4 Ongoing Projects
ESPON TERRES aims to unpack territorial resilience to support spatial planning and urban development, strengthening the absorptive, adaptive and transformational governance capacities of European regions in the context of long-term multi-crisis trajectories. The project aims to guide the future generation of EU Cohesion and sectoral policies by providing a conceptual and analytical framework for characterising “territorial resilience” as a multi-dimensional and dynamic concept. The notion of territorial resilience developed in ESPON TERRES overcomes current policy paradigms to emphasize a lasting shift towards learning capacities, institutional innovation, cultural norms, and community values. Regional resilience is understood as a capacity not just to absorb and adapt to external shocks (‘bouncing back’ perspective) but also to address the transformational capabilities to deal with and be ready for both present and impending crises (‘bouncing forwards’ approach). These principles contribute to improving the understanding and to unlocking the opportunities implicit in the concept of territorial resilience, overcoming policy and research siloes through fruitful dialogue among researchers (the scientific level), policy-makers (the normative level) and practitioners (the operational level). The specific activities in the ESPON TERRES project are as follows:
Strengthening the resilience of EU border regions: Mapping risks & crisis
Natural and human-induced disasters are becoming increasingly extreme and complex, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change in our interlinked economies, and do not respect national borders. This project aims to contribute to strengthening capacities in border areas for disaster risk management. Its overall objective is to improve the tools at the disposal of the stakeholders for managing cross-border risks, both natural and man-made. Unprecedented drought, forest fires, floods, the COVID pandemic and geopolitical tensions are among the examples of adverse events that have caused the devastation of human life, property, environment and cultural heritage. The rapidly changing risk landscape implies that civil protection faces an increasingly diverse range of risks and impacts, and needs to work with an increasingly wider range of authorities, services and partners, across sectoral, geographical and jurisdictional boundaries. The project has the following specific objectives: The best examples of good practices will be selected for further analysis as case studies, so that they serve as an inspiration for other countries, regions and local authorities. With regards to geographical scope, the project will cover 43 internal land borders in the EU, 4 maritime borders and 6 borders in candidate countries. The study covers 12 main types of risks: five natural, two related to health and diseases and five man-made. Nordregio is in charge of the country-level analyses for Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, as well as producing maps relevant to cross-border territories.
Democratising jUst Sustainability Transitions (DUST)
The HORIZON EUROPE project Democratising jUst Sustainability Transitions (DUST) aims to develop new participatory instruments in sustainability transitions that enhance citizen participation and trust in democratic governance. It aims to recognise the voices of least-engaged communities by focusing on regions dependent on energy-intensive industries which will be affected by sustainability transitions. We will conduct research using mixed methods in 8 case study regions in Europe, including Region Gotland and Region Norrbotten in Sweden, to investigate the factors enhancing or hindering citizen participation. Participatory experiments will also be conducted in 4 of the case study regions where just sustainability transitions pose great challenges. In these experiments the project will test the potential of innovative design-led territorial and digital tools for citizen participation. The project outputs will be a collection of evidence-based instruments, methods, good practices, and knowledge packages for a comprehensive and just transformation. Nordregio is responsible for the implementation of the UNESCO futures literacy lab, an innovative participatory tool that give citizens the opportunity to reframe future developments via new anticipatory assumptions and questions on just sustainability transitions. Participants discuss alternative future scenarios for transitions, which will then inform regional designs and forecast the impact of ongoing and upcoming sustainability transition measures. The case of Norrbotten will be developed in close collaboration with the partner Hela Sverige Ska Leva Norrbotten as well as national, regional and local governance bodies and other civil society organisations.
On increasingly strained housing markets, affordable housing development has become a key concern in housing policy in the Nordic countries. Public policy explicitly states that new housing should be provided in many price and rent segments with the aim of reaching wider shares of the population, as well as contributing to socially mixed neighborhoods. In the project Strategic Housing, we wish to generate new knowledge on measuring housing market inclusiveness and use this to understand local housing market dynamics and to stimulate cities to develop a more active and comprehensive housing policy. The larger part of the project focus on Norwegian cities and towns, but Nordregio’s share in the project is an outlook on neighboring countries and how they plan for a more inclusive housing supply. One subproject investigates cities’ involvement with the housing needs of mid-income groups. Mid-income households are often depicted as the real losers when it comes to finding new housing as they can neither afford housing on market terms nor are entitled to public support. Here, we take a look at if, how and why the cities of Copenhagen, Hamburg, Oslo and Stockholm plan to expand housing supply attainable to mid-income groups. In a second subproject, municipal requirements to include affordable housing in otherwise market-rate housing developments are investigated. The very different forms such requirements take in Denmark, Norway and Sweden are described and analyzed in relation to housing and planning systems. In the third sub-project, we analyse two shared ownership and two cooperative rental models from legal and economic perspectives to see to what extent, and subject to what risks, these intermediary tenures add to housing opportunities of lower and mid-income groups.
