Browsing by Subject "urban planning"

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  • Blyth, Pascale-L. (Science Direct, 2020)
    Energy Research Social Science 70 (2020), 101574
    Arguably the most powerful artifact of the 20th century, the private car brought profound spatial, social, and cultural changes, as well as wide-ranging mobility justice implications. Autonomous mobility technologies, with the power to supplant part or all of the action of the driver by collecting and processing large quantities of fine grained data, promise to shift power away from users to engineers and create new important spatial and social implications for mobility justice, of which little are known. This research draws from Foucauldian conceptualizations adapted for the study of geographies of power to investigate how autonomous mobility technology may diagram spatial rationalities and moralities into the built environment. To that effect, it draws from 30 interviews of intermediaries in Finland–a country actively pursuing a transition to automated and shared mobility as part of an ICT-driven innovation policy. Examining autonomous mobility through a Foucauldian lens helps highlight the complex power relations it affords–in terms of changes in social structure and infrastructure, and social justice. By shedding light on how technology may structure the built environment, the Foucauldian perspective shows itself to be a valuable tool for planning and policymaking, providing insight into how autonomous mobility (in)justice may be assembled.
  • Luhtaniemi, Maria (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Citizen participation in urban planning has increased in recent decades. In Finland, it is one of the primary objectives of the national Land Use And Building Act (Maankäyttö- ja rakennuslaki), which means participatory planning required in all land use planning. General plan is a document that provides general guidelines for land use and assigns land for different purposes to form a basis for detailed planning and construction. In Helsinki, the latest general plan was accepted by the City Council in 2016. One of the topics that received the largest attention throughout the process was the city's decision to turn its highway-like entry routes into city boulevards that favour pedestrians, cyclist and public transport. This Master's Thesis examines citizen participation in the Helsinki general plan in 2016 with the focus on the city boulevard question. It examines the discussion which took place between the city planners and three groups: other public officials, neighbouring municipalities and individual citizens.The data for this thesis comes from the document called interaction report, in which the planners summarise the comments from these stakeholders and respond to criticism. Through the method of rhetorical analysis, the thesis will seek to answer how the planning decisions are justified, how the planners respond to criticism and how is the planning situation framed for different interest groups. The analysis shows that the main ways to justify the city boulevards were the city's jurisdiction to make this decision, and the collaboration and investigations that had gone into the process. The city boulevard were framed as a city development project that brings growth and benefits everyone. This thesis, more generally, explores the questions of general planning and participation, and gives important insight into the citizen participation process in Finland.
  • Heikkinen, Panu (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This thesis is a case study that examines the reasons for the lack of citizen participation in the planning process of Kalasataman keskus, and, more generally, in the planning of megaprojects. The main observation of this thesis is that there are several reasons for this. Based on the interviews of main characters taking part in the planning of Kalasataman keskus and the planning documents of Kalasataman keskus (as well as the previous research on the topic) the reasons for lack of citizen participation were: the location of planning area with few inhabitants, the large size of the planning project, technical difficulty of the planning project, the weight on the commercial aspects of the planning, and the view of the planners (relying on experts in the planning). When these results were viewed together with the previous research, it was noted that, as the previous research suggests, the traditional practices of urban planning hinder citizen participation in planning. (For example, seeing that urban planning relies on the technical knowledge of experts.) Moreover, based on the findings of the thesis as well as the previous research, it is possible to see that when the tradition, which emphasizes expert knowledge, is paired with a planning project where the city has a commercial partner, the structures and procedures of planning tend to exclude citizens’ views from the planning process. Partly based on such findings, the thesis suggests that, if the intention is to strengthen citizen participation in, especially large, planning projects, the city should aim to strengthen, for example, local community organizations.
