Research projects, Environmental Policy

Bright future for black towns: reinventing European industrial towns and challenging dominant post-industrial discourses

This ERA-NET funded project studies small, industry-dependent towns – the kinds of towns that the majority of Europeans live and work in. At the European level, however, development is largely focused on large cities and metropolitan areas, with an emphasis on the service economy. The project compares industrial towns in the Netherlands, the UK, Romania, Slovenia and Finland. In the sub-project carried out in Finland, researchers study different models of change by collecting local narratives that provide alternative or grass-roots level perspectives into industrial and post-industrial development. In Finland, the project focuses on Kajaani, an industrial town heavily affected by structural change in the 2000s.

ERA-NET is a funding scheme within the EU's framework programmes for research and technology seeking to enhance collaboration between national research programmes and research funders for the benefit of European research. The Bright future for black towns: reinventing European industrial towns and challenging dominant post-industrial discourses project secured a three-year funding from ERA-NET's Cofund Smart Urban Futures (ENSUF) programme. The overall funding of the international research project amounts to 1.3 million euros, and the share of UEF is nearly 300,000 euros. The sub-project is led by Senior Lecturer Simo Häyrynen.

The frontier of sustainability transitions. Cultural adaptations of sustainability policies in European peripheral region

Even though the urgency of creating a sustainable, resource-efficient, and low-carbon society nowadays is widely acknowledged, the transformation processes leading into such a direction are not progressing uniformly. The project makes a major contribution to the knowledge on the elements hindering or enabling sustainability transitions by focusing on how local cultures affect such transitions in peripheral communities.

The actual frontier of sustainability transitions is studied through three cross-disciplinary subprojects seeking the symbolic governance of collective identities in transition strategies: agri-environmental policies in local farming communities in North Karelia and Sicily, success stories of sustainable and smart in three Nordic regions and the influences of cultural factors in interpretation of sustainability strategies in Kainuu and Jämtland. The macro-analytical frameworks for multi-sited ethnography are strengthened by the extensive international collaboration for and examination of the political utilization of peripheral identities in different European contexts (e.g. Italy, Slovenia, Germany and Sweden). The Academy of Finland is funding this project led by Senior Lecturer Simo Häyrinen years 2016-2019.


REDD+: The new regime to enhance or reduce equity in environmental governance? Comparative study in Tanzania, Mexico and Laos

The Tanzania, Mexico and Laos case studies show that external actors, such as national government and donor organisations, significantly influence the design of locally-implemented REDD+ initiatives. Thus, such interventions also impact equity in environmental governance, local democracy and citizenship. In all case study countries, we have selected local case studies as well as evaluated national level processes in relation to REDD+. Local representatives’ and authorities’ legitimate legislative, executive and judiciary powers have been analysed in order to understand design of land use planning or benefit distribution schemes and other relevant action in relation to REDD+ interventions. In Tanzania, we have already done local, sub-national and national level data collection. In Laos and Mexico, we have carried out national level data collection but sub-national and local level interviews are still on-going in 2016-2017. Also our final study period (2016-2018) concerns development of a theory which could provide analytical tools to study the complex interactions and deliberation between different governance actors in relation to responsive natural resources governance. This theory is crucially important in the emerging global discourses. Our research aims to enable us to gather the empirical evidence from the grassroots and bring this up to feed the globally emerging discourse and policies. This would result in specific conceptual framework and analytical tools which would enable the study of deliberation and multilevel governance practices in relation natural resources. This is done various ways: by participating discourses in relation to these theories; by questioning the inherently accepted of these theories (e.g. prescriptions of democracy based on election systems in case of the theory of democratic governance); creating counter arguments or arguing against conceptual understand related to these theories based on the contextual understanding in the three case study countries in this study.

Governance Institutions and Irregular Forest Activities (IFA): Implication for the EU FLEGT and REDD++ in Laos

The project looks at the policy and institutional dynamics of land and forest use change in Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). It analyses the ways in which governance institutions and policy actors that are using and managing land and forest resources emerge, render legitimacy and compete for power and authority. Particular attention is put on the role, interests and interactions between donors, national government representatives and civil society organisations. This is observed in the context of two international programmes aiming at climate change mitigation and forest legality, the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest degradation (REDD+) and the European Union’s Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (EU FLEGT) Action Plan, respectively. At theoretical level, the project aims to contribute to development of novel conceptual and analytical approaches designed to link global with local, by combining institutional and policy analysis at higher levels of governance with theories of local resistance, informal activities and institutions. The project is led by post doctoral researcher Sabaheta Ramcilovik-Suominen and it is funded by   Academy of Finland. The funding spans years 2015-2019.

"Social license to operate": a real tool or rhetoric? Examining the mining industry in Finland, Australia, and Canada

The project studies cross-cultural variations in social license to mine in the arctic countries of Finland, Sweden, Greenland and Canada from an institutional perspective. The institutional diversity and political-economic complexity of developing SLO in mining is investigated by looking into the nature of the interdependencies of mining-related institutions across economic, political, organisational, planning and social domains. The project is led by Professor Rauno Sairinen and the it is funded by Academy of Finland. The funding spans years 2014-2017.

Multiple Lines of Evidence in Assessing Ecotoxicological and Human Health Risk of Mine Effluents and Public Perception (MINEVIEW)

The research project is a part of the large consortium led by University of Jyväskylä. Professor Rauno Sairinen leads  this subproject, which is targeted to study risk perception by the local people due to alteration of the receiving water bodies. The funding of Academy of Finland spans years 2014-2017.