Helsinki sets pace for sustainable development with Kalasatama city
Construction of the Kalasatama, an old harbour area in central Helsinki is an example of the latest smart city projects in Finland. The area will host a total of 20,000 people once construction is complete.
The physical construction runs in parallel with the development of Fiksu Kalasatama, or Smart Kalasatama, which seeks to provide the area with digital services based on open data, smart solutions, waste solutions, energy grid solutions and living lab working environments through the use of common use spaces. The innovation intermediary Forum Virium has been a key driving force in the process.
The development is part of Nordic Innovation, an institution that stimulates innovation and trade between the Nordic countries. Nordic Innovation is responsible for the design and management of the Nordic Built Cities programme, running from 2015-2017. The aim of the programme is to develop, visualise and export Nordic innovative solutions for sustainable, smart and liveable cities.
Ms. Anni Sinnemäki, Deputy Mayor, and City of Helsinki told visiting journalists recently that Kalasatama is a vibrant real-life testbed for smart and clean services to be scaled up elsewhere. By the beginning of the 2030s, Kalasatama district will offer a home for approximately 20,000 residents and jobs for 8,000 people. Currently, there are 2,000 people living in the area.
“The planning of urban spaces and smart cities has received considerable attention in Finland in recent years, and several governmental initiatives and programmes have been designed to assist the development of urban spaces.
“The underlying objective behind many of these initiatives is to encourage Finnish companies to develop new solutions for smart city spaces. A key method has been to encourage the construction and development of flagship city areas,” she said.
Specifically, Helsinki has a digital public transportation service that is integrated with parking facilities. Communication tags at bus stops enable passengers to receive information about the arrival times of the next bus, tram or train and information about the weather. Passengers can purchase a travel ticket on their mobile device.
The openness and transparency of the city planning process is regarded as a key strength. Today, Finnish cities value the opportunity to involve citizens and private companies in urban planning and develop-ment.
According to Michael Funch, Project Manager COP22/Communication, “Nordic Built Cities is a competition driven bottom up project that tried to mobilise both local communities, city governments and the business community via a three step approach: first it engages citizens and municipalities in proposing sustainable development projects needed in their local community; then it engages businesses to solve these challenges, and finally it promotes an export programme of the Nordic solutions emanating from this process.”
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