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4 Ongoing Projects

Planning for socially mixed and inclusive neighbourhoods

The project will contribute to Nordic Added Value by generating new knowledge and evidence to support the planning and development of Nordic cities and urban areas to become more socially sustainable and inclusive. This will be achieved by exploring topics and questions that are of high relevance to the Nordic urban policy and planning agendas. In this project this means investigating how Nordic governments and cities work to counteract segregation and created more socially mixed and inclusive cities and neighbourhoods. The sharing of experiences, know-how, and learnings by bringing together relevant national, regional, local and cross-border actors from across the Nordic Region is also central for creating Nordic added value, which will be done through different dissemination activities.  While Nordic cities have traditionally had low levels of segregation, more recently, there have been growing concerns about increasing disparities between different population groups, which is reflected in greater socio-economic and ethnic segregation in many cities. There are especially concerns that certain neighbourhoods are developing unfavourably and falling into a state of decline. Hence, Nordic governments and cities have taken actions to reduce segregation and promote social inclusion through various policy and urban planning measures.  The purpose of this project is to deepen the understanding of how different urban planning and policy measures are used to create more socially inclusive and mixed neighbourhoods in Nordic cities. The aim of creating more socially inclusive neighbourhoods can be understood as creating communities where people can take part and feel included regardless of their resources, lifestyle, background, or abilities. The project examines initiatives and actions taken at different territorial levels. In the Nordic countries, national governments have introduced a range of policies and strategies to prevent segregation and increase the social mix in cities, while planning interventions are typically carried out at the city or…

Combatting long-term unemployment post-Covid – focusing on immigrants in the Nordic countries

As the Covid-19 pandemic slowly fades in the Nordic countries, many people, especially immigrants, are still unemployed. Most notably, the number of long-term unemployed (12 months or longer) men and women is increasing. Data shows that the probability to find a new job decreases the longer the unemployment period prevails. Unemployed immigrants are often in a more disadvantaged position than natives as they might have limited work experience in the host country and smaller professional networks. Women from outside Europe are also less likely than natives to have a higher education, which further reduces their job opportunities. Special attention and targeted support measures are therefore important to facilitate the labour market (re-)integration of immigrants on the Nordic labour markets. Project aims, goals and deliverables Overall, the project aims to build a more systematic knowledge base about immigrants’ experience of long-term unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Which groups are more affected than others, and which policies and measures are planned or implemented in the Nordic countries to speed up their labour market re-integration? The project will also facilitate Nordic knowledge exchange and knowledge building between key actors thereby ensuring Nordic added value. First, we will gather data on the number of long-term unemployed immigrants in the Nordic countries, and – if possible – consider gender, age, level of education, region of origin, and sector of previous employment. Second, in close cooperation with “Clearingcentralen” (www.integrationnorden.org) and their Nordic expert group on labour market integration of immigrants, the project will identify and discuss ongoing efforts in the Nordic countries and regions: highlight good examples, evaluated success factors, lessons learned, as well as planned measures for the near future. The project will be concluded in a concise and reader-friendly report showing the results of the quantitative analysis, and a description of…

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market – The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

Nordic countries have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has taken a substantial toll on economic growth and employment level. Immigrants may have been disproportionately affected, even though Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden already face serious challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets for several years. This project aims to make a contribution to further research into the consequences of the pandemic. Current data and statistics on unemployment trends in the Nordic countries shall be presented in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the current labour market situation of immigrants. The project shall revisit and update the main findings, conclusions and policy recommendations of the 2019 report ‘Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets’ in the light of the pandemic. Target groups The target group of the project includes national, regional and municipal authorities who are involved in integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market. The recommendations on how to support labour market integration during the pandemic and going forward may also be relevant for civil society organisations, employers’ organisations, chambers of commerce and other actors in the Nordic region and beyond who are working with refugees and other immigrant groups.

Update of the VASAB-LTP for the Territorial Development of BSR

This project aims to update the strategy VASAB Long Term Perspective (LTP) for the territorial development of the Baltic Sea Region – BSR. The revision of this transnational strategic spatial planning document on territorial integration builds on relevant topics of existing VASAB LTP (1994, 2009) and will incorporate a future-oriented perspective. The revision will consider current and future trends that are likely to influence the territorial development of the macro-region. The update of the long-term vision is envisaged as an iterative and participatory process involving a wide range of relevant stakeholders. Together with Spatial Foresight, Nordregio will develop a background synthesis report that will cover the experience and lessons learned from the current VASAB long-term perspective; important trends shaping future developments in the Baltic Sea Region and key relevant policy documents to which the long-term perspective need to relate to. This report will be fundamental to guide the new spatial vision that will endeavour for a sustainable, inclusive and digital Baltic Sea Region in 2040.

