Sunday, 23 January, 2022

Grow through Activating Local Potential


Contents

  1. Introduction. 5
  2. Froya. 19
  3. Aurland. 25
  4. Trysil. 34
  5. Afjord. 43
  6. Vang. 49
  7. Lerdal. 58
  8. Trena. 66
  9. Gloppen. 75
  10. Roros. 83
  11. Inderoy. 90
  12. Keys to success. 98
  13. Literature. 100
  14. Application. 101

1. Introduction

1.1 Context

GALOP is an EEA funded project aiming at creating local growth in rural Bulgaria through activating the local potential in some carefully selected Bulgarian municipalities. The pro-ject is a collaboration between Norwegian and Bulgarian partners, based on a hypothesis that Bulgarian municipalities and local communities can develop suitable development models inspired by successful Norwegian experiences. For many years, the Telemark Research Institute (hereinafter abbreviated TRI) has con-ducted studies on how to succeed with regional development. TRI has studied municipali-ties and local communities for decades and gained a solid understanding of important premises and effective strategies for activating the local potential and creating growth. When KS looked for a Norwegian partner for the GALOP project, TRI was chosen, pri-marily because of our former systematic examination of socalled ‘successful rural munic-ipalities’. In this report, we present a portfolio of Norwegian municipalities that have worked systematically with place making and managed to make a positive turnaround - from decline to growth. However, it is a long way from Norway to Bulgaria. The political system, the democratic traditions, the financial instruments, the local challenges, the culture – all of which must be carefully considered when transferring value and relevance between the two countries. Our knowledge of Bulgaria is limited. When we in the following present a selection of Norwegian cases, we do not know if and how they resonate in a Bulgarian context, but hopefully, they will serve as inspiration for the selected Bulgarian municipalities.

For many years, the Telemark Research Institute (hereinafter "IIT") has been conducting research on how to succeed in regional development. IIT has been studying municipalities and local communities for decades and gaining a solid understanding of the important prerequisites and effective strategies for activating local potential and creating growth. When KS sought a Norwegian partner for the GALOP project, IIT was chosen, mainly due to our previous systematic review of so-called "successful rural municipalities". In this report, we present a portfolio of Norwegian municipalities that have worked systematically to create places and have managed to achieve a positive turnaround from a decline to growth in general or in certain areas.

Norway, however, is far from Bulgaria, and there are clear differences in political systems, democratic traditions, financial instruments, local challenges, culture - all of which must be carefully considered when transferring value and significance between the two countries. Our knowledge of Bulgaria is limited, so when we present selected Norwegian cases, we do not know how they resonate in the context of Bulgaria, but we hope that they will serve as inspiration for municipalities, officials and politicians in Bulgaria.

