“When you’re adding 8,000 people every year, it’s no easy job securing sus- tainable growth,” Vapaavuori points out, adding that there are many social, ecologi- cal and economic aspects to consider here. Maintaining a careful balance via solid plan- ning is vital in fighting inequality: “Polarization is a problem that often hits cities the hardest. Helsinki, however, has been a text book example in avoiding 14 Nordicum the traps of polarization,” he says, noting that there’s isn’t a “bad neighborhood” any- where in the capital. Winning Culture Helsinki is young, too. The average age for a Helsinki resident is only 28 years old. How does it feel to be the Mayor of all those Millennials? “It feels great! I only wish I was that young,” Vapaavuori, age 53, grins. Vapaavuori, a former minister and a long-time politician, has been the Mayor now for a year – and seems to enjoy every hectic minute. His forte is wrestling with practical questions where the results mate- rialize quickly – and admits to being impatient when processes drag on indefi- nitely.