Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 55

Learning Process Turku also learned a lot from the three-year Urban Infrastructure Initiative (UII), working together with international “heavy hitters” such as Siemens. Turku was, in fact, the first city to take part in the UII programme which was a key project of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). Under UII, new paradigms for urban development have been applied, and the opportunities and impact of cutting-edge technology on Turku’s development were assessed. These include, among other things, the sustainable development study for the Skanssi and Linnakaupunki residential areas, and an impact assessment for the light rail network planned for Turku. “For Linnakaupunki, we are moving ahead with the construction of the Harpoon Quarters next year,” promises Turto. Furthermore, during the UII project Siemens helped Turku along by contributing its expertise about the newest technical innovations and solutions – for example, in the areas of electric buses, smart electricity networks, and automation of building technology – to the cooperation. These solu- tions are helping to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions and energy consumption as well as lend a hand in the building of new, smart residential areas. Enter: Innovation Campus One special area in Turku that already has considerable “brain power” is Turku Science Park and the emerging “Smart Campus” all around it. Turku Science Park is already one of the biggest and oldest innovation parks in the country, but the aim is even higher: a world-class hi-tech campus that will bridge the academic and the corporate with unprecedented flair. Mikko Lehtinen, Managing Director of Turku Technology Properties, says that similar “innovation dynamos” are quite common, but they’re often missing a key ingredient, and that is flexibility. As the owner of the premises, Turku Technology Properties is able to utilise existing space in creative ways. “For the local companies, it’s not about walls and desks and an internet connection, it’s the whole ecosystem – who’s your next-door neighbour and what can you do together?” Lehtinen says. “The other thing is staying close to the companies to find out what they need. We even have banking services available.” Jouko Turto adds that what the City wants to do here goes well beyond providing premises: “We’re not interested in building mere office space; we’re interested in building communities.” Start Me Up The next phase in the evolution of the Science Park began in 2015, as the Turku University of Applied Sciences focused all its resources in the Science Park. Currently, Turku Technology Properties owns 145,000 square metres of existing premises – and the creation of full-fledged innovation campus will add even more. In the entire Turku Science Park area, there are over 250,000 square metres of completed premises. Special care is taken of start-up companies who keep flocking to the Park in record numbers: all space provided by SparkUp and Werstas programmes are currently full. “For example, at Werstas – which is our newest business incubator – there are 46 rooms and they’re all taken,” says Lehtinen. Turku is shifting to electric buses. Photo: Jari Paasikivi Nordicum 53