Social services and care in SPAs in the Nordics

It is becoming increasingly difficult to provide high-quality social services and care in rural and sparsely populated areas in the Nordic countries due to demographic changes, structural shortcomings and welfare cuts. The ageing population may lead to an increased need for health and care services, increased demand for labour, and reduced public income. The aim of the study is to increase understanding of the needs and challenges regarding the organization, recruitment, skills development and further education of employees in the field of social services and care in sparsely populated areas in the Nordics. This will be based on the available data and forecasts. The further purpose of the study is to identify successful examples of initiatives aiming at promoting recruitment, skills development and further education of employees in the field of social services and care provision in SPAs and to identify examples of innovative ways of delivering social services. The examples may include, for instance, social innovation in service delivery, organisational innovation, as well as the successful integration of migrants in the local labour market.

NORDGREEN – Smart Planning for Healthy and Green Nordic Cities

How are human wellbeing and access to green spaces integrated into city planning? The aim of NORDGREEN is to support integrated planning efforts for urban sustainability by developing and implementing smart planning and management solutions for well-designed, high-quality greenspace that promotes equity, health and wellbeing. The starting points are the connection of green space accessibility and public health effects, the social sustainability challenges of segregated and densifying cities, and the need for strengthened links between citizen participation and implemented plans. NORDGREEN involves sets of local and regional health and greenspace data, Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) applications and surveys, and analysis of ongoing planning and management. By examining the health-greenspace nexus with the help of environmental psychology and epidemiology data, the knowledge base for public health strategies and policies on greenspace planning, management and design will be strengthened. By applying methods of PPGIS, the understanding and integration of citizens’ needs, demands and use of greenspace into the planning process will increase and the links between citizen participation and implemented plans will be strengthened. NORDGREEN includes participatory co-production with cities and citizens – and pays attention to socio-economically vulnerable citizen groups. It uses both quantitative and qualitative methods and materials and involves six cities and towns from four Nordic countries – Aarhus (DK); Stavanger (NO), Vilhelmina (SE), Täby (SE), Espoo (FI) and Ii (FI). Studying and supporting greenspace planning in practice in the six cities will increase the understanding of how different approaches to planning and management influence the outcome, with particular focus on health, social sustainability and co-production. The research will result in co-created, scalable and transferable knowledge-based planning and management tools for the six cities, as well as for other cities in the Nordic region and beyond. Visit the project website for updates and to learn more: nordregioprojects.org/nordgreen/

Adapting European Cities to Population ageing: Policy challenges and best practices

The population in the European Union (EU) is undergoing a process of population ageing with implications for public spending, services, the labour market and many other areas of public and societal life. The project analysis challenges and adaptation to ageing population in eight European cities. The stakeholder cities of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Gothenburg, Hengelo, Oslo, Greater Manchester, Amsterdam and Nantes are similarly affected by ageing, with concerns exacerbated by increasing levels of transnational migration, spatial segregation, and pockets of deprivation, which all impact the lives of older people. Thus, an important challenge for the cities is to adapt their policies and deliveries to better serve the needs of older residents. This project will study how the eight stakeholder cities are dealing with challenges posed by population ageing. This will involve comparing the various policy-responses that the cities have adopted to become more age-friendly. An important question will be to uncover why some policies have been more successful than others. While population ageing is often perceived as a challenge, it can also present opportunities. The project will help the cities tap into the potential that older people present. The results will not only be relevant for the stakeholder cities but also for other cities that are confronted with similar challenges. Main project outcomes include the following: New knowledge concerning the quality of life of elderly residents in different cities. Knowledge of how urban environments can support social integration and inclusion while counteracting social isolation among the elderly. Good practice examples of how to involve elderly residents as partners in decision-making in questions that concern them. Nordregio is leading the first work package of the project in which we analyse demographic trends in the stakeholder cities, review the state of the academic literature on population ageing in urban environments, and review relevant policies…

