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What will be the future of remote work post-pandemic?

– Evidence suggests that increased remote work is here to stay, but a large-scale shift towards a “remote first” mindset looks unlikely, says Senior Research Fellow Linda Randall from Nordregio. She is the lead author of Nordic Knowledge Overview on remote work published this week. The mindset matters when considering the effects of remote work for different places; influencing the extent to which workers can distance themselves from their workplaces. At the same time, we do see some evidence of spatial changes. The number of daily commuters is still well below pre-pandemic levels and migration patterns suggest increased attractiveness of outer urban municipalities, smaller cities, and rural areas within commuting distance of larger cities. From a planning perspective, a range of interesting questions emerges regarding the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of increased remote work. – Most workers do not have the possibility to work remotely and, even for those who do, the advantages and disadvantages will differ between groups. An increasing tendency to split one’s time between two or more municipalities calls into question existing frameworks around taxation and service provision, Randall continues. While remote work may reduce the need for travel, more knowledge is needed about the indirect impacts before assuming favourable environmental outcomes overall. The Nordic knowledge overview was the first part of the project and now you have a chance to get involved and be part of our study’s next part:  How is increased remote work effecting your municipality or region? Let us know here (you can answer in English or any Nordic language): https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/planningandremotework This report is the first outcome of the project Remote work: Effects on Nordic people, places and planning 2021-2024. The project is part of the Nordic Co-operation Programme for Regional Development and Planning.

Social housing – a forbidden issue in Sweden?

”There is no generally accepted definition of what social housing is. However, the smallest common denominators are that it is some form of subsidized housing with lower rents that is, at least partially, allocated to households on lower incomes and not just temporarily, but on long term contracts”, says Senior Research Fellow Anna Granath Hansson in the Swedish speaking radio programme ”Ett eget litet hem” on Sveriges Radio. Anna has just started at Nordregio and her main focus is housing. Social housing exists in the Nordics countries, but the topic is often seen as taboo in the Swedish political discussion. ”In Sweden, we are not used to housing policies that target certain groups. This is something new and often misunderstood. In this program, social housing is compared to social contracts for the most vulnerable. When we look at Nordic and European models, these are often much wider, encompassing also mid-income households.” Listen to the full episode here in Swedish: https://sverigesradio.se/avsnitt/om-hyresratten-social-housing-den-forbjudna-fragan

Nordic City Network seminar for stronger cooperation and project planning  

Nordregio hosted a Nordic City Network seminar. The hybrid workshop aimed to strengthen the cooperation between the network’s thirteen-member cities from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands. The event also sought to identify common themes of interest as a basis for joint activities and projects.  Nordregio has had a cooperation agreement with the Nordic City Network for almost a year. This collaboration aims to promote exchange between research, policy development, and practice towards more sustainable cities.  “As the main takeaway from the event, we identified common interests in themes such as counteracting segregation and better understanding the effects of different levels of planning as well as the importance of carrying out Nordic comparisons. Overall, there is plenty of potential for fruitful collaboration with the network while the exact form of how this could take place still needs to be concretised”, – says Mats Stjernberg, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio who is also Nordregio’s representative in Nordic City Network’s board. During the workshop, representatives from Nordregio presented how the institution conducts research and works with different types of projects. The main presentations focused on long-term planning for inclusive cities, national claims in spatial planning, the implications of segregation in the light of covid-19, as well as on the ongoing NORDGREEN and TGA2 projects and different ways that we collaborate with various stakeholders. –> Read more about Nordic City Network here.

SHERPA project working towards sustainable multi-actor platforms

Sustainable Hub to Engage into Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA) arranged a workshop to kick-start the second phase of SHERPA MAPs by introducing new Facilitators and Monitors to the SHERPA tools. The session aimed at ensuring that both experienced and new Facilitators and Monitors have the same information and feel prepared to facilitate and monitor multi-actor platforms (MAPs) – rural interfaces that provide a forum for co-learning and co-creation of knowledge with European, national and regional actors. “Our societies are facing extremely complex problems that are connected to global and interlinked processes, such as climate change, poverty and inequalities. These problems cannot be solved by scientists or politicians alone. It demands different fields of expertise – including citizens and experience-based knowledge – to interact and collaborate for new ideas and innovations “, says Elin Slätmo, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. According to the researcher, if the multi-actor group is open to combining different types of knowledge and experiences, research shows that applying this method to rural areas can help deal with issues of lack of trust between local actors and central governments. Furthermore, it can help create common visions for sustainable regional development with a commitment to implementing and strengthening rural areas’ resilience and economic competitiveness.  “There are, however, no recipes for success – adaptation and constant learning and development is crucial for processes, outputs and outcomes to be sustainable “, adds Slätmo. SHERPA is a four-year project with 17 partners, funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by Ecorys in Brussels. The project aims to formulate recommendations to redefine European development policies and research agenda for rural areas. There will be established 40 MAPs for actors from science, society and policy to interact. Nordregio’s role is to develop the theoretical framework for the science-society-policy interface in…

