Socially inclusive cities in policy and practice
The second parallel session focused on ‘Socially inclusive cities in policy and practice’. Mitchell Reardon, a resident of Vancouver and a former employee of Nordregio, was the first speaker of the session. Mitchell spoke about tactical urbanism: small-scale interventions to transform urban spaces in ways that make them more usable, sustainable, and potentially inspire long-term change. Good ideas and practices at a small scale and short -term can be transferred to other places and districts in the city. Tactical urbanism also stresses the importance of inclusive decision-making processes. Reardon gave three examples: Viva Vancouver is a public organisation funded by the city, which was established to change residents’ perspectives on what streets can be used for. Viva Vancouver involves creating new public space on the streets and ‘unlocking’ existing urban spaces for public art installations. In Dublin, public funding allows employees to devote 1% of their work time towards innovation. This time is used for the trial of new ideas within a defined space for a short period of time (from 1 week to 1 year). Ideas come from the public, architects, planners, scientists, etc. Successful ideas are then posted elsewhere in the city (e.g. electrical boxes). This approach fosters innovation within the city of Dublin, and many public and grass-root innovations emerged. In San Diego, the San Diego Civic Innovation Lab is embedded in the mayor’s office. It aims to revive pubic space and catalyse public engagement with the urban area. It is an interdisciplinary initiative, involving many workers from across different sectors. Most notably, these projects have been used across the border with Tijuana, where work has been done in neighbourhoods that have been traditionally marginalized. Even with relatively few resources, this initiative contributed to positive transformation within the San Diego-Tijuana community. The participants in the session were…
Planning tools for green and liveable city regions
The second parallel session was about planning tools for green and liveable city regions. A key question was about current planning and analytical tools that help to integrate environmental dimensions and well-being with efforts to improve economic competitiveness? And in turn, how these integrated understandings can support planning actions? Christian Fertner from University of Copenhagen started by presenting about patterns of urban energy production and consumption, with a specific focus on planning issues, monitoring indicators and potential rebound effects in the urban domain. His research, which has been taking place within the PLEEC-project (read more: http://www.pleecproject.eu/) aims at developing a general policy model for supporting energy efficiency within city planning. Fertner presented the key findings from the project. One of the core tasks has been to develop a list of spatial planning measures with aim of measuring how urban planning could contribute to lower energy use in our cities. The indicator set of 29 measures has been developed and tested in close cooperation with six medium-sized cities (Eskilstuna, Turku, Jyvaskyla, Tartu, Stoke-On-Trent, Santiago de Compostela). The main result from the testing has shown the importance of local contexts and administrative conditions for using indicators. The results have identified challenges of working with indicators generally, as well as the importance of being aware about how rebound effects can counter against certain planning and policy initiatives. For instance, much of the discussion in the question period focussed on how people living in dense urban areas in Nordic capitals can often have a larger environmental footprint than rural residents because they have second homes, or travel internationally for recreation more often. Christian’s key conclusions were that it is important to understand energy consumption from the municipal perspective, from the spatial perspective, to monitor and assess consumption patterns comprehensively and not least, to understand…
Architecture and urban design as competitive tools
Architecture and urban design as competitive tools Tonje Frydenlund from award-winning design and architecture company Snøhetta showcased good examples of modern and engaging urban spaces that give the space to the people and create encounters. Mitchell Reardon from Nordregio asked Frydenlund a few follow-up questions on Nordic design: Reardon: “It really struck me how the name of your company Snøhetta, is from an impressive mountain, and the Opera House in Oslo is such a strong reflection of Norwegian, and Nordic culture and identity. What is the role of architecture and city design in helping to build a national identity?” Frydenlund: “There is a tendency to work in two key directions: On one hand, where you have symbolic buildings, which are major public investments that intend to have a transformative impact in terms of city planning and development. Oslo’s opera house for instance was developed in somewhat of a no-go part of town, and through its design and construction it supported the transformation of the total area, bringing it back to the public. Our design intended to do that – to create a landscape and cityscape together with the building that people can use in a broad range of ways. Then you have the other approach, where you plan neighbourhoods very clearly in city development strategies, which are crucial for ensuring that wider environmental goals are achieved within these projects.” Reardon: “Nordic design and architecture are very much in vogue around the world right now, and Snøhetta’s success shows that very clearly, how do you think Nordic cities and firms working with architecture and design can further capitalise on these things?” Frydenlund: “I think that the Nordic values of democracy and humanism are key factors that our city regions can prosper on and market as a way of showing their competitiveness…
- 2015 November
- Nordic Region
- Urban planning
How can Nordic cities profit from the diversity of their population?
