Each issue of the Nordregio Magazine provides perspectives on a specific theme related to regional development and planning in the Nordic countries. With Nordregio Magazine you are kept up to date with the interesting research results produced by Nordregio in a European and global perspective.
- 2022 January
- Nordregio magazine
- Baltic Sea Region
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020 – final report
This report summarises the work and results of the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions (TG2) in 2017–2020. The Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017–2020 (TG2) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers and is a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017–2020. Three Nordic thematic groups were established for the four-year period: Innovative and resilient regions, Sustainable rural development, and Sustainable cities and urban development. The thematic groups have been organised under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, and Nordregio has acted as the secretariat for the thematic groups. The thematic group has not only produced high-quality research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic countries but also contributed to public policy with the latest knowledge on the creation and development of innovative and resilient regions across the Nordic countries, with focus on smart specialisation, digitalisation, regional resilience, and skills policies. TG2 has also contributed to research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic cross-border context.
BONUS BASMATI HANDBOOK: Process, Methods and Tools for Stakeholder Involvement in Maritime Spatial Planning
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), as with any other type of planning, is not just about the plans and their content, but the process of making those plans. Incorporating expert knowledge and the perspectives of different sea users and interest groups through stakeholder involvement (SI) processes is a central element in the design and implementation of marine spatial plans (MSPs). This handbook explores some of the key issues relating to SI in MSP, including: How to think about involving stakeholders? How to understand their needs? Who to involve? When is the appropriate time to involve them? What methods and tools are needed? What are the drawbacks? And how can a process leader carry out an effective, transparent and fair process? This handbook provides practitioners with some practical answers to these questions by offering a framework for systematically thinking about SI in the MSP process. The ideas and approaches to SI outlined are based on first-hand experiences from planners in the Baltic Sea Region and cover the whole of the MSP policy cycle. Executive summaries The executive summaries outlining the conceptual framework, general principles, methodologies and future directions of the stakeholder engagement in MSP are available in six languages: Danish English Finnish German Latvian Swedish BONUS BASMATI project has received funding from BONUS (Art 185), funded jointly by the EU and Innovation Fund Denmark, Swedish Research Council Formas, Academy of Finland, Latvian Ministry of Education and Science, and Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (Germany).
Policy Brief: Rural perspectives on digital innovation
Digitalisation holds considerable potential for rural areas. It offers the promise of overcoming geographical distance, ensuring equal access to opportunity regardless of where people live. At the same time, rural and sparsely populated areas are thought to lag behind their urban counterparts when it comes to the provision of digital infrastructure and the development of digital knowledge and skills. These urban-rural disparities are often referred to as the digital divide and can prevent rural communities from unlocking the opportunities associated with digitalisation. This Policy Brief explores strategies to overcome the digital divide, with a focus on increasing the competitiveness of small rural enterprises through digital innovation. It is based on a larger project which included desk-based research, a series of workshops held in rural locations around the Nordic-Baltic Region and a webinar series. You can learn about project results in digital divide, tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy through these stories: https://nordregioprojects.org/innovation-results/
Rural perspectives on digital innovation: Experiences from small enterprises in the Nordic countries and Latvia
The Nordic countries are at the forefront of digitalisation in Europe. The Baltic States show a more mixed performance, but still score around or above average on the European commission’s annual measure of digital progress, the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Despite this positive development overall, disparities remain with respect to digital development within countries; with rural and sparsely populated areas often lagging behind on the availability of digital infrastructure and the adoption of digital technologies. As such, this project sought to provide a rural perspective on the second goal: Strengthening the competitiveness of our enterprises through digitalisation. Specifically, it aimed to demonstrate how smart, sustainable and inclusive approaches to digitalisation can be used as a tool to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of rural areas by exploring the challenges and opportunities for small enterprises in rural and sparsely populated areas. The baseline study explored the nature of digital transformation in rural areas and reflected on opportunities and challenges for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas in each of the Nordic countries and in Latvia. The study was developed through desk-based research conducted by Nordregio and a report prepared by Vidzeme Planning Region which detailed the Latvian context. It provided an overall context for the digitalisation of SMEs in rural areas including sector-specific information on the bioeconomy, manufacturing and tourism sectors. The project was funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers for Digitalisation (MR-Digital), the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017- 2020 and the North Atlantic Cooperation (NORA) and included a baseline study, local workshops and a webinar series. Its primary focus was the Nordic countries and Latvia; however, data is also provided for Estonia and Lithuania where possible. You can learn about project results in digital divide, tourism, manufacturing and bioeconomy through these…
The territorial future of the Baltic Sea Region – Insights for policy makers
This short report is aimed at informing policy makers, planners, regional stakeholders and researchers on how the project’s outcomes can be used in practice. The Baltic Sea Region covers a vast geographical area with the Baltic Sea being its focal point. Traditionally the sea has been connecting the region, being the main means of transportation and trade. The region has a long cooperation tradition, bringing together regional players to address common challenges. Shaping the future has been a long time concern for the Baltic Sea Region. VASAB, Visions and Strategies around the Baltic Sea States, intergovernmental cooperation of ten Baltic Sea states, supports territorial development and also has, already from 2009 developed a Long-Term Perspective for the region identifying regional assets, development trends and challenges that may affect the development of the Baltic Sea Region. Scenarios and in particular territorial scenarios can be a useful tool to further inform and support policymakers in preparing for and shaping the future. To better support and update its work, VASAB initiated the ESPON targeted analysis project ‘Territorial Scenarios for the Baltic Sea Region 2050’.