1.2 The Norwegian context

In this section, we give a short introduction to the Norwegian context. Norwegian society has a relative long democratic tradition and is very egalitarian – sometimes to a degree for-eigners find exceptional and unfamiliar. Norway has three levels of government: state, county (11 County Authorities) and local level (356 municipalities). The main municipal responsibilities include education (primary and lower secondary schools and kindergar-tens), primary health care (care for the elderly and disabled), social services, local plan-ning, agricultural issues, environmental issues, local roads, harbours, water supply, local security and preparedness, water supply, sewerage and waste, culture and business devel-opment. Compared to for example Sweden, Norway has led a conscious and active policy on development in rural areas. Norway is, therefore, less centralized than our neighbor. Since 2013, Norway has had a Coalition Government led by the Conservative Party. This party has an active policy on entrepreneurship, startups, private ownership and enterprises. The level of trust is generally high in Norway, and the habit of interactions and coopera-tion between different sectors and levels in the political and administrative system, is high-ly integrated on all levels (see App.XNUMX. as an example of how this statement is valid when it comes to municipalities and their most important collaborators for business development). Important development strategies and agreements are achieved through both formal and informal networks, corruption is however unusual. The Norwegian development strategies rely heavily on the possibility of working towards shared goals regardless of sector or po-litical parties. The strategies are reflecting a societal system where everybody involved has the same possibility of being creative, voice their suggestions and to be taken seriously. That said, the Norwegian society is at the same time regulated by laws and bureaucracy on many levels. For example, there is a rather complex regulation in favor of open consulta-tion processes to secure the involvement of all stakeholders and which commits govern-mental authorities to assess their input. One essential dimension of community planning and place making in Norwegian munici-palities is to prepare and decide plans. One of the key tasks of a newly elected council is therefore to make a municipal planning strategy. There are separate plans for urban and rural planning/place making and business development. Most municipalities have a sepa-rate plan for business development, whereas place making is part of the municipal master plan. Place making is a more bureaucratic process, where the political boards and the ad-ministration in the municipality are doing the strategic work more or less alone. Business development is, on the other hand, a more complex process where many different actors are involved in the process and institutions outside the municipal administration have an impact. An earlier study of important collaborators for Norwegian municipalities concerning busi-ness development shows that most municipal councilmen regard Innovation Norway (IN) as their most important development partner (Moen XNUMX). Innovation Norway is a state- and county-owned company and a national development bank with regional offices, pro-grams and goals concerning the different Norwegian regions. In table XNUMX, we have summa-rized the most important actors supporting local level business development in Norwegian Municipalities and what roles they have (see also appendix XNUMX).

The level of trust is generally high in Norway, with a highly integrated tradition of interaction and cooperation between different sectors and levels in the political and administrative system (see Annex 1 as an example of how this statement is valid when it comes to municipalities and their most important associates for business development). Important development strategies and agreements are reached through both formal and informal networks; corruption, however, is atypical. Norwegian development strategies rely heavily on this cross-sectoral trust and the ability to work towards common goals, regardless of the sector or political parties. The strategies reflect a social system in which all participants have an equal opportunity to be creative, to express their suggestions and to be taken seriously.

In this situation, Norwegian society is regulated by both laws and bureaucracy at many levels. For example, there is a rather complex regulation in favor of open consultation processes in order to ensure the participation of all stakeholders, which obliges public authorities to assess their contribution.

An essential dimension of urban planning and the creation of places in Norwegian municipalities is the preparation and decision-making of plans. Therefore, one of the key tasks of the newly elected council is to develop a municipal planning strategy. There are separate plans for urban planning and landscaping / business development. Most municipalities have a separate business development plan, while the creation of places is part of the municipal master plan. The creation of seats is a more bureaucratic process in which the political committees and the administration in the municipality do strategic work more or less independently. On the other hand, business development is a more complex process involving many different actors, and institutions outside the municipal administration have an impact.

A previous survey of important business development assistants for Norwegian municipalities shows that most municipal councilors consider Innovation Norway (IN) to be their most important development partner (Moen 2011). Innovation Norway is a company and national development bank owned by the state and administrative districts, with regional offices, programs and development goals in the various Norwegian regions.

Cooperation between the municipality and other local actors requires trust between governmental and non-governmental actors. We need a municipality with a high coefficient of legitimacy and trust between private entrepreneurs. In the next few paragraphs, we summarized the most important actors supporting local business development in Norwegian municipalities and their roles (the summary is based on Angell et al. 2016; Vareide et al. 2019. See also Annex 1).

Ministry of Local Government and Modernization (KMD) has the primary responsibility of the state level of government for regional and local development policy. His main areas of responsibility are:[1]

  • General conditions of the legal and fiscal framework for local and regional authorities
  • Rural and regional policy
  • Housing and construction policy
  • The policy of planning and distribution of activities by groups
  • State policy regarding staff and employers
  • The buildings and general services of the central government
  • ICT policy and public sector reform
  • Themselves (indigenous people) and minorities
  • Public administration and protection of privacy
  • Administration and communication

In particular, the Ministry has a specific responsibility for the preparation and implementation of narrow government policy on rural areas and overall responsibility for the coordination of wide government policy in rural areas. The narrow policy refers to initiatives and programs directly related to rural areas, while the broad policy refers to all actions in various administrations, ministries and agencies that could have an impact on rural development.

