Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2013 - Page 48

– can be utilised to improve products and services in various fields,” Levomäki points out. Using ICT or innovative materials, it is possible to make a “tiger’s leap” in productivity – as many local companies have found out. Back to the Future In this seaside city, people have always kept their eye on the horizon. The City of Turku is trying to look into the future and explore the living trends of tomorrow by creating a new type of residential area in Skanssi district. Jouko Turto explains that the approach here is rather different: “We are working together with top international companies such as Siemens and Fujitsu to find solutions that are realistic enough to work.” The seed of the collaboration was sown three years ago with Turku’s involvement in the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Turku was selected – out of dozens of candidate cities – to participate in the programme. “These leading companies bring substance and vision into the process and the City is committed to see this thing through,” says Turto, while reluctant to use the “Living Lab” term to describe what’s going on in Skanssi. In his mind, ‘Living Lab’ projects have a tendency to fall short of impacting the real, day-to-day life of the citizens: “We are only after solutions that are viable and can really improve people’s lives,” he promises. Turku: Recommended for business and living The main focus area of Turku Science Park is biotechnology. As a national forerunner, Turku also coordinates the biotechnology cluster of Finland, HealthBIO, combining all the five biotech centres. The same focus can also be seen in real estate investments – the ambitious expansion of the Turku’s T-hospital started in 2007 and the finishing touches were delivered in 2012. The end result is, in all likelihood, the best, the most versatile hospital in North Europe. Some of the world’s best surgical talent is to be found right here, too – for example, superstar football player David Beckham flew into Turku when faced with a tough operation. ICT Evolution The other strong anchor at the Park – information and communication technology – is the second biggest business sector in Southwest Finland at the moment. ICT has been growing continuously and steadily, employing a total of 13,500 people. The Turku–Sa46 Nordicum lo region forms Finland’s strongest ICT expertise cluster outside the Helsinki metropolitan area. As Nokia has been struggling lately, many ICT experts have sought employment elsewhere – or started their own companies. Rikumatti Levomäki says that this change is felt at the Turku Science Park as well: “A new kind of ecosystem is starting to evolve right now,” he says, adding that ICT is one of those sectors which can give a boost t