Regional Alternatives: the Finnish Case

  • Heikki Eskelinen


Although the paradigm crisis of regional planning(1) is, in many respects,a global phenomenon, its manifestation and its potential solutions are, of course, influenced by country-specific factors, too. In Finland, socio-economic development has been influenced by its very peripheral history within Enrope, severe climate and long distance from major centres, these being the most obvious characteristics.


Regional Development Free Trade Regional Policy Severe Climate Regional Alternative 
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  1. 1.
    In John Friedmann and Clyde Weaver, Territory and Function: The Evolution of Regional Planning (London: Edward Arnold, 1979), this is summarised as follows: ‘Thus at the very moment when regional planning appears to be accepted almost universally, established doctrine is being shaken at its very roots.’Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On the structural characteristics of the Finnish economy and on its historical position in the international division of labour, see, for example, Kimmo Kiljunen, ‘Finland in the international division of labour’, in D. Seers, B. Schaffer and M. Kiljunen (eds), Underdeveloped Enrope: Studies in Core—Periphery Relations (Hassocks: Harvester Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  3. and Risto Alapuro, Finland: An Interface Periphery, Research Group for Comparative Sociology, University of Helsinki, Research Report no. 25 (1980).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    For an analysis of the dominant trends in Finnish economic and social policies and independence, see Jussi Raumolin, ‘Development problems in the Scandinavian periphery’, IFDA Dossier 22 (March/April 1981).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    On regional development in Finland in the first decades see, for example, Briitta Koskiaho, ‘Regional development: the case of Finland’, in A. Kuklinski, O. Kultalahti and B. Koskiaho (eds), Regional Dynamics of Socioeconomic Change (Tampere: Finnpublishers, 1979); and on regional policy, Olli Kultalahti, ‘Regional policy and regional studies in Finland’, in Kuklinski et al., ibid. The establishment of the State Planning Office in the 1950s was the first attempt to coordinate the separate measures affecting regional development, but its practical significance was small.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Finland has had varying experiences with Enropean economic integration. The EFTA period which started in 1961 coincided with the regional concentration of activities, but this trend has not continued during the free trade with the EEC which started in 1974. In the latter case, the transition to free trade is, however, still underway. For future prospects of the EEC, see Dudley Seers and Constantine Vaitsos (eds), Integration and Unequal Development: The Experience of the EEC (London: Macmillan, 1980).Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    See, for example, Kjell Öström, Blandekonomi, statskapitalism eller militant regionalism (Luleå: Skrivarforlaget, 1980)Google Scholar
  8. and W. Stöhr and F. Tödtling, ‘Spatial equity: some antitheses to current regional development doctrine’, in H. Folmer and J. Oosterhaven (eds), Spatial Inequalities and Regional Development (Boston, Mass.: Martinus Nijhoff, 1979).Google Scholar

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© Dudley Seers and Kjell Öström 1983

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  • Heikki Eskelinen

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