Urbanization, climate change, industrialization, tourism, land-use conflicts. This is a non-exhaustive list of challenges that the Arctic region faces right now. This situation calls for new ways of handling land-use planning, decision-making, and communication between stakeholders and residents of the regions.
The Mission Behind ArcticHubs
ArcticHubs is a research project that aims at finding solutions for the co-creation of successful policies around local resources and land use in the Arctic — together with stakeholders, businesses, and residents. The four-year project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon research and innovation program. It unites researchers and practitioners, and Maptionnaire is proud to be one of its 22 partners. Read on about the project and Maptionnaire’s role in it.
How ArcticHubs Work
Fish farming, farming, forestry, tourism, and mining sectors experience drastic consequences of climate change and globalization. These changes also trigger conflicts about the usage of local resources, land, and sea. ArcticHubs project studies the entanglement of these industries and aims at finding solutions for the coexistence of these industries, both among local and global actors present in the Arctic, as well as indigenous forms of livelihood if present in the hub.
The research network of the project consists of 17 hubs across the region. “Hubs are nodes hosting either a combination of economic activities, or one main industry or means of livelihood, where the challenges and impacts facing the Arctic region are tangible and acute.” You can read more about the various hubs on the ArcticHubs webpage.
Each of the hubs studies its unique entanglement of economic activities and conflicts arising from them. Researchers and partners collaborate with each other across the hubs, and of course, annual meetings and workshops are cherished, when everyone involved can share their achievements and ideas.
Annual Meeting in Egersund
For example, in September of 2022 the participants gathered in Egersund, Norway — apart from sharing their progress, the ArcticHubs team visited one of the hubs in Egersund that explores the co-existence of mining, fish farming, and tourism. The Maptionnaire team also organized a learning cafe where the researchers presented what other engagement and communication activities are planned in their hubs. We’ve also discussed how Maptionnaire’s PPGIS solution can be utilized in these activities.
It was an eventful meeting! We’ve visited Egersund Granite Mine, famous for its anorthosite, and Tellnes Mine, which is one of the largest titanium mines in Europe. An upper secondary school in Flekkefjord where students can learn about fish farming and fishing in the “Use of Blue Nature Resources” program was also on our list. And no trip to Norway is complete without enjoying its picturesque scenery!
Maptionnaire at ArcticHubs: Developing More Interactive PPGIS
As the project’s goal is to find a way of designing solutions together with multiple stakeholders, it’s crucial to gather their opinions, as well as understand their practices of using the land, the sea, or other resources. Maptionnaire Community Engagement Platform is used as a data collection and conflict negotiation tool by the researchers, as well as a platform for communication and sharing information with locals and stakeholders.
Maptionnaire is a PPGIS solution (Public Participation Geographic Information System) that gives a spatial dimension to experiences, habits, opinions, and wishes that participants submit through surveys made on this platform. Its digital form helps to reach out to a bigger number of residents and right-holders as compared to in-person meetings or paper-based surveys.
At the same time, being a part of the ArcticHubs project is also a development opportunity for Maptionnaire. The solution should develop more interactive functionalities — between the participants on the platform or between the researcher and respondents. Our team is working closely with researchers and listens to their needs to ensure that the PPGIS solution aids them with stakeholder engagement and data collection.
Maptionnaire for Stakeholder Engagement
Maptionnaire helps researchers to better understand local stakeholders and literally map out the conflicts and land- or sea-use practices. The results of these PPGIS studies in individual hubs will be used for municipal land-use decision-making. At the same time, this data helps increase mutual understanding and build a conversation between stakeholders. Because only together we can implement the EU policy for the Arctic.
In a nutshell, Maptionnaire is used for:
- engaging stakeholders and residents in decision-making
- reaching out to stakeholders of different backgrounds, for example, local residents, seasonal residents and workers, land-owners, and migrants of migrant background
- co-creating solutions with stakeholders that allow various industries to co-exist
- communicating about the project and its progress
- gathering data with spatial surveys
- supporting engagement and data collection during in-person meetings
- analyzing and using this data for further research and conflict resolution.
For example, in Inari, Finland, researchers will continue using Maptionnaire to discuss land-use conflicts and possible solutions with forest owners and reindeer herders. In Nuuk, Greenland, researchers invite stakeholders — from ministry employees to local actors — to participate already in the process of survey creation.
On the Faroe Islands, Maptionnaire’s PPGIS solution has been used for studying local perspectives on the emerging industries (aquaculture and tourism). Similarly in Varangerfjord, Norway, PPGIS is the main method for measuring local opinions on the emerging industries.
In the next steps, Maptionnaire will be a platform for engaging the youth in discussing the impact of these industries and planning future solutions, as well as a tool for SLO (social license to operate) analysis.