Research and Development

Development activities

A women with a notepad

A partner in development

The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (AFLRA) partners with local authorities in development. We undertake research, development and innovation (RDI) activities to promote the modernisation of local authorities and the entire local government sector. We want to support cities and municipalities in renewing themselves in a sustainable and efficient way and in increasing their vitality and promoting the wellbeing and engagement of local residents. Our strategic choices guide the work we do:

  • Staying one step ahead
  • Cooperation across boundaries
  • Open operation culture.

To this end we collaborate widely in networks with various cities, municipalities, local government sector actors and researchers. Through networking we want to make room for diverse views and engage in cooperation and dialogue that value experience and knowledge.

Cities and municipalities at the core of everything we do

About 150 cities and municipalities of different types from across Finland are annually actively involved in the AFLRA’s RDI activities. Our extensive cooperation with different types of local authorities allows us to genuinely focus on their individual development needs in the varying environments in which they operate. Thus, we are also able to take account of the needs of the increasingly divergent local government sector.

In addition to its own research and development projects, the AFLRA engages extensively in many projects which are carried out by other organisations for the development of the local government sector. Cooperation with higher education institutions and other research institutes builds a foundation for sustainable and reliable forward-looking development work.

Focus on municipal divergence and renewal

Local authorities are in the midst of major changes. Their innovativeness and capacity for renewal depend on their ability to identify trends that have a major impact on cities and municipalities and to find creative solutions to them. Our task is to promote the development of local authorities to enable them to work towards the well-being of municipal residents in an optimal way.

In the coming years, we will prioritise development activities related to digitalisation, climate change, urbanisation and regional differentiation, inequality and democratic change. The goal is that cities and municipalities are communities which encourage and promote participation, democracy, culture and vitality more strongly than ever.

Results can be widely used

The aim of our RDI activities is that the results can be widely used across the local government sector. More far-reaching impacts are achieved when promising operating models are more extensively introduced in different types of cities and municipalities. Such broader use can create wide-ranging economic and social impacts. It is therefore important that development activities are carried out with different types of and diverging local authorities. We also use the results of the RDI activities in our advocacy work, for example to influence legislative preparation.

We provide information on the RDI activities on our website and in social media, our networks and various events.

See also:

The AFLRA’s strategy