  • Korpilo, Silviya; Nyberg, Elina; Vierikko, Kati; Nieminen, Hanna; Arciniegas, Gustavo; Raymond, Christopher M. (Elsevier, 2023)
    Landscape and Urban Planning
    This paper develops, tests and validates a Multi-sensory Public Participation GIS (MSPPGIS) method combining the qualities of soundscapes and landscape values mapping. The development of the method involved: a) Public Participation GIS survey design; b) three-phase evaluation of survey addressing analytical, applicability and usability criteria; c) survey refinement; d) sampling and data collection, and; e) spatial data analysis. The analysis consisted of hotspot mapping involving Kernel Density Estimation, spatial overlap assessment using Jaccard coefficients and value compatibility analysis showing the level of spatial compatibility between positive landscape values and positive and negative soundscapes. Results indicated very low to low spatial overlap between the different landscape values and pleasant/unpleasant sound hotspots, suggesting that landscape values do not necessarily reflect sonic perception of urban green and blue spaces. Pleasant and unpleasant sounds were located closer to home than landscape values (except for urban life values), indicating that respondents’ soundscape ‘cognitive map’ is smaller in spatial range. The MSPPGIS method enables the elicitation of a more dynamic and diverse set of sounds compared to previous soundscape mapping which tend to focus on 'noise' instead of multiple experiences of different sounds. Also, the combination of landscape values and soundscapes in MSPPGIS provides for a more integrated assessment of ‘where’ and ‘how’ to design urban green infrastructure. Highlights • Presents a multi-sensory PPGIS method integrating landscape values and soundscapes. • PPGIS data (N = 507) from 2 suburbs in Helsinki is used to operationalize the method. • Low spatial overlap between hotspots of different values and pleasant/unpleasant sounds was found. • Generally pleasant and unpleasant sounds were located closer to home than values. • Landscape values do not necessarily reflect sonic perceptions of UGI.
  • Niemelä, J. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999)
    Urban areas harbour diverse nature ranging from semi-natural habitats to wastelands, parks and other highly human-in¯uenced biotopes with their associated species assemblages. Maintenance of this urban biodiversity for the residents and for its intrinsic value in the face of increasing population and expanding cities requires that ecological knowledge should be better integrated into urban planning. To achieve this goal understanding of ecological patterns and processes in urban ecosystems is needed. The ®rst step in the necessary urban ecological research is to ®nd out what kind of nature exists in cities. Second, knowledge about ecological processes important in urban nature is required. Although ecological processes in cities are the same as in rural areas, some of them, such as invasion by alien species, are more prevalent in urban than in rural conditions. Third, based on ecological knowledge, management schemes maintaining the diversity of urban nature should be designed. These procedures should also include protection of urban nature, e.g. in urban national parks. Finally, as ecology alone cannot provide the complex information about human in¯uence on urban ecosystems, interdisciplinary research involving natural and social sciences is imperative for a holistic approach to integrating ecology into the process of urban planning.
  • Vehkaoja, Mia; Niemi, Milla; Vaananen, Veli-Matti (2020)
    Wetlands are one of the world's most important, economically valuable, and diverse ecosystems. A major proportion of wetland biodiversity is composed of aquatic invertebrates, which are essential for secondary production in aquatic and terrestrial food webs. Urban areas have intensified the challenges wetlands encounter by increasing the area of impermeable surfaces and the levels of nutrient and pollutant overflows. We investigated how urban infrastructure affects the aquatic invertebrate fauna of urban wetlands in metropolitan Helsinki, southern Finland. We measured riparian canopy cover, emergent vegetation coverage, and various land cover and road variables. Recreation area, forests, and open natural areas were the most important landscape features positively influencing aquatic invertebrate family richness, whereas buildings and roads had a negative effect on family richness and abundances of many taxa. Recreation area and the various forest types also positively affected the alpha-diversity indices of wetlands. On the other hand, fish assemblage did not affect either family richness or abundances of the studied taxa. Furthermore, trees growing on the shoreline negatively affected the diversity of aquatic invertebrate families. Invertebrate family diversity was greatest at well-connected wetlands, as these areas added to the regional species pool by over 33%. Our results show that connectivity and green areas near wetlands increase aquatic invertebrate family diversity, and our results could be utilized in urban planning. Graphical abstract
  • Ratvio, Rami (Helsingfors universitet, 2005)
