Nordregio celebrates its 25th anniversary
On 15 June, Nordregio gathered the Nordic family and friends from the world of urban planning and regional development to celebrate its 25th Anniversary. More than 100 guests were happy to meet physically and mingle in sunny Hörsalen, Nordregio’s classical meeting hall. The feeling of revival post-Covid was very present as we listened to greetings from Swedish Ministers for Regional development and Nordic collaboration, encouraging us to keep up our work for more research-based policymaking and Nordic knowledge exchange. Filmed on tour by bike, Nordic Council of Ministers’ Secretary-General Paula Lehtomäki emphasized our important role in researching solutions for a more effective and just green transition in line with the Nordic Vision 2030. Live speakers included Katarina Fellman, board member and Director of Åsub/Statistics Åland, and three of our Senior Research Fellows (Mats Stjernberg, Anna Lundgren and Elin Slätmo) looking back to 1997 and gazing into the future of regional studies – urban and rural. This was followed by a very interactive map quiz session hosted by our Head of GIS, Thomas Jensen. Clearly, the world has changed quite a bit since 1997. Katarina Fellman recalled some hard work done to deliver the new institute in parallel with her first baby and said that growth and development had been impressive with both parties. Nordregio has moved from a limited team focusing on spatial planning systems and regional governance to a full house of 48 employees, covering all aspects of sustainable regional development and planning: green transition, social and digital inclusion, and economic competitiveness. Skills provision and green value creation in rural regions are emerging topics, as well as digital solutions for healthcare and care. At the same time, our urban areas strive to be healthier and more inclusive. Future solutions must be green, smart, and place-based, continuously developed in dialogue…
Ministers: “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. “
What’s required for Nordic rural areas to be attractive places to live, settle and work in? The Nordic ministers responsible for regional policy want to know how young people in sparsely populated areas would answer that question. At the Minister’s meeting on the 10th of May, Nordregio’s two research projects were discussed: essential services in rural areas and remote work. The ministers reviewed new innovative solutions that are emerging around the Nordic Region to safeguard essential services in sparsely populated areas. At the meeting, the ministers also brought with them examples from their countries on new ways of safeguarding the public and private services, thereby increasing public confidence that it’s possible to invest, live, and work in sparsely populated areas. “It’s important that people have access to key services wherever they live. Throughout the Nordic Region, we’re seeing interesting examples of grouping services into service points and that new digital services are making everyday life easier for rural residents. It gives people security and is a prerequisite for them to be able to live wherever they want,” says Sigbjørn Gjelsvik, Norway’s Minister of Local Government and Regional Development and host of the Nordic ministerial meeting on 10 May. The distance to the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, library, or school gradually increases the closer you live to the northern borders of Sweden and Finland, and the further west from Copenhagen you live in Denmark. In Norway, the geographical patterns aren’t as clear, but even here there are large differences between the municipalities in sparsely populated areas and large cities. A new knowledge overview Essential rural services in the Nordic Region by Nordregio describes the fundamental need for services in rural areas in the Nordic Region and was the basis for the ministers’ discussion. Swedish service points and Danish education for…
Nordregio’s position regarding the funding of research and research collaboration with Russia and Belarus
The Council of Nordic Ministers decided as of March 4, 2022, to immediately discontinue all collaborative efforts with Russia and Belarus. The Nordic Ministers for Cooperation stand united in this decision. This means that programs, projects, and activities in Russia and Belarus are discontinued until further notice. In light of the stance put forth by the Nordic Ministers for Cooperation, Nordregio issues a moratorium as regards the disbursal of project funds, the acceptance of applications, the execution of projects, and the entry into agreements and the like that involve Russian and Belarusian parties. The intention is to end all contacts and collaborative efforts with governmental and public institutions of Russian or Belarusian origin. “Intellectual and cultural engagement between individuals is an important prerequisite to creating cohesion and mutual understanding between countries. It is devastating that this war in this way will affect cooperation in academia, research and culture – fields that are meant to serve as tools for mitigating conflicts, building global understanding across borders and supporting people-to-people contacts. The Director reserves the right to decide whether specific contacts and collaborative efforts are appropriate on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances change in the future,” says Nordregio Director Rolf Elmér. Nordregio has been involved with four projects with one or several Russian counterparts: FemArc, Semper Arctic, WANO and Accelerating wood construction across Nordics and Russia. All of these projects have been halted.