Transformative capacity in energy, food, and water (TANGO-W)
TANGO-W is an applied research project that uses the concept of Urban Transformative Capacities (UTC) to evaluate cities’ potential for sustainability, specifically at the intersection of food, energy, and water systems. By doing so, the project aims to help cities tackle challenges associated with climate change and encourage more sustainable urban development. The food-energy-water nexus is a framework that takes into account the synergies and conflicts of the production, consumption, and scarcity of food, energy, and water systems. TANGO-W proposes tackling these challenges by using the concept of UTC. UTC encompasses the collective ability of multiple stakeholders to conceive of, prepare for, initiate, and perform transformative change at social, organisational, and ecosystem levels. The idea is to enable systematic change that ensures long-term transformation for food, energy, and water systems, thus enabling sustainable future development. The project builds transformative capacity on two levels: 1) the urban level, through the design and implementation of Urban Living Labs (ULL), and 2) the European level, through establishing a transdisciplinary Community of Practice (CoP) among research partners and municipalities. Both levels provide spaces for the development of UTC, thereby accelerating urban change in a sustainable direction. The project will result in policy recommendations for replicating UTC practices; training tools connected to the working at the nexus of food, energy, and water systems; and pilot courses that support capacity building in the ULL cities—Weiz (Austria), Kalgenfurt (Austria), Stockholm (Sweden), Norrtälje (Sweden), Alytus (Lithuania), Halden (Norway), and Marker (Norway). Nordregio coordinates the efforts of the Swedish partners (Campus Roslagen and the City of Stockholm); contributes to demonstration, peer learning, and analysis of UTC among all ULLs; and leads the communication and dissemination of the project. TANGO-W is a transnational project funded by the ERA-NET Co-fund Programme. This programme, designed for the implementation of the European Research…
ESPON Covid: Territorial impacts of Covid-19 and policy answers in European regions and cities
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented crisis of social, political and economic systems throughout Europe and the world. Since March 2020, European countries, regions and cities have taken diverse measures to try and contain the spread of the virus. These measures, while aiming at easing pressure on the health care systems, have had far-reaching impacts on many sectors of economic activity across the continent. Policymakers at all levels of governance require territorial evidence to be able to develop policy measures to cope with the immediate effects of the pandemic in the short-term and to manage its long-term impacts. This applied research activity sets out to contribute to the delivery of such territorial evidence by analysing the geographical patterns of the Covid-19 pandemic from its onset until as far as possible into 2021. The project also examines regional policy responses to Covid-19 and whether the pandemic has created a window of opportunity for regional authorities to take regional strategies and policies in new medium and long term directions in relation to the just transition, green transition and smart transition. The project will answer the following key research questions: What does the geographical pattern of the Covid-19 pandemic look like across European regions and cities and how has it evolved since the beginning of the pandemic? Are there specific territorial and/or socio-economic characteristics that can entail a higher risk of death/more severe course of disease and/or higher probabilities of negative socio-economic impacts? Which factors explain best the level of exposure of cities, regions and functional urban areas to the Covid-19 pandemic? How can different exposure levels in different types of territories be explained? To which degree have poverty, social inequalities and social exclusion been affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdown measures? Can local wealth conditions, poverty or inequalities explain why territories are more or less affected…
DigiBEST is an interregional cooperation project for policy improvement of SME’s competitiveness promotion co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and Norwegian national funding through the INTERREG EUROPE programme. The overall objective of the project is to support and promote SMEs competitiveness through digital transformation of SMEs in rural European territories by proposing solutions to enhance their capacity to use advanced technologies and new innovative business approaches for promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe and its regions. Nordregio was engaged as an external expert to provide a peer review of the work of the Latvian project partner. We undertook this task on behalf of the Norwegian project partner, Trøndelag County Council, and worked in partnership with a similar expert from Austria. The ultimate aim was to provide recommendations to support SME digitalisation in Latvia based on experiences in Norway and Austria.
