom of grandparents intertwines seamlessly with the laughter of children, creating a Nordic symphony of care.   Our GIS and demographic data have artfully painted this blissful image, to guide you to the corners where the elderly step in to look after the little ones, and where no senior is left alone for the holidays. This map is our gift to you – a ticket to a Christmas where generations unite to make the holidays truly enchanting.  Let’s decipher the ratios that paint a picture of the interplay between the elderly and the young in Nordic municipalities.  The map ingeniously displays the ratio of elderly individuals to children, acting as a key to…

Young people in the Nordic countries demand changes for sustainability

On November 1-3, 2023, a youth conference took place as part of the Education for Sustainability project, led by Rannís on behalf of the Nordic Council of Ministers in collaboration with Samfés. Over 70 young people from all Nordic countries and autonomous regions of the Nordic countries attended the conference. The topic of the conference was to hear the voices of young people and get their opinions on how schools address sustainability and how sustainability can be integrated with the existing curriculum. The young people who attended the conference worked together in workshops and came to a conclusion about the steps they believe are essential for a sustainable future. They emphasized that, first and foremost, information and skills are required in order to address the challenges that society faces. They wanted to do this by creating a special subject that deals with sustainability alone but also emphasised that the skills and abilities of teachers in the field need to be strengthened. Their third suggestion was to give students and young people further opportunities to have an impact on their own future and express their views. The results were presented to the Minister of Education and Children, Ásmundur Einar Daðason, at a formal event. In the picture, the minister receives the group’s results. The visiting youth also had the chance to connect and explore Iceland through a variety of formal and informal programs, with a focus on experiencing Icelandic culture and nature. Iceland holds the presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, and this event was part of Iceland’s presidency plan. Here, you can access the results of the group: Young people and the future Education for Sustainable development The project Education for sustainability has established a cooperation network in and between the Nordic countries that works to integrate sustainability into…

With Black Friday around the corner, the Nordic Co-operation urges consumers to be mindful of their spending

Did you know that people in the Nordics buy more clothes than the rest of the world and our consumption has increased by 40 % during the last 20 years? The Nordic countries often pride themselves on their climate actions, yet we continue to consume textiles in an unsustainable way. Textile production accounts for 10 % of global carbon emissions, exceeding those from international flights and maritime shipping. And the Nordic countries are no exception. The average person in the Nordic Region buys and wears an astonishing amount of clothing each year: Between 26 and 48 garments per person. We throw away around 11 kilograms of textiles every year, with less than 1 % being recycled. The first step one can take is to have a look in one’s own wardrobe, says Swedish sustainable fashion expert Jennie Dahlén “Most people own a lot of clothes with the average Swedish wardrobe containing about 160 items. It’s important to make the most of what we already have and get better at styling and utilizing the clothes we own.” There is a need for a paradigm shift Upcycling, mending, swapping, and borrowing clothes with each other are other strategies Dahlén advocates for. But we also need to change our perception of consumption. “Everything around us signals that we should consume more. We need to show that this isn’t necessary. Instead, we could be more creative and experiment with our personal style.” Regarding necessary legislation for a more sustainable fashion industry, Dahlén points to upcoming EU laws and Swedish efforts to manage textile waste. “It’s crucial to remove the worst-quality clothing from the market and design products that last,” she argues, suggesting economic incentives for repair and recycling over new purchases. Look for the Nordic Swan Ecolabel when you buy something new When it…

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Nordregio becomes the center for all Nordic Statistics within the Nordic cooperation

