Facilitating cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region
This publication analyses the formal and informal barriers to developing cross-border transport infrastructure and how these barriers could be reduced. Transport infrastructure, historically, has been a cornerstone for industrialisation, economic growth, regional development and labour market mobility in the Nordic Region. Despite the ambitious Nordic vision of becoming the most integrated and sustainable region in the world and the increasing need for cross-border transport infrastructure, several studies point to difficulties and challenges regarding the Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The study features interviews with planners on their practical experiences and suggestions for developing well-functioning transport infrastructure. The study includes cases of the fixed HH link between Helsingborg and Helsingør; the Stockholm-Oslo rail link; and the link from Mo i Rana, via Hemavan and Umeå, across the Kvarken Strait to Vaasa. 20 June: How can cross-border planning of the transport infrastructure be strengthened in the Nordic region? The Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure planning topic will be discussed in the webinar organised by Trafikverket on 20 June. Anna Lundgren, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, and the project manager, will present the study, cross-border challenges and opportunities. The study and planning practices will be discussed by Stefan Engdahl, Planning Director, Maria Öberg, Strategic planner at Trafikverket, and Maria Stockhaus, Member of the Swedish Parliament, member of the Transport Committee and the Nordic Council’s Swedish delegation. The event will be held in Swedish. Registration is open by 20 June. About the project This report is the second and final report in the project titled NORDINFRA – “Nordic transport infrastructure planning – institutional barriers and opportunities for coordination” (Nordisk transport infrastrukturplanering. Institutionella hinder och möjligheter till samordning) (2021-2023). NORDINFRA is a research project led by Nordregio and conducted by researchers from Nordregio and Umeå University, financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). The aim of…
Overview of Electricity and Energy Capacity for the Establishment of Electric Aviation Routes in the Nordic Region
This report explores which routes in the Nordic Region will be suitable for establishing electric aviation according to two factors: energy demands of airports and regional power adequacy. The report is part of the Nordregio project Electric aviation and the effects on the Nordic Regions and substantially builds on the project’s Accessibility study. The Accessibility study identified 203 airports in the Nordic Region as feasible for accommodating electric aviation, on the basis of savings in transport time, connecting rural areas with urban or other rural areas, and overcoming cross-water distances or other geographical obstacles. It is impossible to clarify the energy capacity and infrastructure adequacy of all 203 airports within the scope of this report. Consequently, a regional perspective on the power adequacy is applied for the report assessments. This will assist in the selection of reasonable case studies, which will be explored in the next stages of this project, for the first generation of electric aviation in the Nordic Region. It is important to emphasise that power conditions and connections of local distribution grids differ within regions, as does the energy demand of airports. Standard conditions of battery electric airplanes, power demands, and charging infrastructure are described in the following chapters, with an aim to understand requirements for power capacities and infrastructure to adequately support electric aviation.
Electric Aviation Outlook in the Nordics
Regarding geographical accessibility questions, the five Nordic countries stand out in Europe due to their low population density, geographic variety including fjords, lakes, and mountains but also the prominence of sustainable energy sources. Before this backdrop, electric aviation holds the potential to make the region’s transport sector more sustainable while helping to overcome regional development and accessibility challenges, particularly in rural areas. The introduction of electric airplanes in local transport networks promises the reduction inter alia greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. While several options to achieve zero- or low-emission aviation are currently being developed, this report focuses primarily on the electrification of aviation. Yet, electric aircraft still face several technical and economic challenges, including limited range and passenger capacity. Despite these limitations, this working paper highlights a heightened interest in the introduction of electric aviation, exploring the existing situation, challenges and knowledge in the 5 Nordic countries.
Implementing Electric Aviation: Critical Factors and Relevant Policy Instruments
The Nordic countries have ambitious plans to turn electric aviation into a reality in the Nordic countries in the near future. This working paper describes some critical factors that might challenge the further development and establishment of low and zero-emission aviation in Nordic countries. A special focus will be placed on purely electric aviation solutions. The publication is based on a literature review comprising first and foremost reports published in recent years in the Nordic countries, resulting from in-depth studies on low and zero-emission aviation in the region. It further presents possible policy instruments which could serve the creation of a Nordic policy framework to help address the identified challenges and support the implementation of electric aviation and other solutions in the Nordic countries.