How to turn diversity into advantages? Dr. Tuna Tasan-Kok from Delft University engaged the whole audience while trying to give some answers to the most current topics of the day: diversity and social inclusion in cities. Diversity is not easy to grasp, as there are new forms of diversity emerging, due to population mobility as well as an increasing heterogeneity of migration in terms of country of origin, ethnic groups, legal status and so on. Tasan-Kok mentioned how challenging it is to design policies addressing these different groups, and suggested that policies should on the one hand meet the needs of diverse people, and on the other hand increase or maintain the competitive advantage of cities. European urban diversity policies are people-based but are shifting towards a neo-assimilationist direction in recent years, meaning that social and cultural aspects of integration dominates policy making tendencies. Ethnic diversity is highlighted as an economic asset in the policy discourses of some cities (e.g. London). But an ethnicity and race-based approach fails to address the needs and capacities of a complex urban society nowadays. Putting people under broad categories leads to integration and social-mix policies which despite good intentions fail in reality. How to tackle the complex issue? Tasan-Kok suggests that there is a need for other instruments, such as diverse and tailor-made policy instruments at the community level, supported by macro level policy support in line with the local needs. For example, these initiatives might aim at increasing the sense of belonging by joint activities , supporting disadvantaged groups, creating space to support creativity, etc. Nordic cities can also benefit from a diverse urban population in our cities. With the help of policy instruments it is possible to create a positive perception of diversity. Diversity can contribute to social and economic well-being of…
- 2015 November
- Nordic Region
- Urban planning
The Vancouver model by Larry Beasley
The Vancouver model: How one community with ideas, passion and disagreements reinvented their city Professor Larry Beasley, Former Director of planning for the city of Vancouver, says that liveability is the foundation for making a modern city marketable and competitive because people and economic activity are naturally drawn to pleasant places. While planning for urban sustainability might be more about an “earth ethic” than market competition, it is the foundation for creating a city robust to its setting, healthy and liveable for people, and attractive for investment. Enriching Vancouver’s liveability has been nested in two planning imperatives; a hard focus on the consumer perspective – because in a free society a city is shaped just as much by consumer trends as by government laws – and a strong design ethos. City Council and Beasly’s team of planners realized they had to entice people back to the city centre to capitalize on the potentials of its urban realm and to embrace urban density. But the only way they could do that was if the space has a deliberately designed “wow” factor that sets it apart from the suburban choices that had been so pervasive. The City called this formula the “experiential” planning approach, Larry Beasley explains. Two key elements of the City’s urban development potential stem from a pioneering decisions decades ago. First, the City went against the norm and did not build a freeway bisecting the city. This has provided a basis for limiting auto capacity, building public transportation for connecting emerging town centres throughout the metropolitan region, and for creating infrastructure that promotes walking and cycling. Second, the implementation of the Agricultural Land Reserve preserved vital open space for agriculture while simultaneously promoting compact growth. Since the late 1980’s, the downtown core of the city in particular, has been…
Nordregio Forum 2015 report: “Forget megaprojects and place people first”
Nordregio Forum is over for this time and we are very pleased that so many of you in our network joined us in Helsingør and contributed to the programme. Interesting key-notes, engaging panel discussions and parallel sessions, effective matchmaking meetings, and participants from all Nordic countries and beyond, all made sure that the Forum became what we had hoped for: inspiring, innovative and a place for creating new contacts. Below follows a summary of the two days in Helsingør! Can megaprojects help Nordic cities become more competitive in a global perspective? The megaproject investment boom strives from monumentality – political, technological, economic and aesthetic drivers that lead us towards these grand investments. However, the reality is that only one out of ten megaprojects seem to manage all the complexity, which leads to Bent Flyvbjerg’s iron law of megaprojects: over budget, over time, under benefits, over and over again. Megaprojects often go bankrupt and in the Nordics we have a few case examples like the Stockholm Arlanda Express airport train and the Copenhagen subway. One reason for this is that that megaproject managers are often inexperienced in mega projects and end up holding the proverbial ‘tiger by its tail’. Bent Flyvbjerg believes that the Nordic cities should not try to compete with having the tallest, longest, largest, most expensive projects but rather keep on doing right things as so far by placing people first in the Nordic city planning. Nordic cities are known to be human sized and according to Flyvbjerg that is their strength. Nordic cities should therefore focus on recycling old infrastructure, reusing and transforming existing buildings and developing new technologies, like driverless cars, to create added value to the cities. Cities need to concentrate on keeping the cities liveable for people. Tonje Frydenlund, the Managing Director of award-winning…
