Each issue of the Nordregio Magazine provides perspectives on a specific theme related to regional development and planning in the Nordic countries. With Nordregio Magazine you are kept up to date with the interesting research results produced by Nordregio in a European and global perspective.
- 2022 January
- Nordregio magazine
- Baltic Sea Region
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
Ansträngande partnerskap: näringslivet i nordisk stadsplanering
How urban planning contributes to economic growth and local development is a question high on the political agenda in the Nordic countries. This highlights, in turn, other key policy issues: how public planning can more efficiently contribute to private urban development, in particular the production of new housing, to accommodate rapid urbanisation and solve the housing crises. The various interactions between different public and private actors and their different rationales are at the heart of these problems, including the potential tensions between efficiency and legitimacy (see Nordregio News Issue 2 2015 Tensions in Nordic urban planning). Urban development and planning are collaborative processes between different actors. It can, as suggested by John Friedman, be seen as an intervention or a power struggle between state, capital and civil society. However, these collective actors are very heterogeneous. The state includes, for example, both politicians and a variety of civil servants (including planners) at different administrative levels and sectors. The private sector (i.e. capital) includes a diverse array of actors such as financiers, developers, architects, consultants and so on. The civil society (collectively organised private persons) is also an increasingly diverse collective, something that is often neglected or at least overseen when public-private relations and planning efficiency are discussed. In this working paper, public and private relations in urban planning are opened up and discussed with a focus on how public authorities and private developers collaborate in urban development projects in the Nordic countries. This paper provides different examples of the possibilities and challenges of different forms of collaborations and partnerships between public and private actors. Particular attention is given to the initial unregulated phase in the planning process, which has been shown as crucial for both efficiency and legitimacy (see Nordregio Report 2013:1 A Review of the Norwegian planning system – Scandinavian…
The potential of industrial symbiosis as a key driver of green growth in Nordic regions
In 2014, the Nordic Working Group on Green Growth – Innovation & Entrepreneurship, nominated by the Nordic Council of Ministers, commissioned Nordregio to conduct a study on different approaches to developing industrial symbiosis and its implications for regional development in the Nordic countries. Industrial symbiosis can be viewed as one of the possible approaches to realizing a circular economy (CE) and achieving green growth. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the potential for growth in industrial symbiosis at the national, regional and local levels, and analyse policies related to industrial symbiosis in the Nordic countries. The empirical part of the study consists of an analysis of five cases of industrial symbiosis: the Kalundborg Symbiosis in the Zealand region, Denmark; the Kemi– Tornio region in Lapland, Finland; the Svartsengi Resource Park on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland; the Eyde Cluster in the Agder region, Norway; and the Händelö industrial symbiosis in Östergötland county, Sweden. This study shows that there are differences in approaches to industrial symbiosis in the Nordic countries. In Finland and Denmark, there is generally a strong top-down approach to industrial symbiosis, accompanied by a clear vision and comprehensive strategies for a CE/industrial symbiosis at the national and regional levels. Industrial symbiosis exchanges have been actively facilitated by municipal and regional actors and networks in combination with key private companies.
Urban policies for sustainable living and consumption
Cities are increasingly understood as key locations for tackling questions related to sustainable production and consumption. Urban and transport planning are often highlighted as having the greatest potential impact on to successfully shape sustainable lifestyles and behaviour. How to plan for, not only sustainable urban areas but also sustainable lifestyles is a challenging issue which requires an integrated perspective that considers both the production and consumption of the built environment as well as innovative approaches for citizen engagement. This policy brief highlights the possibilities when linking housing and living with mobility and transport, and the challenges of connecting city-wide strategies and local innovative projects. It primarily targets urban policymakers in the European Union concerned with the ambition of exploiting the potential of lifestyle and consumption in relation to sustainable urban development. The results and policy considerations are derived from a critical review of urban sustainable policies and assessment in eight different citiesin Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden,including Vienna and Stockholm. The review was conducted within the framework of the CASUAL project. This Policy Brief is one of four policy briefs that was published within the JPI Urban Europe CASUAL project.