From October 1st, Nordregio takes on the task of managing the Nordic Statistics database, bringing the most relevant statistics competences together under one organisation. “This is a tremendous new role that Nordregio is uniquely suited to adopt into our portfolio of competencies, as we have brilliant research staff who regularly apply and make insights based on statistics about the Nordic region for the benefit of further knowledge and cooperation.” Rolf Elmer, Director of Nordregio. Taking over from the Nordic Council secretariat, the task consists of counselling, communicating, creating activities and initiatives surrounding statistics projects. Nordregio continues to represent the secretariat which has stressed that it is important that the statistics work happens in a professional and highly collaborative environment of experts. This is why they identified Nordregio as the obvious choice and decided to place the function there. Nordic Statistics is a collection of comparative Nordic statistics which has existed and been funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers since the mid-1960s. The data is gathered from the Nordic Statistical Institutes (NSIs), the Nordic Health and Welfare Statistics database maintained by the Nomesco-Nososco committees, other Nordic statistics producers as well as international sources such as Eurostat, OECD and the UN. Since 2016, the secretariat has had a statistics function, primarily for employees at Nordic House, but also more generally for statistics and analyses within Nordic co-operation. The current Nordic Statistics database has been developed and maintained by Statisticon since 2018. At Nordregio, the statistics work can be carried out in collaboration with other experts in a research-based and statistical environment. This will ensure a broader knowledge and strengthen the quality of the statistical work across the Nordics. For a quarter of a century Nordregio has been the prime research source for regional and municipal analysis and data in the Nordics. Nordregio will…

The Nordic Rural Youth Panel publishes 40 action points for making rural areas attractive for youth

Many rural municipalities are experiencing population loss as young people move away, without returning. Is there a way to attract young people to stay and move back to Nordic rural areas? Yes, if you improve public transportation, offer diverse housing options and dynamic educational opportunities connected to the local job market, says the Nordic Rural Youth Panel. There’s a belief among youth that success and a good life are only achievable by moving to a city, which can make rural places feel less valued. However, there’s a growing interest in changing this narrative and showing that rural areas are full of opportunities. To combat stagnation in Nordic rural areas, 25 young people from the Nordic Region came together in a Nordic Rural Youth Panel to discuss key solutions for making rural areas more attractive to youth. They offer concrete action points for policymakers and decision-makers in rural areas and push for changes that would make young people want to stay and build their lives there. “We believe their suggestions can play a part in bringing life and vitality back to these rural communities”, says Research Fellow Mari Wøien Meijer who has been leading the project at Nordregio. The Nordic Rural Youth Panel is calling for affordable and efficient public transportation, advocating for diverse and affordable housing options, and demanding dynamic educational opportunities with clear pathways to the local job market, including innovative remote work solutions. They also highlight the need for public spaces and activities that bring people together, helping to create strong community ties. The panel’s recommendations are unique and represent a great opportunity for policymakers to get first-hand information directly from young people. The young people themselves have been involved in setting the agenda from the beginning and have worked together on the themes and recommendations during several…

How will climate policies hit Nordic wallets and welfare in the future?

How we consume, how we travel, how we heat our homes. Many far-reaching changes will be necessary to prevent further climate change. But who will end up paying for them? Spanning across timezones and academic fields, Nordregio launched the report with a widely anticipated online event last week, with the title: “What impact do climate change policies have on Nordic economies, industries, and households?”  The newly launched report is the first of four parts to the project Ensuring Inclusive Growth in the Transition to a Green Economy (EnIGG). The primary focus of this project is to look closer at vulnerable regions and population groups in a time where Nordic economies face grand transitions and looming climate change realities. Ambitious climate goals will not be met for free, but who will pay the highest price for them? This question was the central theme of the launch event. The report is based on a complex model that measures the impact of climate policies on GDP, industry outputs, employment and cost of living at national and regional levels.  The model, called Nordic-TERM, is a newly developed and covers almost the entire Nordic Region.  Professors Peter B Dixon and Maureen Rimmer demonstrated this model by showing the audience what happens when you estimate the impact of  three central greenhouse policies: The key finding is that ambitious climate policies related to transport and energy can be implemented without causing significant disruptions to the Nordic economies. With the exception of Sweden, these policies would not be sufficient to meet climate targets, but they would go a long way in reducing emissions without significant sectoral or structural effects. Ending the presentation with this insightful perspective on the value of this report, the audience was led straight into the panel debate, moderated by Kirsi Heikel, renowned journalist and…

