Remove all filtering

44 News

Green growth and spatial planning in the Nordic city regions

Nordic cooperation on green growth is important if we are to improve common infrastructure for coping with shared economic and climate challenges, and we are to move research and innovation forward in order to create a more environmentally friendly Nordic region. Nordregio Working Paper 2014:5 A new working paper has been compiled by a team of Nordregio researchers and aims to provide planners, relevant stakeholders and policy-makers with a useful reference document on the potential interactions between spatial planning and green growth in Nordic city regions. More specifically, the intention of this study is to reveal and provide a better understanding of the key concepts inherent to the spatial planning of green growth in a city regional context from a Nordic perspective.

Applying Poverty and Social Exclusion concepts to the Nordic context

The final workshop and seminar of “The Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe (TiPSE)” gathered project partners, researchers, stakeholders at grass root, local and regional level at Nordregio. Findings of the project were presented in terms of mapping patterns of poverty and social exclusion in Europe, and how this could be relevant to Nordic actors. The first half of the seminar consisted of presentations by TiPSE project partners who shared the results of this 3-year project. Christian Dymén from Nordregio and Ali Madanipour, Newcastle University, England, introduced the workshop and the two concepts of poverty and social exclusion, how they overlap and the way in which they have featured in EU policy discourses in recent years. Andrew Copus from James Hutton Institute, Scotland, proceeded to further problematize the measurement of poverty, making the case for better data at NUTS 3 level in order to improve our understanding of the causes and effects of poverty. Gergely Tagai from the Research Centre for Economic and Regional Studies at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary, then shared his research findings about the spatial patterns of social exclusion, identifying distinct trends and divides between North-South, East-West and core-periphery. This being said, more nuanced patterns were also found within regions, where the urban-rural patterns of social exclusion are more complex. As a final presenter of the first session, Isabel Ramos Lobato from ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Germany, concluded by pointing to some of the deeper factors affecting both poverty and social exclusion, identified in the case studies: space and scale both have an impact on how these trends play out spatially, acting as drivers and alleviators depending on the specific context of the cases. The afternoon session placed the project findings in a Nordic context, with presentations…

Regional development in the Arctic

The overall theme of the second day of Nordregio Forum 2014 was Regional development in the Arctic. Key note speakers Kaisu Annala, Strategic Director at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in Finland and Rasmus Ole Rasmussen, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio started the day. Lisbeth Nylund, Technical Director at the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation in Norway opened the day, and stated that the Arctic is changing in exceeding speed, which also increases opportunities in the northern sphere, making regional development across borders more and more important. There are many characteristics joining the Nordic Arctic together. Common challenges are e.g. peripherality, small businesses, long distances and the climate. But there are also common possibilities, including first and foremost the people living in the Arctic regions. Nylund is a member of the Nordic working group on sustainable regional development in the Arctic, and said that one thing that has been discussed in the working group is a better platform for exchanging experiences between the northern regions, e.g. concerning the fly in and out-phenomenon and large industry projects. Lisbeth Nylund, Rasmus Ole Rasmussen and Kaisu Annala Regional development and innovation in a more diversified industrial future What is happening with population in the Nordic countries? The population is still moving to the cities, in all regions in all the countries. Kaisu Annala presented maps showing how the development in terms of migration, employment, GDP and high education and R&D looks in the Nordic countries. At the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in May 2014, a statement was made on climate change, stating that we should do our part to effectively limit the increase in global temperature. However, investments in fossil fuel are still increasing, and doing so faster than in non-fossil fuels, so it doesn’t look like we are going…

Panel debate on Nordic bioeconomy

The first day of Nordregio Forum was concluded with a panel debate with representatives from the five Nordic governments, chaired by Ari Kristinn Jónsson, Rector of Reykjavik University. The members of the panel were asked to answer the same three questions, before opening up for questions from the audience. The members of the panel (left to right): Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce in Iceland, Kaisu Annala, Strategic Director at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland, Christian Lützen from the Ministry of Housing, Urban and Rural Affairs, Denmark, Hallgeir Aalbu, Director General at the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation, Norway and Sverker Lindblad, Senior Senior Adviser at the Division for Regional Growth at the Swedish Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications, Sweden. The three questions posed to the panel were: How are the ministries promoting the bioeconomy? What is the potential of bioeconomy for growth in sparsely populated areas? What is the potential of bioeconomy to promote Nordic cooperation for growth? Sweden believes that the bioeconomy can sustain economic growth in rural areas, create jobs, and new business opportunities for rural entrepreneurs. In Sweden many things are happening, e.g. industrial clusters are being created to substitute fossil fuels in the production chain. The government will be giving grants to 58 companies investing in innovative solutions (600 million SEK by 2020), through the bio-innovation programme. In Norway, the bioeconomy provides hope. Norway has been focusing on fish and fish farming, biogas and oil, and these sectors are gradually becoming high-tech and part of the global economy. Sea resources are the most important for Norway. They are also important for the Arctic region, and this provides hope for the future. The initiatives in Norway include a national strategy for biotechnology, Horizon 2020 projects, and a biorefinery programme…

