Reflections on Nordic Collaboration

Johanna Lundström works as a Chief Analyst at Region Syddanmark and works mainly with " Analytical and strategic work within the field of regional development ". Kimmo  Kurunmäki works for Tampere Municipality. Read some of their thoughts and reflections on the collaboration with the working group below.

 JOHANNA LUNDSTRÖM

Why did you decide to collaborate with NWG Sustainable urban and planning, and contribute to the project on spatial analysis?

In the Region of Southern Denmark we have a tradition of working with knowledge-based strategies for city-regions and cities. There is a political interest on both a regional and a local level to push this agenda even further, and “Vibrant City-regions” is one of the main initiatives in our Regional growth and development strategy. That is the reason for why we decided to participate in the NWG project “Functional City-regions”.  

Why is spatial analysis an important planning tool for you? How are you planning to use the results from project in your daily planning practise?

Spatial analysis is important to understand the reality in which people and companies live, work and study, and make decisions that form our society. We use the results from the project as a strategic tool, that helps regional and local politicians and decision-makers gain a greater understanding of their local area and its surroundings and pinpoint challenged areas.  

What has been the added value for Region Syddanmark participating in a Nordic cooperation project? What have been the challenges?

Taking part in a project with other Nordic regions has been valuable for us, since we share a basic common understanding that makes it easy to share knowledge and experiences. Ideas and techniques are relatively easily transferable, since the Nordic countries have a similar structure and practices, for instance regarding data collection. Also, the results from the other Nordic regions were helpful to put the results from our own study area into perspective.  

(How) will you continue to work with the thematic in the future?

The methods that were developed in the project are being used in similar studies in other parts of the region, so that we will be able to compare different areas with each other. We will continue working with methods that can be used to improve the design and implementation of local and regional policies.

What will be important in future Nordic cooperation? Key issue to tackle in the future?

It will be important to continue working with a spatial perspective and linking it closer to the design and implementation of policy goals, for instance the aim of creating beneficial living conditions for people in the Nordic countries.

Read more about Region Syddanmark work on this topic at http://www.byregioner.dk/ and http://detgodeliv.regionsyddanmark.dk/


KIMMO KURUNMÄKI

You have participated in all Nordic events arranged by the working group between 2014-16, from kick-off seminar in Stockholm (February 2014), National meeting in Finland Tampere September 2014, Symposium in Oslo May 2015 and Nordregio forum November 2015, why have you decided to engage in Nordic cooperation on urban planning?

There are several reasons why Tampere city region is interested in Nordic cooperation and decided to join in the cooperation:

  • getting knowledge regarding urban & city-regional development in the Nordic countries, the drivers of development, challenges of growth, implementation of policies
  • hearing what is happening in those city-regions that are similar in size with Tampere, or have the same position nationally than Tampere (“second cities”)
  • getting knowledge on city-state relations and national urban policy in the Nordic countries
  • spreading the experiences of the best practices in Tampere city region to the wider Nordic urban and city-regional community
  • meeting colleagues, exchange of experiences

What has been the added value for City Region of Tampere participating in the Nordic cooperation? What have been the challenges?

  • we got information regarding the state of the art of national urban policy (or lack of it)
  • we got information on municipal cooperation in city regions in different Nordic countries as well as data-based analyses on different topics
  • we managed to spread our experiences and best practices to the wider Nordic community
  • Challenge is to continue the exchange of experiences and the search for solutions on city-regional problems together. Cooperation should not be based on single projects but on continuous methods. Yet this brings the problem of the lack of resources - how to reserve working time (and money) to the cooperation. Urban and city-regional phenomena continue to be topical in the future, we need more and more information on what is happening elsewhere, so common platforms for discussion as well as Nordic (data-based) analyses are highly welcome.

 

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