Innovation in rural mobility – new report delivers best practices
Is there a difference between rural Japan and rural Finland? And how does it reflect upon matters of rural mobility? A new report zooms into the issue of how to achieve cost-effective and sustainable access to transport and mobility for people living in rural areas who don’t own a car. “Innovations for better rural mobility” is the result of a collaboration stemming from an International Transport Forum/OECD Working Group that focused on Innovative Mobility for Periphery. Nordregio Senior Research Advisor Linda Randall worked with experts from Australia, Argentina, Canada, France, Norway, Poland, and other countries to define and develop international best practices and recommendations for cases when public transport is not viable. Nordregio has experience when it comes to rural mobility, having been an integral part of the MAMBA project that ended in 2020. The initiative focused on the Baltic Sea Regions and strived to develop sustainable “people-to-service” and “service-to-people” mobility solutions in rural areas.
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).
Junior Research Fellow within sustainable regional development in rural and urban areas
Nordregio is currently seeking to expand its capacity by adding a new Icelandic speaking Junior Research Fellow to the team. In particular, we are looking for candidates with an educational background and/or experience in one or more of the following fields: Sustainable rural development (e.g. policy analysis and issues concerning challenges and opportunities for rural areas) Innovative and resilient regions (e.g. green transition, resilience, skills, welfare, smart specialisation, and digitalisation) Sustainable cities and urban planning (e.g. issues concerning transport, housing, public spaces, and planning systems) Requirements The position as Junior Research Fellow requires a bachelor- or master’s degree (300 ECTS) or equivalent. The degree should be in a social science discipline aligned with at least one of the research fields above (e.g. economics, political science, sociology, geography, planning or similar). A Junior Research Fellow is expected to have up to two years of relevant experience in research or practice after graduation. Highly motivated with the ability to work independently, as well as the skills to work effectively in a cooperative research environment. Strong analytical skills and the ability to take a creative approach to complex problems. Well-developed communication skills including the ability to network and work collaboratively with a range of stakeholders and partner organisations. Ability and willingness to contribute to Nordregio’s goal of being an environmentally conscious, supportive and equal working place. Fluent in English and Icelandic and if not already fluent in a Scandinavian language, the willingness to acquire a working knowledge of Danish, Norwegian or Swedish within a short period of time. The geographic scope of your fields of interest includes in-depth knowledge of at least one Nordic country as well as a pan-European perspective. Main Work Tasks Participate in research projects under the supervision of senior researchers. Work independently with the collection and processing of…
New project: Local ownership in sustainable energy systems
Uppsala University and Nordregio are starting a new project on sustainable local energy systems in Sweden. The new project, called Local ownership in transitions towards sustainable energy systems, is a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten). It aims to understand the role local ownership has in facilitating energy transitions and how public participation processes or community-led projects contribute as a success factor. Local and citizen ownership are highlighted by the EU as essential means for the energy transition and, this project answers these issues with qualitative and participatory research design. -To reach political targets, energy systems within the EU and Sweden are currently undergoing rapid and extensive transformations. Local ownership can help facilitate these changes and promote more socially acceptable and just processes and outcomes, says Project Manager Johanna Liljenfeldt from Uppsala University. Case studies and a knowledge exchange network are helping to co-create knowledge on how to foster participation and ownership in energy transitions with the goal to produce consistent policy recommendations. – I look forward to co-creating policy recommendations and guidelines with the local communities. It makes the project relevant on policy and practical level, adds Research Fellow Sandra Oliveira e Costa from Nordregio. The project will have its own website this fall, but at the moment, further information is found at www.nordregio.org. For more information, contact:Johanna LiljenfeldtProject Manager, Uppsala Universityjohanna.liljenfeldt (at) geo.uu.se Sandra Oliveira e CostaResearch Fellow, Nordregiosandra.oliveiracosta (at) nordregio.org
