Gen Z workshop at Nordregio. Photo by Sofia Strömgård


Find the latest updates on the Nordregio Forum 2023 programme on this page.

Tuesday, 17 October, 8:30 - 19:00 GMT (Reykjavik, Iceland)



8:30 - 9:00

Registration & coffee

9:00 - 9:10

Welcome by the moderator, overview of the day

  • Moderator: Snorri Másson, Journalist and podcaster
  • Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Icelandic Minister of Infrastructure

9:10 - 10:05

Session 1: Entering the Nordic labour market

9:10 - 9:25

Keynote by the guest speaker: Should I stay, or should I go? Young adult’s choices for obtaining higher education

  • Eva Mærsk, Researcher at the University of Southern Denmark

9:25 - 9:35

Thriving rural areas or beautiful future graveyards? Recommendations from the Nordic Youth Panel

  • Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow, Nordregio

To ensure viable, thriving, and inclusive Nordic rural areas, it is pertinent that young people are involved in policy making processes, to voice their hopes and dreams for rural futures and their concerns regarding their opportunities to settle in rural areas. Nordic rural municipalities are experiencing a demographic trend of an ageing population and an exodus of young people – but why is that? This keynote will share findings from the project “Gen Z Agency: Mobilising young people to strengthen Nordic rural areas” in which Nordic Youth Panellists sought to develop policy recommendations for Nordic policy- and decision makers through co-creative workshops during 2023.

9:35 - 10:00

Nordic Virtual Tour


Together with a wide group of partners, the Nordfjord Academy will develop into a central hub between business in the public and private sectors, educational institutions, students and anyone who wants to know more about the opportunities available in Nordfjord. The Nordfjord Academy will follow our young people through the entire training course and into working life.

  • Tonje Bjerkan, Managing Director

10:00 - 10:25

Coffee break

10:25 - 11:45

Session 2: Housing

10:25 - 10:40

Research insights: Young Nordics’ access to affordable housing

  • Anna Granath, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

Young people are often described as a group with difficulties in the housing market. Here, two research projects focusing on moderate and mid-income households’ access to housing markets will be briefly presented with a focus on the young. The project Strategic Housing centers around affordability and social mix and studies larger cities’ housing development programs, inclusionary housing planning tools and initiatives by housing developers to include the young. All in all, the three articles that are the outcome of the project shed light on opportunities and restraints affecting young people trying to enter the housing market.  In a parallel project on Collaborative Housing, the possibility of young people developing their own housing in collaboration with others is also explored, an initiative that might be especially relevant in less populated areas.

10:40 - 10:55

Questions and discussion on Young Nordics’ access to affordable housing

10:55 - 11:45

Panel debate

What does GenZ need to stay in the Nordics? Developing education and labour market policies to fit a new generation


Mari Wøien Meijer, Research Fellow, Nordregio

Panelists (Gen Z representatives):

  • Mads Harstad, Norway
  • Bára Örk Melsted, Iceland
  • Annie Linsemark, Sweden

Panelists (policy representatives):

  • Hans-Peter Carlson, Secretary General of MidtSkandia, Sweden
  • Lilja Rannveig, Member of Althingi Progressive Party, Iceland
  • Ann-Sofie Backgren, Network coordinator at Finish Rural Network, Finland

11:45 - 12:45


12:45 - 14:30

Session 3: Young people‘s perspectives on environmental sustainability and green transition

12:45 - 12:50

Welcome back by the moderator, overview of the second part of the day

  • Snorri Másson, Journalist, podcaster

12:50 - 13:05

Research insights

  • Carlos Tapia, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

The green transition is much needed to cope with climate change but is expected to have a mix of social and economic impacts on all groups on society, including younger generations. This is where the concept of a fair green transition comes in. This keynote will present the most important findings from a representative survey capturing Nordic people’s opinion on the green transition. The survey focuses on climate policies as fundamental enablers in the shift towards a low-carbon society and focuses on the following aspects: 1) general attitudes towards climate change and climate policies; 2) current effects of climate change mitigation policies on individuals and households; 3) expected effects of climate change mitigation policies on individuals and households, and; 4) fairness of climate change mitigation policies. The keynote will look at these aspects from a generational perspective: how do younger people’s opinions differ from those by older generations when replying to the survey questions

