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
Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
A new Report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” by Nordregio and the Nordic Council of Minsters shows that the Covid-19 pandemic has made social and economic inequalities even more pronounced in the Nordic countries. In all countries, foreign-born people have experienced stronger increases in unemployment than their native-born peers. Immigrants born outside the EU, especially individuals with low levels of education, have faced the largest challenges in finding and keeping employment in 2020. In the new report, researchers stress that the current crisis also underscores the need for uniform social insurance systems. Statistics from Norway show that immigrants from new EU member countries in Central and Eastern Europe have been vastly overrepresented among job losers. Hence, the inclusion of these workers in a relatively generous social insurance system has been critical to prevent poverty and minimize demand-driven ‘knock-on effects’ from income decline in industries directly affected by the crisis. This study builds on a comprehensive report about immigrant integration into the Nordic labour markets that was published by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2019. It revisits some of the conclusions and policy recommendations outlined in 2019 – in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on unemployment among foreign-born. The report is part of the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Integration of Immigrants, initiated in 2016, in which the Nordic Welfare Centre and Nordregio cooperate. Read a debate article in Dagens Nyheter here. Visit the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Integration of Immigrants
Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024
The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 outlines our main mission and core research focus areas, which have been carefully aligned to address the key objectives and needs of policymakers and practitioners outlined within Nordic cooperation steering documents. In recent years, there has been a convergence of several global megatrends which are having a major impact on all aspects of the Nordic economy, society and environment. Climate change, migration, rapid demographic developments, digitalization and automation, increasing urban-rural divides, and growing socio-economic inequalities are some of the main threats facing the Nordic Region. Nordregio is focused on identifying practical Nordic policy solutions to help overcome these challenges and promote socio-economic growth and environmental sustainability across the Nordic Region. The Nordregio Strategy 2021-2024 has been written as a collaborative effort by our staff members in close cooperation with Nordregio’s Board of Directors, which represents the Nordic countries, Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland. The overarching goals that guide Nordregio’s research are outlined in the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Action Plan for Vision 2030, which is approved by the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation. The Action Plan defines the work to achieve the objectives of the Vision through a series of initiatives linked to the Vision’s three strategic priorities: a green Nordic Region, a competitive Nordic Region, and a socially sustainable Nordic Region. During the 2021-2024 period, Nordregio is committed to delivering high quality scientific, evidence-based research designed to provide policymakers and practitioners with sustainable policies to help overcome the main challenges faced by Nordic regions and municipalities. Our research will contribute substantially towards Nordic cooperation and synergies, while also showcasing Nordic policies, experience and competences internationally. The Board approved the Nordregio Strategy on the 15th of April 2021.
The Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017-2020
With this document, Nordregio provides a final status of the professional work for the activities across and within the Thematic Groups after four years and three months of the Nordic Cooperation Programme for Regional Development and Planning (NCP-RDP). In this final report, one will find an overview of the projects carried out by each TG, including a brief abstract of achieved results. Links to further details are provided for each of the projects.
- 2021 May
- Other publications
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
Executive Summary – Who is left behind? The impact of place on the ability to follow Covid-19 restrictions
While the Nordic countries have long been champions of equality, the Covid-19 pandemic has put a new light on structural injustices inherent in our societies. In Copenhagen, Oslo, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Malmö, districts with a high share of residents with an immigrant background and a low socio-economic status stand out with high infection and mortality rates of Covid-19. The pandemic thus reveals and reminds us about the serious effects of segregation and unequal living conditions on citizens’ health status and ability to cope with and survive a pandemic. This Executive Summary is based on a quantitative and qualitative study. “Who is left behind? The impact of place on the ability to follow Covid-19 restrictions” aiming to identify structural barriers impacting residents’ ability to follow Covid-19 recommendations and guidelines, especially in low-income areas in major Nordic cities. Learning about these barriers – and effective measures taken to mitigate them – will help Nordic authorities and communities be better prepared for future challenges and crises. Read full publication “Who is left behind? The impact of place on the possibility to follow Covid-19 restrictions” here. Recording from 11 May webinar will soon be available on Nordregio’s youtube channel.
Who is left behind? The impact of place on the possibility to follow Covid-19 restrictions
While the Nordic countries have long been champions of equality, the Covid-19 pandemic has put a new light on societal structural injustices inherent in our societies. The pandemic thus reveals and reminds us about the serious effects of segregation and unequal societies, and necessitates a closer look at the potential injustice involved. This study aims to identify structural barriers involved in following recommendations from Public Health Authorities during the pandemic, especially in socio-economically vulnerable, low-income districts. Learning about these circumstances will help Nordic societies be better prepared for future challenges and crises. Through the quantitative mapping of city district level in Oslo, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Malmö, we aimed to outline relevant indicators relating to the increased risk of Covid-19 infection. Included indicators are annual income, share of residents with foreign background, share of inhabitants working in exposed occupations, and overcrowded housing conditions. Stockholm and Malmö were selected for an in-depth study on the sub-district level with more indicators, such as household sizes, educational level, car ownership, and spatial density. To deepen the understanding of the conditions impacting possibilities to follow public recommendations for persons living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Rinkeby-Kista, Stockholm and Rosengård, Malmö. These two subdistricts were selected because they share similar socio-economic characteristics, have a high share of the immigrant population, and have been disproportionately affected by the virus. Read the Executive Summary “Who is left behind? The impact of place on the ability to follow Covid-19 restrictions” here. Find project page here. Recording from 11 May webinar will soon be available on Nordregio’s youtube channel.