Youth leadership practices in the circular economy shared with CBSS
Sustainable management and use of Earth’s natural resources have been at the core of public debates aiming for a fast post-pandemic recovery. In the Baltic Sea region, a lot of focus is drawn on resource-intensive sectors such as textiles, food, constructions, plastics and the support to sustainable future proofing companies. The Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) is organizing a seminar to promote knowledge and good practices in the region and to take further steps on circular economy and sustainability. The event “Sustainable and green transformations of the resource-intensive industry sectors in the Baltic Sea Region”, taking place on 26 May, gathers representatives from EU organizations, national ministries, academia and business clusters to discuss how different stakeholders could support the green transition. Nordregio’s Research Fellow Alberto Giacommeti is invited to share perspectives on what opportunities and challenges young leaders face while transitioning towards the circular economy in the Baltic Sea Region: “Stories from young leaders across the Baltic Sea Region reveal a generational readiness for moving towards the circular economy, and also that they are capable of leading this transition. While they are rapidly conquering new grounds, young people remain challenged by mental barriers and access to finance. Supporting young leaders will ensure not only increased sustainability but also innovation and competitiveness.” Find out more about the young bioeconomy entrepreneurs on BeUBio platform and more about the event on CBSS website:
Is territorial governance needed in smart specialisation and maritime planning?
What is the role of territorial governance in supporting smart specialisation? Is maritime spatial planning moving towards policymaking that is inspired by territorial governance approaches? Nordregio’s researchers have published two articles on these topics within the fields of EU regional and EU marine policy. – The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital role of local actors and knowledge in helping build regional resilience and deliver effective policies for citizens. Territorial governance and smart specialization can help bring policymaking closer to citizens and rebuild trust in politics. This is particularly important in peripheral and isolated regions where citizens feel like they have been left behind by the forces of globalization and the knowledge-based economy, says Senior Research Fellow John Moodie. Territorial Governance and Smart Specialisation: Empowering the Sub-National Level in EU Regional Policy The concept of territorial governance has received little attention within political science and EU Studies despite being advocated as a central element of European Regional Policy. This article examines the key dimensions of territorial governance, arguing that it is both distinct and complementary to multi-level governance, as it focuses on the mobilisation of regional actor groups and the integration of endogenous knowledge in policymaking. – For example at Nordregio, the local actor groups contribute to our work with their knowledge. They work to improve local life and thus are key players in territorial governance. We work with Local Action Groups members in our Thematic groups, Swedish fishermen in maritime spatial planning workshops and with an activist in a Copenhagen neighbourhood working on URBACT to name a few, explains Senior Research Fellow, Michael Kull. The article further explores whether there is merit in understanding smart specialisation as a territorial governance-based model by using examples of S3 process implementation in four Nordic regions. The article finds that smart specialisation can be considered a territorial governance approach, as it promotes bottom-up EU policymaking driven by regional and local knowledge. Moreover, by empowering the subnational level, a territorial governance lens may help to bring EU Regional policymaking closer to citizens,…
Why is Nordic co-operation struggling during the pandemic?
