Understanding northern peripherality and devising strategies for intervention
Transnational workshop in Oslo


Oslo, Norway

Vulkan Arena

30 November 2017

Vulkan 16
NO-0178 Oslo

ESPON transnational outreach activity organised in cooperation with the Nordregio Forum 2017

Venue: Vulkan Arena, Vulkan 16, 0178 Oslo

Targeted audience:       

National and regional spatial planning policy-makers and practitioners, implementing authorities, regional and local policy-makers, university academics, from the Nordic and Baltic countries with specific attention to:

  • National, regional and local officials from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden, responsible for regional development policies;
  • Stakeholders involved in the HA Spatial Planning of the EUSBSR as well as the implementation of the Baltic 2030 Action Plan;
  • Members of the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference;
  • Stakeholders involved in sub-regional and local cross-border cooperation: BSSSC, UBC, B7
  • Euroregions, Local Action Groups and Fisheries Local Action Groups;
  • Members of local and regional Councils, MPs;
  • Officials involved in the design and implementation of ESIF programmes including European Territorial Cooperation.

The seminar was open for all, but with a maximum capacity of 50 participants. The workshop was in English.

Aim and rationale

The ESPON workshop was designed to provide a better understanding of the challenges associated with outer and inner peripherality in Northern Europe. Using a sound and reliable knowledge base in an interactive way, the objective of the workshop was to provide hands-on advice to policy makers involved in the implementation of the EUSBSR and the Baltic 2030 Action Plan, monitoring of government policies, law-making and administrative reforms, design and implementation of ESIF programmes, policy papers and strategic development plans, community-led local development and cross-border cooperation.

The participants were invited to discuss ways of optimising the above policy processes through strategic approaches devised to better cope with the demographic and natural handicaps as well as through measures to mitigate the inner periphery risks. The discussion was structured around the following two themes:

Sparsely populated areas

In the EU28, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, 34 NUTS3 regions are currently identified as sparsely populated. 24 of these are in Northern Europe, predominantly in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as well as 1 in Estonia. The demography of these areas exacerbates their peripheral disadvantages relating to their remoteness from markets, the long distances between urban settlements and their challenging topography. ESPON advocates the concept of integrated asset-based strategies for regions with natural or demographic handicaps to spur economic development and increase their capacity to participate in national and international markets. This workshop theme looks into the applicability of this approach in Northern Europe.

Inner Peripheries

The geographical distance to the economic strongholds is not the only Northern challenge that needs attention. A territorial occurrence known as Inner Peripherality is of another major concern. This complex phenomenon entails the socio-economic disconnection from neighbouring territories. ESPON has identified a number of Northern areas at risk to become an inner periphery. Emphasising on the access to services of general interest, the second workshop theme will revolve around solutions to prevent further decline of the existing inner peripheries as well as areas of risk to become inner peripheries, seeking corrective measures to address the current trends.

ESPON evidence background:

on outer peripheries:

on inner peripheries:

For further information, please contact [email protected]

The seminar offered an opportunity to network and establish partnerships for ESPON Targeted Analyses.

What are Targeted Analyses? Since 2007, this ESPON offer has been supporting territorial development processes at local, regional and national levels in Europe by bringing together policy makers who share the same kinds of challenges and who are looking for new territorial evidence and a European perspective. Applying sound methodologies and providing scientific expertise, ESPON Targeted Analysis deliver demand-driven and tailor-made analytical studies in support of territorial decision-making.

If you are interested to learn more about the ESPON Targeted Analyses, access this link here