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Division of Biogeoscience
Division of Geology and Geochemistry
Division of Urban Geograpahy and Regional Studies
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(Gustaf Hällströmin katu 2a)
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

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Institute of Seismology

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FI-00014 University of Helsinki

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Meet the Researchers

Photo: Tino Johansson

Innovation and regional (economic) development

Ph.D. student Teemu Makkonen
Division of Geography

Photo: Teemu Makkonen


Variations in regional development and the resulting cumulative differences in locational economic conditions are basically carried forward by technological development together with spatial concentrations of production and finance and it is frequently stated that innovation is a key driver of economic growth. Therefore, it is interesting to examine the effects of innovation on regional (economic) development.

However, despite the growing literature on innovation, there does not seem to be a generally accepted indicator for innovation which could be claimed to be superior. Therefore I use several innovation measures to comprise more robust indicator of `innovation´ compared to single variables to test the main hypothesis of my work: innovation and regional (economic) development indicators in individual regions (in the European Union and Finland in particular) are interlinked and statistically collinear.

World view has impacts on land cover

Ph.D. Student Nina Himberg
Division of Geography

Indigenous forests are globally depleting despite the various conservation and development programs. Both economic and population growth place enormous demands on natural resources, and fresh means for sustainable resource management are seeked by sourcing from the traditional knowledge base of the people living in a vulnerable area. In some cases one traditional means beats a truck full of modern ones, while in other cases it might be outdated and even harmful for its surrounds. Traditional ecological knowledge can be applied upgrading livelihoods (multiple use of forests, sustainable land use), conservation programs and cultural revival efforts. Taita Hills in Kenya is an example of a place, where an African, traditional world view is mixed with western thinking and Christian values. Taita people try to balance between the area given to food production and forest with water retention function. Fields are minimal in size, but the forest relicts are needed for practicing traditional rituals. Many questions still get their answers from ancestor spirits in scull caves and a prolonged drought reawakens need for rainmaking rituals. However, many farmers have sacrificed these sacred groves on the altar of food and timber production or destroyed the places since considered pagan.

My aim is to create a tradition database that can help in understanding the forest use and its change in Taita. The voice of Taita people and their knowledge and perceptions form the greater part of the study, which is important while striving to combine enhanced livelihoods and nature conservation.

More information about Taita-project

Photo: Nina Himberg