The Nordic fashion paradox: We consume too much despite strong climate awareness

The Nordic countries often pride themselves on their climate actions, yet the reality paints a contrasting picture: Nordic consumers live like we have 4.2 Earths at our disposal. While adopting solar panels, vegan diets, and choosing train travel are commendable, did you know your wardrobe can be a major environmental villain?  “Designed to become forever favourites” is an example of a slogan on Nordic clothing web shops, encouraging consumers to view their purchases as long-term additions to their wardrobes. However, these “cornerstones” are paradoxically expected to be updated quarterly, highlighting a disconnect between marketed sustainability and actual consumer practices. From a global perspective, the Nordic countries stand out when looking at how we consume textiles. In the last 20 years, there has been a notable increase in textile consumption, surpassing the global average. The average person in the Nordic region buys and wears an astonishing amount of clothing each year: between 26 and 48 garments per person. The average Swede buys 40 % more clothes now than in 2000 and throws away around 11 kilograms of textiles every year, with less than 1% being recycled. The lifespan of our clothes is getting shorter, and low-priced garments are discarded after being worn only a few times. Unsold and returned clothes are sometimes burnt or shipped to landfills in lower-income countries outside the EU. Textile production is a major contributor to global pollution, accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions. This surpasses the combined emissions from international flights and maritime shipping. It is clear that there is an urgent need for change, both within the industry and in our consumer behaviour. Gen Z’s Fashion Paradox: Striking a Balance Between Style and Sustainability However, there’s a glimmer of change among Generation Z, with a fondness for second-hand fashion and heightened environmental awareness. The…

Nordregio at 5G Techritory – for a connected and digitally inclusive region

5G Techritory Forum in Riga is a forum that brings together the key players in digital innovation and connectivity in Europe – so of course, Nordregio was present to share our latest work. This two-day event, held from October 18th to 19th, was themed “5G in Action”. We took the opportunity to officially launch the 5G Data Hub! Nordregio’s DigiHub, that hosts the 5G Data Hub, offers a platform for our two research projects on the mission to strengthen the Nordic and Baltic region’s connectivity: The Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring tool project and Digital Inclusion in Action. Both projects were represented at Techritory to connect with, and enlighten, stakeholders, partners and potential target groups. Launch of the 5G Data Hub Ana de Jesus, Senior Research Fellow and project manager of our 5G project, officially launched the 5G Nordic-Baltic Monitoring Tool during a launch session. The 5G Data Hub presents a dashboard on 5G in the Nordic-Baltic region that goes beyond observation, showcasing real-world applications across various sectors, offering insights into 5G coverage, testbeds, analytics, and enabling comparisons of 5G activities across the region. What’s more, it’s an open platform where new use cases can be submitted, allowing all users to shape the tool by filling in this form! Watch the launch session here. “The main goal is to have this evidence-based analytics dashboard.” Ana de Jesus “Nordic Council of Ministers, and Nordregio, have a vision for 2030: for the Nordic Region to be most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. This project aims to help the fulfilment of that vision. The main goal is to have this evidence-based analytics dashboard. By doing so, we are fostering knowledge dissemination, innovation and collaboration”, de Jesus declared. During the event, the 5G Nordic-Baltic Monitoring Tool wasn’t just presented; it engaged the community in an interactive session. More than 25 attendees had the opportunity…

eMSP NBSR – towards integrated and ecosystem based ocean governance

In a world struggling with climate change, biodiversity loss and political uncertainty, problems and paths towards sustainable marine solutions are increasingly complex. In order to further study and develop approaches attempting to tackle challenges, Nordregio is a partner in the EU project “Emerging Ecosystem-based Maritime Spatial Planning Topics in the North and Baltic Sea Regions” – eMSP NBSR. The eMSP NBSR project gathers policymakers, practitioners, and researchers of 15 partner organisations from 9 countries and regions. Together, we seek to promote better integrated ocean governance, facilitate learning across use sectors and marine basins, and collaboratively develop strategies to promote a more sustainable use of our shared oceans. Solutions involve numerous actors with different ambitions and mandates, which increases the complexity. By developing capacity for implementing marine/maritime spatial planning and learning across sea basins in the North and Baltic Sea Regions, the project aims to promote a more integrated and long-term sustainable governance. Synthesis workshops and crunch time In the third week of September, Nordregio hosted an international synthesis workshop aimed at advancing the work with eMSP NBSR. The workshop also aimed to draw lessons learned from testing a collaborative learning approach to work with complex issues in marine governance. During the two intensive and interactive workshop days, the participants worked to fine-tune the seven policy briefs – completed by 80% when arriving at Nordregio’s office and crunched towards completion. eMSP NBSR project – a testbed for communities of practice  eMSP NBSR is built around so-called Communities of Practices (CoPs), as a working method and focuses on five critical topics: Ocean Governance, Integrating an Ecosystem-based Approach in Marine Spatial Planning, Sustainable Blue Economy, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Data and Knowledge Sharing. CoPs are an open problem and participant driven form of collaboration that can complement the existing formal procedures and help break…

