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18 Ongoing Projects

Electric Aviation and the effects on the Nordic regions 

The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. But how would this impact regions and local communities? This project​ analyses the effects of electric aviation on Nordic regional development. The Nordic regions share similar challenges of accessibility and mobility for remote and rural regions. Since the first-generation electric airplanes are small and have a limited range, they would suit many remote areas in Nordic Region. The time saved using electric aviation instead of car or rail can be extensive because of the geographies of water and mountains you must cross or pass. The increased mobility and accessibility have the potential of creating effects in regions and local communities, such as access to public services, and the establishment of companies or job opportunities. The effects can, however also be negative for some communities since increased accessibility also provides the possibility to leave the areas for work or education in other regions. Further, electric aviation can contribute to the green transition. The project investigates the effects on regions and local communities of implementing electric aviation. It will also contribute to the discussion of electric aviation as a sustainable transport mode for remote regions and highlight the contribution to Nordic mobility and sustainability. The study will explore the following research questions:​ Investigate the benefits and disadvantages of implementing electric aviation in regions and local communities in the Nordic region in terms of time saved, accessibility, work opportunities and skills for businesses, the public sector, the tourism sector and citizens. ​ Investigate environmental and climate impacts in regions and local communities.​ Investigate what kinds of infrastructure and energy capacity are needed to implement electric aviation in an efficient manner in order to respond to local needs. ​ Investigate critical factors for…

Transformative capacity in energy, food, and water (TANGO-W)

TANGO-W is an applied research project that develops Urban Transformative Capacities (UTC) as a novel governance ability at the interface of food, energy, and water. The project focuses on two-level capacity building: 1) the urban level, through the design and implementation of Urban Living Labs 2.0 (ULL), and 2) the European level, through establishing a transdisciplinary Community of Practice (CoP) as an integrative coordinating transformation system. Both levels provide the spaces for the development of UTC according to the needs of urban actors in several dimensions (i.e. transformative governance formats, shaping new transformation roles, self-organisation, technical skills, and tools). The ULL and CoP act as novel governance formats to accelerate urban change in a desired, sustainable direction. The activities of TANGO-W result in policy recommendations for replication and upscaling measures and training concepts and pilot courses that support capacity building in TANGO-W fellow cities. TANGO-W is a transnational project funded by ERA-NET Cofund Programme. This Programme, designed for the implementation of the European Research Area (ERA), aims to promote strategic cooperation between EU Member States and associated countries. TANGO-W consortium consists of partners from Austria, Norway, Lithuania and Sweden. Nordregio coordinates the efforts of the Swedish partners (Campus Roslagen and City of Stockholm), contributes to the research activities in all six TANGO-W WPs and leads two of them: WP4 which deals with the implementation of TANGO-W ULLs, and WP6 in charge of the Communication and Dissemination of the project.

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…

Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia

This project has been halted based on the Nordic Council of Ministers’ decision to discontinue collaboration with Russia and Belarus, announced on the 4th of May. The project aims at supporting sustainable and innovative production and use of wood-based building materials across Northwest Russia and the Nordics. Using wood in construction provides multiple benefits to nature and economies. It is by far the most effective way to cut emissions and capture carbon. It also promotes a transition towards green economies, boosts business exchange opportunities and adds value locally. This project focuses on influencing skills development, facilitating business relations and catalysing processes through the exchange of knowledge, technology and practices across universities, businesses and authorities. Activities will be held in Arkhangelsk, Karelia, Murmansk, St Petersburg and the Nordics from December 2021 until December 2022. The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

A Just Green Transition in rural areas: local benefits from value creation

Rural areas can play a very important role in the green transition as far the majority of natural resources are located here. There may, however, be a real risk that the rural areas end up working merely as instruments to national and international agendas and as engines for the urban areas without any real local benefits for the rural communities and rural populations. So, how to make green transition just for all parties? The main objective of this research project is to examine a just green transition in rural areas in theNordic region and explore measures on how local value creation can be ensured from the greentransition in the rural communities. Focus rests on two interrelated pillars: Energy transitions and related land use planning and measures to rurally proof them, Value created out of these transition efforts for the benefit of rural areas. A literature review will outline key concepts and working definitions, and a Discussion paper will be published in spring 2022. Nordic policy priorities and challenges are compiled in a Policy Overview and Policy Brief in the summer of 2022. Place-based examples of just and/or unjust transitions will be explored in case studies around the Nordics during the summer and fall of 2022. The results will be discussed in workshops and partnerships for green transition will be supported by experts and compiled in report and disseminated during winter of 2022-2023. This project is part of the Nordic collaboration and the Thematic group: Green and Inclusive Rural Development in the Nordics (2021-2024).

