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Local land use planning: Guidance on spatial data, geographic information systems and foresight in the Arctic

Land use plans range from an overall strategic document for a municipality or a region, to a detailed plan describing development of a specific locality. Land use planning also provides foresight by identifying options for how a future vision may be achieved through land use development. In this context, land use planning is also understood as a process, involving public authorities, private sector actors, and of course, the political sphere. Within land use planning, information is used to add knowledge to the process – as input that supports decision making and as output that documents processes into concrete “plans”. Geographic information systems (GIS), and the data they use, are often fundamental tools of local land use planning. These applications are wide ranging, with different programmes addressing diverse sectors and themes and delivering both insight into current land use patterns and foresight into expected or desired outcomes. Such a wide range of tools and possible uses means that knowing what is available for local planning is a complex issue. At the same time, planning departments in relatively small municipalities, five of which are participating in the REGINA project, often have less well-developed GIS knowledge base due to their lower availability of human and capital resources. In response, this report provides a general guidance for these types of municipalities that want to learn more about their options for land use planning using GIS. As part of the REGINA project, we focus on northern and Arctic communities facing the development of large-scale natural resources-based industries alongside existing economic and socio-cultural activities. Information is provided based on four key topics: Spatial data types and data sources GIS tools Local competencies of REGINA partner municipalities Land use foresight planning – GIS and stakeholder participation

Policies and measures for speeding up labour market integration of refugees in the Nordic region: A knowledge overview

It takes on average five to ten years for a refugee to find work in the Nordic countries. As social inclusion is closely linked to successful labour market integration, and as during this period the refugee represents a cost to society, the question of how to ensure access to the labour market has been a prominent issue on the political agenda. Since the countries show both differences and similarities in their migration policies and practical solutions, the question is how we can learn from each other. In 2016 the Nordic Council of Ministers initiated a co-operation programme designed to support the national efforts on integration of refugees and immigrants. The Nordic Welfare Centre has the overall responsibility for the main project “Nordic collaboration on integration of refugees and migrants” in close collaboration with Nordregio. The aim of the project is to serve as an idea bank on the integration area, to map out existing knowledge and research, and to expand our common knowledge base on integration. This report was produced by Nordregio on behalf of the Nordic Welfare Centre and is the result of a comparative study of policies and measures in place in the countries for achieving more efficient labour market integration of refugees. A short version of the report is also available as a policy brief (in Swedish). Read more about the Nordic integration project at

An Institutionalist View on Experimentalist Governance: Local-level obstacles to policy-learning in European Union Cohesion Policy

The paper has the dual objective of contributing to theory development as well as to the debate about the added value of EU Cohesion Policy. Experimentalist governance theory suggests that a virtuous feedback loop between policy design and implementation can the input- and output-legitimacy of policy making. EU Cohesion Policy formally resembles this experimentalist setting, but persistent debates about its added value suggest that the virtuous loop is blocked. The paper uses new institutionalism theory to systematically identify theoretical explanations for this blockage. It argues that the experimentalist link between organizational structure, pooling of experiences, greater participation, and policy learning is highly precarious. First, the rational-choice perspective suggests that the link rests on the optimistic assumption of a common utility function among the participating actors. Moreover, the structural funds provide strong incentives for grant-seeking. Second, the discursive perspective shows that the identification of shared interests depends on highly demanding speech conditions. Third, the sociological perspective highlights that the evaluation of information is socially conditioned. Therefore, learning may be based on fallacious assumptions and lead to undesired results. The paper substantiates these insights with empirical evidence from one case of institutionalized cross-border cooperation in East Central Europe. This article is published by the European Journal of Spatial Development, which in turn is published by Nordregio and Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

Local smart specialisation: a step-by-step guide to social impact management in remote communities with resource-based economies

The regina project (Regional Innovation in the Nordic Arctic and Scotland with a special focus on regions with large-scale industries) is a 3-year project that focuses on developing a local smart specialisation strategy (L3S) model for implementation by remote and sparsely populated areas that depend heavily on resource based economies. Five municipalities from the Nordic-Arctic and North Atlantic region have participated in the project and each partner municipality has implemented the model. Broadly speaking, each LS3 aims to identify and develop the place-based strengths of each community, while mitigating potential risks and challenges. Three strategic planning tools developed by the REGINA project form the core components of the LS3 model: A demographic and labour market foresight Model (DFM): that suggests ideas and initiatives for the recruitment of a new labour force and strategies for improving the competence and capacity of the local labour force. A Social Impact Management Planning Tool (SIMP): that aims at identifying, monitoring and managing social impacts of large-scale industries. A Local Benefit Analysis Toolbox (LBAT): that supports the retention of local economic benefits through development of the local supply chains and growth of complimentary or spillover opportunities presented by new industrial activities. This report focuses on the SIMP tool and separate reports outline the results from our work with the demographic foresight model and the local benefits analysis toolbox. SIMP tool is designed to provide strategic planning benefits for municipal planning, private sector industry and local residents alike. For municipalities, it is a tool for predicting and planning local developments in relation to large-scale industries, which helps to improve social sustainability and retain the local benefits of industrial growth. For industry, it offers a way to gain a social license to operate (SLO) and obtain local acceptance for the project. It can also help the industry…

LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS FORMATION: The potential of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region

In recent years, there has been growing interest in ‘alternative’ and ‘local’ food supply chains as a way to reduce externalities associated with mainstream food systems. ‘Alternative’ food chains are often built on values opposed to conventional industrial agriculture. They are small in scale, do not use pesticides, are close to consumers and have a distinctive place of origin. There are many different forms of alternative food systems. Common to these practices is the intention to reconnect producers and consumers, to increase transparency, to relocalize agricultural and food production, and to build trust among actors in the food system. This working paper describes the state of play of local food initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) by examining EU and national policy contexts and by highlighting good practices of local food initiatives in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Belarus. The working paper investigates the key drivers and factors impeding the development of these initiatives. The working paper is based on desk studies, input received during meetings with stakeholders and researchers from the BSR, and interviews with good practice initiators in 2016–17. This working paper is one output of the Local food: Formation of local food markets project financed by the Swedish Institute. The overall aim of the project was to strengthen co-operation and to build knowledge of local food system formation by various actors working on rural development issues in the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Another objective of the project was to investigate and share good practices in building, shaping, reproducing and promoting alternative food networks and markets over time and space in the BSR countries (Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Belarus).