Stronger institutions lead to higher Nordic trust

Strengthening institutions is crucial for mending Nordic trust and for building regional resilience in a post-pandemic world. This is the premise of a new academic article penned by Nordregio researchers. Alberto Giacometti, Mari Wøien Meijer and John Moodie, Nordregio researchers have worked together on a new academic article published in the Cross-Border Review Yearbook published by CESCI. The paper called “Trust: The social capital of border communities in the Nordic Region” looks into how the Covid 19 pandemic threatened the Nordic integration plans and the cooperation at large and how cross-border communities were heavily impacted. The researchers discuss the role of Nordic institutions and cross-border organizations in protecting the rights of citizens in border areas and introduce the concept of “adaptive institutionalization”. That could help establish a clear distribution of responsibilities across different levels of governance and thus help adapt cooperation to situations of potential future crisis. “We highlight the role of ‘trust’ as the ‘glue’ that keeps the Nordic collaboration in place, both among citizens and governance structures, which is pivotal for addressing future crises and global challenges,” says Alberto Giacometti, Nordregio Research Fellow. The 2021 edition of the yearbook is the eighth one and focuses on the riveting experience of life under the premises of a global and borderless pandemic. The “Cross-Border Review 2021” is intended primarily for the academic community, students of geography and political sciences and for all those who are curious about cross-border cooperation.

Towards local indicators for active and healthy ageing

The concept of active and healthy ageing refers to maintaining and developing opportunities for health, social participation and security to enhance well-being and quality of life as people age. Nordregio is currently carrying out two closely related projects dealing with Active and Healthy ageing. Nordic Welfare Centre commissions both initiatives, and Senior Research Fellow Mats Stjernberg will present preliminary findings from the study on indicators for Active and Healthy Ageing and welfare technology for seniors at the Nordic Welfare Forum 2021.  The main focus in Nordregio´s study on Active and Healthy Ageing is on indicators that allow Nordic comparisons. The project examines what types of relevant indicators currently exist, how these indicators are used in policymaking and the main needs for improvement. “The concepts of active ageing and healthy ageing have become highly placed on the Nordic policy agenda, at the national, regional and municipal level, which means there is a need for relevant indicators on multiple territorial levels. However, one of the current challenges is that the currently existing indicators are not that well-suited for policymaking purposes at the local level. For instance, there is a need for more subjective indicators focusing on self-assessment to better grasp differences among the diverse senior population,” says Mats Stjernberg, who is managing these two projects at Nordregio. A key finding is that municipalities and regions lack a coherent body of statistical indicators to assess the status of active and healthy ageing within their respective boundaries. This is mainly because most of the indicators are produced by supranational institutions such as the World Health Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or Eurostat. Thus, they are focused on the national level but can also in some cases be broken down to the regional or municipal level.  Another key finding is that very few indicators exist in…

New Report: Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a multi-level stress test for the Nordic Region. National pandemic measures have challenged the strong basis of open borders and free movement in Nordic cooperation. Nordregio Researchers Fellows, together with researchers from other institutions, have recently published a report ‘Nordic Cooperation amid pandemic travel restrictions’, drawing attention to the preparedness of the Nordic Region to jointly confront global crises at both national and local levels. The report explores strategies and travel restrictions adopted by four Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, and studies how the Nordic cooperation functioned in a crisis. At the local level, it examines the economic, labour market and social implications for three cross-border regions, Tornedalen (FI-SE border), Öresund (DK-SE border) and Svinesund (NO-SE border). While there is room for improvement in handling a crisis like the pandemic, the publication finds that there are diverging views on the desirability to have all-Nordic approaches to situations affecting national security. Measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus have taken a toll on society at large. However, the severe impacts observed in border areas have exposed the fragility of communities and businesses located along national borders to global crises.  “Although it is, unsurprising, and perhaps even expected, that each country was to adopt their own national strategy to the pandemic, rather than a joint one; what is most striking, is the blindness towards the social cost of inward-looking policies,” says Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow at Nordregio. Border restrictions undermine all aspects of life and business in border communities. The disruption of people’s lives in border areas has been challenging, frustrating, and a wake-up call to the realities of those choosing a borderless life. Several themes emerge from the cases in these four Nordic countries, including trust, the impact of the measures and border closures,…

