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Habitability is a concept to measure and develop the attractiveness of an island. The process creates new ideas and practical possibilities, and it sets the stage of change. Being habitable is existential for an island to attract a resident population in a sustainable way.

Skärgårdsinstitutet vid Åbo Akademi administrates training courses for Habitability facilitators with the start from the spring 2021. The first pilot course starts in April 2021, it will be a distance course held in English. The outcome of this course is an up to date image of the habitability of a small island: facts, strong and weak aspects, perceived and possible perspectives. How can this image and knowledge be used to find common grounds for vital development?


Background – the example of Kökar

On the island of Kökar in the Baltic Sea, the islanders were struggling to describe their sustainability but realized habitability over-rules sustainability: there must be jobs, housing, kids, schools, healthcare, ferries and safety to consider a small island capable of taking care of its people, its nature and the surrounding sea.

The islanders defined their habitability by 40 indicators arranged in seven areas. Inspired by MEP Tonino Picula, they especially developed the energy area and are, thanks to EU-funding and their solid and innovative habitability frame­work, turning their island fossil free.

The process includes islanders of different categories as well as external experts. It creates new ideas and practical possibilities on how to develop the habitability of an island, and it sets the stage for change.

More about Kökar’s habitability analyse (in Swedish) on Kökar’s webpages.


Aims and objectives

The aim of the course is to train 12–20 facilitators on smaller islands, preferably two or more persons per island, or one plus one from islands working closely together.

The participants will:

  • Learn about the decisive characteristics of small island societies.
  • Understand the importance of engaging their fellow islanders in the work, using both formal and informal processes.
  • Be able to make a habitability analysis of their island, including setting up new indicators if needed.
  • Know how to integrate the habitability index in a change process based on the methods for the Six Thinking Hats.

After having managed a project and acquired experiences of their own, the participants will be invited to a feedback session to discuss and improve the index and their own their ability in using it. This will presumably take place in the spring of 2022.



The course consists of five parts with online sessions of three hours each. In between the participants study on their own (literature, assignments, and individual feedback).


April 6 – The Change Processes.
April 20 – The Habitability Index.
May 4 – Serious Creativity.
May 21 – Action Plan.
June 4 – Evaluation and general feedback.

Course teacher and lecturers.


Practical details

Participant Criteria: For the selection of participants, a short motivation text (approx. 1 000–2 000 characters) including a preliminary description of the case island (included in the application form).

Costs: A course fee of 150€ per person applies for all participants.

Credits: A complete fulfillment of the course will generate a diploma/certificate.



Deadline for course registration is March 28, 2021. Click here for the registration form.



If you have questions about the course, do not hesitate to contact us!
For questions about the content of the course: christian@pleijel.ax.
For any practical question: pia.prost@abo.fi.

Course flyer (pdf).


The course is financed by the Nordic Board of Ministers Archipelago Cooperation, Island policy in Finland (SANK), Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament (S&D) and MEP Tonino Picula.


Logo för Nordiska skärgårdssamarbetet. Sverige, Åland, Finland.

Logo: Saaristoasiain neuvottelukunta - Skärgårdsdelegationen.

Logo showing S&D.

Logo: Tonino Picula.









In co-operation with:





Logo with text Pokret Otoka.Åbo Akademis engelska logotyp i rött


Updated 6.4.2021