The construction of a trading zone as political strategy: a review of London Infrastructure Plan 2050

The recent London Infrastructure Plan 2050 appears as an attempt for coming up with innovative answers to infrastructure issues, aiming at providing new spaces where different actors can collaborate, defining adequate visions and governance bodies. Our hypothesis is that the plan can be interpreted through the relevant and yet ambiguous concept of ‘trading zone’, which highlights the setting up of new spaces for confrontation but also shows their use as political vehicles to advocate for increased powers and resources. To investigate the issue, the paper reviews the literature on the concept of trading zone in order to discuss in this perspective the London Infrastructure Plan planning process. The analysis is developed as follows: after a theoretical discussion of trading zones and their relationship with infrastructure planning processes, two significant aspects of the London Infrastructure Plan are examined: the stakeholders’ engagement required by strategic planning processes, and the ongoing planning processes of London, influenced by the Localism agenda. Consequently, the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 is described and reviewed in the light of its political strategic meaning, providing a discussion of its vision, contents and planning process. The analysis uses and rediscusses the concept of trading zone by observing how local authorities may use planning processes to strategically position themselves and influence the complex governance of infrastructure planning. This article is published by the European Journal of Spatial Development, which in turn is published by Nordregio and Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment.

REGINA Policy brief 2017:1: Local Smart Specialisation: a strategy for remote communities with large-scale resource-based industries

Smart specialisation is the new regional innovation policy concept that is expected to provide EU regions with innovation, investments and jobs based on regional capabilities and assets. But is the smart specialisation concept also applicable for communities in remote and sparsely populated areas? Would a local smart specialisation approach that is complementary to a regional strategy provide added value to communities that often have less capacity to mobilise community resources for strategic planning? The REGINA project provides a laboratory of five northern communities to explore the issue. Retaining local benefits from large-scale resource-based industries is a key question for many municipalities in remote and sparsely populated areas of the Northern Periphery and Arctic. Often, however, these small communities, with equally small planning and policy capacities, find themselves facing complex decisions and negotiating with international corporations wanting to develop large-scale industrial projects. In this policy brief, we tackle this mismatch by introducing the local smart specialisation strategy (LS3) concept as a planning toolbox and policy framework for small communities. The framework of the LS3 concept for the Northern Periphery and Arctic region is based on the experiences of five municipalities that are implementing it within the REGINA project. We will lay out the process for how an LS3 strategy can effectively address demographic and labour market change, land use planning and management, and the retention of local economic benefits.

Bioenergy and rural development in Europe: Policy recommendations from the TRIBORN project

Policy recommendations from the TRIBORN research project and stakeholder consultations, 2014-17. Since 2014, the TRIBORN research project has investigated how to increase the production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development, including jobs and social development in rural areas. Local renewable energy initiatives play a prominent role in the proposed EU Renewable Energy Directive for 2020-30 (RED2020-30). The IEA, OECD, the EU Commission and national governments are increasingly aware of this role, and of the importance of reducing the barriers to their – often innovative – development. The OECD (2012) has also stressed the need to ensure positive outcomes for local people and rural communities in the expansion of renewable energy and bioenergy. Based on comparative case studies with user participation in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Italy, the TRIBORN project has aimed to identify drivers and obstacles to sustainable bioenergy innovation and growth in rural areas. And how to facilitate the design of innovation systems that produce Triple Bottom Line (TBL) (economic, social, environmental) benefits, and promote the achievement of national bioenergy targets. In this policy brief, project results have been translated into concrete policy recommendations for decision makers at local, regional, national and EU levels.

Perspectives on labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region

Mobility trends between the Baltic and Nordic states and different national policy approaches to the increased mobility in the macro-region. This publication is one outcome of a project on labour mobility between the Nordic-Baltic countries: “Enhanced Nordic-Baltic co-operation on challenges of labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region” that the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania led during 2014-2016 in co-operation with the the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Offices in Estonia and Latvia, and Nordregio in Sweden. The overall objective of the project was to facilitate understanding and strengthen co-operation within the Nordic-Baltic region on labour mobility and demographic development across Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions. While the main interest in this publication as well as in the project behind it has been on labour mobility —with labour mobility being understood as cross-border movement of workers within the Nordic-Baltic region—this distinction of people moving for job purposes solely is, both in statistics and policies, not easily distinguished from those moving for other reasons,such as family reunification, opportunities to study abroad, etc. These categories are also fluid, since the prime reason for living away from one’s country of birth may change over time or even overlap with others from the outset. Another issue is that not all movements between two Member States are registered. People moving for a shorter time than the national requirements for registration in the population data bases are not included, nor are those working on a temporary basis in another country. A previous Nordic study on labour migration to the Nordic countries from the new Member States during the period 2004-2011 estimates that when including workers on temporary stay, the numbers should be almost doubled (Friberg & Eldring, 2013). Therefore, the presented data on Baltic migrants is to provide an overview of the trends of mobility…