NORDGREEN citizen science approaches at the Norwegian conference

Nordregio Junior Research Fellow Diana N. Huynh is participating in the “Citizen science in Norway” conference, presenting the NORDGREEN project.  The presentation focuses on the Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS) survey conducted in Stavanger, Norway, one of NORDGREEN’s city partners, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The survey’s purpose is to gather information about people’s green space usage and ideas for the future that will shed light on how these spaces can support the health and well-being of local communities.  “It is great to share the ongoing work in the NORDGREEN project knowing that it has relevance in several contexts,” says Diana Huynh. The event is hosted by the Research Council of Norway and is the first to explore opportunities to expand a national network on citizen science. In recent years, citizen science has gained traction in research as a scientific method for collecting data in large quantities and informing decision-making processes.  “For instance, the EU has emphasized the role of citizen science in its new Horizon Europe framework, reflecting that this is also a way to enable citizens to use collected data to influence policies and local and regional planning processes,” adds Huynh. Find more about the event here. Explore the Nordgreen project website here.

Nordregio at the “Migrants and the Nordic Labour Market” conference

Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Nora Sánchez Gassen participates at the “Migrants and the Nordic Labour Market: In the Shadow of the Pandemic” conference, presenting the recently published report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic”.  The report revealed that the Covid-19 pandemic has made social and economic inequalities even more pronounced across the Nordics. In all the countries, foreign-born people have experienced a higher unemployment increase than their native-born peers.  “Immigrants with low educational attainments face the strongest challenges in finding employment in the Nordic labour markets. As we move out of the pandemic, our focus should be on supporting this group in obtaining new skills and competencies that are in demand on the labour markets,” says Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The conference, organised by the Nordic Welfare Centre, aims to bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners in search of sustainable solutions and promote an exchange of experiences between the Nordic countries.  Read more about the conference here. Read the report here.

MAMBA project at the Conference on Mobility in the District

Nordregio Researcher Linda Randall will participate at the Conference on Mobility in the District in Norway, presenting the MAMBA project and its results.  The conference will focus on mobility in rural areas. The speakers will discuss how to best ensure mobility for the population in areas where regular bus routes are not sustainable and share good practices from various initiatives and projects. Linda Randall, Senior Research Advisor at Nordregio, will participate in this event with a presentation called “Mobility for All in rural areas”, based on the work of MAMBA project. The focus of this project was to highlight that with decreasing and aging populations in rural areas, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain public transport and other services that depend on mobility. This tendency negatively impacts the quality of life for people living outside urban centres. “Innlandet region in Norway is quite sparsely populated, and they are looking for ideas and inspiration for smart ways to approach the transport challenges they face. Hopefully, some of the MAMBA examples can be interesting for them,” says Linda Randall. MAMBA project aims to meet mobility challenges by promoting sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” solutions in rural areas. The project’s partners have worked together to improve the integration of existing mobility structures with innovative mobility solutions like citizen buses, mobility as a service and ride-sharing applications. The project aims to maximise the mobility and accessibility of services in rural regions while involving users in the process.  Read more about the MAMBA project here.

New Report: COVID-19 increased the employment gap in the Nordic labour markets

A new study by Nordregio shows that the pandemic has increased social and economic inequalities in the Nordics. In all countries, foreign-born employees have lost their jobs to a larger extent than their native-born peers, especially individuals born outside of the EU, with lower levels of education. But some industries have been thriving during the pandemic and now employ more immigrants than before. The report “Integrating immigrants into the Nordic labour markets. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” reveals a somewhat complex picture when comparing the Nordic countries, and discusses how to move forward. “Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, were already facing challenges in integrating immigrants into their labour markets, especially those with low education. The COVID-19 pandemic enhanced these challenges even further. Action is needed to ensure that those who lost their jobs during the pandemic do not end up in a situation of long-term unemployment,” says Nora Sánchez Gassen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The authors underline the need to quickly reinstate and accelerate on-site vocational training combined with language courses for recently arrived and other unemployed immigrants, to compensate for the less effective online courses offered during the pandemic. If immigrants can obtain skills and competencies that are required or in high demand on the labour market, their chances to find employment should increase. “We can see that many jobs were lost as a consequence of the pandemic, especially in the hospitality and retail industries. But we have also seen an increase in jobs in certain industries, like for instance utilities services. And it seems that the foreign-born population is a substantial part of that increase,” says Oskar Penje, Cartographer at Nordregio. In the report, researchers stress that the current crisis has also underscored the need for uniform social insurance systems. Statistics from Norway show that immigrants from new EU member countries in Central…