Nordic border communities in the time of COVID-19
This policy brief gives a brief overview of the impact of border restrictions on border communities during the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also provides concrete recommendations to cross-border committees, border municipalities, national authorities and Nordic organisations on how to strengthen the cross-border collaboration after the pandemic. The social and economic implications of closed borders have exposed the fragility of Nordic co-operation. The ability of border areas to exist side-by-side in an integrated, seamless way corresponds to the Nordic vision of being the most integrated region in the world, but the situation that unfolded shows a different story. Re-building cross-border collaboration will be vital after the COVID-19 crisis to secure resilient border communities and Nordic collaboration. The measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus were disproportionally damaging for border communities. Healing the wounds inflicted on society, business and institutions demand coordinated actions at local, national, and Nordic levels.
Agenda 2030. How to reach the goals and measure success at the local level
Local and regional authorities are particularly important actors in implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – and some SDGs are more challenging than others. In response to this, Nordregio hosted a webinar series for and with Nordic municipalities. This report summarizes the main learnings and insights from the webinars, targeting selected SDGs plus the issue of monitoring and evaluation. The report provides information from municipalities and regions that were featured during the webinars, including good practices and tools for monitoring and evaluation that keynote speakers shared. The report also highlights lessons learnt and challenges in the work with the SDGs and how these were addressed. Participants of the webinars discussed how to link the global goals to ongoing or planned work in areas such as climate action, digitalisation, consumption and production, inclusion, gender equality and city planning, and how to measure progress in working with the SDGs. In the report, each local example is presented individually. Therefore, readers may choose the stories that are most relevant to their work with different SDGs. In most sections, there are also links to relevant research findings and interesting Nordic activities and networks.
Nordic housing markets and policies
Housing plays a central role for people’s welfare. Its share of household consumption is about 25 percent on average, larger than that of any other item in a typical household’s budget. It is not surprising that issues related to housing figure prominently in public discussion. Nordic housing markets face more or less the same problems and challenges, but the ways policies and regulations deal with them differ in many respects. A comparison of policies, regulations and results across countries yields valuable lessons for policy makers. This year, the Nordic Economic Policy Review (NEPR) dives into the Nordic housing markets, examining some of the key policy mechanisms behind the rapidly rising housing prices, as well as the impacts on social welfare and social and ethnic segregation. The theme is selected by the NEPR steering group, which consists of representatives from the Nordic Ministries of Finance, Nordregio, and the NEPR academic project manager. This publication provides a short summary of the five NEPR 2021 articles, which seek to answer the following questions: André Anundsen: What is the prevalence of house price bubbles in the Nordics? Erlend Eide Bø: Do buy-to-let investments lead to higher housing prices? Mats Bergman and Sten Nyberg: What explains the large increase in the relative cost of construction? Niku Määttänen: How can housing taxation improve social welfare? Essi Eerola: How do Nordic housing policies affect affordability and integration? The full report is available here: https://pub.norden.org/nord2021-022/
Localising the Sustainable Development Goals in Europe: Perspectives for the north
How do Nordic and European organisations support Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) implementation at the local level? Which initiatives are relevant for different Nordic countries? This report considers localisation efforts and serves as a guide, with the references providing information and background on selected Nordic and European SDG localisation efforts, reflecting important objectives, priorities, and key activities of the different institutions, organisations, and programmes. The aim of the report is to help navigate among the available resources and to identify which initiatives, networks, or tools might be most suitable for a given context and available capacities. According to the author of the report Diana N. Huynh, Junior Research Fellow at Nordregio, this report addresses primarily a Norwegian context, but it also builds on previous Nordregio work and Nordic Council of Minister’s publications. In many ways, it is taking stock and consolidating Nordic efforts to localise the 2030 Agenda with a European outlook in mind. Moving forward, it will be important to (re)consider how the Nordic countries are supporting regional and local level SDG implementation through national policies and action plans. Also – looking at the potential to strengthen policy coherence and/or indicator frameworks not just as it is planned and carried out within each country but across the Nordic Region. The report was published together with The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS). It provides an inspiration and further references to advance the work on Agenda 2030.
