Wooden multistory construction in Finland : perceptions of municipality civil servants

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Title: Wooden multistory construction in Finland : perceptions of municipality civil servants
Author: Franzini, Florencia
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Maatalous-metsätieteellinen tiedekunta, Metsätieteiden laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Sciences
Helsingfors universitet, Agrikultur- och forstvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för skogsvetenskaper
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2018
Language: eng
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:hulib-201806122465
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Metsäekonomia ja markkinointi
Forest Economics and Marketing
Skogsekonomi och marknadsföring
Abstract: For the last 20 years, the state administration of Finland has supported the development of wooden multistory construction (WMC) into the residential housing market. While the number of WMC dwellings has increased, WMC is still not a normalized construction practice. Civil servants—who are responsible for complying with national strategies while being tasked to satisfy the needs of Finnish citizens—are legally entrusted to oversee and approve the planning of all zoning maps. This authority includes the power to compel builders to comply with material preferences through zoning regulations. Regardless of this gatekeeping authority, they rarely enact such regulations. This qualitative study examines the attitudes and perceptions of civil servants regarding WMC. It also examines the civil servants’ interpretation of other stakeholder opinions towards WMC. The aim was to set a precedent for current-day beliefs about WMC from the perspective of this authoritative group, given no such in-depth opinions currently exist in the literature. Semi-structured interviews were held between May 2017-January 2018. 11 civil -servants holding high-level administrative roles in city planning and development from six different municipalities were interviewed. Based on qualitative content analysis of the data, interviewed civil servants held a variety of attitudes towards WMC. Support for the implementation of WMC was due to benefits incurred by the positive qualities of the engineered wood products, which permit flexible construction technologies that directly enhance citizen lifestyles, while supporting local and national economies. Hindrances in the implementation of WMC were a result of an operating environment with poor information distribution, few WMC industry actors and limited government policy measures to support project implementation. These factors trigger high risk and high cost. Material limitations were rarely discussed, but may result in high cost or project risk. The stakeholders whose opinions were most frequently discussed included the municipalities the civil servants represented, municipality residents, and private developers. The opinions of other stakeholders (e.g. end users) were rarely mentioned. Developers are reluctant to take on WMC projects due to bottom-line mentality and perceived development risk. Residents’ opinions are equally colored with interest and skepticism. Municipality opinions were mostly in line with the perceptions shared by civil servants. All stakeholders were perceived to have greater interest in WMC if risk or prejudice were dispelled through positive, real-world experiences or exposure to WMC.
Subject: wooden multistory construction
wood construction
sustainable development
qualitative content analysis
theory of planned behavior

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