Citizen engagement in policy formulation – New article from Nordregio researchers

Policy impact assessments are not enough to increase citizen awareness and support for EU Regional Policy – argues a new article written by Nordregio researchers.  The article “From impact assessments towards proactive citizen engagement in EU cohesion policy” examines the benefits and types of legitimacy citizen engagement can confer upon regional policymaking processes.  “Only proactive citizen engagement in policy formulation can increase citizen awareness and support for EU regional policies. Proactive citizen engagement is not only essential for enhancing the quality and legitimacy of regional policies. It can also potentially contribute towards building and strengthening citizens’ EU identities,” says Dr John Moodie, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. The article provides EU policymakers with practical recommendations on how to increase citizen involvement within existing EU regional policymaking infrastructures. The recommendations are designed to enhance citizen engagement with the EU project during a period in which the threat posed to the EU by national populism and Euroscepticism continues to loom large.  Read the article here.

Rediscovering the assets of rural areas

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the public attitude toward the rural areas has significantly changed. Peripheries became a refuge for maintaining health, wellbeing, strengthening community ties and local economies. This was clearly highlighted by experts from the Nordic and North Atlantic research organisations in the Nordic Talks discussion hosted by Nordregio. The word “peripherality” is often associated with negative meanings, e.g. under-developed, slow, backward and remote. However, as the study “COVID-19 Economic Impacts & Recovery in the Northern Periphery & Arctic” suggests, the pandemic has challenged the way many see rural and peripheral regions and revealed peripheral factors that have been advantages in the crisis. Well-being and resilient places during the crisis “We have seen for the first time in many years that population is coming back to rural areas for a lot of different reasons. Covid-19 has accelerated that because of the huge amount of extra flexibility in terms of work practices – where people might live and work, how they can combine commuting and working from home,” says Liam Glynn, a practicing GP (community doctor) in an Irish village of just over 250 people, and also Professor of General Practice, School of Medicine at Limerick University, Ireland, and lead partner for the CovidWatch-EU-NPA project. Some factors that define peripherality, such as close-knit communities, adaptation to the challenges of remoteness and pluralistic life and work patterns, have helped peripheral communities to respond more effectively to Covid-19. As Liam Glynn pointed out during the discussion, this response had more positive effects on the health and local economies of rural areas than of many urban centres. Peripherality has demonstrated its resilience factor for local economies. Rural communities have noticed, that many are seeking to move to rural or remote areas as good places to live in. “Our research across the Nordic periphery…

New Nordic study on regional policy and instruments for economic recovery

Nordregio researchers analysed regional policy and examined policy instruments to deal with economic shocks and crises across the Nordics. The study contributes knowledge and experience about the Nordic countries’ regional policies and efforts to deal with economic recovery in regions or municipalities. How do countries define regional policy? What responsibilities do actors in the multi-level system have at different levels? How do actors at different levels interact to handle economic shocks or crises? These and many other relevant questions are the focus and receive answers in this study. According to Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Anna Lundgren, what is considered as regional policy, rural policy, and regional development policy differs between the Nordic countries. Regional policy is also complemented with sector policies, such as labour market policy, infrastructure and tax policy, which affect regional development on a large scale. The implementation of regional policy takes place in multi-level governance frameworks adapted to the institutional structure in the individual countries.  -The systems to deal with economic shocks or crises in the Nordic countries are place-based and include actors and measures from national, regional and local levels. Well-functioning multi-level governance cooperation and trust among actors are key factors in dealing with economic shocks or crises, says A. Lundgren. The study is based on document studies and semi-structured interviews with representatives from the regional political system at the national and regional levels and with experts in the field.  Read the publication here (in Swedish).