Business Financing in the Arctic

The way forward to crack the code to an efficient, well-coordinated business financing system, covering the Arctic as a whole. The purpose of this project is to enable the Arctic businesses to access potentials in commercial transportation opportunities in the Arctic, closer integration of the Arctic business community with the world market, easier access to natural resources, increase in tourism etc. Insufficient finance the missing link to business growth The Arctic regions contain many promising opportunities for development – culturally, demographically, commercially and economically. This project aims to support an economic growth that respects traditional values and environmental concerns to benefit all of the Arctic communities. The Artic regions have a lot in common but are also very different. First, they are all sparsely populated. This means that economies of scale are difficult to reach, adding transportation or communication costs the other costs of production. Second, even though the geographical extension is huge, total population sizes are small and divided between the different countries and regions. An analysis of business financing opportunities A growing business sector depends on many factors – sufficient demand, transportation and communication possibilities, technologies and competent labour. These factors are all recognized and analysed with the aim to understand how to overcome the barrier of lacking and insufficient business financing in the Arctic. In the field of financing, the central challenge is to develop well-functioning financial ecosystems. This will take some years, but some initiatives may be effectual already in the short run. We already know – from our work in many remote regions – that interregional and cross-border collaboration, pooling of resources and better coordination and targeting and finetuning of existing instruments towards the specific local and regional framework conditions can help improve and build up business culture and investments climate significantly. Key steps in…

Long-term planning for inclusive cities in the Nordic region

The aim of the project is to increase knowledge concerning different ways that small and medium-sized Nordic cities seek to overcome barriers for social inclusion in their strategic work and in various projects concerning urban development. Socio-economic inequality and other types of disparities are questions of increased concern in many Nordic cities. Inequalities are often discussed in relation to labor market restructuring, welfare provision, immigration and integration, and, in the urban context, particularly in relation to segregation and housing. Although the debate concerning urban inequalities has primarily been focused on larger urban regions, cities of smaller sizes also face similar types of challenges. This project will examine how different small and medium-sized cities in the Nordic region work to overcome barriers for social inclusion, i.e.to improve the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society, and to counteract the negative effects of inequality, through urban policy and planning. Cities of this category are heterogenous and inclusion is a multi-faceted issue. The project will therefore focus on different thematic and geographical cases and investigate strategies for inclusion from a few different perspectives. The project will be carried out as five sub-projects, and the purpose is to expand the knowledge base on long-term strategies for inclusive cities and planning processes, with particular regard to small and medium-sized cities. The following themes are addressed in these sub-projects: area-based neighborhood regeneration initiatives are examined from different perspectives in Finland and Norway, a study concerning municipal responses to local protests against housing for refugees is carried out in Sweden, a study focusing on social and spatial integration at municipal level is conducted in Iceland, and an analysis of policies related to housing estates is carried out in the Danish case.

Transport for Regional Integration in Border Regions (TRIBORDER)

The TRIBORDER project aims to analyze the potential challenges of planning and developing transport connections across the borders in the Nordic region. The project activities will contribute to the work of the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Cities and Urban Development, 2017-2020. Nordregio tasks within the TRIBORDER project consist of three main activities that all have a shared focus on public transport projects, planning in the context of cross-border regions and urban-rural relations. The first activity will investigate the local reception of the fast rail connection between Oslo and Stockholm. Nordregio researchers will look at the existing literature on consequences of new high-speed rail stations in small and medium sized cities and will conduct interviews with local actors in the regions of Värmland in Sweden and Østfold in Norway. The second activity will analyze effects of the ferry connection between Umeå and Vaasa on their surrounding urban regions. The study will include different factors such as commuting, labor market and cross border integration. The third activity will focus on the public transport system in the cross-border region of Greater Copenhagen. It will analyze connectivity and urban planning in relation to public transport. The examples of public transport projects in the three case study regions of Värmland-Østfold, Kvarken and Greater Copenhagen are chosen in order to illustrate the potential challenges of planning and development across national borders in the Nordic context. The border committees in these three areas are active partners in the projects along with Nordregio and members of the Thematic Group for Sustainable Cities and Urban Development. The project will contribute to a better understanding of the urban-rural relations at play in small and medium sized Nordic cities, and thereby contribute to the fulfilment of one of the overarching goals of the Thematic Group for Sustainable Cities and Urban…