Nordregio at COP21
The Nordic countries have a joint pavilion at the UN Climate negotiations in Paris from November 30 til December 11, – under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Nordregio will be represented by two of our Senior Researchers, whom will both hold a session. Jukka Teräs will present “The potential of industrial symbiosis as a key driver of green growth in Nordic regions” (written by Ingrid H G Johnsen, Anna Berlina, Gunnar Lindberg, Nelli Mikkola, Lise Smed Olsen and Jukka Teräs), a new Nordregio study, on December 2 at the session named “Nordic Study on Industrial Symbiosis in the Nordic Region“. The session is hosted by Kaisu Annala from the Ministry of Employment and Economy in Finland. Kaisu Annala is also the Chair of the Nordic Working Group for Green Growth – Innovation and Entrepreneurship for which Nordregio holds the secretariat. The report will also be released during the COP21 event and will be released here on Nordregio’s website as well. Anna Karlsdottir will talk about Nordregio’s contribution to sustainable regional development in the Arctic during the session “People in the Arctic and Climate Change” on December 4. The full programme from the Nordic Council of Ministers at COP21 can be found here.
Nordic Efficiency – New Nordic Climate Solutions
The Nordic Council of Ministers is participating at World Efficiency in Paris, October 13-15, in preparation for the UN climate summit COP21 in December 2015. This is organized in cooperation with the Nordic embassies in Paris and with the participation of leading Nordic companies offering green solutions for a sustainable society. Focus will be on Energy Efficiency, along with circular Economy and bioeconomy as well as sustainable building and city planning. Nordregio will participate at this event as well as during the UN climate summit in December. Senoir Research Fellow Jukka Teräs will participate in Moving towards a zero-waste society: the Nordic answer, a workshop held on the 14th and present the study The potential of industrial symbiosis as a key driver for green growth. The presentation will introduce Industrial Symbiosis activities in selected Nordic regions and include preliminary results of the study on Industrial Symbiosis in Nordic regions by Nordregio. The full study report will be released later in 2015. More information from the Nordic Council of Ministers: Workshop zero-waste society Nordic Effiency: – the Nordic pavilion at World Efficiency – Catalogue produced for the participation of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic embassies in France at World Efficiency.
Is a multi-locational lifestyle the future for the Nordic Arctic Youth?
In a new study by Nordregio, Arctic youth reveal their preferences for the future. Access to high level education is the main reason why young people in the rural Arctic move to larger cities. But are they lost forever? A multi-locational lifestyle with combining work, education and different places to live is a new standard for the young generation. How to retain and attract the young population is a major issue for most rural regions in the Nordic Arctic: Iceland, Faroe Islands, Greenland and the Northern parts of Sweden, Finland and Norway. In a new qualitative study by Nordregio, most of interviewed young men and women believe they will have secure and well paid jobs in the future, and they see education as a way to reach that goal. More vocational training is also in high demand. Many plan to move to a more urban area to get an education and to work for the next 10-30 years. But not necessarily leave the Arctic. They predict that Arctic communities that will thrive in the future are those that have grown more urban, like Steigen in Northern Norway. Mobility has become a basic condition for these young individuals. In ten years’ time, the geographical place for living or working is as much foreign as domestic according to the study. A multi-locational lifestyle could be seen as a new trend. – This means that you want to live in different places, for education and for work, as a learning experience that brings wisdom and maturity, says Anna Karlsdottìr, researcher at Nordregio. For young on the move, digital communication is an embedded part of life. Not least to keep those long-distance relationships going. Young Sámis in Northern Sweden show how social media platforms can also be used for empowerment purposes, raising awareness about…
A new wave of reforms sweeping over the Nordic countries?