Nordregio News 4 2015
This is a special issue of Nordregio News, offering you an overview of current research areas and projects that we are involved in here at Nordregio. With the new layout and content structure, we wish to make the magazine more readable and easier to navigate. In 2015, we have put substantial resources into research commissioned and funded by the four Nordic working groups under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Senior Officials for Regional Policy: Demography and welfare; Sustainable regional development in the Arctic; Green growth – innovation and entrepreneurship; and Sustainable urban regions. We are pleased to say that many regional case studies, Foresight analysis and policy overviews were conducted during the year, in addition to the development and launch of the interactive web-mapping tool, NordMap. The Nordic Demography Programme was finalised and three large-scale EU-funded projects started: REGINA, Baltic SCOPE and Baltic Urban Lab. More information on some of these projects will be found in this issue.
Adapting to, or mitigating demographic change?
The Nordic countries continue to experience the impact of the long term demographic trend of migration from rural areas and smaller communities to larger towns and cities. In addition, the share of the Nordic population aged over 65 is increasing. Ageing population is especially pronounced in areas outside the largest city-regions. Depopulation and having relatively fewer people in working age is expected to have a severe impact on many Nordic municipalities causing additional problems with the future provision of welfare services. In addition, these municipalities face challenges when it comes to accessing the labour force especially in the welfare sector. Moreover, while population decrease imposes particular challenges to rural and peripheral areas, the large city-regions in the Nordic countries are experiencing significant population growth, bringing an altogether different set of challenges. At the same time, the nuances in this general picture need to be acknowledged given, primarily, the continuing strongly positive fl ow of international migration. All municipalities in the Nordic countries experience an in-migration of people from abroad. Indeed, in Norway in particular, migration from abroad has clearly contributed to population increases in rural and peripheral areas. The major demographic trends in the Nordic countries can be summarised as follows: Concentration of the population to urban areas has resulted in significant differences in population structure between growing urban areas and sparsely populated rural areas. Th is has led to new regional imbalances in the availability of and demand for labour. Stagnation or reduction of the workforce. The younger generations are not large enough to fully replace those leaving the labour market. Strong increase in the share of population aged over 65 and within the next 30 years there will be an increase in this age group in all the Nordic countries. Gender imbalance in many Nordic municipalities and regions.…
City-region planning for everyday life
Whether cities can provide a high quality of life for their inhabitants is an increasingly pressing question, especially in the light of rapid urbanization and climate change. However, recent research from four Nordic city-regions —which include Malmö, Stavanger, Aalborg and Tampere, and the areas around them—shows that detailed knowledge about inhabitants—permanent, temporary, new, multi-generational, or otherwise—in every part and subset of the city-region is lacking in spatial planning. If knowledge about the lives of those living in the city-regions is insufficient, then, how can specific spatial structures for a city-region be proposed as responses to different sustainability challenges? As a response, this policy brief proposes that, city-region planners should adopt Everyday Life Theory, (1) to influence everyday life practices in support of city-region sustainability; and (2) to better connect spatial structure/ urban form with existing sustainability challenges. By adopting Everyday Life Theory, we mean that planning should be based on empirical knowledge about the needs and experiences of different groups of people in relation to four different dimensions: employment, housing provision, mobility and social reproduction.
Nordic ways of dealing with depopulation and ageing in rural and peripheral areas
We live in a time of rapid urbanisation and ageing population, alongside international migration. It is clear that these demographic trends will strongly affect all of the Nordic countries, and especially their rural and peripheral regions. While these regions lose work force and tax revenues to pay for increased welfare demands, the fast growing city regions face other problems: housing shortages, congested roads and insufficient public transportation. The question is, what can we do about it? This policy brief compares national policies and measures taken in the Nordic countries: How to mitigate (prevent negative effects), or adapt to these demographic trends in rural and peripheral areas?
Europe is currently dealing with a major influx of migrants and refugees. Every week, thousands of people are risking their lives for the opportunity to create a better future in Europe, notably in Germany and Sweden. Immigration is only the first challenge however. Once basic needs have been addressed, the arguably greater challenge of integration begins. This Nordregio policy brief presents a new way of measuring segregation – the diversity index – and outlines key steps that Botkyrka, a highly diverse municipality in the Stockholm County, has taken to alleviate Poverty and Social Exclusion, which could be instructive to municipalities across Europe, as they work to integrate new residents.