Nordic & Northwest Russia cooperation on wood and construction
This cooperation aims at establishing sustainable Nordic-Russian business-to-business and business – academic partnerships in the wood and construction sector. The objective is to support innovative production and use of wood-based building materials capitalising on the untapped potential for a biobased economy in NW-Russia.
Covid-19 Economic Impacts in the Northern Periphery and Arctic region
The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated how closely health and economy are linked. This project analyses the economic impacts of the pandemic in the Northern Periphery and Arctic (NPA) region, as well as Canada. The main aim is to set out the recovery roadmap with recommendations for positive action and policy that can create more sustainable and resilient communities and economies. The project gathers 13 partners to examine how Covid-19 hit the countries’ economies and what responses, innovations and transformations took place as a result. The partners are coming from very diverse background geographically, institutionally, and in terms of expertise. That will assure the vast diversity of knowledge and perspectives to the project. The project will give special attention to peripheral areas in the NPA region and to young people and entrepreneurs (up to age 40), to gain their unique perspectives and innovations on Covid-19 responses and sustainable development. It will also add a human rights perspective on the inequities of health systems/economies, including for peripheral and indigenous communities within the NPA. Nordregio will provide relevant comparative data (economic and health) across the Nordic Region and the Arctic, including harmonised data across the NPA region. Also, the partner will share the relevant findings from previously conducted relevant projects. The ultimate goal is to set out a recovery roadmap with recommendations that will improve health, wellbeing as well as social, cultural and economic benefits for peoples across the NPA. The findings of the study will be presented in the form of the report in the spring of 2021, as well as via webinars and social media channels.
Perspectives for the north: a review of European initiatives localising the SDGs
The project aims to analyse the localisation of the SDGs and Agenda 2030, as well as to assess social sustainability efforts that are taking place across European institutions, networks and projects. The Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has commissioned Nordregio to do a review of the efforts to localise the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across European institutions and organisations. The evaluation includes initiatives and projects under the European Commission, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), and other relevant sister organisations and networks working with Agenda 2030 at the regional and local levels. The review culminates in a report available here. For more information visit:https://www.ks.no/om-ks/ks-in-english/how-do-the-nordic-countries-and-europe-work-towards-the-sdgs/https://www.ks.no/om-ks/ks-in-english/
Territorial Just Transition Plans for Gotland and Norrbotten
This project is a consultancy one and is being led by TrinomicsNordregio has been hired to support Tillväxtverket in the process of putting together the Territorial Just Transition Plans (TJTP) for Gotland and Norrbotten regions. Nordregio’s role in this project is to contribute to institutional, administrative and growth-sustaining structural reforms in Sweden, in line with Article 4 of the SRSP Regulation. The specific objective of Nordregio’s contribution is the finalisation of one or more territorial just transition plans for Sweden (Gotland and Norrbotten). The TJTP are the main governance mechanisms supporting the Just Transition Mechanism, which is a policy instrument linked to the European Green Deal. The Just Transition Mechanism focuses on those regions and sectors that are most affected by the transition to a climate-neutral economy given their dependence on fossil fuels, including coal, peat and oil shale or greenhouse gas-intensive industrial processes.
Sweden-Norway Cross-Border Mapping
The aim of this research is to help to determine the focus and direction of cross-border collaboration within the Interreg Sweden-Norway programme area for 2021-2027 EU Cohesion policy programme period. The research has the following objectives: Provide background information on the current socio-economic development trends in core regions of the programme area; including, on the Swedish side, the Region Värmland, Region Dalarna, Västra Götalands Region, Region Jämtland-Härjedalen, Region Västernorrland and the Norwegian counties Viken, Innlandet and Tröndelag; Conduct a SWOT analysis of the programme area to identify areas of strength, weakness, opportunity and threats for cross-border collaboration in the programme area; Assess how development trends and SWOT analysis match up with EU Cohesion Policy’s 5 main thematic objectives for the 2021-2027 programme: Smarter Europe; Greener Carbon Free Europe; Connected Europe; Social Europe; Europe Closer to its Citizens; Examine how development trends and SWOT analysis link up with new EU cohesion policy instruments including the European Cross-Border Mechanism, Interregional Innovative Investments and Pan-European Clusters; Provide recommendations on the future direction of cross border collaboration in the Sweden-Norway programme area. Nordregio is a lead research institution on this project conducting a desk-based analysis of EU, national and regional level policy documents, and semi-structured interviews with key regional level stakeholders.