Nordregio News Issue 3 2015 A new wave of reforms sweeping over the Nordic countries? By Lisbeth Greve Harbo Municipal reforms are gaining political momentum in the Nordic countries, which all face great social changes. Some countries have already pushed their reforms through; others are still struggling with decisions on the matter. Finland has failed after several years of trying to implement a renewed reform process. Norway is in the midst of such a process, and Greenland is reconsidering the reform it undertook in 2009. In this issue of Nordregio News, we review current initiatives on municipal reforms in the Nordic countries. What exactly is happening now, and why? Iceland leads the way By Stefania Traustadottir The autonomy of municipalities is rooted in the human rights chapter of the Icelandic constitution. This legal article protects the citizens’ right to exercise control over issues that concern them. Thus, it secures the existence of Icelandic municipalities, as this fundamental status must be considered in decisions on whether and how existing structures should be changed. It has an enormous influence on the development of Icelandic municipalities. Norway: steps on the path to reforms By Terde Kaldager In Norway, the most recent municipal reform took place more than 50 years ago. Since then, the municipalities have increased their responsibility portfolios with new tasks delegated by the government, while the government has strengthened its control. The municipalities have reacted to the increased workload by managing more of their tasks through intermunicipal co-operation. In this context, the time for municipal reform may have come. Why did the Finnish local government reform of 2011 fail? By Siv Sandberg A decision by the Finnish government on 19th August 2015 marked the end of a fruitless four-year attempt to bring about an extensive reform of municipal boundaries. The aim…
Botkyrka municipality fights poverty with good results
The municipality of Botkyrka south of Stockholm was the first municipality in Sweden to promote interculturalism and celebrate differences. A new study from Nordregio shows that innovative policies and measures seem to have paid off: In Botkyrka negative trends have been reversed. The child poverty rate is decreasing and the demand for newly constructed dwelling has increased. Urban poverty and social exclusion is rarely the result of a single phenomenon but merely of socio-economic patterns, discrimination, access to housing, the built form, transportation and social networks. According to a new study by Nordic research institute Nordregio, the role of public institutions is crucial in resolving these issues. Although Botkyrka continues to face these problems its innovative policies and initiatives appear to be paying dividends. There is a strong north–south divide in Botkyrka: South Botkyrka is characterized by higher income and employment levels, as well as by a larger percentage of people with an ethnic Swedish background. North Botkyrka has a lower median income level and a very high percentage of residents with a foreign background. Botkyrka Municipality decided to celebrate the differences and it is the first municipality in Sweden to promote interculturalism. That approach is conducted by co-operating broadly with both public actors such as the Library in Hallunda and community groups offering language courses, vocational training and guidance on how to start a small business – especially for women. Cultural understanding is integrated into the school system through new pedagogical approaches and language training for teachers. There have also been strong efforts to engage young people through accessible sports, exchange programs and summer employment opportunities. There are a number of prominent indications that these efforts are having positive impacts on residents, e.g. of the 30 municipalities with the highest rates of child poverty in Sweden, Botkyrka was one…
- 2015 September
- Nordic Region
- Urban planning
Nordic Economic Policy Review Conference in Helsinki
Whither the Nordic Welfare Model This year’s conference is hosted by the Finnish Ministry of Finance on the 8th of October. The full programme can be downloaded HERE. Register to: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information please contact: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Nordic Economic Policy Review is an economic political journal launched by the Nordic ministers of finance in 2009. The aim of the journal is to make current economic policy research more useful for decision makers and to promote a broader discussion of economic policy issues in the Nordic countries. The journal highlights common Nordic issues and challenges.
- 2015 September
- Nordic Region
Stockholm’s eco-districts create green growth
Is it sensible to have eco-districts as a part of city planning? Two eco-districts, Hammarby Sjöstad and Stockholm Royal Seaport, developed by the City of Stockholm have helped to increase the number of Cleantech companies in the region. Their increase in turnover over the past 10 years is significantly higher than the Swedish average. This is in large part due to the international visibility these companies have gained from their involvement in these projects. New research by Nordregio shows that during 2003–2007 a number of new Cleantech firms related to urban development were created in Stockholm. 44 firms included in the study increased their turnover steadily and significantly by total of 90.4% between 2006 and 2012, despite the global economic crisis. At the same time Sweden’s GDP increased by only 29.5% (see the figure bellow). – Our research supports a key element of Stockholm’s sustainability efforts. Actively promoting eco-districts is not only important for creating green housing and infrastructure, but also contributes to the growth of the Cleantech business sector, states researcher Ryan Weber, Nordregio. One example is ENVAC, the inventors of the automated waste collection systems used in both eco-districts. According to ENVAC, there were two important milestones that helped establish ENVAC’s international success. The first was simply having the opportunity to apply their technology in Hammarby Sjöstad and the second was the increased marketing of the eco-districts by the city of Stockholm. This helped ENVAC market their technologies internationally and led to many additional contracts, including the Wembley City Development and Singapore’s Tianjing EcoCity contract. The company now has 35 offices in 22 countries. The research article Do eco-districts support the regional growth of cleantech firms? Notes from Stockholm, is published at Cities (Volume 49, December 2015, Pages 113–120) and is available online.
