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Locally produced energy: Solar energy on the rooftops in Nacka and a windmill park in Bornholm

The project Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems explores how local engagement can facilitate the transition towards green energy production. In this article, you can take a deep dive into two of the project’s cases: a housing cooperation in Nacka, Sweden, with an annual production of up to 500,000-540,000 kWh from solar panels, and an offshore windmill park in Bornholm, Denmark, with the aim to make the whole island self-sufficient on renewable energy. The project has conducted field research during 2022, and below, you can read about two of the cases: Igelbodaplatån in Nacka, Sweden, and Bornholms havvind in Bornholm, Denmark.  Igelblodaplatån, Nacka  The housing cooperative Brf Igelbodaplatån in Nacka, Sweden, was constructed in the late 1960s and consists of about 450 apartments. In the past decade, it has undergone a few energy projects, among others, an installation of solar panels on all six housing units’ rooftops in 2020. In total, it produces up to 500,000-540,000 kWh per year. Brf Igelbodaplatån is the 52nd-largest facilitation of solar energy production in all of Sweden. All households in the housing cooperatives jointly owns the housing cooperative which means that all residents together own the energy projects such as the solar panel production through their indirect ownership in their apartments. Bornholms Havvind On the Danish island of Bornholm, a group of local citizens has initiated a large-scale renewable energy project: Bornholms Havvind: 100% lokalt- og folkeejet – Bornholm Offshore Wind: 100% locally and citizen-owned. The goal is to establish a 100 MW offshore windmill park off the coast of Bornholm that will be 100% owned by local citizens, companies, and organizations. The aim is to make the island, with around 40.000 citizens, self-sufficient in renewable energy, where the projected increase of energy consumption in the years to come is taken into account. With…

Nordic municipalities are taking local SDG action  

On 13-14 October, Nordic municipalities and organisations came to Nordregio for a two-day event of peer-to-peer workshops and matchmaking sessions. Together, the representatives joined forces to establish roadmaps for different SDG partnerships over the next six months. Some municipalities will test different stakeholder engagement methods together and share best practices, others will dive into municipal processes and how to improve information-based decision-making. The event preparation goes back to June 2022, when Nordregio sent out a survey to Nordic municipalities, asking how they are progressing with their local Agenda 2030 implementation and what kind of support is still needed. The responses indicated a clear demand for a workshop with a hands-on approach. Therefore, the programme was tailored to avoid PowerPoint marathons but rather focused on dialogue-based workshops about selected topics. These included governance and steering, citizen and other stakeholder engagement, indicators and monitoring, climate policies and the SDGs. Some of the tools that were explored during the workshops also included the Swedish Kolada indicator set, the SDG sensemaking tool developed by the City of Espoo and the SDG impact assessment tool from the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development/SDSN Northern Europe. On the second day, representatives from the municipalities were matched according to indicated level of local ‘SDG status’, and geography, and with emphasis on a balanced Nordic mix to explore potential partnerships. The sessions allowed the groups to deepen their knowledge exchange, and at the same time co-create different roadmaps for the coming six months. They committed to meeting from time to time and sharing respective learnings on ongoing SDG activities and efforts. In parallel, representatives from the Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic associations of local authorities and regions and other Nordic networks also had a dedicated workshop to strengthen their collaboration on some joint priority areas across the countries. Even though actors at the local level…

Nordregio presented three research projects on remote work, community resilience, and infrastructure at the Arctic circle conference

Nordregio researchers Ágúst Bogason, Anna Karlsdóttir, and Timothy Heleniak presented at the Arctic circle conference on 13-16 October in Reykjavík. They participated in several sessions and shared Nordregio’s research on remote work and arctic issues. Bogason presented in the session “Remote Areas: A Window Of Opportunity” organized by NORA (the Nordic Atlantic Cooperation), with speakers from the Faroe Islands and the islands of Scotland. The researcher introduced the results of Nordregio’s project on remote work and multilocality. According to Bogason, the preliminary results do, in many ways, fit the narrative we heard first-hand from the peripheral areas and remote places: they have vast opportunities. Optimism and innovative solutions are paving the way for a future where traditional challenges of rural communities are being re-defined as strengths and benefits. “Nordregio’s research results suggest that there is optimism among the planners and policymakers in the rural regions that increased remote work and multi-local living can contribute to developing more sustainable peripheral regions. While the results also show an increased willingness of people to move to more remote areas while continuing their work, either remotely or by dividing their time between two or more places. In this way, remote work gives rural regions more possibilities as they can often offer different things than urban areas”, said Bogason. Heleniak presented a publication, “Island hopping: infrastructure development in the Faroe Islands,” in the session “Arctic transport infrastructures and sustainable communities.”  “The building of bridges and especially sub-sea tunnels have linked outer-lying settlements to the capital of Tórshavn, making it much easier to live outside Tórshavn and travel there for work or other purposes. However, the population has become quite car-dependent, as is the case in many periphery regions of the Arctic”, said Heleniak presenting the research. Karlsdóttir participated in a session “The Revenge of Geopolitics:…