There is a wide range of specialized agencies and bodies in the Norwegian administrative system. They are authorized or assigned to carry out their activities by one or more higher ministries (as subordinate agencies or as so-called associated bodies). There are also a number of administrative bodies of regional and local government. In principle, the ministry is responsible for policy development, while day-to-day administration is delegated to subordinate or affiliated state or self-government bodies (Angell et al 2016: 15). For example, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization allocates funds for regional development to district governments, which in turn allocate these funds to many different local business development initiatives in administrative areas on the basis of applications. Funds for regional development are distributed by administrative areas according to centrality. This means that district administrations with a large number of municipalities in rural areas have access to larger development funds compared to more central district administrations.

The Rural Development Expert Center (Distriktssenteret / CCRD) is a national government agency, a subsidiary of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, dedicated to strengthening the capacity of rural municipalities and regions to develop attractive communities. The organization's goal is to inspire and support local development forces and contribute to policy-making at the state level. The CCRD does not conduct research alone, but is responsible for initiating research and for transmitting and disseminating knowledge based on research and local experience. Their target groups are municipalities, district governments and other actors with political and administrative responsibility for rural development. However, the priority of the CCRD is small and medium-sized municipalities, mainly - as the name suggests - in rural areas. The aim is to strengthen the ability of municipalities to develop attractive local communities with potential for growth. This implies developing knowledge on how local communities can become more attractive to new residents and, for example, advising rural municipalities on how they can develop a diverse choice of housing or how to better integrate new residents into the local community (Angell et al. 2016: 17).

Innovation Norway (Innovasjon Norge / IN) is a state agency co-owned by the state (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries) and district administrations (IN also allocates funds on behalf of the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization). IN has a specialized responsibility for creating value through business development and innovation throughout Norway. IN works with a wide range of tasks, initiatives and programs, measures and schemes. Their mission is threefold: entrepreneurship (to ensure that new businesses survive and thrive); business growth (to ensure that existing business grows and is competitive); and facilitating innovation. IN has several priority sectors, but the priority is different at the state and district level, depending on the regional differences and the priorities of each district administration (Angell et al 2016). One of their most important tasks is to ensure development in rural areas. Innovation Norway has regional offices covering all regions in Norway. Their development tools are large sums of grants and loans for businesses, but they also provide expertise, advice and network marketing. Innovation Norway also offers consulting, financing, expertise and networks for Norwegian participants in the tourism industry through the national destination management company "Visit Norway."

The company for industrial growth (SIVA) is a state-owned enterprise owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. SIVA aims to create a stronger environment for economic growth in rural areas through innovation, in the form of industrial gardens, knowledge parks, etc. In these areas, companies share sites and have better conditions for cooperation and the establishment of professional and social ties. An important goal is to support start-ups and entrepreneurs. SIVA invests in real estate - offices and industrial buildings - to help new businesses. SIVA is partially owned by more than one hundred innovation companies of various sizes throughout Norway and seeks to connect them to regional, national and international innovation networks. Every year, SIVA supports thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses. SIVA works closely with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council (Angell et al 2016). From 2020, as part of the ongoing reform of local and regional government in Norway, part of SIVA's responsibilities will be transferred to the district administrations.

Norwegian Research Council (NFR) is the central council for planning, initiating, coordinating and funding the Norwegian research community. Administratively, it is part of the Ministry of Education and Research, but most ministries contribute to the funding of its activities. The Council consists of several subdivisions, including the Innovation Department, which works to implement the government's innovation policy. Research initiated and funded under general and specialized research programs sometimes influences or has objectives in the field of rural policy and regional policy (Angell et al. 2016). For example, their FORCOMUNE program funds research that aims to stimulate innovation in municipalities and districts. One of the key aspects is to strengthen cooperation between the research communities and the municipal sector in order to develop and implement more innovations. The program also aims to contribute to the sharing of knowledge and new solutions and to networking between sectors and between municipalities, the research environment, businesses and residents.

