The Helsinki region aims to have 200,000 new apartments by 2030

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2020-06-23 8:30

At the start of June, the state and the municipalities reached new agreements on land use, housing and transport (the MAL agreements) for 2020–2031. The agreement also allows the Espoo City Rail Link to be realised between Leppävaara and Kauklahti. Ambitious housing production goals are also included in the agreement.

The City Rail Link will advance the sustainable development of our urban centres

The decision on implementing the City Rail Link will significantly advance the sustainable development of Espoo’s five urban centres. It is also an important milestone on the journey towards zero-emission transport. The City Rail Link is also the requirement for the ‘one-hour train’ to Turku, as it allows local trains and long-distance trains to be separated on their respective tracks.

“The City Rail Link will further improve the public transport connections of Espoon keskus and rapidly-growing Leppävaara, while also supporting the changes to the Kera area. In the future, Espoo will also grow in the centre and north, which requires even smoother traffic connections to different parts of the Metropolitan Area and Uusimaa Region,” says Olli Isotalo, Head of Technical and Environment Services.

The state is committed to funding the City Rail Link with a maximum sum of 137.5 million euros.

“Espoo will need to pay a larger share of the City Rail Link, which poses a challenge for us if we want to fit all necessary projects into the investment programme,” Isotalo adds.

A train at the Leppävaara railway station.

The City Rail Link will be created by building additional tracks between Leppävaara and Kauklahti. Photo:Tuire Ruokosuo

Many new apartments are needed

The housing production goal for the Helsinki Region is set at 200,000 new apartments by 2030. During the previous MAL agreement period of four years, 64,000 apartments were built, which exceeded the goal by 4,000. Accelerating housing production is one of the key goals of the MAL agreement as the population of urban areas is predicted to continue its rapid growth.

”Espoo’s housing and plan production has been at an excellent level for the last few years. During the new agreement period, Espoo’s annual goal is approximately 3,300 apartments. It remains important to have new housing by the railways,” says Housing Manager Anne Savolainen.

The MAL agreement also includes measures for building reasonably-priced housing. Another goal is an increase in wood construction.

Apartment buildings in Saunalahti.

A record number of new apartments, 4,300 in total, were built in Espoo in 2019. This photo shows new buildings in Saunalahti where 600 new homes were completed last year. Photo: Janne Ketola.

What is a MAL agreement?

The land use, housing and transport (MAL) agreements between the state and the municipalities define the shared goals for developing community structure, housing production, and measures that support sustainable mobility and transport systems. The cost distribution of the transport projects decided on is also agreed on in this process. The MAL agreement for the Helsinki Region involves 14 municipalities.

The MAL agreements have been made since 2011. As stated in the Government Platform, the MAL agreement has this time been agreed on for a period of 12 years, which is longer than in the past, in order to ensure the long-term development of urban regions. The practical measures have been prepared for the first four years, after which the agreements will be updated.  The agreements will enter into force once the municipalities and the government have approved them. In Espoo, the agreement is processed by both the City Board and the City Council. 

Background on the MAL agreements on the website of the Ministry of the Environment