Smart Specialisation in the Baltic Sea Region
-Good practices from the Bio-, Circular- and Digital Innovation project BSR Stars S3 This policy brief summarizes the key activities and learnings of the BSR Stars S3 – Smart Specialisation through Cross-sectoral Bio-, Circular- and Digital Ecosystems project 2016-2019. The project focused on how to engage business and research actors in the implementation of smart specialisation. This information is essential for public and private sector actors looking for new ways to improve regional innovation capacity and form inter-regional value chains within shared focus areas in the Baltic Sea Region. The BSR Stars S3 project was a three-year flagship project under the innovation policy area (PA Inno) within the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region. The project was funded by the EU Interreg BSR Programme and had a total of 12 partners from Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Lithuania. The Baltic Institute of Finland in Tampere was the Lead Partner of the project.
Social service innovation in rural areas – a user involvement guide
This policy brief gives an introduction to a user guide that has been developed to empower disadvantaged groups in rural areas. High-quality service provision in rural areas is becoming increasingly difficult due to social and demographic challenges, exacerbated by welfare cuts. Members of disadvantaged groups, such as the long-term unemployed, migrants and people with disabilities, may be particularly affected by shrinking social services as they often lack the resources to influence or compensate for this loss. How can user involvement in service design and delivery contribute to addressing these challenges? What is needed to make service-user involvement work? The policy brief is based on the learnings from the SEMPRE project financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region Programme.
Industrial Symbiosis in the Baltic Sea Region: Current Practices and Guidelines for New Initiatives
This policy brief examines three good practice examples of Industrial Symbiosis (IS) from the Baltic Sea Region and outlines practical guidelines for public authorities and business development organisations on how to develop and implement IS ecosystems. Industrial symbiosis (IS) is vitally important in facilitating the move towards a circular economy by helping industries and businesses to cooperate in the exchange of natural resources and production infrastructures. Strong public and private sector leadership and firm links between industry and research institutes are essential for the formulation of effective IS initiatives. This research is based on the activities and experiences of a project, BSR Stars S3, which was financed by the EU Interreg Baltic Sea Region and focused on BSR cooperation within the bio- and circular economy.
Making the most of brownfield sites in the Baltic Sea Region
Brownfield regeneration involves the redevelopment of underutilised areas of a city. This contributes to limiting urban sprawl and promotes investment to restore land that has been contaminated by industrial activity. As such, it is an important path towards more integrated, resilient and sustainable urban development. The European Environment Agency (EEA) estimates that there are three million urban brownfield sites with potential for future regeneration in Europe. In the Baltic Urban Lab project, partners around the Central Baltic Region have identified planning challenges in brownfield regeneration and developed solutions to tackle them through early and broad stakeholder involvement. This policy brief was produced within the Baltic Urban Lab project, an Interreg Central Baltic project that ended in September 2018.
Developing brownfields via public-private-people partnerships
Lessons learned from Baltic Urban Lab. Regeneration of brownfield sites into attractive urban areas is often considered both an opportunity and a challenge by cities: providing chances for resource-effective use of hard-made surface, while being challenging in terms of costs, technical issues, fragmented landownership and contamination issues. The Baltic Urban Lab project has developed and tested new ways of planning brownfield areas in the Central Baltic region, focusing on the potential of integrated planning and improved partnerships between public and private actors and citizens, also known as Public-Private-People partnerships or 4P. Between the project kick-off in January 2016 and September 2018, the four partner cities – Norrköping, Tallinn, Riga and Turku – have identified, developed and tested new planning methods based on 4P approaches. This paper summarizes learnings with focus on stakeholder involvement organized by the partner cities. This corresponds to Baltic Urban Lab’s objective of improving urban planning in the Baltic Sea region by increasing the capacity of local authorities and planners.
