Column by Kjell Nilsson

I used to say that the most crucial environmental factor for the sparsely populated areas of the Nordic Region is the private car. Without cars, people would not be able to live in such areas, and without people the open landscape would turn into an impenetrable jungle. Today, with increasing digitalization, the importance of physical distance is diminishing. The size of functional regions, i.e. the geographical areas in which many people both live and have their daily work and social life, is expanding beyond administrative borders.

The theme for this year’s Nordregio Forum, which is being held for the fifth time and takes place in Oslo on 29–30 November, is ‘Nordic Cities—Connecting the Urban and the Rural’. What opportunities are offered by better linkages between the urban and the rural areas? as discussed by Hallgeir Aalbu in this issue of Nord­regio News. Or, is it utopian to believe that rural areas can develop and prosper in parallel with ongoing urbanization?
The development of larger functional regions provides opportunities for rural areas, especially for those with attractive landscapes. As pointed out by Finn Jorsal, the President of Friends of Cold Hawaii, new jobs in creative businesses flourish in and around the small village of Klitmøller, on the west coast of Jutland, thanks to the reef that gives extraordinary conditions for windsurfing. A similar development took place 150 years ago, 200 km northwest of Klitmøller, when some of the most famous Nordic painters sett­led in Skagen, attracted by the scenic landscape and the intense bright light.
What could the rest of the world learn from the Nordic approach to sustainable small and medium-sized cities? The two articles by Hans Fridberg and Mitchell Reardon refer to Nordic Sustainable Cities, which is one of six flagship projects within the Nordic Prime Ministers’ initiative for Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges.
After the Second World War, the Nordic Region became a model for urban planning. Practitioners and decision-makers from all over the world came to Vällingby, Albertslund and Tapiola to study how new suburbs could thrive as modern forms of urban life. Still, today, the Nordic urban model is highly cited in international courses. It offers high-quality solutions based on strengths such as good governance, public–private partnerships, design tradition, environmental and social consciousness as well as nature-based technological innovations.
Enjoy your reading! 

I used to say that the most crucial environmental factor for the sparsely populated areas of the Nordic Region is the private car. Without cars, people would not be able to live in such areas, and without people the open landscape would turn into an impenetrable jungle. Today, with increasing digitalization, the importance of physical distance is diminishing. The size of functional regions, i.e. the geographical areas in which many people both live and have their daily work and social life, is expanding beyond administrative borders.

The theme for this year’s Nordregio Forum, which is being held for the fifth time and takes place in Oslo on 29–30 November, is ‘Nordic Cities—Connecting the Urban and the Rural’. What opportunities are offered by better linkages between the urban and the rural areas? as discussed by Hallgeir Aalbu in this issue of Nord­regio News. Or, is it utopian to believe that rural areas can develop and prosper in parallel with ongoing urbanization?

The development of larger functional regions provides opportunities for rural areas, especially for those with attractive landscapes. As pointed out by Finn Jorsal, the President of Friends of Cold Hawaii, new jobs in creative businesses flourish in and around the small village of Klitmøller, on the west coast of Jutland, thanks to the reef that gives extraordinary conditions for windsurfing. A similar development took place 150 years ago, 200 km northwest of Klitmøller, when some of the most famous Nordic painters sett­led in Skagen, attracted by the scenic landscape and the intense bright light.

What could the rest of the world learn from the Nordic approach to sustainable small and medium-sized cities? The two articles by Hans Fridberg and Mitchell Reardon refer to Nordic Sustainable Cities, which is one of six flagship projects within the Nordic Prime Ministers’ initiative for Nordic Solutions to Global Challenges.

After the Second World War, the Nordic Region became a model for urban planning. Practitioners and decision-makers from all over the world came to Vällingby, Albertslund and Tapiola to study how new suburbs could thrive as modern forms of urban life. Still, today, the Nordic urban model is highly cited in international courses. It offers high-quality solutions based on strengths such as good governance, public–private partnerships, design tradition, environmental and social consciousness as well as nature-based technological innovations.

Enjoy your reading!