Burdened with a number of control and management responsibilities, the district governor (Fylkesmannen) is the representative of the Government of Norway in each district. The district governor is responsible for monitoring the decisions, objectives and guidelines set by the national parliament and the government. The district governor reports to the Ministry of Local Government and Modernization, but is also the sectoral governing body for a number of important policy areas. Thus, the regional governor represents several ministries, as well as directorates and central supervisory bodies, which they cover.

In addition, the district governor is an important link between municipalities and central authorities, transmitting information from top to bottom and back. The district governor's services work to eliminate or minimize the lack of coordination between central government agencies at the regional level (Angell et al. 2016: 19).

Many Norwegian municipalities in rural areas are small compared to the scale of the tasks they have to perform. As a counselor and professional support provider, the district governor's office provides competencies that may be lacking or underdeveloped in the municipality itself. With regard to rural policy and regional policy, the role of the regional governor as head of regional agricultural policy and head of regional environmental policy is of particular importance. The same could probably be said of the institution's responsibility for contingency planning (eg adaptation to climate change). With regard to land use management, the regional governor protects national interests as a competent regional body for agriculture, environment, health and emergency preparedness. Finally, the district governor controls the legality of municipal decisions under the Planning and Development Act (Angell et al. 2016).

District administrations are among the most important partners of the municipalities in the work in terms of business development. They have financial strength and, as mentioned above, allocate both state and own funds for development. Previous studies have found that the development resources available to municipalities in the district are of great importance for stimulating business development activities in municipalities (Johansen et al. 2017). The district administrations are also co-owners of Innovation Norway and are therefore involved in deciding what the priorities of the IN regional offices should be.

District governments support municipalities in several other ways. They are responsible for regional development and regional planning within the district and have expertise that is important to municipalities on issues such as public planning, statistics and analytical capacity and information exchange. Last but not least, regional governments prepare and adopt regional land use and transport plans and plans within several other policy areas. These plans provide guidelines for municipal planning and operations. In addition, district governments are often the natural link between municipalities and public institutions at regional and national level, engaged in tasks related to research, development and innovation at the local level. In other words, district governments have the role of a node in the networks of knowledge and competencies that are important for municipalities. District governments are often directly involved in both the design and implementation of municipal development projects.

There are seven in Norway Regional research funds, managed jointly by the district administrations. Therefore, district administrations have the role of participants in research policy. However, regional research funds have professional autonomy. Their aim is to stimulate research and innovation at regional level. Research funds fund research projects initiated by private and / or public organizations in the region. When they were set up about 10 years ago, these regional funding schemes represented an important development in Norwegian regional research and innovation policy, as decisions on funding research activities are now taken at regional level.

In addition, most district administrations have set up regional partnerships or networks. These partnerships often create the preconditions for regional business strategies, which are again important for municipalities. In themselves, these partnerships are not official institutions, but rather a way of coordinating the various regional or local institutions that are important for business development in the region.

There are a number research and development institutionslocated throughout Norway, such as universities, university colleges and research institutes (eg IIT). These institutions participate in local business development projects funded by national or regional research funds.

In Norway there is an extensive hierarchy of destination management companies, both at the district and regional level, which are usually at least partly publicly funded and work for the development of the regional or local tourism industry.

Most municipalities participate in inter-municipal councils. Inter-municipal councils participate in a wide range of projects related to social and business development. This includes joint business strategies, creation of meeting places and networks, measures to increase the attractiveness of the region and joint marketing. Inter-municipal councils also play an important role in coordinating municipal policies with regard to district and state authorities.

About half of the Norwegian municipalities have created their own local development companies. These companies are organized as private enterprises with full or partial municipal ownership and work for business development in municipalities and regions. Their main goals are to help create more jobs and growth in new and existing businesses, to strengthen cooperation between the municipality and local industry / business and to professionally manage development programs and processes.

