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Regional and territorial development

This area includes research on territorial patterns, imbalances and processes at local, regional and transnational leves, and exploration of opportunities for and barriers to regional development.

The activity also implies participation in international comparative studies of regional and territorial issues and research in other countries (i.a. China), and participation in international research programmes (such as ESPON; European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion). An important subfield of research is evaluation an impact assessment of public policies and specific policy measures.

Regional and territorial development dynamics is about the interplay of actions by different actors, political interventions and economic, social, demographic and environmental conditions in a regional and territorial societal perspective. The research issue require a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral approach.

NIBR's regional and territorial development research can be described under two main headings (though the individual projects frequently cut across them).

Regional development

  • Industrial and business development and regional economic processes.
  • Interaction of local and regional resources and economic development.
  • Innovation and growth in industries, business environments and clusters.
  • The significance of sector and regional policy measures and tools.
  • Classifications and indicators for measuring regional development.

The structure, change and functions of population settlement systems

  • Regional-demographic processes.
  • Migration and residential choices in a lifespan and time-geographical perspective.
  • The forming and delimitation of regions.
  • Development of functionality and attractiveness of population settlements, local communities and centres.
  • Integrated approach to place, regional and area development.

The activity involves evaluation and impact assessment of territorial and regional aspects of governmental reforms and programmes as well as national and international regional policy cooperation. Migration and studies of residential choice behaviour are also pivotal, together with economic analyses of relevance to regions and regional change. The institute is particularly active in the field of regional innovation and industrial/business development, and the importance of cities to regional development and economic growth.

International collaboration encompasses topics like the potential of rural regions, territorial aspects of fishery policies, European coastal and sea regions, territorial significance of services of general interest, urban patterns of growth and growth diffusion, the Nordic-Baltic macro region, territorial indicators and regional classification systems, and studies of migration and poverty development.
Cooperation embraces the Nordic countries, Europe/OECD area, China and Saudi Arabia.

NIBR has previously been the Norwegian national contact point for the European research programme ESPON, and has contributed to OECD's activity on territorial indicators and analyses since 1992.

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