Exploring the bioeconomy status quo in the Baltics

The BioBaltic project has published a storymap series that overviews the bioeconomy development in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition of utilizing them for generating social and economic benefits through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as in manufacturing and related sectors such as tourism. As we transition into a green economy, there is a huge potential for innovation to develop new goods and services from biological resources while creating value locally. In the past year, the project partners across the Baltics have investigated the state of the art of bioeconomy and developed their visions for further bioeconomy development. Their learnings have been summarised in the following storymaps. Press on the picture to access the storymaps: About the project The BioBaltic project provides a platform for generating awareness of different bioeconomy models through peer-to-peer learning and building networks across Baltic and Nordic countries. This collaboration will enable knowledge generation and exchange on different aspects of the bioeconomy transition, including financing aspects, industrial partnerships and symbiosis or the opportunities of digitalisation. Project partners from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are running so-called “Mobile Learning Hubs” and the overall project is coordinated by Nordregio. Funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the project runs from October 2021 until September 2023.

Stavanger invests in green parks to improve people’s health

In Norway, the city of Stavanger is on a mission to improve its citizens’ health and quality of life with new green spaces. The most ambitious plan revolves around a new park on the Stavanger seafront but the workplan also includes the redesign of a public park and schoolyard. The city’s inspiration has come foremost from Alnarp rehabilitation garden, a unique Swedish garden dating back to the 1980s. It was established by the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences to improve mental and physical health through holistic design. The city is working with the NORDGREEN project to understand how the methods and frameworks used in Alnarp garden serve the health and well-being of its users, and how this knowledge can be transferred to the projects in Stavanger. “We chose three development projects which let us scale up the ideas from the rehabilitation garden, specifically create comfortable and well-designed environments that use the existing qualities as a starting point and attract investments,” says landscape architect Martina Andersson from the city of Stavanger. Stavanger is also working together with researchers in the NORDGREEN project to stress test and compare an evidence-based framework tool with its design methods. The evidence-based design will help the city to create spaces that serve the needs of both people and nature. “We will further develop the design tool to help cities in their green space planning, based on different frameworks of green space and health analysis. We will also develop a handbook for practitioners on health and green space planning in Nordic cities”, says researcher Anna Bengtsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and part of the NORDGREEN project. Three green space projects with many demands Creating green spaces is surprisingly complex. As Andersson summarises, “Thorough research is important because we need good arguments to acquire green areas that…

Can local ownership facilitate the transition towards greener energy systems? Highly topical research project maps out possibilities and challenges

The interest towards the supply of energy resources and, above all, a transition to a more sustainable energy production, is bigger than ever. Many private citizens, municipalities, cities, companies, and housing associations are asking themselves how they could secure their own energy production through the use of local forces. The project Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems explores how local engagement can facilitate the transition towards green energy production. – The goal of the project is to form a solid understanding of the complexity and potential of local ownership in the energy transition, says Senior Research Fellow Elin Slätmo at Nordregio. Slätmo says that the project aims to cover different energy-related projects from various locations around Sweden and explore how local ownership can be organised to facilitate the transition. Uppsala University and Nordregio are collaborating on the project, which is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). The project is highly topical and therefore it is important to study the opportunities and risks of local energy ownership. The research project has a reference group to ensure the relevance and timeliness of the project in Swedish society. The reference group consists of members who are knowledgeable and engaged in the sustainable energy transition. One member of the reference group is Anna Bäckstäde, who works as an Energy and Climate Advisor at Energicentrum Gotland. Bäckstäde supports both private citizens and organisations in cutting emissions and finding solutions towards a higher level of energy efficiency. Have you seen a shift in people’s behavior, are they more interested in green energy sources than before? – Absolutely! I just had a solar panel assembler at my home, and I learned to know that the number of installations has increased by over 100 percent. I also get requests about small scale wind power, and people…

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Decade of action: Localising the global goals in the Nordic countries and beyond

