16 Ongoing Projects
Early career mobility in the Nordic region
Recent Nordregio studies show a difference in migration intensities and patterns between adults in their 20s and 30s. The aim of the project is to understand the migration drivers from the university towns and urban areas in the Nordic region, targeting adults in their early careers. The project will put an emphasis on urban-to-rural migration, addressing cross-cutting themes such as gender and the green transition. It is no surprise that the net migration to university towns and urban areas is positive for people in their 20s while the migration patterns of people in their 30s are much more diverse. But where do young people migrate to after their studies? Data shows that people in their „early career“ leave capitals and university towns and move to rural and intermediate municipalities that are close to larger urban municipalities, but also some more peripheral How could migration trends be supported and enhanced through regional development policy? By understanding the migration drivers of young people, regional actors could better prepare and respond to potential opportunities of positive migration flow to rural and remote areas. To support these opportunities for Nordic regional development, the project will explore the determinants of migration in the Nordic region and seek to identify the motives and drivers of early-career urban-to-rural migration. This research project builds on and contributes to several currently running Thematic Group projects examining migration and mobility in the Nordic countries, including the projects Re-Start Competence Mobility in the Nordic Region (Lundgren et al, 2021-2024), and Remote Work and Multilocality (Linda Randall et al, 2021-2024). The project is funded by the Nordic Thematic Group for Green, Innovative and Resilient Regions (2021-2024).
Democratising jUst Sustainability Transitions (DUST)
The HORIZON EUROPE project Democratising jUst Sustainability Transitions (DUST) aims to develop new participatory instruments in sustainability transitions that enhance citizen participation and trust in democratic governance. It aims to recognise the voices of least-engaged communities by focusing on regions dependent on energy-intensive industries which will be affected by sustainability transitions. We will conduct research using mixed methods in 8 case study regions in Europe, including Region Gotland and Region Norrbotten in Sweden, to investigate the factors enhancing or hindering citizen participation. Participatory experiments will also be conducted in 4 of the case study regions where just sustainability transitions pose great challenges. In these experiments the project will test the potential of innovative design-led territorial and digital tools for citizen participation. The project outputs will be a collection of evidence-based instruments, methods, good practices, and knowledge packages for a comprehensive and just transformation. Nordregio is responsible for the implementation of the UNESCO futures literacy lab, an innovative participatory tool that give citizens the opportunity to reframe future developments via new anticipatory assumptions and questions on just sustainability transitions. Participants discuss alternative future scenarios for transitions, which will then inform regional designs and forecast the impact of ongoing and upcoming sustainability transition measures. The case of Norrbotten will be developed in close collaboration with the partner Hela Sverige Ska Leva Norrbotten as well as national, regional and local governance bodies and other civil society organisations.
Socially sustainable rural tourism
Recent Nordregio studies show that all Nordic countries aim for sustainable tourism development in their national strategies. Many ongoing Nordic tourism studies focus especially on economic and environmental aspects of sustainable tourism. This research however aims to look further into the concept of sustainable tourism development from a sociocultural perspective. The project will examine what the Nordic countries consider social and cultural effects in tourism development to be, and look into which possible indicators are used to measure the social dimension of sustainability in the ongoing quest of the Nordic countries for sustainable tourism development. This will include for example analysing tourism contributions and costs for regions and more rural areas, effects on employment, working conditions, provision of services, culture and arts, preservation of heritage, perception and preservation of nature, transport, housing and general tolerance towards tourism. This project will therefore produce a knowledge overview of how social and cultural aspects are considered in Nordic tourism development, both on a national level as well as regional and local levels. This will include a policy overview to pinpoint in which ways the social dimension of sustainable tourism development is being considered, and if and how, indicators are used to illustrate positive and negative impacts on the social and cultural dimensions of sustainable tourism. Also, how social and cultural identities are used to support sustainable tourism will be explored in the project. The in-depth qualitative part of the study would focus on social aspects of tourism such as the value creation of the tourism industry, the insecurity of the often very seasonality of tourism work, the role of tourism jobs as entry-level work and the lower-educated, employment of migrant workers in tourism-related industries and benefits and costs of tourism for societies beyond economic and environmental aspects.