Presentations from Nordregio Forum 2014

Nordic Bioeconomy and Regional Innovation 12-13 November 2014, Keflavik, Iceland Wednesday 12 November – Bioeconomy Key notes Sustainable management of bio-resources Dadi Mar Kristofersson, Dean of School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland Local resources and economic independence of regions Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scotland Territorial potentials for a green economy Peter Mehlbye, Director of the ESPON Coordination Unit, Luxembourg Green growth: A territorial approach Rasmus Ole Rasmussen, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio & Anna Berlina, Research Assistant, Nordregio Mapping the Bioeconomy Bioeconomy and regional development Jukka Teräs, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio Innovation in the Nordic and Arctic Bioeconomy Sveinn Margeirsson, Director & Sigrun Elsa Smáradóttir, Research Group Leader, Matis, Iceland Creating value from bioresources Ida Rönnlund, Consultant at Gaia, for Nordic Innovation Bioeconomy in practice Processum Biorefinery in Örnsköldsvik Clas Engström, Director, SP Processum Biorefinery Initiative Promoting food innovation in South Iceland Liisa Perjo, Research Fellow, Nordregio Introduction to Nordbio examples: Wood biomass – Ecosystem resilience – Biofuels for the fishing industry Danfríður Skarphéðinsdóttir, Head of Division, Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Oceans, Water and Climate Pre-launch of the call for a Nordic research programme on bioeconomy Gunnel Gustafsson, Director, Professor in Political Science, Nordforsk Thursday 13 November – Regional development in the Arctic Key notes Regional development and innovation in a more diversified industrial future Kaisu Annala, Strategic Director, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland Large-scale projects – Nordic good practice and experiences The urban transformation of Kiruna – How to move a town two miles east? Göran Cars, Professor, Royal Institute of Technology and Kiruna Municipality How can exploitation of mineral resources in South Greenland be achieved in a sustainable way? Birger Lilja Kristoffersen, Chief Planner, Kujalleq Municipality The entering of oil economy into Northern…

Key note speakers on bioeconomy

The first day of Nordregio Forum is dedicated to bioeconomy. The key note speakers and other presentations have discussed challenges, opportunities and examples of solutions. Sustainable management of bio-resources After the forum was opened by Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce in Iceland, it was time for the key note speakers. First out was Dadi Mar Kristofersson, Dean of School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland. He posed the question “Are we flying or falling with style?”. Unfortunately we have aggressively been using our resources in an unsustainable way, and today we seem to be “falling with style” in the sense that we do not have control of the development of our economies and consumption, was the answer. With current resource use we cannot sustain growth for more than a few more decades. Unfortunately the demand for resources is rapidly increasing. Additional challenges such as a steadily increasing world population and the impacts of climate change make the need for a drastic change very clear. Can we meet these challenges? It is possible but requires a dramatic shift towards sustainable production: better resource management, shifts towards an increased reliance on renewable resources, less wasteful use of resources. This efficient resource use is a common effort of the private sector and the public sector; some aspects are best solved by markets, while some require public intervention, Kristofferson stated. Kristoferson ended his presentation on a positive note, believing that there is a possible overlap between our current “hedonist” life style and ones that are characterised by both healthy living and sustainability. Local resources and economic independence of regions Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scotland, focused on the energy sector in Scotland. In the past there has been a lot of influx of investments…

Bioeconomy in the Nordic region: Regional case studies

This Working Paper by Nordregio presents the results of five case studies on bioeconomy in Nordic regions. It contributes to the discussion on bioeconomy in the Nordic countries by focusing on its implications for regional development and policy. Nordregio Working Paper 2014:4 The regional case studies conducted in each of the Nordic countries give an overview of how the development of bioeconomy can be promoted in different settings. The case studies identify, among other things, the main actors as well as the main enabling and impeding factors in the field of bioeconomy. The Working Paper has been prepared under the Nordic Working Group on Green Growth – Innovation and Entrepreneurship, established by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The working paper has also been summarized in a policy brief.