In early June, Nordregio co-hosted two high-level dialogue meetings organised by UNECE as part of Helsingborg’s H22 Sustainable City Expo. These sessions focused on accelerating local SDG action through Voluntary Local Reviews as well as raising awareness and broadening public engagement for social and environment sustainability. A range of cities across the world provided their practical learnings, from Lviv, Ukraine, to Gladsaxe, Denmark, as well as Cordoba, Argentina, and Tallinn, Estonia, among others. These places could report that one of the key take-aways to progress is peer-to-peer learning. The dialogue meetings were followed by a workshop called “Successfully implementing Agenda 2030” at the Urban Future Conference, also held in Helsingborg. It has been widely stated that two-thirds of the SDG targets require local implementation to make a difference for people and planet. But translating the 17 goals into local contexts and steering tools while engaging citizens and measuring progress is easier said than done. During the engaging workshop, participants gained hands-on experience from the cities of Espoo and Helsingborg. These two Nordic frontrunners shared their efforts on how to set local targets and use the SDG framework to improve the quality of life for the local communities.   National level knowledge exchange kicks off in Copenhagen On 8 June, Nordic Council of Ministers and Nordregio hosted a Nordic knowledge sharing event on national and local implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants included members of the Nordic Expert Group for Sustainable Development and representatives from the Nordic municipal and regional associations. The purpose of the workshop was to explore how the strategic collaboration between national and local actors responsible for Agenda 2030 implementation could be strengthened within and across the Nordic countries. The event included a brainstorming session to co-create ideas based on shared Nordic…

Self-sufficiency of food production in five Nordic islands

Of the five Nordic islands surveyed, the most self-sufficient is Åland, and the least self-sufficient is Bornholm. The degree of self-sufficiency is important for crisis preparedness and for thriving rural areas – but what does it mean for sustainability? This issue is being investigated in a new report. The report maps self-sufficiency in food production in five Nordic island communities, i.e. how much of the food consumed by the islands has also been produced there.  At one end of the spectrum, we have Åland with a varied production of milk and cheese, potatoes and barley, fish and vegetables. At the other end is Bornholm, with little by way of high-quality vegetable production, but also large exports of pigs. Iceland falls between the two, with the second-highest degree of self-sufficiency, followed by the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Read the report: Self-sufficiency in food production in five Nordic island communities Locally produced = sustainable?  The basic issue examined in the report is whether greater self-sufficiency in food production also makes food systems more sustainable.  “The answer depends on what is produced and how. If local food production requires a lot of space, energy, and water, it may be more sustainable to produce it elsewhere. Local and sustainable food production can’t be seen as equal,” says Louise Ormstrup Vestergård, project manager and researcher at the Nordic research institute Nordregio. Polarised discussion Historically, there have been political arguments for increasing self-sufficiency, so that a country doesn’t become too dependent on others. On the other side of the coin, there are economic arguments for completely open borders.  But what about sustainability?  “I don’t think that either sustainability or the robustness of food systems would benefit from switching to 100% local production. It can become both socially and environmentally unsustainable if you have too high a…

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.

Nordregio welcomes new researchers!

Nordregio is welcoming two new researchers to our team, hoping to continue producing high-quality and relevant research further.  Ana de Jesus, Senior Research Fellow. De Jesus is a social scientist with a multidisciplinary background working at the intersection of global studies and economics, focusing on innovation, circular economy and sustainability. Hilma Salonen is joining Nordregio as a Research Fellow. Salonen is a social scientist who specialises in sustainability transitions, remote locations and energy politics, with a PhD focusing on Russian regional development in the Arctic and how it links with renewable energy prospects. She aims to broaden her scope to include Finnish rural regions and explore making sustainability transitions more just by focusing on habits. Salonen’s hope for working at Nordregio is to work with more practical results and more engagement with the general public.

NORDGREEN citizen science approaches at the Norwegian conference

Nordregio Junior Research Fellow Diana N. Huynh is participating in the “Citizen science in Norway” conference, presenting the NORDGREEN project.  The presentation focuses on the Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) survey conducted in Stavanger, Norway, one of NORDGREEN’s city partners, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The survey’s purpose is to gather information about people’s green space usage and ideas for the future that will shed light on how these spaces can support the health and well-being of local communities.  “It is great to share the ongoing work in the NORDGREEN project knowing that it has relevance in several contexts,” says Diana Huynh. The event is hosted by the Research Council of Norway and is the first to explore opportunities to expand a national network on citizen science. In recent years, citizen science has gained traction in research as a scientific method for collecting data in large quantities and informing decision-making processes.  “For instance, the EU has emphasized the role of citizen science in its new Horizon Europe framework, reflecting that this is also a way to enable citizens to use collected data to influence policies and local and regional planning processes,” adds Huynh. Find more about the event here. Explore the Nordgreen project website here.

