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Degree of rurality at the municipal and regional level in 2017

This map shows the average distance to the edge of the closest urban area for the population living outside urban areas in the Nordic municipalities and regions. These figures are of particular interest in the analysis of urban-rural patterns and the Nordic populations’ access to local services in sparsely population areas. The darker shades on the map indicate longer average distances to the edge of the nearest urban area, and the lighter shades indicate shorter average distances. While almost all Danish municipalities have an average distance of below 10 km from rural grid cells to the nearest urban area, a large share of the municipal populations of the remaining Nordic countries need to contend with longer average distances to local services. The largest distances can be found in several municipalities of Iceland and Norway (Árneshreppur 230 km, Hasvik 154 km), whereas the largest average distances for Finnish and Swedish municipalities are considerably shorter (Enontekiö 103 km, Storuman 52 km). Regarding within-country variation, shorter average distances can generally be found in southwestern Finland and southern Sweden, in comparison with the more remote parts of these countries. Both Norway and Iceland provide a rather more mixed picture, since there are municipalities with shorter average distances scattered across different parts of each country. Method used to calculate the degree of rurality In order to take into account access to services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, schools, community centres and public transport, the European definition of urban grid cells was used to create this map, i.e. a population density threshold of 300 inhabitants per km2 applied to grid cells of 1 km2. The closest distance was calculated from each rural grid cell centroid to the nearest urban grid cell centroid along the existing road network traversable by car, including car ferries, based on population…

Settlements on permafrost in the Arctic

The map shows the distribution of coastal and inland settlements on permafrost in the Arctic in 2017. Permafrost is ground that is at or below 0°C for at least 2 consecutive years. The purple tones indicate settlements located on permafrost and distinguishes between coastal (light purple) and inland (dark purple) settlements. Settlements located outside the permafrost extent are in yellow. Among all Arctic settlements, 66,1% are located on permafrost. Settlements are classified as permafrost settlements if they are located within the permafrost extent, comprising zones of continuous, discontinuous, sporadic, or isolated permafrost. Among all permafrost settlements 46,0% are coastal. Coastal settlements are defined by their dependency to the sea. They are either adjacent to the coast, located inland along large rivers with a free connection to the open sea, or located within a short distance to the sea (0-200 km). In this map, coastal settlements comprise all settlements that are located within an Arctic subregion adjacent to the coast. Most of the settlements located outside the permafrost extent area are in the Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Sweden, and Finland) as well as in the southern part of Alaska (USA) and the western part of the Russian Arctic. Almost all Arctic settlements in the Russian Federation and in Canada are located on permafrost. The increase in air surface temperature observed in the Arctic causes dramatic changes in the permafrost thermal regime leading to the destabilisation of infrastructure built on permafrost.