Changing places of social transformation

Research group

The research group studies social, spatial and cultural transformations of small urban communities. We are interested in the transformations in livelihoods, politics, demographies and cultures in such communities as well as the diversification of the local economies. With a focus on Finland and Northern Europe we aim at carrying out long term follow-up studies on selected localities of various types, and investigate their developments and heterogeneous transformation processes.

This research group focuses on studying social, spatial and cultural transformations of urban communities that, in terms of their size, fall between large urban agglomerations and rural areas. This situation in between two (regional) development fields often places these communities at the margins of governmental development strategies despite remaining important for the socio-economic performance of their respective countries. We are interested in the ways changes in livelihoods, policies, demographics and cultures in such communities take place. Typically, such localities are manufacturing towns, but their local economies can be based on or transcend other types of industries or services. Our research group draws strongly on case studies in Finland and northern Europe but extends also to local transformation processes elsewhere. We explore broad processes such as urbanization or planning and the diversification of local economies, including their relations with the local and/or (trans)national environments and their links to aspects of sustainable development. While the research group is open to all research methods related to this theme, we particularly aim to carry out long-term, follow-up studies of selected localities of various types to investigate their development processes and heterogeneous transformation. This will facilitate the assessment of local perspectives and settlement systems, their economies, identities, scalar dependencies, and local actions.

Group members - UEF

Publications by the research group members