Study on taxation in support of green transition
The objective of this study is to map tax measures (taxes and tax incentives) targeting greenhouse gas emissions as well as harmful subsidies across the EU (and beyond). The Commission wants to understand what tax measures countries use to reduce GHG emissions. While there is quite a lot of discussion on some measures, e.g. on carbon taxes, and there is no comprehensive overview of the measures out there. Nordregio supports Ecorys and W-IF-0 (Austrian Institute for Economic Research), in this study for DG TAXUD. Nordregio will carry out analyses for these countries: Denmark Iceland Norway Sweden The aim is to gain an overview per country of: what measures exist what their key features are what their effects are which ones are functioning particularly well
The project aims at analysing and comparing the digitalisation of planning data in Denmark, Norway and Switzerland. The research team will provide an overview on digitalisation of planning data in 12 additional representative ESPON countries in order to offer a wider context for a better comparison. The study includes the scope, organisation, financing as well as the current and potential future uses of digital planning data. DIGIPLAN will contribute to the extended use of territorial evidence adding a European perspective to policy development at national, regional and local level.
FUME: Future Migration Scenarios for Europe
The FUME project aims at understanding the patterns, motivations and modalities of migration at multiple geographical scales, from international through regional to the local, and on imagining possible futures. Local circumstances play a major role in migration processes, from the decision to migrate through the transit process up to the settlement in the destination countries. Nearly all international migrants move to – generally the largest – cities in destination countries, either directly, or after one or more internal moves. This is also the case across Europe, where population growth in many cities can be largely attributed to an influx of migrants. At the same time, in countries of origin the largest cities often function as gateways to destinations abroad. Many potential migrants in villages and small towns in origin countries first move to these larger cities before leaving their country. Cities, therefore, both in countries of origin and destination, are significant determinants of global migration and small-scale local knowledge on migration is necessary to avoid misleading results associated with the limitations arising from the use of global or national patterns only. FUME will study the migration to and from a number of key migration cities/centres to determine 1) the major factors explaining migrant movement patterns by analysing regional and local circumstances that either attract migrants or ‘push’ potential migrants to move, and 2) elaborate how possible future regional sociodemographic, economic and environmental challenges may shape future migrant movement patterns in Europe. The project will support appropriate planning and policy-making by formulating integrated and coherent visions of how migration to and within Europe might evolve under different scenarios relating to potential demographic, socio-economic, political and environmental challenges. Nordregio is leading two work packages, WP2 on Migration data and WP7 on Communications and dissemination. The project is funded by Horizon 2020 programme.…
The Sustainable Hub to Engage in Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA)
The Sustainable Hub to Engage in Rural Policies with Actors (SHERPA project) is a four-year project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project aims at engaging citizens, stakeholders, scientists, and decision-makers in formulating recommendations with the ambition to redefine European development policies and research agenda for rural areas. The interaction between research, policy and citizens will take place in up to 40 Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) placed in 20 Member States and in a MAP at EU level. The overall objective of the SHERPA project is to gather relevant knowledge and information that contribute to the formulation of recommendations for future pertinent policies to EU rural areas. The central tool for this is establishing multi-actor platforms (MAPs) in 20 EU countries where citizens, stakeholders, policymakers and scientists meet in the development of strategic thinking and practical recommendations for the formulation of modern rural policies. The recommendations will be transferred to the national/regional level and EU level as input for the policy formulation. Nordregio activities will focus on 1) developing the framework for the science-society-policy interface in the MAPS by collecting methods for engaging the stakeholders and establishing conditions for processes leading to learning and formulation of recommendations 2) organise MAPs in Denmark, Finland (start 2019/2020), Sweden and Estonia (start 2021/22). The MAPs will be organised in close cooperation and coordination with existing national/local organisations. The project is funded by EU H2020 as a coordination and support action. SHERPA is led by Ecorys, Brussels and consists of 17 partners. The project started on 1 October 2019 and will run for four years. Read more about the project:
Regional Development Network Cooperation Model VALUMA
