Københavns Universitet
Uafhængig af ledelsen

PhD thesis defense

Leneisja Jungsberg defends her thesis at Landscape Architecture and Planning Section, IGN

PhD thesis defense — 11 March 2022


Date & Time:

Von Langen Auditorium, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C

Hosted by:
Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning


Leneisja Jungsberg defends her thesis,

Rural communities responding to territorial challenges in the Nordic Region

Associate Professor Lise Byskov Herslund, IGN
Senior Advisor Kjell Nilsson, Nilsson Landscape

Assessment Committee:
Institute Director, Senior Research Fellow Petri Kahila, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland
Senior Scientist Maiken Bjørkan, Nordland Research Institute – Norway
Associate professor Lone Søderkvist Kristensen (chair), IGN

Rural territory makes up around 77% of the Nordic Region and is home to 25% of the population. Rural areas are an important source of food, timber, minerals, fresh water, and recreational spaces, but also struggle with depopulation, economic benefit retention from extractive resource industries and climate change-induced permafrost degradation. The aim of this study is to assess how rural communities respond to these territorial challenges in the Nordic Region. The research design is inspired by a mixed method approach, with data acquisition involving semi-structured interviews, community workshops, questionnaire data, register data and desktop research. This Ph.D. thesis is based on three different research projects that collaborate with community members and local authorities to support local development in rural areas.
The results show that many of the emerging rural community responses can be described as social innovations, and they are primarily driven by community members, local authorities, and civil society organisations. To ensure more local benefit retention from large-scale resource-based industries, local smart specialisation strategies, can contribute to community engagement by small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs. The results from the adaptive capacity assessment to manage permafrost degradation show that community members and local authorities generally respond to permafrost degradation via autonomous and ad-hoc adaptation practices. Furthermore, climate-driven projections show that 42% of Arctic permafrost communities will no longer be underlaid by permafrost by 2050.
This study of rural community responses contributes to an understanding of the enabling factors that can address territorial challenges. Across the empirical examples, three enabling factors emerge as important for rural community responses: civic agency, institutional organisation and long-term cooperation. By assessing the presence of these enabling factors in place- and network-based local development, this study provides an approach to generate and sustain rural community responses that address territorial challenges in the Nordic Region

A digital version of the PhD thesis can be obtained from the PhD secretary Anne Marie Faldt at anmf@ign.ku.dk