    The urban development of Helsinki Region is characterized by both centralization and decentralization. Concern has recently been expressed in political debate regarding the effects of urban decentralization. Current housing policy has lead to a situation where single-family houses – which are also preferred by wealthy taxpayers – are mainly built in the surrounding municipalities. The growth on the periphery of the region is shaping the city toward a more decentralized, multi-nuclei form. Community structure is organized in region composed of functionally differentiated spaces that are no longer extensions of the traditional city. A functionally differentiated city is suggested to be a new form of urban morphology. These polynucleated areas are not dominated by any central city. Traditional core-periphery relations are replaced by periphery-periphery connections. It has been stated that this emergence of new postsuburban areas has also created a new postsuburban way of life. This research studies urban transformation processes at the periphery of the Helsinki Region. Transformation of urban space is studied through the locations where local residents work, go shopping, make social contacts and concentrate on their hobbies. The study areas are newly built single-family house neighbourhoods Sundsberg in Kirkkonummi and Landbo in Sipoo. The chosen areas are similar for their locational factors but different in their characteristics and thus ideal for a comparative study. The main information presented in this study was obtained from interviews completed in study areas. The data is analysed using quantifying qualitative analysis and presented as maps. Residents’ travel paths seem to follow postsuburban lifestyle patterns closely in both areas, which can be related to urban decentralization. According to this study, if postsuburban neighbourhoods described above become more common, citizens’ moving patterns will change accordingly. Policy on controlling urban decentralization will greatly affect the future of Helsinki Region.
  • Mattila, Hanna; Olsson, Pia; Tiina-Riitta , Lappi; Ojanen, Karoliina (2022)
    Knowledge-based' approaches have recently made a breakthrough in urban planning. How to develop balance in knowledge-based planning between abstract and scientific knowledge, on the one hand, and 'local knowledge' on the other hand has been long debated. To this debate, we add a form of knowledge with potential for sustainable urban planning, i.e. ethnographic knowledge that could transmit an understanding of urban dwellers' daily practices and values to planning organisations. Theoretical literature is the foundation of our argument, which we illustrate with a case study involving urban planners and decision-makers in the Helsinki region of Finland.
  • Nieminen, Jenni; Salomaa, Anna; Juhola, Sirkku (2021)
    There is an increasing need for urban sustainability transitions, though empirical cases that focus on the governance of these processes over time are not plentiful. This study addresses that gap by examining the governance of an urban transition in an eco-neighbourhood in Helsinki, using the framework of a multi-level perspective on socio-technical transitions and modes of governance. This study shows how the modes of governance have changed from the start of the planning in 1994-2018 and how the different dimensions of the urban planning regime have enabled or constrained a sustainability transition, based on a document analysis and semi-structured expert interviews. As for the modes of governance, hierarchical and network were most widely used. The plot assignment stipulations that contained sustainability requirements, as well as the collaborative area working group method, have been scaled up city-wide since. This study concludes that more process-focussed policy instruments are needed.
  • Kavanagh, Kayleigh C (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    Urban densification is resulting in the rapid loss of urban green spaces and their associated values. Moreover, the remaining urban green spaces are under increasing pressure to meet diverse resident needs and preferences. While past studies have investigated the intrinsic, instrumental, and relational values associated with such spaces, little attention has been paid to the sub-sets of relational values referred to a fundamental-relational (i.e., contributions toward enhanced social resilience) and eudemonic-relational values (i.e., actions, experiences, and habits linked to a “good life”). This study used public participation geographic information systems (PPGIS) surveys in a residential neighborhood of Helsinki, Finland to spatially explore and examine the differences between intrinsic, instrumental, fundamental-relational, and eudemonic-relational values in urban green spaces. I analyzed responses from residents and stakeholders (n = 1089) using Chi-square tests for significant associations and density-based clustering. Mapped values indicated that green spaces were primarily valued for their relational value, with an emphasis on eudemonic-relational values. Moreover, there were differences in the spatial distribution of instrumental, intrinsic, and relational values between green space types and values were spatially clustered by land use. Notably, there were few differences in how these values were assigned by different sociodemographic groups. I discuss the implications of these findings for local- and city-scale planning and the use of value typologies in PPGIS surveys. Further research in this field will benefit from the use of further value subcategories, increased geographic scale, and additional study of the influence of sociodemographic factors.
