More Than Just Hi-Tech Oulu has ambitious plans for urban development, healthcare, education, tourism and logistics – and that’s just for starters O ulu is the “hi-tech heaven of the North”, but the City is eager to take it to the next level. In April 2017, the City Council approved the new ‘City Centre Vision 2040’ which will guide the development onwards over the coming years and decades. “Boosting the vitality of the community is the big goal here,” says City Master Plan Manager Paula Paajanen. She adds that it is especially positive about the Vision that it lists actual actions. “We move straight on to making them reality,” she says. One such project is the revitalisation of the railway station quarter. Director Mauri Sahi from the state-owned Senate Properties says that the area in question holds a lot of potential: “The excellent location in the city core provides plenty of opportunities to boost the appeal and vitality of the city,” he believes. Senate and VR Group are the main landowners in the area and committed to building something great. “We’re proceeding with the winning entry from the recent planning contest to see how to develop the area in the best possible way,” Sahi says, adding that the zoning process could kick off in spring 2018. 42 Nordicum Power of Partnerships Marko Lind, head of Technopolis Oulu, says that the business climate of the city is in fine form - and keeps improving. Technopolis leases premises to companies and has noticed, to its delight, that the market is heating up in the North. Lind explains that as Nokia ramped down its local operations a few years ago, the hi-tech professionals formerly employed by the mobile phone giant hit the ground running – almost literally – starting their own companies and forging partnerships. "Now we can see that via collaboration, the seeds for all kinds of opportunities were sown," Lind says. In addition, the planning for Phase II of Technopolis' Sepänkatu premises – totalling 9,000 square metre – is presently underway. "Demand for office space in the city centre looks good and several leasing negotiations are currently going on." CEO Heikki Hiltunen from iLOQ says that out of the company's 100 employees, the majority works at the Oulu headquarters. "Our research & development, logistics and administration are all there," Hiltunen says. iLOQ is a maker of next-gen smart locking systems that are very much in demand right now – and the company is constantly looking for fresh talent to join its ranks. "We are getting quality applications, but we have to work hard at recruiting since there are other hi-tech companies interested in these experts, too." In addition to stellar work force, Hiltunen praises the local mindset of doing things together. "iLOQ was founded in Oulu, and we feel the city has a well-earned reputation as a hi-tech city where various forms of cooperation can be explored." Hospital of the Future “The Capital of Northern Scandinavia” has a lot of top-notch expertise is in healthcare and life sciences. In 2012, there was a renewal programme – by the name of Hospital of the Future 2030 – that kicked off to upgrade healthcare-related real estate and their functions for the new century. The programme will require investments to the tune of EUR 500 million in the coming years. On November 30, 2017, the project took a significant step as the contract to build the first part of the programme – a hospital for women and children as well as the core hospital itself – was signed by alliance partners.