Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 15

From left to right Terhi Tikkanen-Lindström and Risto Jounila. to make way for a better system from the point of view of the citizens. Urban solutions are, after all, what the people want,” he says. Terhi Tikkanen-Lindström says that zoning has often been too one-sided: urban planning should encompass more than just residential production. She feels that due to cyclopean zoning policies, a considerable chance has been missed: “Urbanism can provide competitive edge in a tough economy. So far, we have not explored this opportunity in Finland.” tors just like traffic capacity did in the 20th century. “Through city boulevards, the environment favoured by the new economy would be significantly enhanced. Even more significant is the fact that these new economy jobs will not arise in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area at all, if the boulevards are not implemented,” says Holopainen. Still, even as many things are changing – even dramatically – some things stay the same. Jorma Mäntynen feels that economy and technology are the key drives in ushering in this new era, but for every action there is a reaction of some kind: “Attitudes take time to change, and so do infrastructure and means of mobility such as cars. This means that we can not only look at what’s new or being developed right this moment, but, instead, take full inventory of the existing resources and optimise their proper use.” Core Competence Engaging Espoo Another example of WSP Finland’s urban prowess is its recent cooperation with Espoo which is eager to enhance its urban appeal. Espoo has an urban policy that revolves around its five city centres, namely Lep- Make It Big? Teemu Holopainen adds that while big community development projects have kicked off around Helsinki, for instance, attraction is not created via scale of a project alone: there are plenty of examples from history where ambitious visions failed to resonate with the citizens. “If one wants to increase the urban appeal, project management must be taken into another level entirely,” he says, calling for a true paradigm shift here. Jorma Mäntynen is concerned that if Finland does not improve its track record in the urban arena, it will fall behind in the international race. “As people travel from one country to the next more than ever, it is clear that the bar for urban environments is set high,” he says, adding that e.g. Central European city milieus offer fine benchmarks, but Finland does not have to settle for copycat practices. “For one, utilising nature in the urban framework could be a distinguishing factor.” O Photo: WSP WSP has plenty of expertise in this field, having, for instance, won the 2015 Municipal Engineering Achievement Award for its work ‘A goal-oriented impact assessment of city boulevards’, which relates to Helsinki’s city master plan. Timo Kärkinen observes that developing city centres is, indeed, challenging, if traditional ways of thinking are followed. Moreover, in current traffic assessment practices, there are “a number of shortcomings” in assessing the meaningfulness of measures that change the community structure. “In the impact assessment, we questioned the traditional mindset and began to apply traffic modelling ‘backwards’ using the so-called back-casting method – showing, in the end, what measures are required for the successful development of city centres,” says Kärkinen. Teemu Holopainen says that in the impact assessment, one planning objective is to increase population numbers and economic vitality, which will also increase employment, cultural attractions and the region’s attractiveness. “Traditional assessment is not able to take this into account. For this, we had to develop our own assessment method and the concept ‘urban capacity’ alongside traditional transport capacity,” he explains. päv