Nordregio at the Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research

Nordregio Research Fellows Anna Karlsdóttir and Ágúst Bogason will participate in the 29th Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research. Called “Shaping mobile futures: Challenges and possibilities in precarious times’ this year’s conference focuses on finding ways out of the vicious circle of irresponsible production and consumption while also moving towards a more sustainable future for tourism. Finding tools and methods needed to manage this tourism in an ever-changing world is another main aim of the event.  The Nordregio Research Fellows will facilitate and lead several sessions, Anna Karlsdóttir being in charge of the ‘The importance of slow food and what it means for gastro tourism and slow travels’ session. Ágúst Bogason will present Nordregio’s and CRT’s research on Sustainable Tourism Planning at a session named “Methods measuring sustainability effects of tourism development for benefit of local communities and rural areas”.   “Few sectors have been impacted more by the ongoing pandemic than the tourism sector. International travel almost came to a full stop and the entire chain in the tourism sector has been affected. A few rural places have experienced their best seasons yet because of increased domestic travel during the pandemic, while the traditionally more visited destinations and regions have been hard hit. As the world is slowly opening up again, the question remains how tourism will develop in the coming years?” says Ágúst Bogason. According to the researcher, many people feel the longing to travel freely again, and all tourism-related businesses eagerly await the arrival of visitors. But going ‘back to normal’ is not an option from a climate perspective. There are, therefore, many challenges as well as opportunities for the tourism sector of tomorrow. And research on the subject must play a pivotal role for the tourism sector to develop more sustainably. During the conference, Nordregio’s partners at CRT (Centre for Regional…

Challenges turned into advantages: the story of remote communities during COVID-19

The Regional Studies Association highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic challenged the perception that remote rural and island regions are defined in terms of what they lack concerning urban centres. During the pandemic, rural areas were advanced in sustainability issues and effectively responded to challenges, rendering positive health and economic outcomes. Nordregio has contributed to this topic with research on the Covid-19 Economic Impacts in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region project. For this project, Nordregio Researchers Anna Karlsdóttir, Alex Cuadrado, Carlos Tapia, and Oskar Penje focused on the sectoral economic structures of Arctic regions in Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, and Finland. They also provided evidence gathered from previous projects carried out by Nordregio, such as ReLocal, BRIDGES, ESCAPE, Regional Disparities and the Geography of Service within the Nordic Countries.  The report, “Consideration on Regionally Varied Impacts of Covid-19 in NPA regions”, looks at the Covid-19 impact on rural areas, tourism, bio-economy, jobs, young people living in remote rural regions in the Arctic. “Regional policies have not got it right that peripheries are remote – in times of crises, they become secure harbours for wellbeing and community development. Therefore, it is important to redefine peripheries”, says Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Dr Anna Karlsdóttir. Nordregio was involved in a project with partners from Scotland, Denmark, Ireland, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Canada. They were brought together and supported by the North Atlantic Periphery Programme (EU). Find more reports from the project here.  The reports from the Covid-19 response call are available here.

Why territory matters for implementing active subsidiarity in EU regional policy

There has never been a more opportune moment for the European Commission to strengthen the role of sub-national stakeholders and citizens in EU regional policy. National governments across the EU seem prepared to devolve power to lower levels of governance to help overcome systemic challenges. Nordregio researchers analysed this topic and published an article “Why territory matters for implementing active subsidiarity in EU regional policy”. This article examines the main tenets of active subsidiarity and how they relate to competing notions of territory and key regional policymaking instruments for the 2021–2027 programme period. Several EU member states have been involved in the formulation of the latest reinterpretation of the subsidiarity principle, emphasizing a stronger role for the sub-national level in EU regional policy making. “EU policymakers must embrace the concept of territory if they are to effectively implement ‘active subsidiarity’ in the field of EU regional policy. Territory matters in EU regional policy as defined regional boundaries provide an important framework for engaging sub-national level actors and bringing the EU closer to citizens. A stronger recognition of territory is required if EU policymakers are to raise citizen awareness, understanding and involvement in EU regional policy, which might help contribute towards increasing citizen support for the EU project”, says Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio Dr. John Moodie. Research Fellow Mari Wøien Meijer adds that “Territorial analysis is fundamental for understanding key challenges and opportunities in EU regions and including local experiences and knowledge in EU regional policymaking processes. By neglecting territorial aspects, we run the risk of creating EU regional policies that are far removed from the people these policies are made for”. According to the researchers, bringing EU regional policy closer to its citizens can only be achieved by empowering citizens’ active involvement in the development and implementation of policy. In this regard, the constructs of…

