Tomas Hanell

Senior Research Fellow +358 40 120 4573; +358 45 651 9120

D.Sc (Tech)

  • Domestic migration
  • Regional development
  • Geography of quality of life
  • Statistical indicators and the politics of measurement



My background is in human geography. I have worked multidisciplinarily in a large number of projects pertaining to regional development and strategic spatial planning in Finland, the Nordic countries, the Baltic Sea region and Europe. Although my background lies in human geography, my previous research also encompasses for instance economics, sociology, social psychology, land use planning or regional development and regional policy. I am primarily a quantitative researcher. In recent years, I have increasingly focused my research on subjective, experience-based data and the new analytical possibilities it brings about. My responsibility at the Migration Institute of Finland relates to internal migration and regional development.

Essential publications

Saittakari, I., Ritvala, T., Piekkari, R., Kähäri, P., Moisio, S., Hanell, T. & Beugelsdijk, S. (2023). A review of location, politics, and the multinational corporation: Bringing political geography into international business. Journal of International Business Studies, Online first, 1–27.

Bäcklund, P., Kanninen, V. & Hanell, T. (2023) Accepting Depoliticisation? Council Members’ Attitudes Towards Public-Public Contracts in Spatial Planning. Planning Theory & Practice, Online first, 1-17.

Hanell, T., Makkonen, T. and Rauhut, D. (2022). Guest Editorial: Geographies of Well-Being and Quality of Life. Social Indicators Research, Online first, pp.1-10.

Hanell, T. (2022). Unmet aspirations and urban malaise. Social Indicators Research, Online first, pp.1-21.

Hanell, T. (2019). Hyvästä rengistä huonoksi isännäksi: kvantifikaatioimperatiivi yhdyskuntasuunnittelussa. Yhdyskuntasuunnittelu, 57(3), pp.9-23.

Cebotari, S., Hanell, T., & Lang, T. (2019). Translating Scientific Results: Encouraging Reflective Policies as a Chance for Change. In Lang, T., & Görmar, F. (Eds.). New Geographies of Europe. Regional and Local Development in Times of Polarisation. Springer Verlag.

Hanell, T. (2018). Regional Quality of Life in the EU. Comprehending the European space beyond GDP through the capability approach. Aalto University Publication Series, 190/2018.

Hanell, T. (2015). Measuring Territorial Cohesion: a macro regional approach, in Lang & Al.: New Geographies of Central and Eastern Europe. Socio-Spatial Polarization and Peripheralization in a Rapidly Changing Region, Palgrave-McMillan: London.

Hanell, T. (2012). Trapped between concentration and cohesion? – Overcoming the dichotomous nature of strategic spatial development within the Baltic Sea Region, Europa XXI, Vol. 22/2012, pp. 51-64.

Schürmann, C., Dubois, A., Gloersen, E., Grasland, C., Hanell, T., & Zanin, C. (2008). Disparitäten und Kohäsion in Europa. Eine Untersuchung regionaler Entwicklungsunterschiede innerhalb der EU. RaumPlanung, No. 136, February 2008, pp. 27-31.

Hanell, T. (2007). Processes of Convergence and Polarisation in Europe, in: European Commission, Directorate General Internal Policies of the Union: Regional Disparities and Cohesion: What Strategies for the Future, IP/B/REGI/2006_201, Brussels.