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Unlocking regional potentials

Nordic experiences of natural and cultural heritage as a resource in sustainable regional development

image of Unlocking regional potentials

Ecosystem services in the Nordic countries entail a high potential with regard to regional growth and job creation. The report Unlocking regional potentials describes recent policy actions taken by the Nordic countries regarding natural and cultural heritage as a valuable resource in sustainable regional development. In addition, the report introduces examples of European and Nordic research and development activities concerning valuation of natural and cultural heritage. Nordic experiences underline the need to apply a broad view on regional development including the importance of natural and cultural heritage to human health, well-being, social inclusion and local identity. There is also a need to develop regional platforms for interaction between different interest groups, and to carry out further analyses of regional assets with regard to natural and cultural heritage.

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Regional development and job creation – Nordic examples of best practices

Creating new jobs is a challenge in all Nordic countries. The task is as relevant in growing metropolitan areas as in more remote regions. Nevertheless, urban regions often display a wider array of opportunities including a more advantageous starting point from a demographic point of view. Regions on the fringe, or regions not including large urban conglomerations, use the same assets as other regions when it comes to attracting both people and companies (well-functioning infrastructure, easy access to health services and education, affordable housing prices etc.). However, regions displaying a rich natural and cultural heritage may use these assets to a larger extent when it comes to creating new jobs, especially in the travel and tourism business. National parks and other protected areas are important “brands” that attract visitors from all over the globe. A well-managed cultural heritage provides the same opportunities. Safeguarding these assets is a prerequisite for development. It is also crucial to involve local communities and the actual beneficiaries of these assets in the development processes.

English

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