In the My Espoo surveys carried out last autumn, we asked Espoo residents what they like about their city and what could be improved. We received more than 10,000 responses, and schoolchildren and students were particularly active in sharing their views. The results will be used as we update the city’s strategy, the Espoo Story, and develop our urban environment.
The first things that come to residents’ mind when they think of Espoo are nature, greenery and forests. The importance of nature was emphasised in the responses of 35–65-year-olds. The sea and the archipelago were also mentioned often in the replies. Residents think of Espoo as their home and a pleasant and beautiful place to live. In this respect, views have not changed in recent years. The results also indicate that safety is less of a concern now than it was before, whereas the themes of growth and development featured more in the replies now than in the previous survey.
Functional services are important to residents
When asked what the city should focus on, many residents mentioned basic services, resident-oriented operations and construction. Residents also want Espoo to focus on well-being, equality, nature, safety, sustainable development and a balanced city economy. Sustainable development was mentioned most often by under 45-year-olds, whereas older respondents put more emphasis on a balanced city economy.
When asked about what needs to be developed in Espoo, many residents mentioned city services, construction and public transport. The importance of developing public transport was emphasised by 35–54-year-olds. As priorities for development, school-age respondents mentioned the maintenance of areas, green areas and, for example, waste management.
Most respondents would recommend Espoo as a place to live
Most respondents would definitely recommend Espoo as a place to live. About 15% of the respondents had reservations about recommending Espoo. As reasons, they mentioned the high cost of housing, poor services and the uncontrolled growth of the city. On the other hand, those who would recommend Espoo mentioned the high quality of services as one reason. Young people and those who responded in English were more likely to recommend Espoo as a place to live.
The My Future Espoo survey included statements about Espoo which respondents had to assess. Their assessments were quite positive. Residents gave high scores to the digital accessibility of services and the role of residents as Espoo’s best resource. The biggest cause for concern and uncertainty was the balance of Espoo’s economy.
Residents see their future Espoo as a safe and peaceful city where they can live close to nature and where they feel comfortable and at home. Residents also envision Espoo as a thriving and vibrant evolving city that operates in a resident-oriented manner.
The results of the map survey will affect urban planning
Alongside the My Future Espoo survey, we conducted the My Espoo on the Map survey in which Espoo residents expressed their views on what their hometown looks and feels like in their everyday lives. Around 6,600 residents responded to the survey. They marked nearly 70,000 places and development ideas important to them on a digital map.
The results will be used as we update the city’s strategy, the Espoo Story, and develop our urban environment. The residents’ views will serve as inspiration for planning. The map survey was carried out in cooperation with Aalto University. The analysis of the material has started at the Espoo City Planning Department and Aalto University where the material is being processed as part of the NordGreen project, which explores the health-enhancing effects of the local environment. The material will not expire quickly and will serve both research and planning for several years.