Business gardens, incubators и laboratories for start-ups are different forms of sharing spaces for companies. Their aim is to stimulate innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as business development and entrepreneurship in remote and underdeveloped areas of Norway. Through these centers, companies have access to networking activities, knowledge sharing, consulting and marketing services, as well as other services related to starting a new business.

1.3 Previous studies

TRI has previously done studies highly relevant for this project. In this section, we will present three of these studies and their general conclusions. We will also include these comprehensive and thorough studies when we in the last chapter give an extract of the keys to success.

1.3.1 Attractiveness and successful municipalities in rural areas

Senior Researcher Knut Vareide from TRI has formulated the principle of attractiveness for municipalities and developed methods for analyzing it (https://regionalanalyse.no/; Vareide XNUMX). Based on numbers and statistics, he conducts analyses of municipalities and regions; which one's experience growth and succeeds in their work on the develop-ment and why? The attractiveness model seeks to explain growth and development in spe-cific places through two components: structural factors and local qualities. The local qual-ities equal the attractiveness of a place. Structural factors are external drivers that the local community has no control over, in the short term. Such factors include a favorable loca-tion in a region where the number of jobs generally are rising or a young population that leads to surplus population. Development that deviates from the expected (i.e. structural factors), is the attractiveness of a place - which could, of course, be both negative and positive. Attractiveness is, according to this model, those activities or measures put in place to increase the popularity in a certain area (local qualities), such as good schools or other services, housing opportunities, etc. Regions that manage to create attractiveness can achieve population growth despite unfa-vorable structural factors.The method is highly relying on reliable and concistent statistics of municipal numbers and economy. Today many municipalities use these analyses as a tool for selecting the right development strategy. In a previous study of local growth and development in Norway based on this method, the researchers have drawn some general conclusions regarding keys to success (Vareide et.al. XNUMX). One of the most important findings is that for rural municipalities to create growth, they have to make themselves attractive for both potential enterprises and residents. In areas where local companies can offer more jobs, the municipality needs to make sure it also is an attractive place to reside – and the other way around. New employees might set-tle in other, more attractive municipalities nearby if the municipality does not offer tempt-ing housing, activities, etc. It is indisputable that the whole community must be engaged in making the municipality attractive. Hence, it is important to have open processes engaging local industries and the civic community. The interaction between the municipality and local businesses is of great significance. In Norway, the interaction between the municipality and the voluntary sector is also important – this is of special importance for municipalities using natural and cultur-al heritage as a development strategy. The municipality’s ability to be a catalyst and mobilize local stakeholders are perhaps of greater impact than having plans, programs, and strategies of good quality. However, the use of governmental plans is also of great importance.https://regionalanalyse.no/; Vareide 2018). Based on numbers and statistics, it performs analyzes of municipalities and regions; which of them have growth and succeed in their work in terms of development and why. The attractiveness model seeks to explain the growth and development of specific places through two components: structural factors и local qualities. Local qualities are identified with the attractiveness of the place. Structural factors are external drivers over which the local community has no control, at least in the short term. Such factors include a favorable location in an area where the number of jobs is usually growing or a young population, leading to a surplus population. Developments that deviate from expectations (ie structural factors) reflect attractiveness in a given place - which, of course, can be both negative and positive. According to this model, attractiveness is the activities or measures taken to increase the popularity of a certain area (local qualities), such as good schools or other services, housing opportunities, etc.

Regions that manage to create attractiveness can achieve population growth, despite unfavorable structural factors. The method is highly dependent on the availability of reliable and consistent statistics on municipal volumes and the economy. Today, many municipalities use these analyzes as a tool for choosing the right development strategy.

