The history of the City Garden

The Espoo City Garden and its location began to be considered in 1974. At the same time, urban planning of the Kauklahti district and possible expansion of the industrial area were also being considered. At the suggestion of landscape architect Aina Harju-Söderberg, planning began for a city garden between the Kauklahti industrial area and the Central Park.

City gardeners began to explore the Vanttila Valley in Kauklahti. These pastures were originally owned by three farms. The farm on the side of the Espoonjoki River was called Ervast, the middle farm was Jofs, and the farm on the side of Kivenlahti was Smeds. At that time, Ervast and Smeds were already owned by the City of Espoo, but Jofs was owned by the estate. Between Jofs and Smeds, there was also a small, 0.5-hectare Vingåker plot.

In March 1976, the Espoo Technical Department proposed to the Property Committee that the planned area be reserved for the City Garden and that the private land areas of Jofs and Vingåker be redeemed to be part of the garden.

An old picture of the City Garden area in 1996.
The City Garden area in 1996. Photo: Tage Strandström

In spring 1976, the operation of the City Garden started with the cultivation of transferable lawn on the fields of the Smeds farm. Trees and bushes that had to be removed elsewhere to make room for the city infrastructure were also transferred to the fields. In addition, smaller seedlings were planted for further growing. The area was home to an old barn, which was refurbished into social premises for the staff.

With the expansion of seedling cultivation, the fields were renovated and drainage was set up to improve the conditions for cultivation. In 1979, the city acquired the Jofs farm. Some of the old buildings had to be demolished because of their poor condition. The main building was being designed as a course facility for the street unit, an official residence and an outdoor base and the entire farm as a domestic animal farm. However, the Technical Department reminded the designers of the proposal made in 1976 to organise the facilities for the use of the City Garden.

The Jofs main building was renovated for the use of the City Garden in 1981 and 1982. Soon the owners of the Vingåker farm also wanted to sell their plot to the city. In the autumn of 1982, the land was in the use of the City Garden.

The general plan for the City Garden building area and the design sketches for the wood workshop and the warehouse building were approved by the Technical Services Committee in June 1983. The opening of the wood workshop was celebrated in the spring of the Green Year 1985. The warehouse buildings were completed the following year. The new social premises were built in 2003.