Nordicum - Real Estate Annual Finland 2016 - Page 58

Destination: Aviapolis Vantaa is building the blueprint for a next-gen Airport City The odds are, the first thing you’ll see of Finland is the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport. There are 70,000 passengers going through the airport daily – but that’s just half the story. Just outside the terminals, there’s an entire Airport City taking shape. V antaa’s master concept for the “aerotropolis” of the future is Aviapolis which combines business edge with residential reach. Hannu Penttilä, Deputy Mayor for the City of Vantaa, says that airport and its environs are quite unique in international comparison: “We have integrated the airport very closely to the community structure, whereas elsewhere, the airports are rather removed from downtown areas.” The trick, Penttilä reveals, is in careful consideration of the challenges posed by constant air traffic, and, most notably, by the noise generated by those big, big planes. The City has identified “noise-free pockets” all around the airport and really capitalised on those in terms of residential construction. Strategy Comes First According to Penttilä, just about anything is possible via thorough planning – and that is exactly what the City wants to do. The City has drawn out a master plan for the future development of Aviapolis, calling for a human-scale community, where walkability is a big element. “In addition to car traffic, there must be plenty of pedestrian appeal, too,” Penttilä says. The Airport City of tomorrow will be ecologically and culturally sustainable, and a true destination of its own right. “The Airport City concept should be extremely appealing also from the point of view of innovators, since this is a great area for the introduction of totally new things,” Penttilä says. jobs) – but still, Penttilä believes that Vantaa’s Airport City can trump all of these. “We have a setting with all the required services, where the distances are short and logistics very smooth indeed. The ‘bonus,’ so to speak, is Europe’s most convenient access to Asia. It’s simply a combination that is hard to beat,” Penttilä sums up. Best in the World? Going Global In the future, the new Veromies District – located just off the airport – will feature 20,000 people. According to the plans, by 2025, the entire Aviapolis area will house up to 23,000 people. “All and all, we are building the best airport city in the world,” says Penttilä, who has studied the formula for a successful “winged city” all around the Europe. He refers to Manchester as one example of delivering an effective package, as well as Schipol and Zürich (especially in terms of Photo: Innovarc Oy 56 Nordicum Against this backdrop, it is not hard to see why companies – big and small – are flocking to Aviapolis. For years, Aviapolis has demonstrated the biggest growth in jobs in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. At Vantaa, Aviapolis is in a league of its own: during the last ten years, 65 % of all new jobs have materialised in Aviapolis. “Currently, Aviapolis holds over 20,000 jobs and is a clear favourite for internationally-minded companies who simply need to be connected,” Penttilä says, adding that the City is aiming for 40,000 jobs in the area in the coming decade. Ride the Rail Connectivity is not all about wings, either. On July 1, 2015, the new Ring Rail Line opened, providing an effective rail link between Helsinki city center, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport and the rest of the country. While introducing five new stations – Vehkala, Kivistö, Aviapolis, Airport and Leinelä – the Ring Rail offers Vantaa plenty of opportunities to solidify the urban structure. “The Ring Rail Line has re-energised the scene, providing a much needed push for not only mass transport but also community development.” O