  • Nygren, Anja; Quesada, Florencia (2020)
    This introduction underlines some of the topics the present thematic issue focuses on, such as segregation and security, control and creativity, resistance and networking, presenting continuities and changes in urban governance and urban justice in different parts of the world. We argue that urban theory should be rethought to consider cities as fora that recentre the ‘political’ in relation to gentrification, rights to the city, justice, and alternative urbanisms. We highlight structural aspects of urban policy and planning, including the intersection of mega-development projects with disruptive acts of social dispossession and efforts to depoliticise institutional control. Simultaneously, we emphasise tactics that reinterpret hierarchical modes of governance and create initiatives for enhanced justice through claim-making, negotiation, improvisation, acts of everyday resistance and organised opposition.
  • Ojala, Eeva Anna Kaarina; Niemelä, Jari Kalevi; Yli-Pelkonen, Vesa Johannes (Routledge, 2017)
    Routledge studies in modern European history
  • Niemelä, J. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1999)
    Although urban ecosystems are governed by the same ecological “laws” as rural ecosystems, the relative importance of certain ecological patterns and processes differs between the two types of ecosystems. For instance, as compared to rural areas, urban habitats are usually more islandlike, more often represent early successional stages, and are more easily invaded by alien species. All these features are results of the intense human influence on urban landscapes. The question then arises whether a distinct theory of urban ecology is needed for understanding ecological patterns and processes in the urban setting. The answer is no, because urban ecosystems can be successfully studied using existing ecological theories, such as the metapopulation theory. However, due to the intense human presence, approaches that include the human aspect are useful in studying urban systems. For instance, the “human ecosystem model,” which emphasizes human impact by identifying social components with connections to ecology, is a useful approach in urban studies. This model, combined with the urban–rural gradient approach, forms an effective tool for studying key ecological features of urban ecosystems. Better understanding of these features would increase our ability to predict changes that land use causes in urban ecosystems, and would help to integrate ecology better into urban planning.
  • Mäenpää, Pasi (2005)
    The study examines interconnections between consumption, urban culture and public space. It consists of theorizing of modern urban interaction and three empirical case studies, as well as an applied section and a discussion which generalises the results of the study by deepening the theory and widening the cultural perspective. City of Helsinki, the capital of Finland is the concrete object of the study, especially the city centre and its commercial spaces. Both theoretically and empirically the study combines sociology of consumption with urban sociology and multidisciplinary urban studies. Theoretically the main conception comes from Georg Simmel, Erving Goffman, Richard Sennett, Marshall Berman, Colin Campbell and Roger Caillois and the way it has been utilized to urban interaction in modern public space which I term urban or city publicity. City as a place for public appearance of theatrum mundi is one of the basic ideas of urbanism. From this idea and by analysing empirical data I evidence that chance-taking and imitation or mimicry as elements of the social form of play are also key notions to understand fundamentals of urban culture at the street level. The action of consuming as pleasure-seeking shopping means circling and watching with fantasizing and mental probing and trying things on before purchasing. Also shopping forms an autonomic and autotelic playform which has become a generalized urban practice. This practice is enabled by the social order of urban public space as interaction of mere eye contact and avoidance between anonymous people. From the empirical data I infer the concepts of anticipating and mimetic self-relation that I further apply to the data. The main character of urban culture is attached to mimetic self-relation, i.e. the mode in which an individual who is stranger to other individuals in the city publicity projects her or his ideal self-image and opens up to new ways of performing herself or himself. The basic idea of society that Goffman had as “self-dramatization” and “impression management” turns inwards in the culture of urban consumption. Grounded on this, I develop a theory of modern consumption that is able to explain its insatiableness and expansion. Then I analyse and criticise the spatial order and the production of space in the present day city. Finally, I deepen the theory of urban play and widen the perspective to modern culture in general by showing its connections and effects on architecture, youth culture and the development of information technology. The production and reproduction of the practice of consumption and the urban publicity construct the main sphere of social transaction of our society.