Insights on Covid-19 impacts from the perspectives of cross-border communities During Covid-19, free movement of people and services, and trade across borders has been drastically disrupted. Despite existing co-operation agreements, the Nordic countries took uncoordinated actions to protect themselves. Border closures have heavily affected lives in border communities. How could Nordic co-operation recover after the pandemic by integrating the resilience approach and focusing on cross-border communities? Nordregio – Nordic Institute for Regional Development – launches a report that gives an overview of the situation in Nordic border communities following border closures. Results point to the need for a quick recovery and re-engagement in the Nordic Vision 2030, which states that the Nordic Region is to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. Fragility of border communities and Nordic co-operation Since the introduction of the Nordic Passport Union in 1954, long before the establishment of the Schengen Area, Nordic citizens could travel without passports and reside freely in any Nordic country. Virtually borderless societies established strong connections with neighbouring countries. This allowed people to easily access goods, services and larger labour markets across Nordic countries. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries took unilateral actions to protect themselves, moving away from the Nordic Vision. Since then, border closures inflicted significant social, economic and political impact on the border regions: ‘Hard‘ borders re-emerged and border guards were deployed to stop border crossings. Border closures separated families and friends, and disrupted access to work, education and basic services. The closed Svinesund bridge connecting Sweden and Norway and a fence erected in the middle of Victoria Square between Haparanda and Tornio (Sweden-Finland) created a shock reaction in the communities which haven‘t experienced anything like it since World War II. Great economic losses resulted from a sudden absence of border shoppers…
During 2017-2020, what did we learn about sustainable rural development?
Each Nordic country is different, but also similar. The similarities make it possible to learn from one another, and differences highlight the meaning and uniqueness of creative local solutions. Nordic cooperation is generally considered to be an extremely important asset when working with rural development. This storymap summarizes the work of the Nordic Thematic Group on Sustainable Rural Development 2017-2020 (TG1). What did we learn? VISIT STORYMAP
Open call for picture submission
Help Nordregio to visualise life in the Nordic cross-border areas during COVID-19 Do you live in a Nordic cross-border area? Or have you visited any of these areas before or during the pandemic? Maybe you took a bunch of pictures there? The cross-border communities are facing many challenges due to the Covid-19 pandemic and closed borders. Life is not the same any more – many have had to change their daily life and work routines. Nordregio researchers are working on several projects in relation to this situation and you will hear about them very soon. To complement the studies and raise awareness about the current challenges, we would like to ask you to contribute with pictures from Nordic cross-border regions. Guidelines for submission: The submitted picture is made by the person who is submitting; One person can submit up to 5 pictures; The pictures are taken in cross-border areas in the Nordics; The caption describes the location, time and situation portrayed; If people are portrayed in the picture, and their face is recognizable, their signed consent to publish a picture should be provided; If people in the picture are under 18 years old, the parents’ signed consent to publish the picture should be provided; The pictures size is min 1 MB – max 16 MB; The picture formats are jpg, jpeg, png. Share your pictures by the 5th of March! The pictures will be used to illustrate Nordregio’s scientific publications and communications material related to the studies. The submissions are not subsidized but a clear reference to the author will be made. If you have any questions or concerns, please, contact email@example.com
Nordregio is hiring: Head of GIS Department
Nordregio is inviting applications for a senior position as Head of GIS Department. Working at Nordregio means an opportunity to become part of a truly international research environment with a focus on sustainable regional development in the Nordic region and beyond. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your competences through applied and policy relevant research, achieving an international network of contacts, as well as getting extensive experience in team and project management. You will also get rich opportunities to collaborate with regional and municipal stakeholders in the Nordic countries. Nordregio is currently seeking a new Head of GIS Department with: Expertise in GIS, geo-data, quantitative analysis, and applied research in the field of regional development. Experience in leading a team and managing projects as well as a successful track record in grant applications. Knowledge in geographies and socio-economic trends in the Nordic Region and beyond. A drive for working in teams and in an international applied research environment. Eagerness to present and disseminate results to different stakeholder groups, both orally and in written format. Competences and qualifications As Head of GIS Department, you both lead and manage the GIS-team by planning and organising tasks and activities, communicate with each team member and contribute to their development. You are also a project manager with responsibilities to attract, initiate and lead externally funded research and innovation projects. The geographic scope of your field of interest includes a European and international perspective and expert knowledge in at least one of the Nordic countries. We appreciate abilities in external networking and in communication with stakeholders. Internally we appreciate analytical and creative skills, complemented by abilities to both cooperate and work on your own. For this position, you have at least 6 years of relevant work experience and an extensive network…