Essential Service Provision and Access to Services in Nordic Rural Areas
This policy brief explores the challenges facing service provision in Nordic rural areas due to societal and demographic changes, climate change, and globalization, and highlights the need for adapted approaches to service provisions. The policy brief analyses essential service needs and solutions to rural service provision challenges in the Nordic region through case studies and workshops. The publication finds that these changes have a broad impact on rural service provision beyond traditional welfare services, with some gaps still existing. Financial constraints and labour shortages remain major issues in rural service provision. The policy recommendations include providing better guidance and resources for prioritizing delegated tasks at the national level, supporting remote working opportunities, establishing a service fund for local investments, assisting regions in adapting services to climate change, and recruiting people from abroad to combat financial restraints and labour shortages at the local level. Additionally, the recommendations suggest utilizing local and regional strategic planning tools, encouraging dialogue between different levels of government and local businesses, and enhancing collaborations between regions and municipalities. Finally, the policy recommendations emphasize delegating tasks to local levels for optimal efficiency.
In all fairness: perceptions of climate policies and the green transition in the Nordic Region
The Nordic countries have set ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990, but achieving these goals will require significant changes in policies and behaviors. The project Not Just a Green Transition (NJUST), aims to provide knowledge and recommendations on how to engage all Nordic citizens in a green transition that transforms the Nordic Region into the most sustainable and integrated region in the world. The survey focuses on climate policies as fundamental enablers in the shift towards a low-carbon society and covers the Nordic region’s general attitudes towards climate change, current and expected effects of climate change mitigation policies, and the fairness of climate change mitigation policies. The report provides insights into how people across the region perceive the green transition and suggests policy measures that can help mitigate potentially negative effects.
- 2023 May
- Green transition
Nordic economic policy review 2023
This issue of Nordic Economic Policy Review explores the implications of new EU-wide climate policy in the Nordic countries. All of them have introduced more ambitious targets for abatement than the EU, but are the national targets and measures consistent with the EU’s new Fit for 55 package? If not, how should national policies be made consistent with EU policy? EU directives set targets for national climate policy, but member states are free to choose the means of achieving them. Are national measures to meet targets set by EU directives efficient? If not, how can they be made so? What are the costs and benefits of national climate policy aiming for more stringent targets than those under Fit for 55? We have put these questions to experts on the economics of climate policy in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.
Innovation Dynamics in Wood Construction in Sweden and Finland
The rapid developments in wood-construction and the huge expectation built around the potential of ‘greening’ the construction sector by replacing concrete and steel with wood provide our empirical ground to study the drivers of innovation. This publication provides the results of a case study on the construction sector transformation process triggered by the emergence of wood-based construction in Sweden and Finland, particularly of multi-storey buildings. We especially aim at reconstructing the micro-processes leading to innovations and breakthroughs in the market. Interviews with a variety of stakeholders have contributed to a reconstruction of a historical overview of some of the main events and drivers decisive for the industry’s development, from far past industrial and policy-driven steppingstones to more recent developments. In our analysis, we zoom into the more granular microprocesses that become evident when examining the interactions between actors within and beyond their formal roles. The publication is one of the outcomes of the project titled “Systems perspectives on Green Innovation (GRINGO)” that explores the bottlenecks to innovation and the green transition from a systemic perspective. The project focuses on uncovering the links between agency and innovation, particularly regarding the role of different ‘change agents’ in driving transition processes. The previous step of the project consisted on exploring key concepts, their application, and their theoretical foundations within innovation and policy traditions. It concluded in the Discussion Paper: A conceptual review on the systems perspectives on green innovation, published in September 2022. The paper touches upon the academic discussion that has developed around the drivers of innovation. The debate breaks away from the simplistic structure-agency divide, which attributes causality either to structures (rules-of-the-game) or agency (actors), to consider the complex interplay between actors, formal and informal institutions, and contextual conditions determining innovation. These theoretical perspectives then guided the second step of the…
The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda: Governance and engagement (2021-2022)
The Nordic countries have continuously ranked at the top of international assessments with regards to SDG implementation. This does not mean, however, that sustainable development in the Nordic Region has been fully achieved. Each country continues to face numerous challenges, including unsustainable consumption and production patterns, the effects of a changing climate, as well as rebalancing our societies after multiple crises marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery, energy supply shortages in Europe and the war in Ukraine. This report describes central policy decisions, actors and national structures in ongoing SDG work, and highlights inspiring examples of national networks and societal participation. Where information about more recent action has not been available, other supplementary aspects have been added, hence overlaps in the national chapters occur. The publication follows the report The Nordic Region and the 2030 Agenda from 2021, which looked at the ways in which national structures, action plans, monitoring and reporting along with international efforts for the SDGs took place across the region. Since the nature of this work changes in the respective countries from year to year, the purpose of this edition is to update and compile an overview of the 2030 Agenda efforts in the Nordic Region with relevant and accessible information. New to this edition are the sections on regional and local activities, work which lies at the core of accomplishing the global goals and targets, while also strengthening the Nordic countries’ leadership and grassroots involvement, leaving no one behind.