MAMBA project at the Conference on Mobility in the District

Nordregio Researcher Linda Randall will participate at the Conference on Mobility in the District in Norway, presenting the MAMBA project and its results.  The conference will focus on mobility in rural areas. The speakers will discuss how to best ensure mobility for the population in areas where regular bus routes are not sustainable and share good practices from various initiatives and projects. Linda Randall, Senior Research Advisor at Nordregio, will participate in this event with a presentation called “Mobility for All in rural areas”, based on the work of MAMBA project. The focus of this project was to highlight that with decreasing and aging populations in rural areas, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain public transport and other services that depend on mobility. This tendency negatively impacts the quality of life for people living outside urban centres. “Innlandet region in Norway is quite sparsely populated, and they are looking for ideas and inspiration for smart ways to approach the transport challenges they face. Hopefully, some of the MAMBA examples can be interesting for them,” says Linda Randall. MAMBA project aims to meet mobility challenges by promoting sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” solutions in rural areas. The project’s partners have worked together to improve the integration of existing mobility structures with innovative mobility solutions like citizen buses, mobility as a service and ride-sharing applications. The project aims to maximise the mobility and accessibility of services in rural regions while involving users in the process.  Read more about the MAMBA project here.

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…

New Nordic study on regional policy and instruments for economic recovery

Nordregio researchers analysed regional policy and examined policy instruments to deal with economic shocks and crises across the Nordics. The study contributes knowledge and experience about the Nordic countries’ regional policies and efforts to deal with economic recovery in regions or municipalities. How do countries define regional policy? What responsibilities do actors in the multi-level system have at different levels? How do actors at different levels interact to handle economic shocks or crises? These and many other relevant questions are the focus and receive answers in this study. According to Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren, what is considered as regional policy, rural policy, and regional development policy differs between the Nordic countries. Regional policy is also complemented with sector policies, such as labour market policy, infrastructure and tax policy, which affect regional development on a large scale. The implementation of regional policy takes place in multi-level governance frameworks adapted to the institutional structure in the individual countries.  -The systems to deal with economic shocks or crises in the Nordic countries are place-based and include actors and measures from national, regional and local levels. Well-functioning multi-level governance cooperation and trust among actors are key factors in dealing with economic shocks or crises, says A. Lundgren. The study is based on document studies and semi-structured interviews with representatives from the regional political system at the national and regional levels and with experts in the field.  Read the publication here (in Swedish).

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.

State authorities can and should support urban green infrastructure – New Article

Studies show that urban green areas enable societies to enhance biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and reduce the risk of flooding and erosion. From an economic perspective, green space can make neighborhoods wealthier and increase housing costs. But how can the state support urban green infrastructure? Nordregio researchers studied this topic and published a new analysis on National Urban Parks and the role of the state in preserving urban green areas in Sweden and Finland. The National Urban Park (NUP) is a planning instrument used by the state to preserve cities’ green infrastructure. The implementation of the NUP instrument in Sweden and Finland has been investigated to elucidate the potential role of the state in preserving urban green areas. According to the authors, focusing on the role of the state in preserving urban green space is important in times of shared responsibilities, and multi-actor dialogues. The study depicts that state authorities can help to enhance urban green infrastructure by employing legal frameworks for preservation of green areas in terms of National Urban Parks. “Successful implementation needs multi-level governance engagement to provide support for the delivery of innovative and sustainable solutions in green space management. The state can stimulate further development at the local level by giving inspiration and enhanced recognition of urban green infrastructure”, says Dr. Elin Slätmo, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. Dr. Kjell Nilsson, Senior Advisor at Nilsson Landscape, adds that “Designating national urban parks is an effective instrument for the state to preserve the green infrastructure in our cities. But it requires that the municipalities concerned are actively involved. Otherwise, the effort risks becoming a one-off event“. The researchers conclude that understanding the role of the state is as important as exploring the effects it may have on local communities from the perspectives of human…

New tool measures impact of gardening on urban sustainability

Urban agriculture contributes to food security, provides health benefits for the population, and is a valuable resource for urban regeneration. However, it may also have social and environmental externalities that need to be considered when evaluating the benefits to city sustainability. In a new article “Monitoring the contribution of urban agriculture to urban sustainability: an indicator-based framework”, Nordregio researchers studied four key enablers of sustainable urban farming and analysed the case of Arhus in Denmark. In this work, researchers present a novel indicator-based evaluation framework for urban agriculture that captures the contribution of gardening practices to urban sustainability. The article discusses enablers, such as environmental resilience and resource efficiency; food security and income generation; inclusive society; and a novel sustainable urban design criterion. The framework was applied to Fællesgartneriet Brabrand, a community garden located in the city of Arhus, Denmark. According to the researchers, the framework provides a great way to assess the benefits and potential externalities of urban agriculture in a systematic yet adaptable way. “This framework can support local governance processes for sustainable urban design at other stages of the policy cycle. It is also expected to contribute to on-going academic debates about the role of urban agriculture for increased environmental and community resilience”, says Carlos Tapia, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The results show that the framework can be consistently applied to address simultaneous needs at the city and community levels. Moreover, the framework can be reliably applied to the analysis of smaller gardens and in situations where data constraints apply. Read the article here.