- 2021 February
- Baltic Sea Region
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
- Gender equality
- Green transition
- Labour market
- Maritime spatial planning
- Regional innovation
- Rural development
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
The Geography of Higher Education – Evaluation of the Academy for Smart Specialisation
The report ‘Evaluation of the Academy for Smart Specialisation’ is the first of ‘The geography of higher education’ OECD series, which aims to help fill the gap between academic research/teaching and business/society. The Academy for Smart Specialisation is a partnership between the regional government of Värmland and Karlstad University. The aim of the Academy is to generate academic research and skills in areas that are relevant for regional competitiveness, as identified by Värmland’s Smart Specialisation Strategy – and to generate advanced services that help enhance the region’s capacity in identifying emerging industries and key local assets. This evaluation was performed by OECD in collaboration with Nordregio during spring 2020. Project leader from Nordregio was Jukka Teräs, Senior Research Fellow. Linnea Löfving, Research Fellow and Diana Huynh, Junior Research Fellow also worked on the team. “The Academy for Smart Specialisation is a great example of how to link a regional Smart Specialisation Strategy to Higher Education Institutions, not only to promote research, innovation and collaboration but also to facilitate the long term need of skills and competence in the region. The partnership between Region Värmland and Karlstad University shows that the two parties have understood that together they can create added value both in terms of economic resources and in terms of a strengthened entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region,” says Linnea Löfving, Research Fellow at Nordregio. Most of the programmes and projects implemented by the Academy have generated value for both the regional smart specialisation strategy as well as for Karlstad University. At the level of selected individual projects, however, the overall alignment between stated objectives and expected results varies significantly. Some projects have exceeded expectations regarding quality of research and/or cooperation with industry – others have not. But overall, the management, coordination, and implementation of the Academy for the first…
How to prepare for Home Alone Christmas 2020?
Are you longing for big family celebrations or secretly feeling relieved and excited to spend this Christmas on your own? In 2020, Christmas is going to be more digital and more local than ever. Nordregio’s Home Alone Christmas Map tells you exactly how to prepare for it. A good internet connection and access to grocery stores are very important success factors when one must spend a “Home Alone” style Christmas this year. For those of you who are saddened by the Christmas restrictions, we have good news. The recent developments in digital solutions allow us to meet and celebrate with family and friends online. And for those of you who are feeling relief when thinking about skipping the celebrations, you can still blame it on the poor broadband connection if you live in some parts of Finland, Norway, the Faroe Islands or Greenland, but do not try this excuse in Denmark, Sweden, Iceland or Åland. You could instead find comfort in endless streaming possibilities for Christmas movies! Due to travel restrictions, near and far, the go-to place this year is our very own, local grocery store – plan for an evening to remember with a local twist. Unless you planned ahead and ordered most food items online. If you are running late, as usual, every kilometer and mile counts when you are rushing to the local store to fight over the last piece of ham. We see no reason to worry for late-runners in most cities across the Nordic Region. But if you are in Iceland or the northern parts of Finland or Sweden – well, we really hope you have planned ahead. As you can see on the map, Home Alone Christmas conditions vary greatly across the Nordic Region. Take a look at the municipality you live in and…
Matching skills for future labour market
Regions and regional labour markets are facing many challenges such as the ageing population and lack of skills, digitalisation and automation of the economy along with the current Covid-19 crisis. Education and skills are cornerstones for contemporary societies in trying to deal with these changes. The project “Skills Policies – Building Capacities for Innovative and Resilient Nordic Regions” has analysed how Nordic regions work with skills assessment and anticipation, skills development and skills governance. Which skills will be needed in future? And what are the enabling and hampering factors for skills development? We are happy to share our main findings in a report and a policy brief, including recommendations for policymakers on how to create skills ecosystems for resilient societies. The topic was also featured in the third session of Nordregio Forum this year. The project is a part of the Nordic Thematic Group for Innovative and Resilient Regions 2017-2020.