PanBaltic SCOPE

The objective of the project is to contribute to more coherent maritime spatial planning (MSP) strategies in the Baltic Sea region (BSR) and to build lasting macro-regional mechanisms for cross-border MSP cooperation. To achieve the overall objective the project shall: – Build on the results and experiences from a series of MSP-related projects in the Baltic Sea Region, in particular the Baltic SCOPE project (2015-17), as well as on the national MSP processes; – Establish a Planning Forum for cross-border cooperation; – Facilitate and carry out concrete cross-border activities at different geographical levels in the Baltic Sea Region to meet the needs of the national MSP processes and to support the Member States in successfully implementing the MSP-directive; – Develop approaches and tools at pan-Baltic level to contribute to coherent MSP in the BSR. Coherence is achieved gradually, as countries are at different stages of MSP development and have different needs; – Support practical implementation of an ecosystem- based approach in MSP in the BSR; – Develop methods to build better marine spatial planning processes with land use spatial planning processes to emphasize the land-sea interactions influencing the development of the coastal areas as well as the status of the Baltic Sea; – Share best practices and build new knowledge to inform and support MSP in the BSR. Nordregio roles 1) As leader of Activity 1.1.5 Lessons Learned, Nordregio provides feedback on progress to planners throughout the lifetime of the project, and conducts an overall assessment oflessons learned: A Lessons Learned Report with the focus on a) solutions on improved cross-border cooperation, b) stakeholder mobilization and integration, c) advancing the implementation of the EBA, d) data sharing, e) Land-Sea Interaction; 2) Leading of WP 1.3. Integrating Land-Sea Interaction into MSP. This WP is to identify and practically work with important…

Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour market

This project seeks to deepen understanding of how the labour market integration of immigrants can be strengthened. The project will investigate how the labour market integration of refugees and other migrant groups in the Nordic countries can be facilitated. The focus will be on drawing conclusions on appropriate policies. These could include education policy, labour market policy and wage policy. A key issue is how suitable policies may differ between groups such as, for example, males, females, young adults and older persons. The project will also examine the role of public and private providers of both education and labour market programmes as well as the impact of social benefits on labour market outcomes. Background The population in the Nordic region has increased by 16% since 1990. Positive net migration has been a major contributing factor. This is reflected in the share of foreign-born people living in the Nordic countries, which increased from 9% in 2006 to 13% in 2016. Migration to the Nordic region increased particularly strongly in the context of the refugee crisis in 2015. In 2016, migration accounted for 78% of the total population increase (Nordic Statistics 2017). On a per-capita basis, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden have taken in more asylum seekers than most other European countries. In the coming years, these refugees have to be integrated into the Nordic labour markets, once asylum is granted. This will be an extremely challenging process. All Nordic countries are characterised by significant employment gaps between natives and foreign born, with particularly large gaps existing in Denmark, Finland and Sweden. The gaps are the largest between natives and non-European immigrants and larger for females than for males. Non-European immigrants are also overrepresented in fixed-term and part-time employment (Arbetsmarknadsekonomiska rådet 2017). Refugees in particular are more dependent on welfare support and…

Enhancing labour opportunities for women in the Nordic countries

Comparative study between policies and practices applied in three small or medium-sized cities in the Nordic countries, in Sweden, Iceland and Finland. The aim is to determine excluding factors on Nordic labour markets, as well as to identify good practices for improved labour market integration among immigrant women. The intention is to find ways for both private and public actors to improve immigrant women’s opportunities on the labor market. The research group anticipates to interview actors in charge of labor market program/support, as well as women who have taken part in them. The study is conducted in collaboration with the University of Lapland in Finland and the University of Akureyri, Iceland.

European Parliament – Study

Research for REGI Committee – Integrated use of ESI Funds to address social challenges. The study aims to analyse the implementation of integrated approaches under the ESI funds in addressing challenges related to social inclusion. In this framework, the study will address the specific issue related to the integration of migrants and refugees in EU regions and urban areas.

Nordic collaboration for integration of refugees and migrants

In June 2016, the Ministers for Nordic Collaboration decided to establish a new collaboration programme for effective integration and inclusion of refugees and immigrants in the Nordic countries. The aim of the programme is to increase the efficiency of Nordic integration practices. The new integration programme was initiated in response to the increasing numbers of asylum seekers to the Nordic countries in 2015, which posed certain challenges to the welfare systems – but also implied a clear potential to our ageing societies, especially in the more sparsely populated parts of the Nordics. The aim of the programme is to increase the efficiency of Nordic integration practices. The programme, including a new website: www.integrationnorden.org, managed by the Nordic Welfare Centre, will be a hub for knowledge exchange, capacity building and networking between key actors working hands on with the inclusion of newcomers into Nordic labour markets and communities. It can be national agencies and local integration coordinators, but also businesses and civil society organisations. Activities include thematic seminars for relevant actors as well as the forming of two expert groups, one targeting labour market integration, and one targeting social integration in a broader sense. Main themes for the first year will be: The potential of immigration in shrinking communities – how to make newcomers stay? Faster integration into Nordic labour markets – competence building and matchmaking Segregated cities – housing and planning for more inclusive urban areas Kids and young adults in the integration process – the role of schools and social networks Nordregio’s role in the programme is to develop and present current data, comparative analyses and studies of integration practices, maps and “good practice” examples from Nordic regions and municipalities on the website, and contribute to thematic seminars. The integration programme, including the assignment for Nordregio and the Nordic…

