Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2015 - Page 12

“Helsinki is also generally considered pretty advanced with respect to embracing environmental sustainability in its buildings and energy portfolio as well as the use of renewable diesel for its public transportation system,” adds Cohen. Start Me Up Listening to Cohen, it seems that everything in Helsinki is just about perfect and getting better – but there must be some weaknesses, too. What does Helsinki need to concentrate more in? – Cohen responds that among the EU leaders, Helsinki is behind in two things: contributing to a smart economy and improving smart transportation use and options for citizens. “For me, a key measure for a smart economy is the rate of new entrepreneurial startups in a region,” Cohen says, pointing out that cities like Berlin, London and Barcelona seem to be doing better in this arena. With respect to transport, he looks at the use of public transit, availability of shared transit options (bike and car) and of course nonmotorised transit (pedestrian and cycling) – and sees Helsinki gaining ground in this department. “Helsinki is progressing in the area of promoting the use of electric vehicles in the city, which to me is an important driver of smart mobility. Also the new personalised bus service, Kutsuplus, is a good example of municipal innovation in transit which could be adopted in other smart cities around the world.” Beyond Helsinki Boyd Cohen seems to know Helsinki very well indeed, considering that he’s only visited the city once. Having finished his Master’s Degree at the Copenhagen Business School in 1995, he is a big fan of the Nordics, however – and the Nordic capitals keep placing well in his smart city rankings. But how about the Second Cities of Finland – for instance Espoo, Turku, Tampere and Oulu? Cohen confesses that he is not too familiar with these smaller wouldbe smart cities, since most of his research focuses on global, capital cities. There are two reasons for this: first, there are simply too many cities in the world to study, so one has to focus on a smaller subset. Secondly, Cohen believes the trends which are generating such interest in sma