Second-home population needs more attention in Nordic policy and spatial planning

About half the population of the Nordics has access to second-homes and use them during the summer or winter seasons and weekends. Regular retreats to rural areas by people from the towns and cities have an impact on small towns and municipalities. But it is lacking attention in policy and spatial planning. These and other issues facing small towns are analysed in a recently published book “The Routledge Handbook of Small Towns”. Nordregio Senior Research Fellow Dr. Elin Slätmo has contributed with a chapter about urban-rural integration through second-homes. The chapter ”Urban–Rural Linkages” is based on an analysis of Nordic statistics and qualitative fieldwork in five Nordic municipalities. It seeks to investigate if and how second homes and seasonal tourism are being embraced as part of the Nordic spatial planning and policy agenda. It also looks at the implications of second homes and seasonal tourism for urban–rural integration throughout the Nordic region. “There are several ongoing processes that enforce the urban-rural blurring when focusing on second homes in the Nordic countries. The dynamic between the urban and rural is continuously created by activities such as multilocality and mobility towards second homes,” says Dr. E. Slätmo. According to the researcher, it is crucial to actively include the second-home population into local policy and planning. Because these people are using infrastructure and services in the areas they inhabit, and they contribute to the local economy and social life in rural areas. But the variability of the population due to second-home usage or tourism is still largely ignored in policy and spatial planning in the Nordic countries. The book also addresses issues related to the development of small towns and their role for regional growth in different countries. Read the chapter here. The book is available here.

State authorities can and should support urban green infrastructure – New Article

Studies show that urban green areas enable societies to enhance biodiversity, mitigate and adapt to climate change, and reduce the risk of flooding and erosion. From an economic perspective, green space can make neighborhoods wealthier and increase housing costs. But how can the state support urban green infrastructure? Nordregio researchers studied this topic and published a new analysis on National Urban Parks and the role of the state in preserving urban green areas in Sweden and Finland. The National Urban Park (NUP) is a planning instrument used by the state to preserve cities’ green infrastructure. The implementation of the NUP instrument in Sweden and Finland has been investigated to elucidate the potential role of the state in preserving urban green areas. According to the authors, focusing on the role of the state in preserving urban green space is important in times of shared responsibilities, and multi-actor dialogues. The study depicts that state authorities can help to enhance urban green infrastructure by employing legal frameworks for preservation of green areas in terms of National Urban Parks. “Successful implementation needs multi-level governance engagement to provide support for the delivery of innovative and sustainable solutions in green space management. The state can stimulate further development at the local level by giving inspiration and enhanced recognition of urban green infrastructure”, says Dr. Elin Slätmo, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio. Dr. Kjell Nilsson, Senior Advisor at Nilsson Landscape, adds that “Designating national urban parks is an effective instrument for the state to preserve the green infrastructure in our cities. But it requires that the municipalities concerned are actively involved. Otherwise, the effort risks becoming a one-off event“. The researchers conclude that understanding the role of the state is as important as exploring the effects it may have on local communities from the perspectives of human…

Nordregio contributes to a new book on the future of EU Cohesion Policy

European Union (EU) Cohesion Policy remains vital for enhancing regional economic growth and reducing socio-economic disparities between European regions, particularly those regions facing industrial decline or in isolated rural areas. To shed light on ongoing and future challenges, a new book, ‘EU Cohesion Policy and Spatial Governance’ has been published, including a chapter by Nordregio. The book examines the economic, social, and political impacts of EU Cohesion Policy within different policy and planning fields. It identifies the multifaceted and dynamic nature of the policy and shows how it is interlinked with other policies, targeting unresolved questions of strategic importance in territorial governance, urban and regional inequalities, and social aspects and wellbeing. In a contributing chapter, Nordregio Senior Research Fellow, Dr. John Moodie, explores the role of EU marine spatial planning (MSP) policies and practices in creating greater coherence within European sea basins. “The chapter argues that while EU MSP initiatives have helped build social capital and consolidate networks, particularly between national planners, more permanent transboundary MSP structures and cross-sector collaboration are needed if there is to be increased alignment and coherence in MSP in the future”, says Dr. J. Moodie. The Nordregio contribution builds on recent projects including, Baltic SCOPE, Pan Baltic Scope, and Bonus Basmati, which examined the nature of governance and stakeholder engagement in transboundary MSP processes.