Fennia - International Journal of Geography https://fennia.journal.fi/ <p align="left">Fennia is a non-profit peer-review journal published by the Geographical Society of Finland since 1889. It is an international scientific publication dedicated to all fields of geography with attentiveness to northern dimensions. In 2010, Fennia became an open access electronic journal with two yearly issues. It is devoted to a fast publication process, including the open access publication of forthcoming papers before inclusion in an issue. The journal has no submission or article processing charges, and authors retain all rights to their work throughout the publication process and after publication. We appreciate that authors clearly bring up that the text has been originally published in Fennia. We also offer the opportunity to publish short, popularized texts based on research articles through the <a href="https://www.versuslehti.fi/english/">Versus</a> platform that aims to make research more visible, dialogical and effective in societies.</p> <p align="left">Fennia publishes papers of high scholarly merit in three categories: Research Papers, Reviews and Essays, and Reflections. Research Papers are original full-length articles that make a significant contribution to geographic and related research. Reviews and Essays introduce empirical, theoretical or methodological insights from ongoing research, including literature reviews and lectures. Reflections section includes commentaries, debates, discussion pieces, interventions and other argumentative short texts related to contemporary issues. With these three publication formats, Fennia seeks to take forward geographical research and discussion in a critical and responsible spirit. In addition to individual contributions, the journal welcomes proposals for special issues and sections.</p> <p align="left">The fully open access Fennia publications are under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY 4.0</a>). The journal is member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (<a href="http://publicationethics.org/about" target="_blank" rel="noopener">COPE</a>) and follows the peer review standards set by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies (<a href="http://www.tsv.fi/en/services/label-for-peer-reviewed-scholarly-publications" target="_blank" rel="noopener">TSV</a><a href="http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER&amp;Word=fennia" target="_self">)</a>. It is indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (<a href="https://doaj.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">DOAJ</a>) and the Thomson Reuters Emerging Sources Citation Index (<a href="http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlresults.cgi?PC=MASTER&amp;Word=fennia" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ESCI</a>), and is part of the <a href="http://freejournals.org/">Free Journal Network</a>. The main language of the journal is English.</p> Geographical Society of Finland en-US Fennia - International Journal of Geography 1798-5617 <p>Authors who publish with Fennia agree to the following terms:</p> <ol type="a"> <li>Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Creative Commons Attribution License</a> that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. The license of the published metadata is Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0). </li> <li>Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a doctoral dissertation or book compilation), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.</li> <li>Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See <a href="http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html" target="_new">The Effect of Open Access</a>).</li> </ol> Depopulation and shrinkage in a Northern context: geographical perspectives, spatial processes and policies https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/122933 <p>Depopulation and shrinkage are a common socio-spatial phenomenon in many Northern localities and are frequently accompanied by a stigmatization of the affected localities and their populations. This editorial introduces the special issue on depopulation and shrinkage in a Northern context that takes its point of departure from the Nordic Geographers Meeting 2022 on multiple geographies and its keynote lecture by Josefina Syssner on the question: What can geographers do for shrinking geographies? The special issue displays a range of contributions from Northern context that discuss and evaluate the heterogenous processes of shrinking localities from multiple perspectives within and beyond geography. Through broad, yet empirically detailed and multiscalar focused assessments it stresses that shrinkage as a phenomenon is a fundamental character of Nordic and other societies, which requires a rethinking and should be acknowledged as a ‘natural’ development trajectory in planning and development.</p> Moritz Albrecht Maija Halonen Josefina Syssner Copyright (c) 2023 Moritz Albrecht, Maija Halonen, Josefina Syssner http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 91–97 91–97 10.11143/fennia.122933 Community resilience: a useful concept for declining Icelandic communities? https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/122522 <p style="font-weight: 400;">In recent years, resilience has become an increasing focal point of community studies, in particular for settlements in the peripheral north, which face severe socio-economic and demographic challenges. Not all researchers and practitioners were equally excited about the transfer of this concept – deeply rooted in ecology – to the social sciences. Unsurprisingly there is a growing literature that engages critically with community resilience. This reflection takes up some of the main criticism and projects it onto Iceland; a country that can serve as magnifier in the exploration of community resilience for a variety of reasons. The main aim of this reflection is to keep the discussion going about theoretical and analytical insufficiencies within the field of community resilience. Shortcomings of existing definitions, the role of politics and agency as well as the determination of equilibria and the question of an endpoint to resilience are the essential strands of argumentation.