Almost a year and a half has passed since REGINA officially started and the project has reached a stage where we are starting to see results and implementation of tools developed within the project. As our next partner meeting is just around the corner (March 21-24 in Scotland) we thought it would be of interest to hear some thoughts from our Project Manager, Ryan Weber, from Nordregio.

How is the project proceeding?

It takes a long time to start a project and most project partners have had to hire staff to work in the project which is another factor that might have slowed down some processes in the beginning. Over the past six months we have seen a transition and now things are starting to happen! We have more or less caught up to where we are supposed to be, so we are doing well in that sense!

Anything in particular that you would like to raise; anything important that you have learnt so far?

One of the things I’ve learned so far is that in all of our local partner areas there are specific industrial areas which they are focusing on (in the project) and what has surprised me is that each partner face significant challenges in terms of how local people perceive these projects. This makes the work of the planners difficult, as for them, it is always a balancing act between different groups of stakeholders. Often those with power and those that are against the projects.

Anything that has surprised you?

How fast planning and change can take place. In one situation (mining facility) they decided not to go ahead. When you have these types of industries in the local areas decisions get made nationally and they happen so fast (the decisions, eds notice) and for the planners it is all about the adaptation. The consequence of that is that we have several local partners that have mentioned that they need a plan that “works” faster and responds faster: they need to respond faster than the law allows them to. We need to focus on these plans for the local economies, how can we adapt if things change.

What have you been working on recently?

We’ve recently published a report on GIS tools and mapping for support of land use planning, more specifically mapping tools as a way of getting the opinion of local stakeholders regarding the industries and development in the areas.

 RYAN WEBER

RYAN WEBER

What is coming up next?

Next is our meeting in Scotland, where we will also get to visit the Orkney Islands and see tidal energy infrastructure. We are also right in the middle of implementation of the planning and foresight tools.


Karina Umander is the Project Manager at Storuman Municipality. Hear some of her thoughts on REGINA.

What has been most challenging about the project so far?

It has been a problem with the technology when trying to meet the other partners via video- or teleconference. Sometimes there has been a lack of information, but in the end it all has worked out well. Although the research partners are far away, they can easily be reached by email or phone.

Where are you now in the project?

I am planning in depth studies with focus on the local labour market. A questionnaire regarding social impact will be sent to municipal residents. I am also working with a demographic foresight model.

What is the next step for you?

To present the findings of the in depths studies, the questionnaire regarding social impact and the foresight model.

Why did you (Storuman) decide to join this project?

The municipality wants a more structured plan for development, a smart strategy based on the strengths of the municipality. The findings of the project will be used in the work with the comprehensive plan.

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Stig-Gøran Olsen is the Project Manager at Alstahaug Municipality. Here are some of his thoughts on the REGINA project and the role of the municipality.

What has been most challenging about the project so far?

The fact that there are different starting points among participants in relation to experiences and national superstructures.

Where are you now in the project? What is the next step for you?

Working with the baseline analysis. we have some challenges in relation to statistics broken down on municipality. Nordland County helps us in dialogue towards Norwegian statistical Center (SSB)

Step 2 = Challenges and opportunities

Step 3= Community visions 

Why did you decide to join this project?

To learn from others, and the ability to affect the quality of solutions where necessary.

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Anna Kantola is the Project Manager at Sodankylä Municipality. Here are some of her thoughts on the REGINA project and the role of the municipality.

What has been most challenging about the project so far?

In Sodankylä we have collected information for the baseline analysis, to draw the big picture of mining industry in Sodankylä municipality area, from the local community and development perspective.  The challenge so far has been to get some specific data for the report. Some information and data on public statistics for the municipal level is not easily accessible as it is for regional and national level.

Where are you now in the project? What is the next step for you?

Currently we are planning the next steps, which are the stakeholder meetings and workshops in the autumn 2016. We are also looking forward to have more information about the experienced impacts of mining industry in Sodankylä so far. As a REGINA partner University of Lapland is implementing a survey in Sodankylä during this summer and the results of the survey are important and useful information for the local smart specialization strategy process in Sodankylä. 

Why did you decide to join this project?

Sodankylä Municipality joined the REGINA project because it has recognized the specific needs for resources and planning when cooperating and mitigating with mining industry in small municipalities in sparsely populated areas; to maximize the positive impacts and benefits,  and to minimize the risks and negative impacts, from economic, environmental and social points of view, as much as a municipality and a local community can do.

We are also looking forward to share experiences with the other REGINA project partners during the project partner meeting in Norway in August 2016.

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