Norway is among the countries in Europe with the largest share of residents living in smaller city regions (SCRs). They have important roles to nation's high value creation based on natural resources, distribution of welfare services, decentralized settlement pattern and quality of life. The SCRs are central to regionally balanced development and sustainable regions throughout the country. They face other challenges than the metropolitan regions with regard to ageing, residential attractiveness for young adults, supply of labour for services, export industries and green shift. They have advantages and opportunities related to natural resources, some residential qualities and green industries. The capability to meet new challenges and exploit opportunities are crucial for their resilience and sustainability in the years to come.
The goal is to contribute to new knowledge development with relevance for policy and planning enhancing the SCRs attractivity, resilience and sustainability in different contexts by:
•elaborating concepts and perspectives on SCRs, attractiveness, resilience and sustainability.
•classify and describe main types of SCRs, their structures and development paths in Norway
•describing and explaining socio-economic structures, development paths, innovation and challenges of SCRs
•describing and explaining their sustainability status (economic, social, environ) and challenges
•exploring and illuminating the governance system, institutional capability and place-based leadership of the SCRs with focus on efforts in creating attractive, resilient and sustainable SCRs
The project is mainly anchored to human geography as discipline, and use quantitative and qualitative methods. This is a collaborative project with NIBR Oslomet in lead and 5 partners: Nordland Research Institute and the four county municipalities of Agder, Innlandet, Møre/Romsdal and Nordland. Additionally a resources group of 5 international experts will participate.
SMACREG investigates smaller cities (SC) and their functional regions (SCR) in Norway with focus on socio-economic development, resilience and sustainability. Norway is among the European countries with the largest share of residents living in SC/SCR which also are highly scattered into a great territory. The SCR have been crucial to the high value creation, distributed welfare services, decentralized settlement pattern and quality of life across the country. But new challenges with regard to sustainablity, aging and lack of young adults, restructuring of industries and services, is more present, as well as new possibilities associated to digitalization and the green shift.
To develop resilient, attractive and sustainable SCRs, there is a need for knowledge development and -sharing about their specific socio-economic developments paths and challenges, institutional capabilities, barrieres and potentials in different contexts. Each of the SCRs consist often of several small municipalities that individually often lack sufficient resources and competencies, which underline a need for cooperation between municipalities of each SCR, as well as external with county administrations, knowledge institutions, national organisations etc.
The project develop knowledge that should strengthen policy frameworks, capability building and governance for resilient and sustainable SCRs, and with that be supportive for balanced regional development in Norway. The project will also contribute to international urban and regional research on smaller city regions. The project is divided into the following work packages:
1.Theoretical and conceptual discussion and framework
2.Smaller cities and their regions, main types/varieties, structures/development in Norway (extensive analysis)
3.Socio-economic paths, resilience and sustainability (case)
4.Institutional capacities and place-based leadership (case)
5.Synthesis and recommendations
6.Knowledge platform and communication activities
DEMOS-Demokratisk og effektiv styring, planlegging og forvaltning