  • Sarla, Jalmari (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    This master’s thesis explores spatial and aesthetic experiences and placemaking in two public spaces in Malmi and Malminkartano in Helsinki. It focuses on two case studies through ethnographic fieldwork in order to evaluate the added value of placemaking in the urban planning practices of the City of Helsinki from the citizens’ perspective. The case studies shed light on the possibilities and risks of placemaking, especially in the context of Helsinki neighbourhoods that are subject to densification and suburban regeneration projects. This research was commissioned by the Strategic Urban Planning Department of the Urban Environment Division of the City of Helsinki. This thesis explores three research questions. It aims to understand how the observed placemaking projects affected the spatial and aesthetic experiences in the public spaces in question. It also examines what kind of attitudes arose among informants regarding public space, placemaking, densification and urban planning in the context of the studied neighbourhoods. Lastly, it assesses the potential of placemaking to improve the spatial and aesthetic experience of public spaces in neighbourhoods undergoing suburban regeneration projects. The theoretical framework of this research utilises theories and viewpoints of human geography and philosophy of urban aesthetics. Building on the study of place and space, it employs the concepts of spatial and aesthetic experience to examine sensory perceptions in public spaces. Additionally, it continues the culture and tradition of qualitative urban planning research. The data was gathered through ethnographic fieldwork during the span of the studied placemaking projects between July and October 2021. The fieldwork entailed participant observation, informal interviews and conversations with informants and autoethnographic observations of sensory, spatial and aesthetic experiences in public space. In addition to the ethnographic data, placemaking theory was utilised to formulate the analyses and results. Based on the data, the observed placemaking case studies had a moderate effect on the spatial and aesthetic experiences in the public spaces in question. However, they raised valuable discussions about local viewpoints and provided important place-based knowledge for urban planners. The ethnographic process revealed both accepting and antagonistic narratives within the local communities regarding densification and the urban planning practices of the City of Helsinki. The latter attitudes did not, however, seem to negatively affect the informants’ conceptions of the studied projects or placemaking generally. Instead, place-driven attempts at making public spaces greener, livelier and more engaging were almost unanimously accepted and welcomed. Consequently, placemaking is proposed here as a viable method to develop and improve the experience of public spaces among citizens in neighbourhoods undergoing suburban regeneration projects. Based on the gathered data and theoretical reasoning, this thesis argues that placemaking is an urban development approach, method and philosophy that can create added value to conventional urban planning practices in Helsinki. Placemaking can improve the experience of public space by vitalising its experiential and sensory qualities, and thus complement technocratic urban planning and construction processes. Placemaking can provide planners with place-based knowledge about local conditions and aspirations that is useful for long-term planning goals. Placemaking can be utilised as a participation method that gives citizens more agency and shows faster impact than other means of participation, further empowering them to reclaim public spaces for communal uses. Placemaking can make public spaces safer and more pluralistic by broadening their usership and increasing vulnerable groups’ presence. By engaging in community-driven placemaking, the City of Helsinki can improve its public spaces in multiple ways and develop its current participatory and urban design practices in alignment with its strategic goals of enhancing the quality of life for its citizens.