Research Assistant position

Nordregio invites applications for one position. Working at Nordregio gives you the opportunity to become a part of a truly international institution. It offers significant career development potential in terms of enhancing your international network, as well as experience of project management. Position A Research Assistant at Nordregio is expected to participate in planning and implementation of policy-relevant applied research projects in the broad field of regional development concerning for example regional economic growth and innovation, green growth, arctic development and urban and regional planning. The tasks include both applied research activities as well as a variety of practical and more administrative tasks. We are looking for someone who can work independently with the collection and processing of quantitative and qualitative data as well as with tasks of a practical and administrative character. The tasks include Contributing to implementation of research and dissemination activities in projects under supervision of project leaders (e.g. collecting data, conducting policy and literature reviews and case studies as well as writing and editing various dissemination materials) Contributing to coordination and administration of projects Practical management and organisation of various meetings, seminars and workshops Education and skills Formally, you hold a MSc in human geography, spatial planning statistics, economics, political science, sociology, or an associated discipline. In addition, it is qualifying if you have relevant work experience. You are should be creative and self-motivated, and a team player in a cooperative research environment. Fluency in Finnish and English is essential, and if you do not speak a Scandinavian language, you should be willing to acquire a working knowledge of Swedish, Norwegian or Danish within a relatively short period of time. Additional details and contact information The position is full time. We offer a term contract with a length of one year. After further agreement the contract…

Public Investment and Procurement for Greener Buildings

This handbook provides planning, policy and investment guidance for policymakers and practitioners influencing or working within the fields of public procurement, city planning, building and construction, urban design or city development projects. It aims to expand their knowledge base of concepts and tools to improve the resource performance of our urban areas. The handbook is designed to be a concise and easy-to-use reference document, providing practical guidance based on the knowledge and experiences developed within the RE-GREEN project. As such, the focus is on four integrated themes highlighted during the course of our three year work: green public procurement; green buildings; sustainable urban system; and green governance. Unlike a book or a report, a handbook is not meant to be read from beginning to end. Rather, as an interactive guide, it is designed more to be a quick reference that can be turned to repeatedly. The handbook presents information in an interactive way, by offering different pathways to explore public investment in green building. This includes internal links to other content in the handbook, which is necessary and valuable considering the integrated perspectives we are advocating. It also includes external links to important policy and conceptual documents, social media discussions, websites and other relevant material. Some of the photo and information galleries allow readers to swipe through a collection of images and multimedia, and all tables, figures and templates can be enlarged to full size by tapping on them, including explanatory texts. Download the handbook in PDF The book is also available in iTunes Read more about the project

The Territorial Dimension of Poverty and Social Exclusion in Europe (TIPSE)

Seminar and workshop, 25 November 2014, Stockholm, Sweden The purpose with the workshop is to discuss the main conceptual, methodological and empirical findings from TiPSE and their relevance from a European and Nordic perspective. The ESPON TiPSE project has tackled the issue of poverty and processes of social exclusion in Europe. The project has contributed to improve the evidence base for policy to promote inclusive growth. The ESPON TiPSE has been aiming at supporting policy, both by enhancing the evidence base and by identifying existing good practice. Poverty and social exclusion are essentially relative concepts, arguably meaningful only within a specified geographical context. This underlines the central importance of observation, measurement, and careful data analysis as an essential preparation for intervention. The main outcomes of the project have been the generation of a regional database and associated maps, of poverty and social exclusion indicators, as well as mapping of macro and micro-scale patterns of poverty and social exclusion across the ESPON space. Furthermore, the project has derived recommendations for the monitoring of territorial trends in poverty and processes of exclusion. Register by email to by 17 November. State your name, organisation, and email address. The seminar is free of charge, but the number of participants is limited. The language of the seminar will be English. Download a draft of the workshop programme

Nordic Council Session 2014

Meet Nordregio at the 66th Nordic Council Session in Stockholm. We will be present 28-29 October 2014. How can Nordic co-operation in education, integration and the labour market be lifted to the next level? The summit for parliamentarians and the prime ministers that opens the Session of the Nordic Council in Stockholm, 28-30 October, will go right to the core of the Nordic model. Read more about the Session of the Nordic Council in Stockholm