Not Just a Green Transition (NJUST) – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region

Not Just a Green Transition – Examining the path towards a socially just green transition in the Nordic Region (short name: NJUST) contributes to a just transition towards a climate neutral Nordic Region. The researchers explore perceptions among those experiencing the change first-hand and focus on how to best support the Nordic people and especially vulnerable groups, primarily unemployed and those at risk of unemployment as well as older people, children and persons with disabilities. Towards strong knowledge base and policy relevanceThe starting point will be to create a knowledge base where a literature review, policy review and analyses of spatial and socio-economic effects of green transition policies will be conducted. The project will send out surveys and perform sentiment analyses to explore how people experience the ongoing green transition on an individual level. Based on the knowledge base, a policy proposal toolbox will be created and disseminated to the relevant policymakers across the Nordic countries and self-governing regions. The toolbox shall contain policies and measures to reduce the potentially negative spatial and social impacts of the green transition. All publications will be openly available on Nordregio’s website. A big collaboration effort: focus groups and dialogue meetings to validate the resultsThe project interacts with labour market representatives, unions and civil society actors, invites vulnerable group representatives to join focus groups and dialogue meetings and reaches out to citizens via surveys. Nordic and national policymakers are the main target group for the project results and special communication efforts will be channelled to these groups. NJUST invites all stakeholders annually to join an open event to share and build knowledge. The first event takes place in August 2022 and more information will be available here during the spring. The NJUST project works closely and reports to several Committees of Senior of Officials…

BioBaltic – Nordic-Baltic cooperation within bio-circular-economy

The project aims at deepening Nordic-Baltic cooperation around bio-circular-economy. Both – Nordic and Baltic countries are rich in biological and renewable resources and have a long tradition in utilizing these resources for generating economic growth through the traditional sectors, such as forestry, agriculture, and fisheries, as well as related sectors including food processing, tourism etc. This 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 among multiple actors, including youth. The collaboration will focus on different aspects of bioeconomy transition, including financing aspects, industrial partnerships and symbiosis or the opportunities of digitalisation. A two-way learning channel will be established between each Baltic country and the Nordic Countries through Nordregio. The ‘Mobile Learning Hubs’ (MLHs), coordinated by the NCM offices in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will collect and disseminate practical and scientific knowledge on bio-circular-economy, in collaboration with local actors.

Arena for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions

The Arena is a space of dialogue and co-creation within the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (TGC). This space is designed to establish bridges between the thematic group work and other researchers and other actors in policy and practice fields, as well as to provide input to the ongoing regional development studies. In the upcoming years, TGC aims at producing new knowledge on green, innovative, and resilient regions in the Nordic context and contribute with Nordic added value. It also intends to function as a hub for knowledge exchange for Nordic senior-level officials from the national level, regional level, and cross-border regions. This becomes particularly important today when we are pointing towards a ‘Green Transition’ and post-Covid-19 recovery. In the series of open and targeted events organised within the Arena, participants will be encouraged to reflect on the implications that the themes at stake have on regional development and planning. Particular attention will be placed on identifying the nuances that should be considered when thinking of different regional typologies (urban, rural, border, island, etc). This effort will also contribute to deliver better grounded policy recommendations deriving from the thematic group’s work. On the Arena: How will the climate crisis and post-Covid situation influence the way we travel?Guest speakers:• Jonas Eliasson, Director of Swedish Transport Authority and Visiting Professor at Linköping University• Jan Hanses, President and CEO of Viking Line• Anna Engblom, Senior Advisor Infrastructure and Green Charter at Greater Copenhagen Regional Leadership – Who should lead the Green Transition?Guest speakers:• Markku Sotarauta, a professor of regional development studies in the Faculty of Management and Business at Tampere University, Finland.• Bjarne Jensen, an urban strategist at the Strategic Urban Governance Programme; Danish Architecture Center (DAC).

Food self-sufficiency in Nordic island societies: the current situation and the way forward

The project will focus on data and sustainability aspects of an increase of food self-sufficiency in five smaller Nordic countries and regions: Greenland, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Åland and Bornholm, Denmark. We will explore whether and how a higher degree of self-sufficiency of food can contribute to a more resilient and sustainable food system in these five island societies. The positive and negative consequences of increased self-sufficiency will be explored, as well as the perceived potentials and barriers for each of the island societies. Furthermore, the degree of self-sufficiency will be calculated.   The consortium consists of Nordregio, the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and the Faroese Agricultural Agency. Nordregio leads the project and is responsible for the collection and analysis of qualitative data in Greenland, Iceland, Åland and Bornholm region of Denmark, while the Faroese Agricultural Agency is responsible for the collection of data on the Faroe Islands. NIBIO is responsible for collecting quantitative data and developing a baseline of the degree of food self-sufficiency in the five island societies.

Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems

Lokalt ägandeskap i omställning till hållbara energisystem Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems is a three-year research project that will explore the role of local ownership in facilitating successful energy transitions in Sweden. Additionally, the project will focus on how local ownership can be facilitated through for instance public participation processes or community energy projects. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as important for the energy transition. A qualitative, participatory research design will explore these subjects. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are used to co-create knowledge with stakeholders on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. The Swedish Energy Agency funded project will increase knowledge on the role of local ownership as a contributor to transitions towards sustainable energy systems.

Re:Urbia

Re:Urbia project focus on the state and development of suburban housing estates in Finland. The research project analyses multidimensional segregation processes in these suburban areas from the perspective of residential migration, schools and the attraction and holding power of suburbs, and re-conceptualises planning solutions and services in the suburbs. Nordregio’s participation in the project is related to providing up-to-date knowledge about the socio-economic state and development of suburban housing estates constructed during the 1960s and 1970s. The work package is based on updating and further extending the analysis of Finnish suburban housing estates based on Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Mats Stjernberg’s (2019) PhD research. This, together with surveys conducted in selected estates, will provide new knowledge about the development of these types of areas both in Finland overall as well as in the partner cities of the consortium (Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Jyväskylä). Re:Urbia is part of Lähiöohjelma, funded by the Finnish Ministry of Environment for the years 2020–2022 for promoting positive development in suburbs. The project is led by the University of Helsinki, and also includes researchers from Aalto University as well as practitioners from the partner cities of the consortium.

Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas (WISPA)

This project aims to define the concept and map already existing WISPAs in the Nordic countries and the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The concept WISPA (Welfare Institutes in Sparsely Populated Areas) has been used in some recent projects that strive for a stable and available welfare sector in sparsely populated areas of the Nordic Region. There are a few established WISPAs, such as Centre for Rural Medicine in Storuman and Norwegian Centre for Rural Medicine (NCRM) in Tromsø, there are also other ongoing initiatives in Akyreyri and other parts of the Nordic Region. Ideally, a WISPA should cover both health care and social care in an integrated manner, including home care services. In addition, by coordinating meetings and activities between the identified WISPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WISPA, this project tries to establish a Nordic network that drives development in health care and social care in the Nordics, with a special focus on sparsely populated areas, recruitment and competence supply, and the digital transformation of health care and health care services into a more integrated system. The long-term goal of this project is to promote an accessible, secure, and stable welfare in sparsely populated areas of the Nordics, which creates a basis for regional development, social sustainability, and a well-functioning labour market in these regions. In this project, Nordregio is responsible for defining the concept of WISPA and mapping already existing WISPAs and similar initiatives in the Nordic Region, including related research environments, academic actors, and national policies and goals. In addition, based on the results, Nordregio will support the Nordic Welfare Centre in its activities to develop an action plan for collaboration and networking between the Nordic WISPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WISPA.

Waste Management in High North – new cross-border business opportunities (WANO)

This project has been halted based on the Nordic Council of Ministers’ decision to discontinue collaboration with Russia and Belarus, announced on the 4th of May. The WANO project studies cross-border business and innovation opportunities in High North, applied to the field of waste management. The study analyses cross-border business opportunities in the Barents Region and High North but also highlights specific geopolitical characteristics, as well as social aspects of cross-border waste management cooperation in High North. It develops an analytical framework to study cross-border business and innovation cooperation  and applies it to the field of waste management (municipal and industrial waste) the neighbouring cross-border regions of Troms and Finnmark in Norway and Murmansk Oblast in Russia. Lead partner of the study is NORCE. Other research partners include Kola Science Center in Apatity, Russia and the Nordic research institute Nordregio. The non-research organisations,  Remiks and RaskRetur, waste management practitioners in Troms and Finnmark, provide their expertise and contacts to WANO project and actively participate in project implementation.

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.

Ensuring inclusive economic growth in the transition to a green economy

This research project analyses how the Nordic countries can accelerate the green transition towards a climate-neutral economy. All Nordic countries have committed to ambitious goals for the green transition of their economies. At the same time, they are experiencing economic declines due to the Covid-19 pandemic. They also face structural challenges such as population ageing and population decline, which are particularly pronounced in rural and remote areas. This research project will contribute to the discussion on how to restart the Nordic economies and accelerate the green transition towards a climate-neutral economy while ensuring that these processes are inclusive. Nordregio is responsible for several working packages: WP1 will analyse the distributive effects of climate policies. This will include analysing how gaps between richer and poorer population groups and regions have developed since the last economic crisis (Task 2) and how such differences might be affected by ongoing and planned climate policies (Task 1). The project will also explore how socio-economic gaps between regions link to emerging ‘geographies of discontent’, where people in more peripheral communities across Norden develop a fear of being left behind. WP2 shall contribute to our understanding of the regional preconditions in which the green transition takes place. First, this will include a comparative analysis of the different countries’ regional policies (Task 3). We will analyse which types of policies have the best effect in strengthening economic development outside of the bigger city regions. Second, this WP will analyse how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the conditions and progress of the green transition and offer recommendations on how to move forward (Task 4). Nordregio is also in charge of the administration and communication of the project. The project is led by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ finance sector (MR-Finans) in cooperation with the regional sector (MR-R) as well…

Nordic & Northwest Russia cooperation on wood and construction

This cooperation aims at establishing sustainable Nordic-Russian business-to-business and business – academic partnerships in the wood and construction sector. The objective is to support innovative production and use of wood-based building materials capitalising on the untapped potential for a biobased economy in NW-Russia.