Developing and Managing Innovation Ecosystems in the Circular Economy
– Outline of a Digital Monitoring Tool. Innovation ecosystems are vitally important for facilitating sustainable regional economic growth and stakeholder cooperation, particularly within the circular economy. This policy brief examines the new digital monitoring tool developed by the Council of Tampere to compile relevant data on ongoing circular economy initiatives and actions, including information on essential actors, material flows and current stakeholder collaborations. This policy brief outlines the main aims and features of the digital monitoring tool and makes recommendations for how to support the development and management of effective innovation ecosystems, such as the importance of fostering a culture of open data sharing amongst key regional innovation actors.
Evaluation Report 2018
Rural Development Program for Åland 2014-2020 The report has been developed in cooperation between Nordregio and Statistics and Research Åland (ÅSUB) on behalf of the Landscape Government in Åland. The objective of this annual evaluation is to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Åland Islands for the period 2014-2020. The evaluation aims to provide valuable information to inform the planning and enactment of future policies for rural development. It will provide a basis for improved support for rural development activities within the current RDP and facilitate a common learning process. Åland RDP 2014-2020 aims to contribute to smart, sustainable economic development that focuses on productivity and environmental sustainability, ensuring Åland Islands is an attractive rural region that is home to profitable and viable rural companies and an active agricultural sector. The RDP for Åland has a total budget of 58.5 million Euro.
Inclusive Digitalization in the Baltic Sea Region: An Instrument for Growth and Development in Declining Rural Areas?
This policy brief examines whether inclusive digitalization is an important instrument for promoting regional growth and development in struggling rural areas in the Baltic Sea region. The brief highlights the potential benefits that digitalization can bring and the challenges faced in implementing an effective digital agenda in rural areas. The brief also provides key recommendations identifying possible initiatives and policies that may help local businesses achieve successful digital transformation. These recommendations are based on learnings and best practices from digitalization initiatives conducted in rural areas around the Baltic Sea region. This policy brief is a part of BSR Stars S3 (Smart specialization in bio-, circular and digital economy in the Baltic Sea Region) project which seeks to enhance growth opportunities in the Baltic Sea Region, focusing on the bio-/circular and digital economy fields.
LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS FORMATION: The potential of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region
In recent years, there has been growing interest in ‘alternative’ and ‘local’ food supply chains as a way to reduce externalities associated with mainstream food systems. ‘Alternative’ food chains are often built on values opposed to conventional industrial agriculture. They are small in scale, do not use pesticides, are close to consumers and have a distinctive place of origin. There are many different forms of alternative food systems. Common to these practices is the intention to reconnect producers and consumers, to increase transparency, to relocalize agricultural and food production, and to build trust among actors in the food system. This working paper describes the state of play of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) by examining EU and national policy contexts and by highlighting good practices of local food initiatives in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Belarus. The working paper investigates the key drivers and factors impeding the development of these initiatives. The working paper is based on desk studies, input received during meetings with stakeholders and researchers from the BSR, and interviews with good practice initiators in 2016–17. This working paper is one output of the Local food: Formation of local food markets project financed by the Swedish Institute. The overall aim of the project was to strengthen co-operation and to build knowledge of local food system formation by various actors working on rural development issues in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Another objective of the project was to investigate and share good practices in building, shaping, reproducing and promoting alternative food networks and markets over time and space in the BSR countries (Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus).
Nordregio News 3 2017
The Baltic Sea Region is one of Nordregio’s four main geographical focal areas. Our background has previously been on terrestrial spatial planning primarily, but Nordregio is now also increasingly involved in research and projects on maritime spatial planning. In this Nordregio News issue, you will learn more about the outcome of the Baltic SCOPE project, dealing with transboundary Maritime Spatial Planning. Also, you will find case examples on how maritime spatial planning is implemented in different parts of Europe, as well as the information about two upcoming projects – BONUS BASMATI focusing on Baltic Sea maritime spatial planning for sustainable ecosystem services and PanBaltic SCOPE. Finally, we include a youth perspective, asking how we can make the Baltic Sea a better environment for future generations?