Apply to the Nordic Arctic Co-operation Programme
The Nordic Arctic Cooperation Programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers has opened up its call for new project applications for financial support in 2021. Deadline for sending in proposals is 1st February 2021 (12:00 CET). The aim of the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Arctic Cooperation Programme 2018-2021 is to create sustainable and constructive development in the Arctic and for its people based on the four P’s: planet, peoples, prosperity and partnerships. The programme is administered by Nordregio, with one round of applications per programme years.
16 Dec: How regional policies are greening the EU Social Housing sector?
Welcome to the Final Conference of Social Green project online Pathways to Greener Social Housing in Europe on the 16th of December at 10-12.30 (CET). This event seeks to provide an enjoyable experience for everyone promoting interaction and boosting shared learnings from the Social Green projects around EU. Social Green partners will disseminate the results & benefits from the implementation of the regional Action plans. Read more about the event and sign up: https://www.interregeurope.eu/socialgreen/news/news-article/10263/pathways-to-greener-social-housing-in-europe/ More about the Social Green project: https://nordregio.org/nordregio-magazine/issues/people-and-cities/social-green-making-social-housing-more-energy-efficient-and-affordable/
How are the Nordic regions feeling?
Two new articles are published on regional development in the Idunn library. How regional development potential looks in different parts of the Nordic Region and how the regional balance has developed over recent years? The first article compares the development potentials in the 66 Nordic regions. The second article is about the demise of the rural Nordic region and analysis of regional population trends in the Nordic countries, 1990 to 2040. The population of the Nordic region has grown substantially during recent decades, though most of this growth has been in urban regions. While the Nordic countries are projected to see continued population growth in the future, almost all of the increase will be concentrated in urban centres, with population decline or stagnation in many rural municipalities. This will make it difficult for these regions to remain economically competitive and for national governments to provide a uniform level of services across entire countries. This article provides policymakers at the national, regional, and municipal levels with projections of the size, composition, and geographic distribution of rural populations in the Nordic countries in 2040. In total, remote rural regions will not become depopulated and are projected to grow moderately from 5.3 to 5.5 million persons to 2040, though many will experience significant declines in their total and working-age populations and will have much older age structures. The first article about the regional comparisons is published by Julien Grunfelder, Johanna Carolina Jokinen, Gustaf Norlén & Kjell Nilsson: https://www.idunn.no/nordisk_valfardsforskning/2020/01/how_are_the_nordic_regions_feeling_acomparison_of_develop The second article about population growth is published by Timothy Heleniak & Nora Sánchez Gassen: https://www.idunn.no/nordisk_valfardsforskning/2020/01/the_demise_of_the_rural_nordic_region_analysis_of_regional
Bioeconomy – a super force for the Nordic region?
A new article written by Nordregio researchers shines a light on the benefits and advantages of bioeconomy for regional development in the Nordic region, showing that many new jobs were created over the past years in rural areas When we speak about bioeconomy, we refer to a model of economy built on land- and marine-based natural resources including eco-system services and biowaste. In a newly published article, “Bioeconomy – a driver for regional development in the Nordic countries”, Nordregio researchers Karen Refsgaard, Michael Kull, Elin Slätmo and Mari Wøien Meijer analyzed employment statistics and empirical cases to show the ways in which the new bioeconomy contributes to more environmentally and socially sustainable economic growth. The article, “Bioeconomy – a driver for regional development in the Nordic countries”, was published on October 9th, 2020 and can be viewed as a first attempt at understanding and identifying the regional economic and social impacts of the new bioeconomy, such as the fact that it creates many jobs, from below 15% to above 22% of all jobs, especially in rural areas. However, developing a bio-based and circular economy signifies that a team effort must be made, education, research and bioresource-suppliers, NGO’s and in particular together with the public sector having to work together. Furthermore, institutions need to go through a range of innovations. To learn more about the impact of bioeconomy in the Nordic countries, read the full article.