- 2015 August
- Nordic Region
- Green transition
- Urban planning
Is there a Nordic region?
That is a problematic question from the geographical point of view. One can approach the question through maps focused on e.g. geopolitical, maritime, language themes. The maps will elaborate on and problematize what constitutes the Nordic region, including phenomena that cross national boundaries. Some of the maps are at a high-level “zoomed out” scale, depicting the Nordic region in a global or European setting, while others encompass solely the Nordic countries and sub-regions. Several of these maps were specifically produced for a RegLab session in March 2015. The maps relate to a number of themes, such as (please find maps on the right): Geopolitical, security and economic affiliation to international organisations The geographical context of today’s Nordic cooperation Maritime boundaries (as opposed to the “standard” land boundaries) Territories and regions which are considered autonomous, self-governing, unincorporated, or dependencies of the Nordic countries – in some cases geographically located far beyond what traditionally is considered as the Nordic region The languages of the Nordic region, based on official recognition of e.g. minority languages There are also several maps depicting the hierarchy among Nordic regions and municipalities according to the pan-European “NUTS” (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) and “LAU” (Local administrative units) classification systems. Table 1 below summarizes the different NUTS and LAU levels, including the numbers of units and unit names. Summary of the Nordic regions and municipalities according to the pan-European “NUTS” (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) and “LAU” (Local administrative units) classification systems. Source: NSIs, Eurostat, ESPON The “NUTS” levels range from NUTS 0 (national level) to NUTS 3 (smaller regions). The “LAU” system consists of two levels: Local administrative units, level 1, and Local administrative units, level 2, of which the latter are equal to the municipal level in most Nordic countries. The Faroe…
NordMap, new Nordic web-mapping tool: Create, share and print maps
NordMap is the name of a new Nordic web-mapping tool for demography, labour market and accessibility in the Nordic countries. With NordMap you can analyse local and regional development trends and create, share and print customised maps without any previous mapping or GIS experience. Welcome to use NordMap – and let us know what you think! From maps to web-mapping Since 1997, Nordregio has been known for making high-quality maps that illustrate regional development patterns across a wide range of social, economic, and environmental themes. Using our existing work with mapping spatial information as a basis, and with funding and support from the Nordic working group on demography and welfare, NordMap has been developed to bring you even closer to spatial data. It allows you to scope and analyse local and regional development patterns more effectively, to interact with the data easily and in new ways, and to quickly create, share and print customised maps. Data is up-to-date, and most demographic indicators are available until now, the year 2015. Who is NordMap for? NordMap provides planners and policy-makers at all levels of government with a new platform for benchmarking regions and municipalities in a pan-Nordic dimension. It promotes Nordic cooperation by allowing users to identify areas with similar regional characteristics, just as it can monitor development patterns that have unfolded through time. Researchers and academics in the Nordic Region and abroad will also benefit from the analytical capabilities of NordMap to quickly create their own maps. Welcome to www.nordmap.se! If you have questions and comments about NordMap, please contact:
Study on multi-level governance in support of Europe 2020
Eight case studies were analyzed to better understand existing governance arrangements. Four case studies concern energy efficiency and other four focus on social inclusion. Nordregio conducted the literature & policy review on multi-level governance and together with other partners prepared and run selected case studies, twinning events and the final conference. More about the project
- 2015 June
- Nordic Region
Symposium on Planning Nordic city regions: experiences and agendas
On May 12, city representatives, regional authorities, consultants and researchers came together in the symposium on planning city regions that took place in the city of Oslo. The venue had the objectives of sharing and exchanging experiences of spatial planning at a city regional scale and discussing the challenges and possibilities for urban policy and politics in the Nordic countries, with focus on the added value of a Nordic perspective. Presentations from the symposium The urban as norm in planning discourse and practice – Moa Tunström Planning Nordic City Regions: Challenges and Opportunities – Lukas Smas Regional plan for land use and transport in Oslo and Akershus – Marit Øhrn Langslet Creative Governance in City Regions: A German Perspective – Klaus R. Kunzmann Many inspiring and interesting discussions coloured the symposium, particularly one regarding the complex situation that exists in the relationships between