Perspectives on labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region
Mobility trends between the Baltic and Nordic states and different national policy approaches to the increased mobility in the macro-region. This publication is one outcome of a project on labour mobility between the Nordic-Baltic countries: “Enhanced Nordic-Baltic co-operation on challenges of labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region” that the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania led during 2014-2016 in co-operation with the the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Offices in Estonia and Latvia, and Nordregio in Sweden. The overall objective of the project was to facilitate understanding and strengthen co-operation within the Nordic-Baltic region on labour mobility and demographic development across Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions. While the main interest in this publication as well as in the project behind it has been on labour mobility —with labour mobility being understood as cross-border movement of workers within the Nordic-Baltic region—this distinction of people moving for job purposes solely is, both in statistics and policies, not easily distinguished from those moving for other reasons,such as family reunification, opportunities to study abroad, etc. These categories are also fluid, since the prime reason for living away from one’s country of birth may change over time or even overlap with others from the outset. Another issue is that not all movements between two Member States are registered. People moving for a shorter time than the national requirements for registration in the population data bases are not included, nor are those working on a temporary basis in another country. A previous Nordic study on labour migration to the Nordic countries from the new Member States during the period 2004-2011 estimates that when including workers on temporary stay, the numbers should be almost doubled (Friberg & Eldring, 2013). Therefore, the presented data on Baltic migrants is to provide an overview of the trends of mobility…
Redeveloping brownfields in the Central Baltic region
There is a high demand for redeveloping brownfield areas to make European cities grow in a more sustainable manner. As brownfield areas are often located within the urban structure, redeveloping them reduces the need to use green areas for new developments, and creates more compact cities. Remediating contaminated land in former industrial sites or harbour areas will also reduce environmental risks. This policy brief gives an overview of challenges for brownfield redevelopment in the Central Baltic region and is published as part of the Central Baltic INTERREG Baltic Urban Lab project. This brochure is published as part of the Baltic Urban Lab project, which involves four partner cities (Riga, Tallinn, Turku and Norrköping) developing and testing new integrated planning and partnership models for brownfield redevelopment. Baltic Urban Lab Working Paper
Planning Systems and Legislation for Brownfield Development in the Central Baltic Countries
Brownfield redevelopment is an important topic in Europe, where many countries and cities are experiencing rapid urbanisation. It is predicted that by 2020 approximately 80 per cent of Europeans will be living in urban areas, which means that more land in and around urban areas will need to be developed for housing and other purposes. The aim of this brochure is to enable experiences of brownfield redevelopment to be exchanged between the Central Baltic countries (Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden) by providing knowledge about the conditions for brownfield redevelopment in each country. The brochure presents the planning systems and principal legislation and policies related to brownfield redevelopment. It specifically highlights the aforementioned key challenges of cooperation between actors and the remediation of contaminated land, and looks at how domestic legislation and policies promote or hinder meeting those challenges. This brochure is published as part of the Baltic Urban Lab project, which involves four partner cities (Riga, Tallinn, Turku and Norrköping) developing and testing new integrated planning and partnership models for brownfield redevelopment. The partners are aiming to find ways to tackle the various challenges brought about by the development of sites that are often privately owned or have fragmented ownership structures and where the soil is often severely contaminated and thereby requires significant resources for remediation. The planning reviews in the brochure are drafted by Nordregio with valuable expert input from, in particular, the city partners and the associated partner, the Swedish National Board for Housing, Building and Planning.
Nordic-Baltic Demographic Vulnerability Assessment at municipal level
Across the world people are moving nationally from rural areas to bigger towns and cities, and within the European Union, people are also increasingly moving between countries. While migration in the Nordic countries has exceeded natural population increase as the most prominent driver of population growth, the Baltic countries have experienced significant out-migration in the latest decades. However, migration is only one of several demographic challenges that affect the demographic structure in municipalities and regions. Ageing of the population is another key challenge; in some places emphasised by out-migration of people in age groups being active in the labour force. Life-expectancy has steadily increased and together with the decrease in birth and death rates, people are living longer while the number of children is declining. Retirement age, the age when people exit the labour force, has not changed parallel with the increasing life expectancy and thus adds to the increased proportion of non-productive elderly citizens. These changes in the composition of the population will increasingly affect vital societal parameters such as the labour supply and the dependency burden, and eventually the ability to provide sufficient social services at municipal level.