Nordregio News Issue 3 2015: A new wave of reforms sweeping over the Nordic countries?
Municipal reforms are gaining political momentum in the Nordic countries, which all face great social changes. Some countries have already pushed their reforms through; others are still struggling with decisions on the matter. Finland has failed after several years of trying to implement a renewed reform process. Norway is in the midst of such a process, and Greenland is reconsidering the reform it undertook in 2009. In this issue of Nordregio News, we review current initiatives on municipal reforms in the Nordic countries. What exactly is happening now, and why?
Bioeconomy – the growth engine for Nordic regions?
Why this buzz about bioeconomy, you might wonder? Perhaps because it can be seen as a “silver bullet”, able to avert several staggering threats to our societies: economic and demographic decline in rural areas; joblessness and the climate crises. Clearly, there are several good reasons for the Nordic countries to dig deeper into their bountiful biological assets. First, it is about replacing fossil fuels with biofuels and replacing non-degradable products with bio-degradable ones. Second, the bioeconomy could boost the productivity and product development within agriculture, fisheries, forestry and the chemical industry. Finally, the bioeconomy creates new jobs in sparsely populated areas, by utilizing existing natural resources in new ways.
Youth Perspectives on their Future in the Nordic Arctic
The questions of how to retain and attract young populations are central issues for regional policy development in the Nordic Arctic. Nordregio and the Nordic working group on sustainable regional development in the Arctic have carried out an analysis to uncover young people’s own perspectives of their future possibilities in Arctic communities. This policy brief summarises the main findings of a number of qualitative case studies about young people living in remote locations. The aim is to voice the ambitions and future expectations of the young generation.
Local development initiatives
Demographic trends in the Nordic countries are characterised by urbanisation, mobility and ageing population. Many municipalities and societies – especially those that are distant from large cities – are deeply affected by these changes, and they are facing serious challenges when it comes to issues such as ensuring a population of skilled people and access to both public and private services. The Nordic countries share these challenges, and therefore there is great interest in learning from one another in the Nordic region when it comes to how to meet the challenges. The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Senior Officials for Regional Policy is a gathering of national officials from all the Nordic countries. The demographic challenges have ranked near the top of their agenda for a long time – with a particular focus on sparsely-populated and rural areas. Two of the committee’s initiatives are to initiate a working group for demography and welfare, and to launch the DKK 6 million Nordic demography programme. The purpose of the programme is to support local and regional initiatives and new work approaches in order to meet demographic challenges. The programme is also intended to encourage knowledge exchange among the Nordic countries, by organising all of the projects as partnerships between at least two Nordic municipalities, regions and/or organisations. The first round of the demography programme was launched in the summer of 2012, and four Nordic projects received financing. The second round of the programme was launched at the end of 2013, and a total of six projects received financing. Three of them had already begun as part of the first round, and received support to continue their cooperation. A total of about thirty municipalities, regions and actors throughout the Nordic region have participated in the project. The results from the six projects…
Initiativ för lokal utveckling
Urbanisering, rörlighet och åldrande befolkning präglar den demografiska utvecklingen i de nordiska länderna. Många kommuner och samhällen – särskilt de som ligger långt från större städer – påverkas starkt av dessa förändringar och står inför stora utmaningar när det gäller till exempel kompetensförsörjning och tillgång till både offentlig och privat service. De nordiska länderna delar dessa utmaningar och därför finns det ett stort intresse av att lära av varandra i Norden när det gäller hur utmaningarna ska hanteras. Nordiska ministerrådets ämbetsmannakommitté för regionalpolitik samlar nationella tjänstemän från samtliga nordiska länder. Under lång tid har de demografiska utmaningarna stått högt på agendan – och då med särskilt fokus på gles- och landsbygdsområden. Två av de satsningar som gjorts från Nordiska ministerrådets sida är att inrätta en arbetsgrupp för demografi och välfärd och att lansera det Nordiska demografiprogrammet om sammanlagt 6 miljoner DKK. Syftet med programmet är att stödja lokala och regionala initiativ och nya arbetssätt för att hantera de demografiska utmaningarna. Syftet är också att uppmuntra till kunskapsutbyte mellan de nordiska länderna genom att samtliga