Nordic youth panel recommendations shared with regional ministers and the OECD at recent events

How can rural areas become attractive for youth? The Nordic Youth Panel has the answer. The panel’s recommendations were presented at a recent webinar on regional attractiveness organized by OECD, and for the Nordic Ministers of Regional Affairs in Reykjavik during a meeting last week. Research Fellow Mari Wøien Meijer had the possibility to present the work of the Nordic Youth Panel during the webinar “Enhancing regional attractiveness for resilient development: a dialogue amongst practitioners”. The webinar was arranged by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities and gathered various practitioners and experts to discuss enhancing regional attractiveness for resilient development. The event aligned with the OECD’s ongoing efforts to understand and promote regional attractiveness due to evolving global challenges like climate change, technological shifts, and the quest for more strategic globalisation objectives. Key drivers of regional attractiveness are attracting talent, investors and visitors to regions grappling with challenges like outmigration. In the Nordic region, many rural municipalities face demographic challenges with ageing populations and the migration of young people to urban areas, resulting in less diverse labour markets and services. Adapting to these trends while attracting young residents is challenging due to the superior educational and employment opportunities in cities. This situation leads to reduced funding for services, especially for the elderly and youth, further diminishing the appeal of rural areas and creating a vicious cycle of decline. What can we do to make rural areas more attractive for young people? Key areas of focus as identified by the Nordic Rural Youth Panel include improved transportation options, affordable and diverse housing, accessible education linked to local labour markets, mental and physical health support, funding for public meeting spaces, and communication using accessible language and platforms. “The Nordic region’s aim is to become the world’s most sustainable and…

Nordregio participates in the 5G Techritory

The Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring Tool project will launch the 5G Data Hub during a session at the 5G Techritory event on 18-19 October. Join us and be among the first to explore its capabilities! The Digital Inclusion project will participate in a panel discussing digital accessibility and challenges and opportunities related to compliance. The 5G Techritory on 18-19 October gathers 5G specialists to discuss and strategize about 5G development in Europe and beyond. This year’s theme is “5G in Action,” with discussions covering topics such as defense communications, Open RAN, and the metaverse. The event is organized in Riga and online and is open for registration to all interested participants. Highlights from the 5G Techritory programme: Panel discussion on digital accessibility, 18 October, 13:00 – 13:30, Policy & Strategy Stage Sigrid Jessen, Research Fellow at Nordregio, will participate in the panel discussion on digital accessibility. This session will focus on the current state of digital accessibility, the necessary actions to be taken, and the shared responsibilities among stakeholders in ensuring comprehensive digital accessibility. Our panelists, consisting of experts in accessibility, policy, and technology, will examine the key challenges and opportunities associated with achieving digital accessibility compliance. Gain valuable insights into the implications of the European Accessibility Directive, its requirements, and the roles of various entities in promoting inclusivity and equal access in the digital realm. This session will be streamed on live.5gtechritory.com. Mapping 5G in the Nordic-Baltic countries – Key insights from the Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring Tool project, 18 October, 17:30 – 17:50, Policy & Strategy Stage Initiated in 2021, the Nordic-Baltic 5G Monitoring project aimed to contribute to the development of a more integrated, connected, and inclusive Nordic Region. We developed an analytical tool to track 5G progress, going beyond mapping to showcase actual applications across various sectors. As we approach…

Nordic rural areas: Just tools or true beneficiaries in green energy projects?