</p> Matthias Kokorsch Copyright (c) 2023 Matthias Kokorsch http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 245–250 245–250 10.11143/fennia.122522 Shrinking geographies or challenged rurality’s? Three points of reflection – commentary to Syssner https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/121861 <p>By asking ‘what could geographers do for shrinking geographies’ Josefina Syssner offers a very comprehensive overview of what has been and should be on the research agenda’s for understanding rural shrinking geographies. In this commentary I would like to address three issues related to the Fennia keynote, that may add an additional perspective or a moment of reflection: 1) the issue of demographic change, rather than shrinkage, 2) how we can imagine the future of shrinking geographies, and 3) what Nordic perspectives have to offer. In conclusion, I believe that peripheral geographies, and challenged rurality’s deserve a key position within geography and related disciplines, and call for a repolitisation of the topic: what we research, how we conceptualise or even advice has consequences for those living and imagining futures in peripheral, rural and depopulating regions.</p> Marlies Meijer Copyright (c) 2023 Marlies Meijer http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 251–254 251–254 10.11143/fennia.121861 Learning from and with shrinking regions for global transformations – commentary to Syssner https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/122756 <p>This is a commentary to the article “What could Geographers do for Shrinking Geographies?” by Josefina Syssner. In the piece I open up questions concerning shrinking from a global perspective and point to further discussions on global east, south, and spatial justice in post-fossil transition, which I encourage the Nordic research to engage with in the future.</p> Sunna Kovanen Copyright (c) 2023 Sunna Kovanen http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 255–257 255–257 10.11143/fennia.122756 Young people as agents in regional shrinkage – commentary to Syssner https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/122487 <p>This paper reflects on Josefina Syssner’s Fennia lecture “What could geographers do for shrinking geographies”. In this commentary, we extend upon and complement Syssner’s inquiry by suggesting that to gain a better understanding of regional shrinkage and shrinking geographies it is important to ask the <em>who </em>question as well. Shrinkage and the policies used to deal with it impact different people in different ways, and people have different abilities to react to these changes or to take part in shaping the policies. In this reflection paper, we focus on a specific age group that is often considered important in regional development and policy discussions but that has been ignored in the debates on shrinking geographies – young people. In the end, we ask what geographers could do to increase the understanding of and possibilities for young people to live a good life in shrinking regions in times of environmental crises.</p> Marika Kettunen Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola Copyright (c) 2023 Marika Kettunen, Eeva-Kaisa Prokkola http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 258–262 258–262 10.11143/fennia.122487 What can geographers do for shrinking geographies? https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/120536 <p>For parts of the sparsely populated areas, the trends of globalisation, urbanisation and deindustrialisation constitute difficult circumstances. Population decline, escalating dependency ratios, lack of human and financial resources, and diminishing commercial and public services form part of lived experience in many of these areas. This paper discusses what geographers can do for these territories. The paper suggests that geographers can aid in understanding and demonstrating (a) how resources have been distributed in space over time and (b) why patterns of resource distribution take the shape they do. Geographers can also illuminate (c) what it means to live, work, and operate in shrinking, rural territories. Geographers could also (d) make implicit geographical imaginations explicit, (e) elucidate how shrinkage is dealt with by various policy actors, and (f) point to alternative policy directions. The paper also suggests that geographers in the Nordic countries could enrich an international research field of studies of shrinkage by (g) providing case studies or comparative studies from a Nordic context.</p> Josefina Syssner Copyright (c) 2022 Josefina Syssner http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 98–119 98–119 10.11143/fennia.120536 Multiple meanings and boundaries of growth in shrinking regions in East and North Finland https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/119537 <p>Growth stands out as a key development object in contemporary green economy policies. It is particularly interesting in the Nordic context such as in East and North Finland, where many regions are rich in natural resources, but also shrinking and lagging. Therefore, their regional development is simultaneously framed by an expected sustainability transition that alternates between green growth and degrowth agendas, and the socio-economic phenomenon of shrinkage. This article examines how growth is understood and framed among regional development actors, with special interest placed on different meanings, possible critics, and the boundaries of growth. The interviewed actors are positioned as intermediaries who possess special knowledge regarding regional development. The interviews show that the understanding of growth in this context requires various framings that combine global, regional, and local perspectives on sustainable development, as well as the burdens of shrinking and lagging regions balanced against cohesive and inclusive promises of green growth. The hegemonic frame is approached through a lens of green growth, yet the shrinking population remains in the background. Growth appears as a favoured means to tackle societal problems, which reflects a mission-oriented goal setting. Critical statements are directed at growth policies and funding instruments that do not seem to promote cohesive and inclusive growth. The clearest boundary for<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span>growth relates to nature, but it is far too early to make interpretations on an intentional degrowth agenda. From the regional actors’ perspective, setting boundaries for growth in a context of long-term shrinkage, sparse population, and extensive natural surroundings seems trivial. Handling the peripheries’ societal problems related to shrinkage and their struggle for resources appears as the more relevant mission that also requires growth in various forms.