Nordic rural policies for future service needs



Emneord (Nøkkelord):

Services, Rural, Rural proofing, Sustainability, Future, Policy


The demand for services in Nordic rural areas is changing. General population decrease poses challenges to rural public authorities to adapt their activities to the shrinking population, which in general is made up of fewer young people and more older people. Combined with a need to adapt the services to a changing climate, the increased budget restraints force the public authorities to focus on providing the most essential service needs now and in the future. The aim of this study is to identify the future service needs in rural areas, and how these are included in rural policy frameworks. The approach was to identify which rural services that are considered essential according to research literature, and to search for these in rural and regional policy in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, as well as the island regions of Faroese Islands, Greenland and Åland. The study has identified policy improvements to ensure access to essential services in rural areas, and to ‘future proof’ service provision. For the countries and regions here studied, especially emergency services and civil defence, as well as climate adaptation of services and the management of climate impacts, need further attention.


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