The project’s starting point is the current out-migration and population decline facing many rural municipalities. Smart adaptation refers to approaches that public authorities take to adapt their activities to changes in population.
The project aims first to identify and describe smart adaptation strategies in rural governance across the Nordic region, both regarding written documents and concrete policy decisions. Secondly, the project facilitates Nordic learning and knowledge sharing between municipalities and other actors working with rural governance.
The research questions addressed include:
- What is a smart adaptation strategy and which components can it include?
- How are smart adaptation strategies to manage long-term population shrinkage included in Nordic rural governance at the local level?
- Which policy recommendations can be proposed at the local, regional, and national level to manage shrinking populations in rural areas?
The project may also reflect on smart adaptation strategies to manage other demographic changes, such as spatially concentrated population fluctuations or shocks.
The project will develop a working paper around smart adaptation, including how it is defined and how it has been addressed in previous studies. The research team will also identify Nordic municipalities working with smart adaptation strategies to manage long-term population shrinkage. These shall serve as cases to study smart adaptation from a Nordic lens. The selected municipalities will then participate in and contribute to five workshops arranged (one) in each Nordic country to discuss how they work with smart adaptation, their experiences, and what others can learn. Experts such as researchers, local and regional authorities associations, and policy officials at the national level will also be recruited to the workshops. Representatives from Nordic municipalities and regions will also be invited to a Nordic workshop to learn about smart adaptation strategies and practices and participate in discussions about smart adaptation.
The project will publish a policy brief with policy recommendations to local and national-level politicians. A scientific article will also be submitted to a peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal. The academic article is to share the results with an academic audience and ensure that the project results can inspire future studies and interact with the international research audience to add to the field of rural development.
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