Nordic Regional Leadership
The project aims to better understand what regional leadership looks like within a Nordic context. The concept of regional leadership is about examining how sub-national level institutions and stakeholders collaborate together to drive regional growth, solve local challenges and maximize opportunities. This research project builds on several previous Thematic Group projects examining the role of regions in Nordic policymaking. Contextually, the topic is important, as institutional and stakeholder collaborations will become more significant for coping with financial cuts at regional and local levels, meeting socio-economic challenges caused by ongoing crises, and effectively implementing social, green and smart transitions. The Nordic Regional Leadership intends to provide policymakers and practitioners with new knowledge, tools and best practices on how to implement effective regional and local stakeholder collaborations.
Nordic Food Environments and Behavior Change for Better Diets
This project will support the implementation of the updated release of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) in 2023 and provide policymakers with suggestions for policies and interventions promoting a transition towards more sustainable and healthy diets. Current consumption patterns in the Nordic region do not meet national dietary guidelines or sustainability targets, and people need to adjust their diets for a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. As part of the Nordic Vision project Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems, the Nordic Council of Ministers EK-FJLS (Livs) cooperates with Nordregio to deliver a research project about the Nordic food environments and behavior change for better diets. The purpose of the research project is to support the implementation of the updated release of the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations (NNR) in 2023 and to understand how Nordic food environments need to change for the Nordic population to make healthy and sustainable food choices in their everyday life. The project provides a knowledge base of effective policies that could be implemented in the Nordic countries to generate the required structural changes to make sustainable and healthy consumption easier. The project will explore the following questions: Close collaboration with the Nordic Council of Minister’s secretariat and the FJLS sector will enhance synergies and continuous monitoring. The studies will also consider how Nordic citizens’ background, education, and socioeconomic status affect their choices within a food environment. By promoting sustainable and healthy food systems, the project will contribute to good, equal, and secure health and welfare for all.
Youth for Sustainable Living
This project will increase awareness about the sustainable development goals among youth in the Nordic countries. The project collaborates closely with existing organisations encouraging youth to take climate action and inspire peers to live more sustainably. The project is expected to have public impact through information, inspiration, and demonstration of necessary behavioural and cultural changes. The Nordic Region will be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030 according to the Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision for Nordic co-operation. The Nordic countries are at the forefront of work on sustainable development and progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, we have to address several challenges, in particular, associated with ecological sustainability. The Nordic countries have unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and this project will focus on working towards SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. The project Youth for Sustainable Living collaborates with established organisations working with youth and sustainability. Through cooperation, events, campaigns and other activities, the project aims to increase knowledge of SDG 12 and encourage youth to take concrete climate actions. The project shall also provide youth with a platform to discuss and disseminate knowledge about sustainable development and promote networking with like-minded peers. During 2023 the project will participate in the following events: Sustainable living in the Nordic Region The project is part of the programme Sustainable living in the Nordic Region. The programme consists of six projects that will make it easier to live in a climate-friendly way in the Nordic Region. It is a cross-sectoral Nordic collaboration between the Nordic councils of ministers for gender equality and LGBTI (MR-JÄM), environment and climate (MR-MK), fisheries, aquaculture, agriculture, food and forestry (MR-FJLS), education and research (MR-U), culture (MR-K), and Nordic co-operation (MR-SAM), as well as NORDBUK and the Expert Group…