New project: Local ownership in sustainable energy systems

Uppsala University and Nordregio are starting a new project on sustainable local energy systems in Sweden. The new project, called Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems, is a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). It aims to understand the role local ownership has in facilitating energy transitions and how public participation processes or community-led projects contribute as a success factor. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as essential means for the energy transition and, this project answers these issues with qualitative and participatory research design. -To reach political targets, energy systems within the EU and Sweden are currently undergoing rapid and extensive transformations. Local ownership can help facilitate these changes and promote more socially acceptable and just processes and outcomes, says Project Manager Johanna Liljenfeldt from Uppsala University. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are helping to co-create knowledge on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. – I look forward to co-creating policy recommendations and guidelines with the local communities. It makes the project relevant on policy and practical level, adds Research Fellow Sandra Oliveira e Costa from Nordregio. The project will have its own website this fall, but at the moment, further information is found at www.nordregio.org. For more information, contact:Johanna LiljenfeldtProject Manager, Uppsala Universityjohanna.liljenfeldt (at) geo.uu.se Sandra Oliveira e CostaResearch Fellow, Nordregiosandra.oliveiracosta (at) nordregio.org

Smart Planning for Healthy and Green Nordic Cities

The integration of people’s well-being and the access to green spaces into city planning, the support for urban settlements to be liveable, resilient, and sustainable are some key goals for city planning in the Nordics. These and many more subjects were discussed during a Nordregio webinar, organised together with NORDGREEN and SMARTer Greener Cities. During the online event, Nordregio researchers Ryan Weber and Diana Huynh, together with participants from seven other organisations and institutions, discussed how to build on existing methods in the planning and management of urban green spaces, but also touched upon the subject of finding new ways toward sustainable and just approaches for improved futures.  “It’s about updating systems and structures of ‘getting things done’ for local communities while integrating and enhancing collaboration between researchers and practitioners with new technologies. Along the way, novel methods can support shifting the so-called silo approach that too often curtails much-needed green space development we need to see in urban areas”, says Diana Huynh, Junior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The webinar also brought perspectives on the importance of citizen engagement and new methods for public participation. The panellists presented and commented on a knowledge database that gathers information provided by citizens. The webinar concluded with the speakers offering some ideas on how to continue sharing knowledge and experiences in these projects, both from researchers’ perspective and how this process would contribute to the development of new approaches to planning and management of greenspace in Nordic cities. The webinar is part of the EU Green Week 2021 as a partner event. The projects discussed during the online event are funded by Nordforsk under the Sustainable Urban Development and Smart Cities programme.  Watch the recording of the webinar on our Youtube channel.

Triple-helix collaboration to promote Nordic urban development

The Nordic Council of Ministers has as its vision to develop the Nordic region to become the world’s most sustainable and integrated region by 2030. Therefore Nordregio, the Nordic City Network and the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Task Force for Sustainable Cities are initiating a collaboration to promote exchanges between research, policy development and practice. Through a partnership, the three organizations aim to accelerate green transition, build economic resilience and create equal and inclusive cities and communities. – Together, we create a triple-helix effect with the exchange of knowledge and experience between research, policy and practice, says Marcus Horning, chairman of the Nordic City Network. Agenda 2030 as the ultimate goal Tackling the global challenges we face requires collaboration between different actors at different levels. The sustainable societies of the future are created by actors defining problems and solutions together. By applying current research in pilot projects, evaluating existing practices and sharing knowledge and inspiration each other through conferences and seminars, the three organizations want to contribute to the fulfillment of Agenda 2030 and to make the Nordic region more competitive globally. – Goal 11, which focuses on sustainable cities and communities, is crucial to achieving the agenda. Public spaces in the form of safe and inclusive green areas can contribute to social sustainability as well as meeting the challenges of a changing climate. On these matters, we have a lot to learn from each other in the Nordic region, says Patrik Faming, Chairman of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Task Force for Sustainable Cities. Rolf Elmér, Director Nordregio fills in: – This collaboration provides us with a great opportunity to spread Nordic solutions for sustainable urban development both within and outside the Nordic region. The three organizations Nordregio, established by the Nordic Council of Ministers, is a leading Nordic…