In a previous study of local growth and development in Norway based on this method, researchers made some general conclusions about the keys to success (Vareide et.al. 2018). One of the most important findings is that in order to create growth, rural municipalities need to become attractive to both potential businesses and residents. In areas where local companies can offer more jobs, the municipality must make sure that it is also an attractive place to live - and vice versa. New employees can settle in other, more attractive municipalities nearby, if the municipality does not offer tempting housing, activities, etc.

It is indisputable that the whole community must be involved in order to make the municipality attractive. It is therefore important to have open processes that engage local industry and civil society. The interaction between the municipality and the local business is of great importance. In Norway, the interaction between the municipality and the voluntary sector is also important - this is particularly important for municipalities that use natural and cultural heritage as a development strategy.

The municipality's ability to be a catalyst and mobilize local stakeholders may have a greater effect than having good plans, programs and strategies. However, the use of government plans is also important.

Reputation

§  Build on local strengths

§  Be original and authentic

§  Work on your visibility - brag about what you do

Land use and construction issues

§     Build your city / municipal center - a strong municipal center can stimulate growth in the rest of your municipality

§     Map the housing needs of people of different ages and needs

§     Explore opportunities for support on construction issues from regional and national governments

§     Investigate the interest in public-private partnerships in housing projects

§     Effective management of construction applications

Public services and goods

§     Take into account the needs of citizens in the development of municipal services

§     Further develop a good living environment for citizens

§     Create economic growth based on existing local industry and comparative advantages

§     Appreciate local expertise and knowledge

§     Further develop communications and infrastructure

§     Be a good neighbor when it comes to business development. An enterprise in the neighboring municipality is good for you - and vice versa.

Local identity and culture

§     Use time and resources to build a common local culture and identity

§     Cultivate a sense of community

§     Be positive and support other people's initiatives

Culture of cooperation and change

§     Agree on common development goals

§     Use the resources in the local community and give them the opportunity to contribute on issues related to local development

§     Facilitate volunteering

§     Be brave and try new methods of cooperation

§     Dare to let go of control, take risks and fail

§     Be patient - change does not happen in one day

§     Works systematically to build trust

§     Communication is important - talk positively about things, get involved and inform each other

§     Be "prepared for luck": Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity

§     Works to create positive attitudes towards change and innovative organizational culture

Figure 1 The attractiveness model: Keywords and examples from the Norwegian context of what can be done to create local growth and development (Aastvedt, Magnussen, Vareide & Thorstensen 2019b).

Quite often, local economic growth and the availability of more jobs will be related to luck or lack thereof. However, successful municipalities are more likely to be willing to take some risk, alert and willing to take action when opportunities arise, for example through updated and well-prepared municipal plans and effective decision-making processes.

Additional key factors in building an attractive municipality in rural areas according to Vareide et.al. 2018:

  • Going from unattractive to attractive takes effort and time
  • Attractiveness is achieved through collaboration between municipalities, local industry and business, voluntary sector and others.
  • Effective and successful interaction between the municipality and other parts of society demands a high degree of trust. It is the municipality’s responsibility to establish this trust through transparent decision-making processes and open dialogue with the community.
  • Working slowly but surely to facilitate already existing local industry and business is the best strategy. Growth usually occurs within already established industries. Attempts to establish brand new industries are rarely successful.
  • Municipalities must be prepared to respond quickly and effectively when unexpected opportunities appear.
  • Municipalities must be prepared for “luck” and make sure that bureaucratic pro-cesses do not obstruct investors and entrepreneurs.

