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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hakala, Anna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    The Master´s thesis examines the conceived value patterns the city officials use in the context of land-use regulation of small forest fragments. As a theoretical framework, the study utilises Boltanski and Thévenot´s theory on the common worlds with complementary literature, such as Thévenot’s cognitive formats and engagements. In light of extensive scientific research, urban greenspaces have multiple positive impacts to both urban structure and wellbeing of the residents. Small greenspaces, so-called forest fragments with no appointed recreational activities are, nevertheless, often presented as potential sites for infill construction. This appears especially in cities where strong population growth causes pressure for urban development. This Master´s thesis complements existing research in this regard by revealing the diversity of valuation that form the basis to differing interests, perspectives and decisions that direct urban land-use policy in these forest fragments. The empirical phase has been conducted among city officials in the City of Espoo (FI), who represent different operative units and positions. The analysis was conducted through an exploratory and semiquantitative Q methodology. In the study, the respondents (N=27) validated statements (Q=35) related to planning decisions on small forest fragments. The factor extraction was conducted by principal component analysis. The seven analysed factors form consistent value patterns, which may be used when describing and interpreting the justification of urban planning regulation in forest fragments. In each individual value pattern, either valuation of the local landscape, public good or personal advantage is emphasised. From the common worlds, argumentation based on the industrial or the market worlds highlight personal affinity, whereas, for instance, the civic or the domestic world form a basis for argumentation on social values and the common good. Human-centred biophilia is the most explanatory of the value patterns. Based on the valuation, forest fragments are seen as an integral part of the urban structure especially due to their cultural ecosystem services, such as recreational possibilities, effect on residents´ environmental consciousness and stability of the local landscape.
  • Kurppa, Mona; Hellsten, Antti; Auvinen, Mikko; Raasch, Siegfried; Vesala, Timo; Jarvi, Leena (2018)
    Buildings and vegetation alter the wind and pollutant transport in urban environments. This comparative study investigates the role of orientation and shape of perimeter blocks on the dispersion and ventilation of traffic-related air pollutants, and the street-level concentrations along a planned city boulevard. A large-eddy simulation (LES) model PALM is employed over a highly detailed representation of the urban domain including street trees and forested areas. Air pollutants are represented by massless and passive particles (non-reactive gases), which are released with traffic-related emission rates. High-resolution simulations for four different city-block-structures are conducted over a 8.2 km domain under two contrasting inflow conditions with neutral and stable atmospheric stratification corresponding the general and wintry meteorological conditions. Variation in building height together with multiple cross streets along the boulevard improves ventilation, resulting in 7-9% lower mean concentrations at pedestrian level. The impact of smaller scale variability in building shape was negligible. Street trees further complicate the flow and dispersion. Notwithstanding the surface roughness, atmospheric stability controls the concentration levels with higher values under stably stratified inflow. Little traffic emissions are transported to courtyards. The results provide urban planners direct information to reduce air pollution by proper structural layout of perimeter blocks.
  • Stuart, Elliot (Helsingfors universitet, 2013)
    The primary characteristic of urbanisation is the addition of hard surfaces to catchments, which affects water and habitat quality in urban streams and alters natural hydrological processes by reducing infiltration, evapotranpiration and efficiently conveying storm runoff to streams, gathering a variety of urban polluants along the way. This is typical of the 'urban stream syndrome'. Catchment imperviousness (especially Effective Impervious Area or percent connectivity) can be used as one of the primary indicators of the severity of this phenomenon. This research was initiated through a collaboration between the City of Helsinki and the University of Helsinki to determine the baseline water quality of Hakuninmaanoja, a small urban stream in Helsinki, Finland, and the imperviousness of its catchment, where a pilot ecological housing development 'Kuninkaantammi' (KUNTA) will be built beginning in 2013. The purpose of the project is to assess the current characteristics of the catchment prior to the development in the headwaters of the stream. An automatic water quality monitoring station was built on the lower part of the stream approximately 200m upstream of its junction with Mätäjoki, the second largest river of Helsinki. Water Sensitive Urban Design can be used as part of a holistic stormwater treatment train to limit newly created imperviousness, and minimise the connectivity of the necessary remainder, allowing stormwater runoff to be reused, infiltrated and treated through soil media, or slowed down enough to attenuate the urban hydrograph. Some of these features such as raingardens, green roofs and detention ponds will be included in the KUNTA development for this purpose. A detailed calculation of catchment imperviousness was completed via field survey and land use categorization methods. Total Impervious Area (TIA) was determined to be 22%, Effective Impervious Area 15% and catchment wide runoff coefficient given by land use categorisation method to be 0.32. TIA is expected to increase to 30% following development of KUNTA, however EIA is not expected to increase in proportion with TIA due to planned Water Sensitive Urban Design features. Yearly runoff volumes based on each method of calculating imperviousness were estimated, as well as for the future following KUNTA development. Water quality in the stream currently is quite satisfactory in relation to other streams in Helsinki, however the urban stream syndrome is already evident with particular concern regarding temperature, sediment and peak flow fluctuations. Effective Impervious Area should be used in urban planning of new and existing developments rather than TIA because it will give much greater accuracy of runoff volumes and infiltration rates by taking into account unconnected impervious surfaces. Strengthening local solutions to reduce connectivity should be a municipal priority. Water quality monitoring will continue at the site until after KUNTA has been built, and further research should focus on determining the technical performance of stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs) at the site.