Unlocking the potential of silver economy in the Nordic Region
Silver economy – all economic activities linked to older age groups – has emerged as a response to population ageing in Europe in recent years. Many older people continue to make valuable economic and societal contributions after retirement, and older citizens can provide significant economic and societal benefits, particularly if they are healthy and active. This study examines policies and initiatives to promote the silver economy and the closely related concepts of healthy ageing, active ageing and age-friendliness. The report seeks to uncover what are the preconditions for expanding the Nordic silver economy, and how cross-border collaboration can help enhance the potential of the silver economy in border regions. The prerequisites for expanding the Nordic silver economy seem to be relatively good compared with many other European countries. The general trend also shows that employment rates are increasing among older age groups, which seems to be connected to the pension system reforms that have been implemented in several countries. Population ageing has gained increased policy attention in many Nordic regions and municipalities. This includes the border regions of Trøndelag (Norway) and Jämtland Härjedalen (Sweden), studied in this report, where numerous policy initiatives have been launched as a response to population ageing. Many of these initiatives can be seen as contributing to strengthening the silver economy, although the concept itself does not figure on the policy agendas in these regions. Report of the project ‘Unlocking the potential of silver economy in the Nordic Region’ carried out under the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development (2017–2020).
Closed borders and divided communities: status report and lessons from Covid-19 in cross-border areas
The situation that has unfolded due to the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the fragility of Nordic co-operation. In this status report, we look at the situation in border communities following the closing of the border, and what this may tell us about the state of Nordic co-operation – Vision 2030 for which includes integration. This study employs an institutional perspective for studying Nordic co-operation, in order to help shed some light on changing intra-Nordic dynamics. It analyses cross-border co-operation and its role within Nordic co-operation, as well as considering it more generally as a component of multilevel governance structures. In their role as para-diplomatic organisations, cross-border committees are key to ensuring ongoing dialogue across municipalities on either side of the border, as well as facilitating the objectives of further regional and local integration between states across the Nordic Region and in the European Union (EU). The ability of border areas to exist side-by-side in an integrated, seamless way corresponds to the Nordic vision of being the most integrated region in the world. However, it is clear from this study that the role of Nordic co-operation is at a crossroads: which road it will take depends upon Nordic states’ willingness to use this platform strategically – either as a ‘must have’, or merely as a ‘nice to have’. The way border communities and cross-border collaboration is treated in a post-pandemic context will shed some light on the nature of resilience in Nordic co-operation. This report was carried out by the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017-2020 and was commissioned by the cross-border organisations Bothnian Arc and the Svinesund Committee.
TG2 Innovative and Resilient Regions – Roadshow report
This document reports on the Nordic TG2 Roadshow, which was commissioned by the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions. The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020 (TG2) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers as a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017–2020. The TG2 group was organised under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, and Nordregio has acted as Secretariat for the thematic groups. The Roadshow events of TG2 were attended by regional, national, Nordic, and international stakeholders in 2018–2020. The events provided insights into the latest knowledge on innovative and resilient regions, with a focus on smart specialisation, digitalisation, regional resilience, and skills policies. Moreover, many Roadshow events tackled the research themes from a cross-border perspective. The feedback from the regional Roadshow events suggests that dissemination of research results and constant dialogue with stakeholders are highly appreciated by the stakeholders. Moreover, the TG2 Roadshow programme was the opportunity to bring together a range of actors and, in doing so, initiate and support processes that may not have occurred otherwise.
Recruitment and retention in the welfare sector: Nordic good practice
The Nordic welfare sector is facing significant challenges when it comes to providing effective social care services. While the demand for services for a rapidly growing elderly population is constantly increasing, the workforce delivering social care services is shrinking, with many workers reaching retirement age. Tackling the challenges related to recruitment and retention of qualified staff – and developing innovative approaches to the delivery of social care services – is becoming increasingly urgent, particularly in rural and sparsely populated areas (SPAs). This policy brief gives an overview of examples across the Nordic Region aimed at tackling these resource challenges and exploring innovative ways of organising and delivering social care services in rural areas and SPAs. It is based on a desk study funded by Nordic Welfare Centre (see more about this on the last page).
Policy brief – Public service delivery in the Nordic Region: An exercise in collaborative governance
Now, more than ever, is Nordic collaboration required across all levels of governance to help overcome the devastating socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and to solve the shared challenges posed by climate change and growing urban-rural divides. This policy brief examines six good practice examples of collaborative public service delivery from across the Nordic Region, highlighting the main drivers, challenges and enablers of collaboration and the replication potential of these Nordic collaborative examples. The policy brief finds that new and innovative models of Nordic collaboration are constantly emerging thanks to rapid technological developments that are helping to bring stakeholders together to solve common societal challenges. The high levels of cooperation outlined indicate that collaborative governance is continually evolving within the Nordic context.