  • Mickos, Daniel Johannes (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Due to the great need of improving sustainable urban transport and mobility in emerging cities in Latin America, development assistance in the form of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning is currently carried out by national European development agencies and partnerships. This type of assistance is commonly based on successful European experiences and approaches in the field, aiming to decrease both greenhouse gas emissions, poverty and inequality and in the same time to improve accessibility, quality of life and sustainability for the urban citizens. Whilst the model being successful for these purposes in Europe, the emerging nature and different mobility culture of cities in Latin America have experienced different outcomes of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning. The theoretical discussion of this thesis is based on a critical assessment of Modernisation theory and its manifestations in the urban transport sector. The theory would describe the European model of Sustainable Urban Mobility as the “modern”, whereas the mobility paradigm of emerging cities is “yet to be modernised”. This thesis argues that instead of applying the European mobility paradigm on emerging cities, the concept of Sustainable Urban Mobility and its planning models and guidelines need to be contextualised in order to reach the desired outcomes. Through qualitative content analysis of original data from interviews with grassroot level activists, representatives of civil society and non-governmental organisations in the cities of Bogotá and Lima, this thesis shows that the urban structures and mobility culture in the cities differ significantly from the ones in Europe, that lead to different outcomes when applying the European approaches of Sustainable Urban Mobility planning in the cities. The most critical finding is that due to different socioeconomic urban structures, a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and increase of accessibility cannot be reached simultaneously in a short-term timeframe, as the poor people in the outskirts currently cannot afford other transport modes than non-motorised “sustainable” transport. Challenges such as urbanisation and corruption are often considered the main problems for the implementation of sustainable transport measures in emerging cities. This thesis shows that instead of solely focussing on these challenges, one should criticise the non-contextualised methods in use for encountering them and suggests a preventive approach for urban development. The conclusion follows: It is not only the guidance documents in use for development assistance in the field of Sustainable Urban Mobility that needs to be contextualised, but the whole concept.
  • Jarvi, Leena; Havu, Minttu; Ward, Helen C.; Bellucco, Veronica; McFadden, Joseph P.; Toivonen, Tuuli; Heikinheimo, Vuokko; Kolari, Pasi; Riikonen, Anu; Grimmond, C. Sue B. (2019)
    There is a growing need to simulate the effect of urban planning on both local climate and greenhouse gas emissions. Here, a new urban surface carbon dioxide (CO2) flux module for the Surface Urban Energy and Water Balance Scheme is described and evaluated using eddy covariance observations at two sites in Helsinki in 2012. The spatial variability and magnitude of local-scale anthropogenic and biogenic CO2 flux components at high spatial (250 m x 250 m) and temporal (hourly) resolution are examined by combining high-resolution (down to 2 m) airborne lidar-derived land use data and mobility data to account for people's movement. Urban effects are included in the biogenic components parameterized using urban eddy covariance and chamber observations. Surface Urban Energy and Water Balance Scheme reproduces the seasonal and diurnal variability of the CO2 flux well. Annual totals deviate 3% from observations in the city center and 2% in a suburban location. In the latter, traffic is the dominant CO2 source but summertime vegetation partly offsets traffic-related emissions. In the city center, emissions from traffic and human metabolism dominate and the vegetation effect is minor due to the low proportion of vegetation surface cover (22%). Within central Helsinki, human metabolism accounts for 39% of the net local-scale emissions and together with road traffic is to a large extent responsible for the spatial variability of the emissions. Annually, the biogenic emissions and sinks are in near balance and thus the effect of vegetation on the carbon balance is small in this high-latitude city.
  • Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J; Barrera-Gómez, Jose; Basagaña, Xavier; Cirach, Marta; Daher, Carolyn; Pulido, Maria Foraster; Iungman, Tamara; Gasparrini, Antonio; Hoek, Gerard; de Hoogh, Kees; Khomenko, Sasha; Khreis, Haneen; de Nazelle, Audrey; Ramos, Ana; Rojas-Rueda, David; Pereira Barboza, Evelise; Tainio, Marko; Thondoo, Meelan; Tonne, Cathryn; Woodcock, James; Mueller, N (BMJ, 2022)
    BMJ Open
    Introduction Cities have long been known to be society’s predominant engine of innovation and wealth creation, yet they are also hotspots of pollution and disease partly due to current urban and transport practices. The aim of the European Urban Burden of Disease project is to evaluate the health burden and its determinants related to current and future potential urban and transport planning practices and related exposures in European cities and make this evidence available for policy and decision making for healthy and sustainable futures. Methods and analysis Drawing on an established comparative risk assessment methodology (ie, Urban and Transport Planning Health Impact Assessment) tool), in nearly 1000 European cities we will (1) quantify the health impacts of current urban and transport planning related exposures (eg, air pollution, noise, excess heat, lack of green space) (2) and evaluate the relationship between current levels of exposure, health impacts and city characteristics (eg, size, density, design, mobility) (3) rank and compare the cities based on exposure levels and the health impacts, (4) in a number of selected cities assess in-depth the linkages between urban and transport planning, environment, physical activity and health, and model the health impacts of alternative and realistic urban and transport planning scenarios, and, finally, (5) construct a healthy city index and set up an effective knowledge translation hub to generate impact in society and policy. Ethics and dissemination All data to be used in the project are publicly available data and do not need ethics approval. We will request consent for personal data on opinions and views and create data agreements for those providing information on current and future urban and transport planning scenarios. For dissemination and to generate impact, we will create a knowledge translation hub with information tailored to various stakeholders.