1.3.2 Local levels of trust

The level of trust in a society affects economic development and welfare (Wollebæk & Segaard 2011). Trust has been described by some as lubricating the fabric of society and allowing welfare and modern economies to function efficiently. International studies show a strong link between levels of trust and economic development when comparing different countries. Norway and the other Nordic countries are characterized by a high degree of trust, together with high productivity and welfare. In countries with a higher degree of trust, the need for control mechanisms and formalization is limited. Transaction costs are therefore lower (Torsvik 2000). It is easier to make deals, trade and collaborate with others and the economy flows faster and better. Several surveys on the concept of trust conducted by TRI, indicate a correlation between local levels of trust in a municipality and the municipality's attractiveness for business and settlement. In other words, levels of trust can help explain differences in economic growth and development, also between regions and municipalities. There needs to be trust be-tween the citizens in general, but especially between the local politicians, the municipality's employees (the bureaucracy) and the business community. How so? Well, one of the prerequisites for a place to increase its attractiveness is that key actors cooperate and co-ordinate their efforts to improve the quality of society. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to cooperate effectively in places where there is no trust between those who need to cooperate. The main dimensions when it comes to local levels of trust in a municipality are summarized in the figure below. The main point is to illustrate the importance of trust both between and within the different groups in the municipality. The level of trust these groups have to other groups and institutions outside of the municipality, such as the County Authority, neighboring municipalities, non-profit organizations and visitors are also important.

Several studies on the concept of trust conducted by IIT show a link between the local levels of trust in a municipality and the attractiveness of the municipality for business and settlement. In other words, levels of trust can help explain differences in economic growth and development, as well as between regions and municipalities. There must be trust between citizens in general, but especially between local politicians, municipal officials (bureaucracy) and the business community. How so? Well, one of the prerequisites for a place to increase its attractiveness is the key players to cooperate и to coordinate their efforts to improve the quality of society. It is more difficult, if not impossible, to cooperate effectively in places where there is no trust between those who need to cooperate.

The main dimensions when it comes to local levels of trust in a municipality are summarized in the figure below. The idea is to illustrate the importance of trust both between and within the various groups in the municipality. The level of trust that these groups have in other groups and institutions outside the municipality, such as the district administration, neighboring municipalities, non-profit organizations and visitors, is also important.

Local identity Optimism

Local politicians Municipal employees

Regional Administration

Municipality Neighboring municipalities

Business Community Volunteer Visitors

organizations (NGOs)

Local politicians Municipal employees Regional Administration
Municipality Neighboring municipalities
Business community Volunteer organizations (NGOs) Visitors
Figure 2 Illustration of the levels of trust between participants that are key to development and growth (Aastvedt, Magnussen, Vareide & Thorstensen 2019a).

First, there needs to be high levels of trust between the local business community and the municipality. The local politicians are the only ones who have the legitimacy to define goals and strategies to develop the municipality, while the municipal administration is the one who shall implement these strategies. It is obvious that if the business community lack trust in the municipality's politicians and employees, the business sector will to a small ex-tent respond positively to the municipality's development strategies and initiatives. Furthermore, municipalities that have low levels of trust between politicians and the administration will face problems in both defining and implementing a powerful development strategy.

Second, these three groups may also have different degrees of trust in themselves and between them. For example, the internal political climate is important. To what extent do the long-term goals and strategies of the municipalities have broad political support (support from political parties)? Are the politicians of the municipality committed to the goals of creating positive development? throughout municipality or many politicians are loyal mainly to specific parts of the municipality? Trust within the business community is important because it can affect the climate of cooperation between companies.

The last dimension is the level of trust between these three groups and other groups and institutions such as the district administration, neighboring municipalities, local non-profit organizations and visitors to the municipality.

In addition to trust, a strong local identity and general optimism are considered positive factors for growth and development. The municipality has a strong local identity if the citizens are proud of it, speak positively about it and use their energy to create joint growth and development instead of internal competition.

1.3.3 Creating value

TRI has examined two grand, national programs concerning value creation based on local natural and cultural resources (Haukeland & Brandtzæg 2009; 2019). These studies show that to trigger the local potential for value creation, innovation and economic development, processes of active participation from the municipal government, local business, academia, non-profit organizations and citizens is of great importance (quintuple helix model). More specifically, the following elements are highlighted:

  • Creating interaction between natural and cultural (heritage) resources
  • Cross-sectoral work (municipality, local business, volunteers and academia)
  • Involvement of the local community and local business
  • Some places require interaction and cooperation between municipalities