- 2023 February
- Nordic Region
- Sustainable development
Scaling up Nordic impact through public procurement
In 2019, it was estimated that, of 5,000 Nordic start-ups, 10% included solutions that addressed the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, many of them struggled to make a profit, especially at the early stages and mostly due to a lack of access to the market and to the right supporters. Considering this, Nordic Innovation has funded this desk study for mapping barriers and enablers of impact start-ups through public procurement. This publiction consists of two sections: The first part addresses barriers to public procurement, enablers for social innovation, and institutional support measures. In part two, we evaluate how Nordic municipalities use alternative financial models such as social impact bonds (SIBs) and public-private partnerships to achieve social impact. The content is developed from the perspective of impact start-ups and entrepreneurs, institutions, public-private partnerships, and impact investors. Each perspective considers the barriers and enablers for impact start-ups according to their spheres of action. By reviewing the existing obstacles and opportunities facing impact start-ups in the Nordic Region, planners and policymakers can improve the legal framework to remove barriers and strengthen existing enablers to help impact start-ups meet societal needs.
- 2023 February
- Working paper
- Nordic Region
Cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region – An introduction
This report aims to increase knowledge of cross-border transport infrastructure planning in the Nordic Region. The project covers four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) and explores institutional and other challenges and opportunities associated with better and more coordinated cross-border transport infrastructure planning. The publication gives an overview of the transport infrastructure planning systems in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, with a focus on the policy goals, the main actors and their responsibilities within the transport infrastructure planning system, central elements of the planning process, analytical tools and tools for impact analysis. It is the first report in the NORDINFRA project financed by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) and run by Nordregio and Umeå University. Its research methods consist of literature and document studies as well as interviews with stakeholders. Three Nordic cross-border transport infrastructure case studies have been selected: a new fixed link between Sweden and Denmark, namely the Helsingborg–Helsingör road and rail tunnel; an improved railway connection between Stockholm and Oslo; and the road and ferry connection from Mo i Rana in Norway, via Umeå in Sweden, to Vasa in Finland.
The owl has landed
The Icefjord Centre is a complicated building in an extreme climate. Pay a visit to the Icefjord Centre and its surroundings in the article “The owl has landed” by Kjell Nilsson and Leneisja Jungsberg, and learn more about the magnificent building in interaction with the spectacular, but at the same time vulnerable, nature that surrounds it. Nowhere in the world is climate change as significant as in Greenland. The municipality of Ilulissat has therefore inaugurated a new visitor center where you can study and experience climate change and its effects at close hand. At the same time, the building, designed by the Danish architect Dorthe Mandrup, is itself an outstanding example of the interplay between world-class architecture and a unique and magnificent natural landscape.
- 2023 January
- Other publications
- Nordic Region
- Arctic issues
Accessibility study for electric aviation
Which routes in the Nordics would benefit most from using electric aviation? The accessibility study compared travel times of various routes by the electric aircraft and the fastest transport mode currently in use. This was done to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. Explore the results in the storymap. The Nordic region shares many similar accessibility challenges for remote and rural regions. Citizens in some of these regions have limited access to public services, work opportunities and the larger national and international transport system. In addition, companies and public administrations have difficulty attracting skills to the regions. The geographical characteristics of some of these areas, such as large bodies of water, vast forest areas, long coastal lines, mountain ranges and fjords, limit mobility to and from these areas. Poor road quality or limited public transport also worsen the situation. Some of these places are therefore more accessible by airplane than by other modes of transport and would experience a significant reduction in travel time using airplane as compared to other modes of transport, such as train, bus or car. However, the expansion of the aviation system varies among the Nordic countries. This accessibility study is a part of the project Electric Aviation and the Effect on Nordic Regions , which aims to investigate how regions and local areas in the Nordic area will be affected by the implementation of electric aviation. One of these aims is to understand where the implementation of electric aviation could offer the largest accessibility gains. This accessibility study will therefore investigate which routes benefit most in terms of time saved travelling from one point to another using electric aircrafts in comparison to the current fastest transport mode.