The Government of Finland has ordered a study that produces information on different operating models and financing options for networking in regional development. The aim of the project is to support the launching of regional and urban development network cooperation as well as the preparation of priorities and instruments for the national development of regions. The project is part of Government’s analysis, assessment and research activities. MDI implements the project together with Forefront Ltd and Nordregio. Nordregio conducts benchmarking study on international policies, tools and best practises (eg. RegLab in Sweden). In addition, two Finnish development networks are partners in the project: LHT network (MALverkosto) and regional cities network (Seutukaupunkiverkosto). The main goal of the project is to: 1. Identify options for operating and funding models for networking in regional development; 2. Make suggestions for networking and partnership between urban, rural and island policies. Information is needed to better support the networking and cross-sectoral development of regions. In addition, e.g. preparing the new Act on Regional Development and national priorities for regional development affects the operation of regional development networks and their expectations. The project explores, what kind of operating model would best support the regions’ own and diverse networking and learning. Secondly, the project will look into how networks can support the implementation of priorities and objectives of the national development of regions. The project will focus on the ex-ante evaluation of the different operating models as well. The project identifies and evaluates the impacts of these different models. The options for operating models are assessed and formulated to suit the operational environment, the different regional levels, and both cities and rural areas.
ESPON ESCAPE – European Shrinking Rural Areas Challenges, Actions and Perspectives for Territorial Governance
This project will investigate the future of Europe’s shrinking rural regions: trends, perspectives & new agendas for territorial governance. It will provide knowledge and evidence on the causes and consequences of socio-economic change in Europe’s rural regions and explore innovative territorial governance solutions for rural regions experiencing acute, and often irreversible depopulation and economic decline. It will also offer recommendations for the better coordination and effectiveness of policy interventions, particularly for the targeted design, implementation and funding of integrated place-based strategies within the context of European Union (EU) Rural Development and Cohesion Policy. Nordregio’s expertise will be provided in the development of indicators and mapping, including the production of European regional typology of shrinking regions. Nordregio will also provide knowledge on the development of governance solutions and policy recommendations.
Adapting European Cities to Population ageing: Policy challenges and best practices
The population in the European Union (EU) is undergoing a process of population ageing with implications for public spending, services, the labour market and many other areas of public and societal life. The project analysis challenges and adaptation to ageing population in eight European cities. The stakeholder cities of Barcelona, Zaragoza, Gothenburg, Hengelo, Oslo, Greater Manchester, Amsterdam and Nantes are similarly affected by ageing, with concerns exacerbated by increasing levels of transnational migration, spatial segregation, and pockets of deprivation, which all impact the lives of older people. Thus, an important challenge for the cities is to adapt their policies and deliveries to better serve the needs of older residents. This project will study how the eight stakeholder cities are dealing with challenges posed by population ageing. This will involve comparing the various policy-responses that the cities have adopted to become more age-friendly. An important question will be to uncover why some policies have been more successful than others. While population ageing is often perceived as a challenge, it can also present opportunities. The project will help the cities tap into the potential that older people present. The results will not only be relevant for the stakeholder cities but also for other cities that are confronted with similar challenges. Main project outcomes include the following: New knowledge concerning the quality of life of elderly residents in different cities. Knowledge of how urban environments can support social integration and inclusion while counteracting social isolation among the elderly. Good practice examples of how to involve elderly residents as partners in decision-making in questions that concern them. Nordregio is leading the first work package of the project in which we analyse demographic trends in the stakeholder cities, review the state of the academic literature on population ageing in urban environments, and review relevant policies…
Territorial Impact Assessment for Cross-border Cooperation
This project aims at developing and testing a methodology specifically tailored to assess ex-post territorial impacts of Cross Border Cooperation programmes. Nordregio is leading a case study territorial impact assessment of the Interreg V-A Sweden-Norway Programme. This will involve working closely with Managing Authorities and programme area experts in the development of an intervention logic for assessing programme area challenges, needs, objectives and indicators to measure the impact of the Sweden Norway cross-border programme. The project will provide policymakers and practitioners with a tool for developing and measuring programme indicators for the next programming period.