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 uses the concept of Urban Transformative Capacities (UTC) to evaluate cities’ potential for sustainability, specifically at the intersection of food, energy, and water systems. By doing so, the project aims to help cities tackle challenges associated with climate change and encourage more sustainable urban development. The food-energy-water nexus is a framework that takes into account the synergies and conflicts of the production, consumption, and scarcity of food, energy, and water systems. TANGO-W proposes tackling these challenges by using the concept of UTC. UTC encompasses the collective ability of multiple stakeholders to conceive of, prepare for, initiate, and perform transformative change at social, organisational, and ecosystem levels. The idea is to enable systematic change that ensures long-term transformation for food, energy, and water systems, thus enabling sustainable future development. The project builds transformative capacity on two levels: 1) the urban level, through the design and implementation of Urban Living Labs (ULL), and 2) the European level, through establishing a transdisciplinary Community of Practice (CoP) among research partners and municipalities. Both levels provide spaces for the development of UTC, thereby accelerating urban change in a sustainable direction. The project will result in policy recommendations for replicating UTC practices; training tools connected to the working at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems; and pilot courses that support capacity building in the ULL cities—Weiz (Austria), Kalgenfurt (Austria), Stockholm (Sweden), Norrtälje (Sweden), Alytus (Lithuania), Halden (Norway), and Marker (Norway). Nordregio coordinates the efforts of the Swedish partners (Campus Roslagen and the City of Stockholm); contributes to demonstration, peer learning, and analysis of UTC among all ULLs; and leads the communication and dissemination of the project. TANGO-W is a transnational project funded by the ERA-NET Co-fund Programme. This programme, designed for the implementation of the European Research…
Planning for socially mixed and inclusive neighbourhoods
While Nordic cities have traditionally had relatively 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 increasingly taken actions to reduce segregation and promote social inclusion through various policy and urban planning measures. This project seeks to deepen the understanding of different types of approaches and interventions for creating more socially inclusive and mixed Nordic cities. The notion of creating more socially inclusive cities and 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 actions taken at different territorial levels, ranging from national level strategies to prevent segregation in cities to policy and planning interventions carried out at the city or neighbourhood level, with the aim of strengthening social inclusion in local communities. The project is carried out through five different activities, each with a specific focus but all related to the overarching theme of the project. These include carrying out a policy outlook of national level policies to counteract segregation and promote social inclusion in Nordic cities, analysing how indicators are used to support policy and planning interventions, examining different types of participatory planning approaches, and focusing on interventions to improve physical living environments. A core interest also concerns multi-level governance aspects and how the interplay between the state, municipalities, and other organisations and actors looks like in terms of promoting social inclusion and preventing segregation. The project is part of an assignment from the Nordic Thematic Group for Green and Inclusive Urban Development. More information about the…
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 potentially vulnerable groups, primarily unemployed and those at risk of unemployment as well as older adults, children and persons with disabilities. Towards a 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…
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. Discussion paper on Digitalisation of Food Systems
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:
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 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 (WIiSPA)
This project aims to define the concept and map already existing WIiSPAs in the Nordic countries and the autonomous territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland. The concept WIiSPA (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 WIiSPAs, 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 WIiSPA 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 WIiSPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WIiSPA, 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 WIiSPA and mapping already existing WIiSPAs 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 WIiSPAs and actors that are interested in developing a WIiSPA.
Waste Management in High North – new cross-border business opportunities (WANO)
WANO is a four-year project that studies cross-border business and innovation opportunities in the waste management sector in the Barents Region and High North. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Waste management in the northern latitudes is often more challenging than in the more central regions. Under the Arctic climate conditions with large distances between settlements and to the recycling facilities, and relatively smaller markets and volume of produced waste, there are special needs for developing new innovative solutions for waste management. The main objective of WANO is to examine conditions for creating cross-border business opportunities in the High North through the study of waste management systems. WANO develops an analytical framework to study cross-border business and innovation cooperation in the field of waste management (municipal and industrial waste) in the neighboring cross-border regions of Troms & Finnmark and Nordland (Norway), North Ostrobothnia (Finland) and Norrbotten (Sweden). Collected data will be compared and set into relation with Nordic benchmarking, including the cases from Finland and Sweden.
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.