Municipal administration

Citizens Local business

Creating value

at the local level

Non-Profit Academic

organizations among

1.4 Methods and criteria for case detection

Our starting point for detecting relevant cases from the Norwegian context has been the already mentioned ‘attractiveness model’. It is important to underline how, according to this theory, success is tantamount to economic growth. The concept of sustainability is hence not taken into account as a success in itself, nor social or cultural improvements. Success is equal to more jobs and population growth, regardless of potential negative con-sequences in other areas. For this report, we have made a conscious selection of municipalities in Norway with high attractiveness. First, we did a national ranking among all Norwegian municipalities based on total attractivity in the period XNUMX-XNUMX. To make the cases more relevant for the Bul-garian context, we, on the one hand, removed some of the coastal municipalities where the achieved success is closely related to the fish industry and those municipalities experienc-ing growth due to immigration. On the other hand, we have added some municipalities that do not necessarily top the ranking, but still are of special relevance in this context because they have worked systematically towards activating local resources and achieved growth within certain areas. These methods and conciderations led to the following list of municipalities spread all over Norway: Aurland, Frøya, Gloppen, Inderøy, Lærdal, Røros, Trysil, Træna, Vang and Åfjord.

For this report, we have deliberately selected highly attractive municipalities in Norway. First, we made a national ranking of all Norwegian municipalities based on the overall attractiveness in the period 2011-2018. To make the cases more appropriate for the context of Bulgaria, on the one hand we removed some of the coastal municipalities where the success is closely related to the fishing industry , and those municipalities that have growth due to immigration. On the other hand, we added some municipalities that are not necessarily in first place in the ranking, but are still particularly important in this context, as they have worked systematically to activate local resources and have achieved growth in certain areas.

As a result of these methods and considerations, the following list of municipalities from all over Norway was reached: Aurland, Freya, Glopen, Inderoy, Lerdal, Roros, Trysil, Trena, Vang and Afjord.

Figure 3. Selected successful municipalities

Some of the following case descriptions rely heavily on former studies, others less. To adapt former studies to this specific context, we needed more qualitative data. The new research is done through studies of the municipal master plan, especially the social ele-ment in this, webpages and newspapers, and through interviews with central people in the municipal administration to complement this information (most often the mayor, head of development or the municipal chief executive). The purpose of this approach was to gain more detailed knowledge of methods and key strategies applied in the Norwegian devel-opment strategies. All local communities have unique resources of some kind, either these are natural or hu-man resources, landscapes or specific cultural traits. However, these resources do not gen-erate growth and positive development in and of themselves. Therefore, our question to these municipalies has been what did these municipalities do for a positive turnaround to happen, and who has been involved in the processes? In the next sections, we will give a brief description of exactly what factors have been important to reverse the negative de-velopment in these specific Norwegian municipalities. We have emphasized to shed light on the following questions: • What were the main challenges in the area? • Which resources were activated? • Which methods have been used – key actions for success? • Who have been the agents or promoters of the different successful initiatives? For each municipality, we give a short description of the context and the challenges. Then we describe the most central actors and what they have contributed to in the development, with a specific focus on the municipality. It is often hard to separate between actors and actions, these are therefor presented under the same heading. We close each case by de-scribing further plans and results.

All local communities have some kind of unique resources, be it natural or human resources, landscapes or specific cultural characteristics. However, these resources do not generate growth and positive development per se. Therefore, our question to these municipalities was what did they do to make a positive turn and who got involved in the processes? In the following sections, we will give a brief description of which factors were important to reverse the negative development in these specific Norwegian municipalities. We emphasized the clarification of the following issues:

  • What were the main challenges in the area?
  • Which resources were activated?
  • What methods were used - key actions for success?
  • Who were the actors or organizers of the various successful initiatives?

For each municipality we give a brief description of the context and challenges. Then we describe the most important participants and what they contributed to the development, with a specific focus on the municipality. It is often difficult to distinguish between actors and actions; therefore, they are presented under the same title. We conclude each case by describing further plans and results.