13:05 - 13:20

Research insights

  • Leneisja Jungsberg, Senior Research Fellow, Nordregio

Young Voices from the Arctic: Insights on Climate Change and Permafrost Degradation. This presentation will examine the perceptions of young people in Greenland and the Nordic Arctic, aiming to understand the impacts of climate change and permafrost degradation on their lives. Additionally, it will explore current projects and strategies that aim to enhance the capacity of young people, including co-creation and innovation labs. These initiatives empower the younger generation to prepare for and participate in designing the green transition, as well as developing adaptation strategies. The voices of younger generations are crucial as they will be the future leaders. This work is part of the Nunataryuk and Arctic Sustainable Futures project, which brings together researchers from various fields including physical science, engineering, health, anthropology, economy, and planning.

13:20 - 13:45

Research insights: Socially sustainable tourism and implications for the youth

  • Ágúst Bogason, Research Fellow, Nordregio

Tourism in the Nordic countries has increased exponentially in the past decade. Indeed, tourism has provided great economic opportunities. In rural areas it is often presented as a substitute for declining traditional industries and a way to tackle declining population trends. In the more urban areas, improved public services and better standards of living for local residents are often highlighted as the main benefits along with economic growth. In the quest for planning for a sustainable Nordic tourism development the focus has tended to mainly evolve around two dimensions of the sustainability concept, the economic and the environmental. The third dimension, the social sustainability, has not achieved as much attention. The social effects of increased tourism in the Nordics are however substantial, some positive and others more negative. This session will look into an ongoing research project on socially sustainable tourism, with a special focus on the possible social effects on the life of young people.

13:35 - 14:30

Panel debate:

Youth as partners in the green transition – building sustainable communities

We will ask youth for advice and discuss tested methods and lessons learned from current projects and initiatives, and explore:   

  • What sustainable living means to youth in rural settings?
  • How we can integrate young people’s perspectives in the green transition policies?
  • Which actions are most important to take first?


  • Snorri Másson, Journalist, podcaster

Panelists (GenZ and Youth2030 representatives):

  • Helena Forsgren, Sweden
  • Bára Örk Melsted, Iceland
  • Mads Harstad, Norway

Panelists (Policy representatives):

  • Torunn Kornstad, Project Manager Innlandet County, Norway
  • Hans-Peter Carlson, Secretary General of MidtSkandia, Sweden

14:30 - 15:00

Coffee break

15:00 -

Study tours organised by TGs in collaboration with Green Force


Visiting greater Reykjavík’s new city developments: This study visit will explore two innovative city developments in Reykjavík, which are planned alongside a new public transportation system for the greater Reykjavík area (Borgarlína):  

  1. Blikastaðaland which is a greenfield development area designed to create “rural bliss with a city feel”, featuring residential and commercial premises.  
  1. Ártúnshöfði meanwhile will transform an old business area on the outskirts of Reykjavík into “a dense and environmentally conscious settlement with good connection points to first-rate public transport.”  

There will be presentations and guided tours at the sites and the bus will bring participants back to the city centre by 18:00.   


Nordic Café with TGB members, GenZ-panellists, and others  

What do Gen Zs need to stay in Nordic rural areas and what can we do to overcome the mass exodus of young people? We refer back to the panel discussion on youth engagement during the main part of the Forum:  

Table 1: Labour market & education 

Table 2: The role of youth in the green transition

Table 3: Housing & mobility 

Table 4: Youth inclusion 


Study Trip on Sustainable Tourism to Elding Adventures at Sea:  

Presentation from Katrín Georgsdóttir, Environment & Quality Manager at Elding on responsible tourism followed by a group discussion on sustainable tourism in the Nordic region. Elding was nominated for the Nordic Council of Ministers Environment.  

19:00 -
Only to physical participants

Conference dinner in Borg Restaurant, Pósthússtræti 11, 101 Reykjavík

Rolf Elmér, Director, Nordregio

Wednesday, 18 October

Post Forum: For TGs only, organised by TG secretariats in collab

TG meetings and study tours organised by TG Secretariats