Covid-19 Economic Impacts in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how closely health and economy are linked. This project analyses the economic impacts of the pandemic in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region, as well as Canada. The main aim is to set out the recovery roadmap with recommendations for positive action and policy that can create more sustainable and resilient communities and economies. The project gathers 13 partners to examine how Covid-19 hit the countries’ economies and what responses, innovations and transformations took place as a result. The partners are coming from very diverse background geographically, institutionally, and in terms of expertise. That will assure the vast diversity of knowledge and perspectives to the project. The project will give special attention to peripheral areas in the NPA region and to young people and entrepreneurs (up to age 40), to gain their unique perspectives and innovations on Covid-19 responses and sustainable development. It will also add a human rights perspective on the inequities of health systems/economies, including for peripheral and indigenous communities within the NPA. Nordregio will provide relevant comparative data (economic and health) across the Nordic Region and the Arctic, including harmonised data across the NPA region. Also, the partner will share the relevant findings from previously conducted relevant projects. The ultimate goal is to set out a recovery roadmap with recommendations that will improve health, wellbeing as well as social, cultural and economic benefits for peoples across the NPA. The findings of the study will be presented in the form of the report in the spring of 2021, as well as via webinars and social media channels.

Sustainable destinations and regional development

The project ’Sustainable destinations and regional development’ started in the fall of 2020 and will be finished before the end of 2021. It builds among other things on knowledge from a previous Nordregio project, Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic region. This new project will look into the possibilities of developing national indicators that measure sustainability in tourism development, looking closer at the social and environmental aspects of tourism in addition to the more conventional economic indicators. The project is led by CRT – Centre For Regional and Tourism Research in Bornholm Denmark – while other partners are Nordregio, Visit Denmark, selected Danish Destinations as well as SDU, the University of Southern Denmark. One of the main benefits of tourism in rural areas is the diversification of jobs as well as the fact that growth in tourism can have positive effects on other sectors. Therefore, many rural regions have welcomed tourism and put emphasis on increasing their visitor numbers to counterbalance the shrinking and more traditional prime industries as well as declining demographic development. Increased tourism can however also negatively affect the environment as well as social tolerance of the local population. Traditionally, the economic and social aspects are not included when measuring the impacts of tourism on regions.  Annual tourism reports are delivered by Visit Denmark in collaboration with the Center for Regional and Tourism Research each year, which contain figures for turnover, jobs, overnight stays and other mainly economic indicators of tourism development. The partner group behind the project now wants to investigate the possibility of how this tool can be utilized on the all three dimensions of sustainability; economic-, social- and environmental sustainability. This will be done with desktop research on existing sustainable tourism measurement tools and building upon the analyses of Nordregio that performed Pan-Nordic…

Perspectives for the north: a review of European initiatives localising the SDGs

The project aims to analyse the localisation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030, as well as to assess social sustainability efforts that are taking place across European institutions, networks and projects. The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has commissioned Nordregio to do a review of the efforts to localise the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across European institutions and organisations. The evaluation includes initiatives and projects under the European Commission, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), and other relevant sister organisations and networks working with Agenda 2030 at the regional and local levels. The review culminates in a report available here. For more information visit:https://www.ks.no/om-ks/ks-in-english/how-do-the-nordic-countries-and-europe-work-towards-the-sdgs/https://www.ks.no/om-ks/ks-in-english/

Fields of Goals

– Co-production and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in regional and local planning – The project addresses the urgent call for implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the regional and local level. The overall ambition of the project is to develop a framework for implementing the SDG in local and regional planning. This framework will be based on lessons learned from Local and Regional Agenda A21 and output from workshops and focus groups where relevant SDG goals and targets will be contextualized with the help of regional scenarios and indicators. Specifically, the project will: – Assess the former and current position of sustainable development in regional and local planning – Explore regional and local pathways (procedures) for contextualizing the SDGs, with the help of regional scenarios and indicators – Test the pathways and wider framework in practical planning and provide policy guidelines based on these experiences – Integrate the SDGs in study programmes for societal and spatial planning – Strengthen the concept of sustainable development in regional and local planning through co-production of knowledge and social learning across sectors and stakeholder groups, as well as an ambitious plan for public outreach and engagement.