Service provision and access to services in Nordic rural areas
Service provision is one of the key factors that make rural areas attractive and viable. Recent and ongoing developments, such as migration flows, digitalisation and the effects of climate change influence service accessibility and perceptions of which services are essential for everyday rural lives. It is therefore relevant to investigate service provision and access to services from different perspectives. This report presents results based on in-depth field work in eight case studies of rural areas identified as having high access to services or as good examples in their national and regional context: Lolland, Suðuroy, Kinnula, Avannaata, Múlaþing, Herøy, Vimmerby and Geta. The aim of the field work has been to investigate service provision and validate the results of a research and policy review focusing on Nordic rural areas. The investigations presented in this report focus on the following questions: Which services are considered essential, and how does that vary in rural areas across the Nordics? How are services provided, what roles and responsibilities are involved in their provision? Which challenges are encountered, and what solutions are being developed to solve challenges associated with access to essential services in Nordic rural areas? In answering these questions based on the eight case studies, the report aims to create knowledge and inspire actors in and around the Nordic rural areas. The answers can be read as a source of inspiration in their own right. The case study descriptions also enable a cross-Nordic comparison, aimed at identifying common patterns and unique Nordic innovations regarding rural service provisions, from which others can learn. It is therefore possible to gain an overview of the report solely from the cross-Nordic comparison.
Ålands strukturfondsprogram 2014-2020: Utvärderarnas slutrapport 2022
The Åland structural fund programme “Entrepreneurship and skills” for the period 2014-2020 was approved in December 2014 by the European Commission. The programme focuses on two priority intervention areas, “Entrepreneurship and Innovation” (ERDF), and “Inclusion and skills” (ESF). The programme’s objective is to develop knowledge and improve skills in working life, increase employment, enhance productivity and innovation capacity, renew and diversify Åland’s business community, and contribute to a well-educated, equal and active inclusive society. The evaluators assess that the programme has played a significant role in supporting regional development on Åland, especially during the pandemic where financial support was provided to people and businesses to help kickstart the recovery of society. According to the provincial government, the programme has reached about 10% of Åland’s population through activities and liquidity support. However, the general experience, both among the interviewees and the evaluators, is that the effects of the programme are mainly long-term and results will be visible in a few years. Consequently, it is difficult to measure the short and medium term impacts of the programme. According to the evaluators’ assessment, the programme has also contributed to achieving the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy – for smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth. By granting projects, the programme has contributed to the development of smart solutions and the development of skills on Åland in a way that also promotes inclusion. The evaluators recommend the following measures for the upcoming programme period regarding the Åland structural fund programme’s implementation and follow-up: Learn from the experience of implementing the Åland Structural Fund programme during a crisis period. Managing authorities need to ensure that indicators and objectives are clear and are not set too high or low. Provide information, advice, and training to project owners on collecting and reporting data on programme indicators. Invest in…
Nordic overview of national support initiatives in urban planning
The Nordic countries share many cross-sectoral targets at the national level to meet ambitious environmental, social, sustainable, and innovative development goals and targets. However, in the context of spatial planning, central governments in the Nordic countries often have limited ability to influence local and regional level priorities. As the Nordic region seeks a greener, more competitive, and socially sustainable future, understanding the diversity of ongoing national interventions and mechanisms in local and regional land use and spatial planning is needed. The focus on Nordic national support initiatives is therefore to understand both the regulative and national support aspects (top-down) and the actual needs (bottom-up) to achieve national cross-sectoral targets as these relate to green and inclusive urban development. This policy brief presents a mapping of the relevant initiatives across the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).