Reflections from the Social Innovation workshop

Social innovation as a concept has gained importance in the European policy discourse. Social innovation is about the development and implementation of new ideas (products, services and models) to meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations, i.e. using a more participatory approach. The aim is usually to make better use of public and human resources while preventing social exclusion. To explore the concept further and its implications for the Nordic Countries, The Nordic Council of Minister’s Working Group on Demography and Welfare together with Nordregio arranged a workshop entitled Social Innovation: new Nordic approaches for solving demographic and welfare challenges. Presentations from the workshop Anna-Karin Berglund: How do we tackle demographic and welfare challenges? Björn Hasselgren: Regional cooperation in the Öresund region Ingrid Johnsen & Liisa Perjo: Social innovation in sight Malin Lindberg: How to fill the notion of social innovation with empirical content? Mikko Martikainen: How to support social innovation insights from the Finnish perspective Jeremy Millard: What is social innovation and how can it address social need and societal challenges? Hans Westlund: Social Innovation, Entrepreneurial Governance and Social Capital: Keys to Rural Development? Martin Wikström: Sociala innovationer – Ett internationellt perspektiv

Nordregio Forum 2014

Nordic Bioeconomy and Regional Innovation 12-13 November 2014, Keflavik, Iceland This year Nordregio Forum will focus on the potential of bioeconomy for growth and inclusive development in peripheral and sparsely populated regions, especially in the Arctic. Here you will find updates and reports from the Forum. Nordregio Forum 2014 is now open Before officially opening Nordregio Forum 2014, Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce in Iceland, talked about the priorities of the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. One of the key priorities of the Icelandic presidency is about resource efficiency, by minimising waste and increasing sustainability. Waste from one is the raw material for another resource, which the Blue Lagoon is a good example of. The Icelandic presidency supports the ideology of utilising resources to the fullest, without waste, Árnadóttir stated. Read more about the Icelandic Presidency Programme 2014

Structures, Processes, Policies

Alexandre Dubois, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, was one of the keynote speakers at the 19th Nordic Demographic Symposium. The conference took place in Aalborg this year September 18 – 20, and was hosted by the Danish Demographic Society. The theme of the conference was “Regional Development with a focus on Rural Areas”. Alexandre’s presentation focused on the specific challenges and opportunities of sparsely populated areas in the Nordic countries. Download the presentation. Read more about the Nordic Demographic Symposium

Nordic and Baltic Bioeconomy at the Rohevik event in Tartu, Estonia

Nordregio participated in the green economy forum Rohevik at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu, Estonia on September 25th. The forum provided an overview of bioeconomy and its benefits to business. The focus was on value chains related to forestry and wood processing, agriculture and food production, i.e. how to successfully enhance timber, agricultural produce and the by-products and waste generated through processing. The keynote presentations included: an overview of bioeconomy by Professor Sirpa Kurppa, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Member of the EU Bioeconomy Panel a presentation of the Market sense of bioeconomy by Director Jyri Arponen, SITRA an overview of policies unlocking the business potential by Ants Noot, Chancellor of Estonian Ministry of Agriculture Presentations on “Bioeconomy and regional development” included analyses of Bioeconomy – driver for rural development by Jukka Teräs, Senior Research Fellow of Nordregio Closing the resource loop – Envi Grow Park by Juha Pirkkamaa, Environment and energy cluster manager of Forssa Region Development Centre From left to right: Juha Pirkkamaa, Sirpa Kurppa, Berth Sundström Director of the NCM Office in Estonia and Jukka Teräs. Photo: Laurits Leima. The Tartu forum of Rohevik was organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers, Tartu Regional Energy Agency, Tartu Science Park, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the City of Tartu and the Association of Local Authorities in Tartu County. Read more about Rohevik

Promoting the relational turn in rural development

Nordregio’s Senior Research Fellow Alexandre Dubois has co-authored, in collaboration with Dimitris Skuras from the University of Patras, Greece, a chapter in the book Territorial Cohesion in Rural Europe. The Relational Turn in Rural Development, published this summer. The book, edited by Andrew K. Copus and Philomena de Lima, provides a state-of-the-art overview of recent research on the topic of Rural Development and Territorial Cohesion. It reflects on how the economies, social characteristics, ways of life and global relationships of rural areas of Europe have changed in recent years. This reveals a need to refresh the concepts we use to understand, measure and describe rural communities and their development potential. In their contribution, Alexandre and Dimitris argue that the shift to the New Rural Economy may necessitate new forms of policy initiatives than the traditional ones in Rural Development Policy. This in order to support local actors in transforming the rural economic space from an inward-looking, nature-based and mono-industrial society to one based on relations across sectors and across geographical contexts.