Green transitions in the Nordics are reshaping the landscape of renewable energy and sustainability. As the push for green transitions grows stronger, rural communities face a question: Are they just tools for national objectives, or do they genuinely benefit from these changes? A new Nordregio report delves deep into the heart of the matter, examining the dynamics of justice, local value, and the role of renewable energy projects. Can local value creation induce a sense of justice during green transitions? A study of six rural areas in Denmark, Finland, and Norway The accelerating impacts of climate change, the need to adapt to changing economic and political realities, and the recent energy crisis have made the green transition something that most Nordic citizens acknowledge. However, especially rural areas and their communities are at risk of being reduced to passive instruments of national green transition measures featuring heavy land-use. These conditions make it very difficult to create a sense of justness in green transitions, leading to growing sense of alienation and resentment and putting the national climate goals in danger. From this starting point, the case studies of the research project Just Green Transition on Rural Areas: Local Benefits from Value Creation set out to examine what kind of benefits would generate value from green transition measures in the direct impact zone of new energy projects. The case studies took place in three Nordic countries and six locations: in Northern Ostrobothnia and Northern Central Finland of Finland, involving wind power and land use planning; in Nord-Fron and Nord-Odal in Norway, involving both wind power and strategic sustainability work; and in Skive and Bornholm of Denmark, involving a hybrid mix of renewable energy sources in the context of industrial park development. Big decisions about green energy often overlook what locals really need. Unrealistic…

Zooming in on Gen Z: What’s next for the Nordic Region?

The upcoming Nordregio Forum 2023, set to take place in Reykjavík and online in October, turns the spotlight on the young generation of the Nordic region. This year’s forum aims to delve into the perspectives of young Nordics, as they navigate career choices, sustainability challenges, and where to settle down. The choices of these young individuals will significantly influence the Nordic region’s future development. Given this, understanding their aspirations, mobility trends, and views on sustainability is crucial for integrating their perspectives into effective policymaking and planning. During the event, young representatives participate in panel discussions to elevate the opinions of youth on topics such as ‘Youth as partners in the green transition – building sustainable communities’ and ‘What does GenZ need to stay in the Nordics? Nordregio Forum serves as an essential gathering for professionals and policymakers in the Nordic countries, offering a platform to discuss regional, rural, and urban development, share knowledge, and influence policy agendas. “This year’s Nordregio Forum is not just about recognizing the fresh ideas from our youth. It’s crucial we bring them to the decision-making table, ensuring their voices are not just heard but are influential. We are actively working with them for a sustainable Nordic future”, says Rolf Elmér, Director of Nordregio. The event is slated for October 17th, 2023, with physical participation at Iðnó in Reykjavík, while a broader audience can join online. As youth prepare to shape the region’s direction, the forum presents a unique chance to listen to their voices and weave their insights into upcoming strategies. Registration is currently open for those keen to join the dialogue and shape the Nordic region’s path forward. Summary of Nordregio Forum 2023 Programme: Opening remarks by the moderator and Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, the Icelandic Minister of Infrastructure Session 1: Entering the Nordic labour market…

Are tenures between owning and renting a solution for those struggling to enter the housing market?

Skyrocketing housing prices mean that those who wish to buy a home ­- either because they have an explicit wish to own their home or because they do not get access to the rental market – often have to save up large sums for a down payment. This might be a challenge for young people and others with limited savings, such as lone parents, divorcees and pensioners. In a first publication in the Oslo Metropolitan University-led project Strategic Housing, a joint study between Nordregio and KTH looks into Swedish housing models between renting and owning. Two shared ownership and two cooperative rental models are analysed from legal and economic perspectives to see to what extent and subject to what risks these intermediary tenures add to housing opportunities of lower and mid-income groups. Findings indicate that buyers benefitting from the models are mainly medium-income households without large enough savings to buy into the regular housing market. For these households, the concepts might be an opportunity to access housing they could otherwise not aspire to. However, legal and financial literacy among buyers is partly limited, which should be addressed as far as possible by developers going forward. Further, legal considerations in relation to agreements in the shared ownership models and untested new variants of cooperative rental might arise as models are used and tested in the coming years. The obstacles preventing developers from expanding the concepts, mainly access to land and financing, can only be addressed by interested municipalities and financial institutions. An extensive information effort by developers and successful projects are probably needed to move towards recognition and institutionalization of the concepts. The full research paper has been published open access in the Nordic Journal of Urban Studies. Hear Anna Granath Hansson in the radio programme Plånboken on P1 and Bopolpodden.

How to boost labour market mobility across the Nordics?