municipalities and regions. A Danish representative, for instance, noted that there was a need to “fight for power in different sectors and at different scales” for city-regional planning to be effective. It was determined that there was a greater need for flexible solutions, fluid multi-level governance, and a more widespread recognition of the ‘functional city region’ as a planning norm. The tightly-scheduled agenda consisted of two sessions and two workshops. Experiences were shared from Oslo City Region and the German experiences of metropolitan governance during the first session. The second session included an overview of the challenges and opportunities of Nordic city regional planning and some reflections questioning the ‘urban as a norm’. The insights shared during Sessions 1 and 2 opened into interesting discussions which addressed governance and administrative issues alongside definitions of the ‘urban’ and critiques of how the concept is shaped by today’s urbanization and globalization processes. Marit Øhrn Langslet from Akerhus Fylkes kommune,…
Seminar at Fores: How to reduce car emissions and grow the bioeconomy
On the 19th of May, Nordregio held a well-received seminar together with Swedish think tank Fores on financial incentives to reduce new cars’ CO2 emissions and boost the Nordic bioeconomy. The main attraction was the report Nya bilars koldioxidutsläpp – analys marknad för marknad that the Swedish 2030 secretariat have written with support from Nordregio. The report was presented by Jakob Lagercrantz from the 2030 secretariat. After that, Nordregio’s Senior Research Fellow Jukka Teräs presented an overview of the Nordic bioeconomy and results from research conducted by Nordregio. Clas Engström from Processum biorefinary in Örnsköldsvik presented their case and gave a brief on the issues they face, as an actor in the bioeconomy business. You can see the seminar here (in Swedish): The bioeconomy presentation can be found here (pdf)
- 2015 May
- Nordic Region
- Regional innovation
Stettiner Haff – from Swedish province to pilot region for climate change adaptation
Nordregio’s Stefanie Lange Scherbenske and Linus Rispling have written an article about the Oder estuary region in Northern Germany and Poland for the 2015 edition of Ymer – a journal published by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography since 1881. The theme of this year’s journal is areas that have previously been part of Sweden’s in order to highlight that in 2015 200 years has passed since Sweden left its last outer dependency in Europe. The starting point of the article is the particular physical geography of the Stettiner Haff, an inland lagoon located right on the Polish-German border, connecting the Oder River with the Baltic Sea. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the surroundings were part of the Swedish Kingdom. The article looks into the region’s historical past and its ethnic and political geography, with moving boundaries through the centuries. Finally, the article looks at the region´s challenges and opportunities today: increasing coastal tourism, coastal erosion and possible impacts of climate change as well as cross-border co-operation in order to address these. Read more (in Swedish)
Sweden in a European perspective
What can ESPON say about Sweden and Swedish regional policy priorities? Understanding one’s comparative strengths and weaknesses is important, especially for countries like Sweden. It is small in terms of population and has an open economy, dependent on trade and knowledge exchange with other countries around the world. One way for Sweden to increase its understanding of strengths and weaknesses was to look at comparable European information on Swedish challenges and priorities. To take a step in this direction, Sweco and Nordregio got appointed by the Swedish Agency for Growth Policy Analysis to bring together recent ESPON research results and put them in a Swedish perspective in a synthesis report. By using ESPON as a starting point we could see Sweden and its regions in a European perspective and use this knowledge as a contrast to the Swedish inside perspective. Understanding Sweden in a European context Seen from a European perspective, there are a number of challenges and opportunities for future developments for Sweden and its cities and regions. These comparative challenges and opportunities can be summarised thematically as: Globalisation: Sweden is one of the most globalised countries in Europe, with a highly export-dependent economy. Nevertheless, in a European perspective, Swedish cities and regions show low vulnerability to globalisation trends and the ability to quickly adapt to global change. One challenge, however, is to international trade with partners outside the Nordic countries and the EU28. Internationalisation (private sector): While Stockholm’s business community is very well integrated in international business networks, the profile of Sweden’s secondary cities and small towns is less pronounced as compared to many other countries. An issue for future development is to support the business sector in secondary cities to enhance their integration in various international business networks and strengthen their roles in international trade. Accessibility: In a European and international perspective Swedish cities and…