Reflections on the 8th Nordic-Baltic Migration Conference

The second panel ”New Challenges in Cross-Border Mobility, Nordic-Baltic Region” in the Nordic-Baltic Migration Conference in Tallinn, Estonia

Olle Järv from the Digital Geography Lab attended as an expert panellist in the Nordic-Baltic Migration Conference “Cross-border Mobility in the Nordic-Baltic Region organized by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Tallinn, Estonia on September 18, 2020. Olle participated in the second panel ”New Challenges in Cross-Border Mobility, Nordic-Baltic Region” together with Uffe Palludan (Palludan Fremtidsforskning), Jonas Wendel (Nordic Council of Ministers’), Rolle Alho (Uni Helsinki), and Saara Pellander as a moderator (Migration Institute of Finland). In the panel, Olle briefly introduced his BORDERSPACE research project on cross-border mobility and transnational people, and how these research topics benefit from novel data sources such as social media and mobile phone data.

In conclusion, the panellists’ discussion highlighted several (new) challenges in the cross-border mobility and interaction in the Nordic-Baltic region:

  • Cross-border mobility and interactions as well as transnational people are taken for granted. In reality, we don’t know much about transnational people, their cross-border practices and how these influence the broader society.
  • We should treat transnational people more than just migrants or tourists. Their daily lives are not confined to only one country, but take place in several countries.
  • We need to acknowledge transnational people and consider them better in policymaking in both sides of the border. The COVID-19 crisis with the closed country borders in spring 2020 showed how poorly transnational people are considered in political decision-making.
  • Developing only infrastructure (e.g. Öresund Bridge between Denmark and Sweden) is not enough for promoting cross-border collaboration and transnational functional regions. We also need political will and collaboration to promote cross-border interaction, and to benefit from existing cross-border infrastructure.
  • One main challenge is the ability of envisioning and executing long-term plans, both from the infrastructure and policy perspective, for developing cross-border interaction and collaboration in the Nordic-Baltic region.

Check out the conference video HERE.

Read the summary about the second panel HERE (in English) and HERE (in Estonian) by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Estonia.

Digital Geography Lab is an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies. We aim to understand spatial interactions between people, and between people and their environment, from local to global scales.

BORDERSPACE project led by Academy Research Fellow Olle Järv focuses on cross-border mobilities and interactions, transnational people, and functional transnational spaces. The novelty of the project stems from the use of novel big data sources to provide valuable insights for cross-border research and practice.