Did you know that less than 2% work in another Nordic country than the one where they were born, and only 0.5 % commute over a Nordic border for work? The opportunity to work in another Nordic country has existed for over 70 years. However, the labour market mobility in the Nordic region is lower than the EU average. “Cross-border labour market mobility is extensive in certain areas, for example, the Öresund region. To achieve the Nordic vision, labour market mobility should be facilitated on a much larger scale,” says Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. To understand the phenomenon better, Nordregio researchers analysed the labour market mobility, opportunities and obstacles in various ways – through publicly available statistics, interviews with people with labour market experience across the Nordics and a workshop including policymakers. “Everyone seems to know the benefits and great possibilities of Nordic labour mobility. The policymakers are also familiar with the main obstacles that relevant stakeholders at the border regions have pointed out for years. Still, a political commitment at the highest levels seems lacking regarding Nordic mobility. In times of crisis, this becomes particularly clear,” says Ágúst Bogason, one of the researchers behind the study. He bases this assumption on the results of close to 40 interviews with relevant stakeholders on both sides of three Nordic border regions. What’s the scope of the Nordic competence mobility? Why do Nordic people choose to work in another Nordic country? The story map “Competence Mobility” examines why people choose to work in another Nordic country and why not. Welcome to explore facts about the Nordic labour market mobility and stories of people experiencing Nordic labour market mobility in Greater Copenhagen, Greenland and Vestfold Telemark. How could policies steer the Nordic labour market mobility? About the project The project…

Nordic transport infrastructure: how to strengthen the cross-border planning?

Transport infrastructure, historically, has been a cornerstone for industrialisation, economic growth, regional development and labour market mobility in the Nordic Region. Despite the ambitious Nordic vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world and the increasing need for cross-border transport infrastructure, several studies point to difficulties and challenges regarding the Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning. Nordregio and Umeå University researchers conducted a project analysing how to strengthen the cross-border planning practices across the Nordics, based on interviews with transport infrastructure planners and the desk study comparing planning systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The project results will be presented and discussed on 20 June in the webinar organised by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). Cross-border transport planning experiences in the Nordics 20 June: How can cross-border planning of the transport infrastructure be strengthened in the Nordic region? The Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning topic will be discussed in the webinar organised by Trafikverket on 20 June. Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and the project manager, will present the study, cross-border challenges and opportunities. The study and planning practices will be discussed by Stefan Engdahl, Planning Director, Maria Öberg, Strategic planner at Trafikverket, and Maria Stockhaus, Member of the Swedish Parliament, member of the Transport Committee and the Nordic Council’s Swedish delegation. The event will be held in Swedish. Registration is open by 20 June. About the project NORDINFRA (Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination) is a research project that aims to increase knowledge about cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region. The project sets out not only to identify barriers to cross-border transport infrastructure planning but also to highlight opportunities and propose measures to facilitate cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The project is led by Nordregio and conducted…

Launch of the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region

The Nordic and Baltic countries are among the most digitalised and innovative in the world. To leverage our competitive advantage, the ambition is for the region to continue its digital integration. Our vision for the Nordic-Baltic region is that it becomes the most integrated region in the world. To achieve this, collaboration on digital solutions is essential. Welcome to the Nordic-Baltic DigiHub: For a connected and digitally inclusive region! While many successful projects, use cases and trials are already taking place in the Nordic-Baltic region within digital development and integration, access to information is difficult to get and is scattered over several means of dissemination. “We identified a need to showcase more of what is being done when addressing these questions, in a common platform, to enable existing knowledge to be shared and to become more accessible. With these considerations in mind, the Nordic-Baltic Digital Hub was initiated”, says Nordregio researcher Ana de Jesus. The Nordic-Baltic DigiHub is a shared platform that showcases the projects “Digital inclusion in action” and “The Nordic-Baltic 5G monitoring tool” funded by The Nordic Council of Ministers and run by Nordregio. “The hub aims to promote collaboration, digital integration, and sustainable development in the region by sharing knowledge, tools, research, and facilitating exchanges among stakeholders. It focuses on addressing key questions related to emerging digital technologies, environmental impact, societal challenges, and aligning innovation with societal needs”, says Nordregio researcher Nicola Wendt-Lucas. The goal is to support a green, competitive, and socially sustainable digital transformation in the Nordic and Baltic countries, in line with their vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world by 2030.