projekt utformats som samarbeten mellan minst två nordiska kommuner, regioner och/eller organisationer. Sommaren 2012, lanserades den första omgången av demografiprogrammet och fyra nordiska projekt beviljades finansiering. Den andra omgången av programmet lanserades i slutet av 2013 och då beviljades totalt sex projekt finansiering. Tre av dessa hade redan startat i den första omgången och fick då möjlighet att fortsätta sitt samarbete. Totalt har ett trettiotal kommuner, regioner och aktörer runtom i Norden medverkat i projekten. I den här publikationen presenteras resultat från de sex projekt som var med i den andra omgången av programmet. I flera av projekten har konkreta modeller utvecklats och testats med syfte att ge regioner och kommuner verktyg för att kunna arbeta mer systematiskt med de här frågorna. Här finns både verktyg…
The Sámi are the only designated indigenous people in the European Union. They retain their own languages and traditions as well as their resource-based livelihoods based on i.e. reindeer herding. Through a series of maps, this paper presents different aspects of the Sámi and Sápmi, like: Traditional living areas, the current and official status of the Sámi and Sámi languages, demographic change in Sápmi and natural resources in Sápmi. Download the folder in other languages: Finnish Norwegian Saami
Nordregio News 1 2015: Cross-border co-operation
In this issue of Nordregio News, we focus on cross-border co-operation and its impact on regional development in Nordic and European border regions. We have studied how cross-border co-operation is structured and managed, and whether its full potential for sustainable growth has been realized. The added value of cross-border co-operation can be defined and measured in various ways, including improvement of cross-border infrastructure and increasing flows of tourists.
Nordregio News Issue 2 2015: Tensions in Nordic urban planning
Urbanisation is strong in the Nordic countries, with people and capital being concentrated into growing, expanding city regions. These urbanisation processes of concentration and expansion, and explosion and implosion are challenging traditional forms of planning and creating tensions within current planning systems and procedures, along with new forms of urban governance and policies in a number of ways. In the current age of austerity, there is an increased interest and need in finding new solutions and alternatives to provide housing, offices and other services to the new citizens. In addition and in parallel to this, in post-political Europe, there is also an increased emphasis on citizen engagement and public participation because of the perceived gap between politics and people’s everyday lives.
Planning Nordic City Regions: Challenges and Opportunities
Contemporary challenges for the development of sustainable urban regions in the Nordic countries relate to how physical planning can contribute to green growth and city-regional competitiveness. More specifically, three types of challenges have been identified. The first relates to urban form and issues involving urban qualities and densification processes, accommodating rapid population growth, localisation and the mixing of urban functions. The second relates to social inclusion and segregation, the everyday life perspective and diversified lifestyles and mobility. Finally, while planning at the city-regional scale is increasingly seen as a way to meet these challenges, such a perspective also calls into question the traditional ways in which Nordic cities and regions are planned; the third type of challenge is therefore the fact that there is a recognised need for new and innovative forms of planning and governance.
Nordic Arctic Youth Future Perspectives
The questions of how to retain and attract young populations are central issues for regional policy development in the Nordic Arctic. Nordregio and the Nordic working group on sustainable regional development in the Arctic have carried out an analysis to uncover young people’s own perspectives of their future possibilities in Arctic communities. A group of scholars from Iceland, Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Sweden and Finland were asked to contribute to a study of Arctic Youth Future Perspectives in the rural areas of the Nordic Arctic regions. The study is part of a Foresight analysis about future visions for arctic communities in the Nordic Countries.
Indicator frameworks: Helping planners monitor urban sustainability
This policy brief aims to provide planners with a clearer understanding of the opportunities and challenges presented by the use of sustainability indicators to support urban planning and policy-making. There is a common saying that goes “what gets measured gets managed”. With this in mind, Nordregio research has identified a number of perspectives that can be of value to planners considering whether to use indicator frameworks to monitor the performance of comprehensive urban planning strategies. We found this to be a pressing issue in light of the fact that a number of comprehensive city plans in large Nordic cities have been developed with little or no consideration given to the inclusion of indicator frameworks.