Kjell Nilsson appointed Affiliated Professor

Nordregio’s Director Kjell Nilsson has been appointed Affiliated Professor in Planning and Management of the Urban Green Infrastructure at the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. Congratulations Kjell! What does this entail for you and Nordregio? “- In my position as Director of Nordregio I think it is good to have a formal affiliation with an academic environment. Hopefully, it will result in a closer cooperation, for example joint PhD projects, common applications for EU projects and dissemination of research results, where University of Copenhagen has excellent channels for reaching Danish practitioners. I in my turn will bring a Nordic perspective to the university, as well as the extensive knowledge on regional development that is Nordregio’s token.” Kjell will hold an inaugural lecture on 20 October at 2 pm. Read more here (in Danish)

Towards Better Territorial Governance in Europe

A guide for practitioners, policy and decision makers based on contributions from the ESPON TANGO Project Europe is still in recovery from a deep financial crisis and is struggling with unemployment and social exclusion. At the same time, it must switch to a low carbon economy and adapt to climate changes that are already underway. Responding to these daunting tasks requires effective and urgent policy initiatives and actions at European, national, regional and local levels as well as across different policy sectors. This is well recognised in Europe 2020, the EU growth strategy for the coming decade and aimed at making the EU a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. A guide based on contributions from the ESPON TANGO Project has been published, aimed at practitioners, policy and decision makers. The guide highlights key elements for improving territorial governance in Europe. Read more and download Towards Better Territorial Governance in Europe. For questions, contact the ESPON Coordination Unit at

The Impact of the Local Government Institutional Framework on the Distribution of Intergovern-mental Grants: Greek Republic as a Case Study

New refereed article in European Journal of Spatial Development by Konstantinos J. Hazakis & Panagiotis G. Ioannidis. The article analyses grant allocation from central governments to municipalities in Greece during the period 2003-2010. A quantitative analysis is based on two simple models that include normative socioeconomic and institutional factors. Data of 970 municipalities and 50 prefectures of Greece over the period 2003-2010 clearly show that institutional variables such as years of general elections and prefect’s experience exert more influence on grant allocation than normative variables such as GDP per capita. A substantial transfer of competences from central to local government could significantly ameliorate local tax revenues. Keywords: intergovernmental grants, decentralization, local government expenditure, regional government, regional economic policy. Read and download The Impact of the Local Government Institutional Framework on the Distribution of Intergovern-mental Grants: Greek Republic as a Case Study

Nordic Bioeconomy and Regional Innovation

Nordregio Forum 2014 12-13 November 2014, Keflavik, Iceland Nordregio and partners are pleased to invite you to the second Nordregio Forum, the meeting place for policymakers, researchers and practitioners, seeking to ensure sustainable regional development in the Nordic countries. This year Nordregio Forum will focus on the potential of bioeconomy for growth and inclusive development in peripheral and sparsely populated regions, especially in the Arctic. Our distinguished speakers will highlight research results, case studies and policy recommendations within the following topics: Bioeconomy mapping – Towards an innovative and responsible bioeconomy How can new innovative use of local natural resources contribute to regional economic growth and development? What are the socio-economic and environmental consequences of the rise and fall of large-scale projects Multilevel governance and spatial planning in connection with large-scale projects Demographic challenges in the Arctic – What attracts young men and women, and skilled workers? The forum also includes excellent networking opportunities, as well as an exciting excursion to Grindavik, Asbru and Reykjanes, showing regional development in practice. Target groups The forum welcomes officials at relevant ministries in the Nordic countries, staff at regional and local authorities, non-governmental organisations, universities, research institutes and private consultants. Download detailed programme for Nordregio Forum 2014 Speakers Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Iceland Dagfinn Høybråten, Secretary General, Nordic Council of Ministers Calum Davidson, Director of Energy and Low Carbon, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scotland Peter Mehlbye, Director of the ESPON Coordination Unit, Luxembourg Kaisu Annala, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, Finland Dadi Mar Kristofersson, Dean of School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland Göran Cars, Professor, Royal Institute of Technology and Kiruna Municipality Anna Karlsdottir, Associate Professor, University of Iceland Keith Storey, Memorial University of Newfoundland St John’s, Canada Sveinn Margeirsson, Director, Matis, Iceland Sigrun Elsa Smáradóttir, Research Group…