Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 47

Photos: Finnish Transport Agency beyond national borders,” Aro says, while adding that the so-called Northern Growth Corridor from Stockholm to Turku is the first serious attempt at this. In the future, it may be viable to build a growth corridor between Helsinki and Tallinn, too – via a tunnel under the sea. “Looking around the Nordics, an appropriate benchmark might be the Copenhagen – Malmo area, where everyday life still runs smoothly, even if it concerns two countries, Denmark and Sweden.” Time to Move Back in Finland, it is clear that not all communities are created equal. For instance, Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and Lahti – and their respective regions – continue to increase their appeal, while areas further removed from south and southwest Finland are feeling the sting. Timo Aro comments that the reasons behind this trend are a legion, dealing with issues such as urbani- sation, mobility, demographics, traffic corridor zone approach, international concerns… ”All of these forces for change encourage centralisation in the regional structure. South and southwest Finland, taken as one entity, forms a natural, functional area, since the greatest concentrations of inhabitants and jobs are to be found right there.” Aro points out that as traffic infrastructure and growth corridors keep on evolving, this “power region” only improves in accessibility and reach, eventually becoming a unified labour area. “At the moment, about 3.2 million Finns – almost 60 percent of the population – live within 90 minutes’ travel from downtown Helsinki, Tampere or Turku,” observes Aro, himself a native of west coast Pori. He believes that the appeal of this core area will continue to increase, due to transitional forces in the regional structure, the convenient combination of both “soft” and “hard” attraction factors and economy of scale. Work Comes First But let’s pause here for a second and take stock of the factors of attraction – both hard and soft. Aro explains that work – or rather, potential for employment – has been the true, hard-as-nails factor in the equation for a long time. Still today, there’s no replacing work as the primary shot-caller in migration, but over the years other things have emerged as well. Research has identified such factors as image, atmosphere, availability of services, safety and convenience to create “pull” for a location. “During the 2010’s, there have been more and more indicators that in certain sectors companies opt to go where there’s skilled labour available. This becomes highlighted in the creative industries and those fields rooted on know-how as there are expertise clusters which give productivity a considerable boost,” Aro says, pointing out that cities that feature schools for higher education have a leg up in the race – and this advantage will only grow in the future. Nordicum 45