Public service delivery in the Nordic Region: An exercise in collaborative governance
Nordic welfare states are world renowned for providing high quality public services. Nordic municipal and regional authorities, in particular, play a central role in the delivery of key public services in areas, such as, health, education, and social care. However, in recent years, public authorities have faced several challenges which have reduced capacity and resources, including long periods of austerity following the 2008 financial crash, rapid demographic changes caused by an ageing population, and the COVID-19 health crisis. In response to these challenges many public authorities have looked to inter-regional, inter-municipal and cross-border collaborations to improve the quality and effectiveness of public service delivery (OECD 2017; ESPON 2019). Indeed, collaborative public service delivery is becoming increasingly prominent in the Nordic Region due to a highly decentralized systems of governance (Nordregio 20015; Eythorsson 2018). This report highlights six best practice examples of collaborative public service delivery from across the Nordic Region, with a main geographical focus on remote rural areas. Nordic policymakers and other stakeholders can learn from a wide variety of experiences, which can inspire others to engage in collaborative governance initiatives. The report highlights the main drivers, challenges, enablers, benefits and replication potentials of Nordic collaboration. Lessons are drawn from both local community initiatives, inter-municipal, inter-regional and cross-border collaborations. Thematically, case studies cover key areas of public service provision, including healthcare, welfare/social care, education and transport. The report finds that Nordic collaboration between different levels of governance remains strong despite the disruptions caused by the current pandemic. New and innovative models of collaboration are constantly emerging thanks to technological developments that are helping to bring stakeholders together to solve common societal challenges. The high levels of cooperation outlined in this report indicate that collaborative governance is continually evolving within the Nordic context.
Regional tourism satellite accounts for the Nordic countries
Tourism has played a growing role in the last two decades in the economic development of many Nordic countries until the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the tourism sector suffered from the effects of reduced travel desire and restrictions. After relief, tourist influx will resurrect and again affect local economies around the Nordic region. Tourism has economic effects. When people travel, they pay for goods and / or services such as accommodation, food, souvenirs and activities. They may be shopping in preparation for their trip or as part of their return trip. Before, during and after the trip, their expenses are directly related to the tourism activity which generates profits, rent, tax revenue, investment and employment. Tourism also has indirect economic effects, for example on hotels, restaurants and other service providers who shop from other companies to meet demand from tourists or by employees in the tourism industry using their income to pay rent, insurance or merchandise. These trickle-down effects seep down and support the economic development of regions where tourism develops and flourishes. Exact quantification of the contributions and costs associated with tourism is challenging for many different reasons. The Nordic countries have individually (except the Faroe Islands and Greenland) prepared satellite accounts to get an overview of the economic effects of tourism, but to varying degrees worked with regional satellite accounts which can provide insight into the difference in the importance of tourism’s economic contribution to regional economies. That is what this report is about. We have prepared a report whose purpose is to introduce the potential of Regional Tourism satellite accounts and describe their function and weaknesses in estimating the effects of tourism on regional economies. We also assess whether there are preconditions for developing a joint Nordic tourism account by virtue of the recognized satellite methods. Part…
The Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017–2020 – final report
This report summarises the work and results of the Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions (TG2) in 2017–2020. The Nordic thematic group for innovative and resilient regions 2017–2020 (TG2) was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers and is a part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning 2017–2020. Three Nordic thematic groups were established for the four-year period: Innovative and resilient regions, Sustainable rural development, and Sustainable cities and urban development. The thematic groups have been organised under the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Committee of Civil Servants for Regional Affairs, and Nordregio has acted as the secretariat for the thematic groups. The thematic group has not only produced high-quality research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic countries but also contributed to public policy with the latest knowledge on the creation and development of innovative and resilient regions across the Nordic countries, with focus on smart specialisation, digitalisation, regional resilience, and skills policies. TG2 has also contributed to research on innovative and resilient regions in the Nordic cross-border context.
Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic rural regions – Cruise tourism, the right to roam and other examples of identified challenges in a place-specific context
In the newly published Nordregio report ‘Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic region’, over 100 tourism development plans (TDPs) from rural areas of the Nordic countries were collected, coded and analysed. And what was discovered is that among the shared challenges there are: management and coordination of tourism and tourism planning, securing local benefits from tourism, seasonality and extending the tourism season, increasing profitability and investment, environmental concerns, providing the necessary infrastructure and securing competence development. This report is a continuation for the previous report providing examples, like cruise tourism and right to roam, from the Nordics. This report is a part of the ‘Rural tourism in the Nordic region’ project, which is conducted by Nordregio under the Nordic Thematic Group for Sustainable Rural Development. For further information and detailed results of the analyses of the entire TDPs gathered for this research on sustainable tourism planning in the Nordic rural regions, we refer to the main report of the Rural tourism project, ‘Planning for sustainable tourism in the Nordic region’.