</p> Maija Halonen Copyright (c) 2023 Maija Elina Halonen http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 120–136 120–136 10.11143/fennia.119537 Mapping spatio-temporal variations of shrinkage in Finland https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/119495 <p>It is commonly stated that a large share of Finnish regions are shrinking in terms of their population and local economy, which naturally poses challenges for balanced regional development. However, and rather surprisingly, there has been relatively little methodological discussion in Finland on the measurement of shrinkage: how to determine whether a region is shrinking or not? The main aim of this paper is to analyse shrinkage through spatio-temporal indicators and to discuss the variety and complexity of the task. Empirically the paper utilises three commonly used indicators (population, employment, and housing vacancy), three different analysis periods (long, medium and short) and five different spatial scales (regions, sub-regions, municipalities, postal code areas and grids). The results underline how volatile the results are depending on these three choices (indicator, analysis period and spatial scale) when aiming at determining, which of the regions under investigation are shrinking. Depending on the indicator choices and analysed spatio-temporal scales, different shares of Finnish regions can be identified as shrinking. Thus, care is needed when considering which indicator(s), analysis periods and spatial scales are selected for conducting statistical analyses on shrinkage particularly if the results are applied in policies.</p> Teemu Makkonen Tommi Inkinen Simo Rautiainen Copyright (c) 2023 Teemu Makkonen, Tommi Inkinen, Simo Rautiainen http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 137–156 137–156 10.11143/fennia.119495 Spillover, sponge or something else? Dismantling expectations for rural development resulting from giga-investments in Northern Sweden https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/120530 <p>The paradoxical situation of planning for growth while managing decline has long been a reality for politicians and planners in Nordic peripheries. In recent years, however, attempts to plan for demographic adaptation, smart shrinkage, and ‘right-sizing’ public services have become commonplace. While it has taken decades for this to become an accepted part of municipal planning, new opportunities are now arising in the Swedish North due to several unforeseen giga-investments. These are expected to trigger rapid socio-economic growth along the urbanized coast and in a few select inland locations. Yet the likely effects on shrinking rural and sparsely populated municipalities geographically adjacent to these investment hotspots are much less understood. Previous research suggests that such investment projects might cause pressure for rural labour and housing markets but may also offer a range of positive spillover effects and development opportunities for rural areas. We draw on structural level narratives and interviews with key informants, including local and regional political stakeholders, to identify how the prospects of the giga-investments are viewed in places that are not directly affected, and what opportunities and threats are discussed. An overarching theme identified in the empirical material concerns the a-spatiality of discourses of growth, which we divide into two concrete dilemmas: infrastructure and mobility. Our findings show that, while the investments are seen as ringing in a new ‘golden age’ for the northern region, such a-spatial understandings of regional characteristics might stand in the way of acting fast and being able to make the most of the potential spillover effects.</p> Linda Lundmark Doris Carson Marco Eimermann Copyright (c) 2023 Linda Lundmark , Doris A. Carson , Marco Eimermann http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 157–174 157–174 10.11143/fennia.120530 Planning to meet challenges in shrinking rural regions. Towards innovative approaches to local planning https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/119752 <p>In this article we ask to what extent is current demographic development reflected in the present planning and policy practice of shrinking municipalities; whether there is a focus on strategies and measures for population growth; and, finally, to what extent do politicians and planners think we should change the way we plan based on the expected demographic changes. Our study illustrates how challenging it is for shrinking municipalities to break with established practices and modes of policy development and to adopt a more sustainable position. The ‘stigma’ of shrinking (Sousa &amp; Pinho 2015) is at odds with the ideals of the local politicians. However, we find that the response in planning and policy is not uniform: several responses may appear simultaneously and connected to different parts of the societal (master) development plans, thus, making the plans incoherent and contradictory. Hence, we contribute to Beetz, Huning and Plieninger’s (2008) and Hospers’ (2014) types of responses by adding this muddled or hybrid response, which might be labelled an ‘incoherent response’. Overall, we suggest that today’s planning practice in rural areas in Norway has neither dared nor wanted to adapt to the most likely developments of a shrinking population, l<em>et al</em>one actually doing so openly and consistently. This reluctance has had critical and negative implications for these municipalities. Future research should develop theories, concepts and models for more suitable knowledge-based and innovative local planning that can meet this complex societal challenge.