- 2022 December
- Policy brief
- Nordic Region
- Sustainable development
- Urban planning
Discussion paper: Nordic overview of national support initiatives in urban planning
The Nordic countries share many cross-sectoral targets at the national level to meet ambitious environmental, social, sustainable, and innovative development goals and standards. These require actions to be taken in city-regions and urban areas. Nevertheless, central governments in the Nordic countries oftentimes have limited power to influence local-level priorities when it comes to spatial planning – regulating land-use and adopting a range of policy areas that have an impact on sustainable urban development. This discussion paper considers the ways in which the Nordic planning systems have evolved to incorporate measures for green and sustainable urban development over time. It provides an overview of relevant national planning support initiatives that have been selected based on information from members of the Nordic Thematic Group for Green and Inclusive Urban Development (2021-2024) and further research. The publication also reflects on the research questions: how are the issues, objectives and goals related to sustainable urban development emphasised in national support initiatives in the Nordic countries? how are the national support initiatives complementing and colliding with municipal and regional spatial planning? what are the key comparative aspects across the national support initiatives from which all the Nordic countries can learn and draw inspiration? Read and download the discussion paper here.
Can we break the isolation? Experiences of digital tools in elderly care in three Swedish municipalities
Loneliness and social isolation pose significant challenges for older people living alone and in nursing homes by affecting their physical and mental health. Due to requirements for self-isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic, these challenges have been further exacerbated. The use of digital technology in elderly care has the potential to combat social isolation, for example, by increasing access to home care and providing opportunities to participate in social activities. Nevertheless, previous knowledge about the efficiency of digital interventions to counteract the loneliness of older people is limited. The new report investigates how caregivers have dealt with the challenges of loneliness and social isolation of the elderly population during the Covid-19 pandemic, focusing on the use of digital technologies. The aim was also to understand better how digital tools can be used in a socially inclusive way in elderly care. The research method consisted of semi-structured interviews with municipal officials, senior care managers and senior care staff in three case study municipalities (Huddinge, Eskilstuna and Storuman). In addition, older adults who live in nursing homes and at home with support efforts such as home care were interviewed, and a mapping analysis of the case study municipalities was carried out. The transcribed interview material was analysed using a qualitative manifest content analysis method. According to the interview results in the three case study municipalities, the pandemic has not been a considerable driving force for a digital transformation in elderly care. In all municipalities, they had started working on certain digitisation efforts even before the pandemic broke out in the spring of 2020. With the pandemic, they had to make quick and courageous decisions, and the municipalities also received state grants that enabled digital investments, such as the purchase of digital equipment. In addition, the elderly care staff supported the elderly using digital…
- 2022 December
- Nordic Region
- Health and wellbeing
Re-start competence mobility in the Nordic Region
The Nordic Council of Ministers’ vision is for the Region to be the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. Cross-border labour market mobility in the Nordic Region will play an important role in achieving that goal. In this working paper, we share the latest data on labour market mobility across national borders in the Nordic Region in the form of both migration and commuting. We also present findings from a review of current literature on labour market mobility in the Nordic Region and present an analytical framework for exploring potential improvements to it. The paper represents our contribution to research in this area and we invite others to comment on it. The project will present its final results in 2023. This working paper is part of the research project “Re-start Nordic competence mobility” under the thematic group of Green, resilient and innovative regions, which is part of the regional co-operation programme funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The first phase of the project resulted in a chapter, “Labour market mobility between the Nordic countries” in State of the Nordic Region 2022.
- 2022 November
- Working paper
- Nordic Region
- Labour market
Combatting long-term unemployment among immigrants
During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigrants were more likely to face long-term unemployment than their native-born peers across all Nordic countries. The unemployment rates for foreign-born rose even further in 2020. In 2021, this trend was reversed, and unemployment rates decreased again. This report, written by Nordregio researchers and published by the Nordic Council of Ministers, aims to identify key policy measures, institutions, civil society actors, and initiatives that have been used to address the situation. The report has three main objectives: It describes the extent of the challenge posed by long-term unemployment among immigrants in each Nordic country before, during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It elucidates how long-term unemployment and labour market inactivity among immigrants have been discussed and approached at the national level in each Nordic country during and after the pandemic. It also highlights local practices that have proved successful in helping long-term unemployed, non-European, often poorly educated immigrants improve their skills and find work – and analyse what these practices have in common and what we can learn from them.
- 2022 October
- Nordic Region
- Labour market