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Out with the new, in with the old! Revitalizing existing communities for sustainability and subjective wellbeing

Kyrö, Riikka LU ; Toivonen, Saija and Ala-Mantila, Sanna (2019) The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium
Abstract
Urbanisation as a megatrend shows no signs of weakening globally, or in the Nordic countries. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of environmental impacts are generated in cities. This derives from the economic growth generated by cities, as the decoupling of economic activity from environmental impacts has not been successful to date. Moreover, from a built environment perspective, urbanization has led to both housing crises in major cities, and a large amount of vacant buildings in rural areas. An enormous amount of environmental and economic resources is tied to these vacant buildings, and simultaneously, costly new construction with major environmental impacts takes place in cities. For environmental considerations alone,... (More)
Urbanisation as a megatrend shows no signs of weakening globally, or in the Nordic countries. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of environmental impacts are generated in cities. This derives from the economic growth generated by cities, as the decoupling of economic activity from environmental impacts has not been successful to date. Moreover, from a built environment perspective, urbanization has led to both housing crises in major cities, and a large amount of vacant buildings in rural areas. An enormous amount of environmental and economic resources is tied to these vacant buildings, and simultaneously, costly new construction with major environmental impacts takes place in cities. For environmental considerations alone, revitalizing communities outside major cities should be a policy goal. Another consideration relates to social sustainability, namely, the perceived happiness and subjective wellbeing of people. Research has shown subjective wellbeing to be on a higher level in smaller communities than in major cities. Revitalization would require financial incentives, but also enablers, like the utilization of new technologies. Digitalization
already allows time and space independent work. The overall servitization of society, along with advances in e.g. farming technology have the potential to bring new life outside major cities in the Nordic countries. A key enabler, and a necessity, is the repurposing of existing buildings for new uses. This research presents a typology for sustainable and liveable communities in the Nordic countries. The research employs mixed methods and a case study design. Cases are selected among Nordic communities where successful revitalization has occurred. The selected case studies are explored in detail with qualitative means, including interviews and future studies methods. The qualitative methods are complemented with quantitative comparisons of e.g. population and employment structures, accessibility, and temporal development. Finland, Norway, and Sweden are all in different phases of urbanization, which provides a fruitful basis for comparison. A typology for sustainable communities is constructed as a synthesis of the findings. The research incorporates elements from
urban and future studies, as well as real estate and sustainability management. The findings allow researchers to expand their thinking on urban sustainability, beyond the densely populated major cities, toward smaller communities. Furthermore, the findings give policy makers and authorities practical ideas to drive revitalization in their respective regions. (Less)
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organization
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Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Built environment, Subjective Wellbeing, repurposing, digitalization, Revitalisation
conference name
The 9th Nordic Planning Research Symposium
conference location
Ås, Norway
conference dates
2019-08-21 - 2019-08-23
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
aae4b180-0b0d-418f-8c94-9d60a5011109
date added to LUP
2019-09-09 16:29:50
date last changed
2019-09-27 11:25:44
@misc{aae4b180-0b0d-418f-8c94-9d60a5011109,
  abstract     = {Urbanisation as a megatrend shows no signs of weakening globally, or in the Nordic countries. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of environmental impacts are generated in cities. This derives from the economic growth generated by cities, as the decoupling of economic activity from environmental impacts has not been successful to date. Moreover, from a built environment perspective, urbanization has led to both housing crises in major cities, and a large amount of vacant buildings in rural areas. An enormous amount of environmental and economic resources is tied to these vacant buildings, and simultaneously, costly new construction with major environmental impacts takes place in cities. For environmental considerations alone, revitalizing communities outside major cities should be a policy goal. Another consideration relates to social sustainability, namely, the perceived happiness and subjective wellbeing of people. Research has shown subjective wellbeing to be on a higher level in smaller communities than in major cities. Revitalization would require financial incentives, but also enablers, like the utilization of new technologies. Digitalization<br/>already allows time and space independent work. The overall servitization of society, along with advances in e.g. farming technology have the potential to bring new life outside major cities in the Nordic countries. A key enabler, and a necessity, is the repurposing of existing buildings for new uses. This research presents a typology for sustainable and liveable communities in the Nordic countries. The research employs mixed methods and a case study design. Cases are selected among Nordic communities where successful revitalization has occurred. The selected case studies are explored in detail with qualitative means, including interviews and future studies methods. The qualitative methods are complemented with quantitative comparisons of e.g. population and employment structures, accessibility, and temporal development. Finland, Norway, and Sweden are all in different phases of urbanization, which provides a fruitful basis for comparison. A typology for sustainable communities is constructed as a synthesis of the findings. The research incorporates elements from<br/>urban and future studies, as well as real estate and sustainability management. The findings allow researchers to expand their thinking on urban sustainability, beyond the densely populated major cities, toward smaller communities. Furthermore, the findings give policy makers and authorities practical ideas to drive revitalization in their respective regions.},
  author       = {Kyrö, Riikka and Toivonen, Saija and Ala-Mantila, Sanna},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {Out with the new, in with the old! Revitalizing existing communities for sustainability and subjective wellbeing},
  year         = {2019},
}