5 / 2016 - Helsinki, city boulevards

Infill is the in-word today. Instead of building residential districts on the urban margin, the current trend is to make cities denser through infill development. Now the ideal is urban compactness which is assumed to reinforce social cohesion. Cities thrive on speed and diversity. The future path marked out for Helsinki, Finland’s biggest growth centre, lies in city boulevards as outlined in a new City Plan. Helsinki’s future urban structure is evaluated by the Director of Strategic Urban Planning Division Rikhard Manninen, Urban Planner Teemu Jama and Professor and Researcher Kimmo Lapintie. What are the joys and advantages of the new urbanism? And what are the problems? This issue also discusses the current plans for the City of Tampere and takes a peek at Florence, China and utopias.

Li Andersson, Chair of the Left Alliance, writes in her column about urbanisation. She calls for more public art in urban environments. It would make the residential areas more attractive. “Art can be informative, instructive, beautiful or enjoyable – or all of these things at the same time. Optimally, there are no boundaries between art and architecture.”

The issue features a new public sauna, Löyly, in Hernesaari, Helsinki, which has attracted extensive media coverage and encouraged people to make more active use of shared urban spaces. Another project contributing to the use of public spaces is the Allas Sea Pool in front of the Presidential Palace. Over the years, several plans have been made for this premium undeveloped site. Among the proposals have been a luxury hotel, a centre for Finnish design and architecture, etc., but none of these projects has ever materialised. Intended as a temporary solution, the Allas Sea Pool generates new activities in a central location in keeping with the spirit of the times. Although only half-finished, the complex is already operational. This edition will give a presentation of what it will look like once it is completed next summer. Aside from these two new sauna-spa-restaurant buildings on the shoreline of Helsinki, the issue features fine examples of infill development in the cities of Tampere and Lahti as well.


Winds of change are blowing through Helsinki. Rapid growth, the current boom in construction and the new City Plan will lead the way to a more urban future.

Rikhard Manninen, Director of the Strategic Urban Planning Division of the City of Helsinki, describes how the city will grow through infill of the existing neighbourhoods and by transforming the main thoroughfares into city boulevards. According to urban planner Teemu Jama the proposed city boulevards will reinforce the networked nature of the city with several urban centres. Professor, researcher Kimmo Lapintie, on the other hand, criticises the the idea of city boulevards as reflecting the traditionalist ideologies of New Urbanism and wonders if the old concept can be the solution to today's problems.

illustrations Helsinki City Plan 2016

public sauna and restaurant
architects Ville Hara, Anu Puustinen
address Hernesaarenranta 4, Helsinki
gross area 1 071 m2
completion 2016

commentary Jouni Kaipia
photos Kuvio Architectural Photography, Archmospheres, Joanna Laajisto Creative Studio

architects Samuli Miettinen, Tuomas Raikamo
address Rautatienkatu 2, 15100 Lahti
gross area 11 000 m2 (area)
completion 2016

commentary Roy Mänttäri
photos Mika Huisman

Näköislehti: Site Logic