Unaccompanied minors to the Nordic Region

The last years have seen a huge increase in unaccompanied minors seeking refuge in the Nordic countries. So far, 2015 has been the peak year, with in particular Sweden, but also Norway, Finland, and Denmark seeing high increases of in-migration of unaccompanied minors. An unaccompanied minor is a child or young person below the age of 18, who seeks asylum in a country without the company of parents or a legal guardian. In 2016, the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues started a project on compiling information and analysing the current situation in the Nordic Region with regards to the receiving unaccompanied minors. Aspects to be covered include: How many unaccompanied minors have received asylum in the Nordic Region in recent years? Which are the origin countries of the unaccompanied minors who seek refuge in the Nordic countries? How are the needs of the unaccompanied minors catered for, including access to schools, medical care and housing? As a Nordic sister organisation to the Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues, specialised in the collection and harmonisation of demographic data, as well as in the production of maps, Nordregio was asked to undertake the quantitative part of the project, including visualisations and an analysis of the migration patterns for unaccompanied minors to the Nordic countries in recent years. The maps produced for the project can be found in our map gallery, with versions both in English and Swedish: Unaccompanied minors according to country of origin in 2015 Unaccompanied minors per 1000 inhabitants 2015 Unaccompanied minors in 2015 Unaccompanied minors per 1000 children 2015 The Nordic Centre for Welfare and Social Issues provides more information in Swedish on the project. The project is still in its initial stage, but tables, charts and maps are provided on the global context and where…

From Migrants to Workers

From Migrants to Workers: Immigrants’ role in local labour markets in the Nordic region Over the past few decades the scale of international migration into the Nordic countries has increased considerably. The percent foreign-born of the total population in several of the Nordic countries exceeds that of traditional migration destination states such as the United States and Australia. While many of these recent arrivals migrate to the capital cities and other large urban areas of the Nordic countries, there has been increased migration to rural and sparsely populated areas of the Nordic region and the role of these new arrivals into these areas is not well known. The quantitative analysis of this project examines the scale of immigration into the Nordic countries by country of origin, gender, level of education, and other characteristics. It looks at the scale of immigration by region with a focus on the more sparsely-populated areas of the Nordic region. Case studies from six rather remote, rural regions across the Nordics provide a more qualitative assessment of the role of these new immigrants in local labour markets with labour shortages and population decline. A central aim is to compare the measures taken to improve the long-term integration of labour migrants and their families, and refugees, into social networks and labour markets – and to identify and spread good practices.

Enhanced Nordic-Baltic cooperation on challenges of labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region 2014-2015

The project aimed at strengthening cooperation within the Nordic-Baltic area on the impact of increased labour migration and elaborated proposals on how to accomplish sustainable regional migration and integration policies for the region. The project covered a number of project activities, including conferences and stakeholder meetings in the Baltic countries. Nordregio was responsible for 2 of those activities: Nordic-Baltic labour mobility study The study explores the migration patterns between and within the countries in the Nordic-Baltic region, with a focus on labour mobility. The comparative study will be based on detailed statistical data obtained from the statistics offices in the respective countries, and supplemented by a pilot survey that will address additional questions such as circumstances and incentives leading to the decision to emigrate, migrants’ age, skills/deskilling, employment in sending and receiving countries, social networks, obstacles of integration in receiving countries, access to social security systems etc. Publication on labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region The publication aims at increasing awareness and bringing forward the most relevant Nordic-Baltic labour migration related issues to the political agenda in the Nordic-Baltic region. It will provide a general overview of the trends, policy considerations and associated challenges related to labour migration. Furthermore the publication will include a demographic vulnerability assessment of the Baltic and Nordic municipalities as well as few selected practices of coping with labour mobility and related demographic challenges at the local level in both Nordic and Baltic countries. The project was initiated and run by the NCM Offices in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in partnership with Nordregio.