  • Tuominen, Xiao Ling (Helsingin yliopisto, 2022)
    The past decades have seen the emergence of the shrinkage phenomenon throughout cities leaving urban planners, communities and their administrations perplexed as to what to do next. The phenomenon encompasses complex, interconnected processes which are embedded in economic, demographic and structural changes. However, it is the population decline aspect that is often one of the telltale signs synonymous with shrinkage. Whilst shrinking cities are not something new, it has been gaining widespread attention as it becomes more prominent in urban areas and is no longer just an issue associated with rural areas. With Finland’s population forecast expected to decline in the coming decades, the relevance of the phenomenon and its urban planning implications will only become more prominent. Historically and still widely today, a city’s success has been connected to its ability to grow, resulting in the ideal that only growing cities are deemed to be successful. Urban planning transpired from the need to spatially manage growth and therefore, has its origins in facilitating for growth. Given the negative implications associated with the phenomenon and its impact on demographics, economy and the built environment of cities, it is often stigmatised and portrayed in a negative light. This research contributes to the knowledge on the shrinkage phenomenon in the context of Finnish urban planning. The study aims to explore the negative portrayal of the phenomenon through understanding the social and structural implications for cities and examining the implications this has on the actions that are being taken by cities to adapt to shrinkage. Specifically, the study involved interviews with urban planners, researchers and other relevant experts across Finland with knowledge on the shrinkage phenomenon and/or urban planning. The results of the study demonstrated that the negative connotation has led to many cities unwilling to openly accept the phenomenon. In turn, this has resulted in denial and the constant desire to strive for growth which has compromised the opportunities available to appropriately plan for the future. The influence of the political realm has shown to be a contributing factor to the stigma surrounding the phenomenon and further reinforced growth aspirations that are not reasonable for many shrinking cities. The prominence of the phenomenon has further fuelled the debate of whether old and current urban planning practices supporting and emphasising growth is the way forward and if existing planning systems are able to (un)plan for shrinkage. Ensuring the importance of quality of life indicators for residents within shrinking cities and the obligation for urban planners to accept shrinkage and plan the future of cities accordingly are key takeaways from the research.
  • Terämä, Emma; Peltomaa, Juha; Mattinen-Yuryev, Maija; Nissinen, Ari (MDPI, 2019)
    Urban Science
    Urban sustainability has been used to cover multiple aspects of urban development. Terms related to sustainability have been generously used to advance ubiquitous and hard-to-measure targets not least in response to global and national sustainable development (SD) targets. However, ad-hoc and governed urbanization processes differ. In addition to different development pathways, local differences in interpretation of sustainability exist. This renders a global urban sustainability discourse disconnected from local practice. In this paper we focus on the Nordic cities, combining what is known about the similarities of the cities and societies, their recent development and highlights. Comparing with the global sustainability discourse spearheaded by the UN development goals (SDGs) we analyze the potential links in Nordic urban development to the global aims, as well as the local action taken via ex-ante review and assessment. With increasing demands for transformative change in urban planning and other institutions due to environmental, social and economic challenges, we demonstrate where strengthening the urban sustainability agenda is particularly needed. Findings show surprisingly little focus on socially just and cross-thematic development pre-SDGs, while it is expected that the dominant technocratic focus will give way to these other aspects necessary to address sustainability under the current SDG framework.