</p> Aksel Hagen Ulla Higdem Kjell Overvåg Copyright (c) 2023 Aksel Hagen, Ulla Higdem, Kjell Overvåg http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 175–190 175–190 10.11143/fennia.119752 Contested planning efforts for the revitalization of small town centres in Finland https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/119852 <p>Many Finnish small towns have developed revitalization plans for town centres to counter the problems of decline, rebrand the town, and compete for residents and businesses. Accompanied by municipal branding efforts, infrastructure projects provide small towns with an improved appearance. These projects are often designed by national planning firms and consultants and materialised by private investors, yet it remains unclear if the changes suit the needs and socio-spatial peculiarities of the places they are intended for. This article sheds light onto downtown revitalization efforts by case studies in six shrinking Finnish small towns which have moved beyond the draft planning phase in their downtown revitalisation projects. The research is based on a mixed-methods approach, and pairs assemblage conceptualization with the concepts of small town planning and place-making. The relational approach enables us to show the challenges for shrinking small towns to materialise well-intentioned revitalization plans and place-based solutions in a complex place assemblage with conflicting pressure from big commercial actors, consultants, reluctant investors, limited local economies and demographics in decline.</p> Moritz Albrecht Jarmo Kortelainen Copyright (c) 2023 Moritz Albrecht, Jarmo Kortelainen http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 191–209 191–209 10.11143/fennia.119852 Resource deserts, village hierarchies and de-growth in sparsely populated areas: the case of Southern Lapland, Sweden https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/120788 <p>Small villages in northern Sweden have seen a continuing removal of key services, such as schools, shops and public transport, since the 1970s. Disinvestment in public services has not been strategically planned but has happened in response to population loss and increased costs on a case-by-case basis. More recently, there has been a shift in policy thinking to what might be termed a ‘de-growth’ approach where digitalisation and increased personal mobility are used to provide new ways of delivering services. The purpose of this paper is to examine the existence of ‘resource deserts’ in Southern Lapland and the emergence (or consolidation) of village hierarchies in allocating public services. We map out the distribution of neighbourhood services (grocery stores, pre-/schools and petrol pumps) among villages, and explore the lived experiences in accessing these resources in different villages. Our results show that resource deserts clearly exist in the south and east of the region, while villages in the more sparsely populated western mountain areas were generally in a better position to retain resources.<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span>We identify a lack of consistent and transparent service planning at the village level as a key shortcoming in municipal and regional service strategies. There appear to be unofficial settlement hierarchies in the differential treatment of villages that are otherwise similar in population size, population change and distance to central places. We find that political decisions on service allocations are likely influenced by several factors. These include legacy effects relating to historic settlement status, the location of villages in relation to key transport or mobility corridors, as well as ideological factors favouring villages with more ‘exotic’ features and development potential in line with the municipalities’ economic, social and political priorities. We finally argue that a shift to de-growth needs to be more strategically planned if it is to eliminate resource deserts and promote equity of service access across all villages.</p> Dean Bradley Carson Doris Anna Carson Linda Lundmark Anna-Karin Hurtig Copyright (c) 2023 Dean Bradley Carson, Doris Anna Carson, Linda Lundmark, Anna-Karin Hurtig http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 210–227 210–227 10.11143/fennia.120788 Everyday materialities, territorial bordering, and place-identity defined by recent administrative reform: reactions from Estonian dispersed ruralities https://fennia.journal.fi/article/view/116490 <p>Population decline in rural areas has been a concern for many European countries for decades. To deal with shrinking, several measures have been taken in different countries. The study focuses on one of such measures – the administrative reform passed in Estonia in 2017, which merged smaller municipalities into regional municipality centres. This article examines the impact of this reform on rural transformation, concentrating on shifts in everyday mobilities, governance, and territorial identity at the village level. The research data is contextualised with the new mobilities paradigm, examining the relational everyday materialities that include interviews reflecting on changes at the regional, structural, and ideological levels. The analysis is based on in-depth interviews (N=60) with local activists and inhabitants in three study areas in sparsely populated parts of Estonia. The creation of municipality districts with representative bodies within larger municipalities have influenced these rural villages in various ways. In some cases, it has caused shifts in the mechanisms of civil governance that shape community activism. In others, strengthened awareness of representations of the rural appeared, offering a meaningful territorial identity and self-realisation to local people. However, the study also indicates that the distribution of rural municipalities into municipality districts can jeopardise local coherence and socio-cultural sustainability.</p> Kadri Kasemets Raili Nugin Copyright (c) 2023 Kadri Kasemets, Raili Nugin http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0 2023-01-24 2023-01-24 200 2 228–244 228–244 10.11143/fennia.116490