Lähiöfest2019 neighbourhood festival to culminate in Espoo

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2019-06-17 9:23

Now being held for the third time, the Lähiöfest festival speaks out for local influence. The greatest challenges of our time from sustainable development to inequality will be solved close to people’s homes.

“All too often, cities are only discussed from the perspective of old city centres or new districts. Lähiöfest highlights neighbourhoods and suburbs, because the future of cities belongs to everyone,” says the executive producer of Lähiöfest, Katja Lindroos from Urban Practice Oy.

In 2019, Lähiöfest is travelling to four cities and extending over the whole year: in the spring, there were events in Riihimäki and Kauniainen, and in the autumn, Espoo will be the host city and Helsinki will also be involved. The lessons learned from the events and experiments will be compiled in the last week of September in Espoo.

“Spreading across four cities, Lähiöfest is a new approach to discussions about cities, even on an international scale. Now we can both strengthen local influence and spread good ideas from one place to another.”

Libraries, schools, campus and metro as festival venues

Lähiöfest does not have a single defined festival area; in contrast, it uses the city itself as the meeting place. Workshops, talk shows, pop-ups and public events will be organised at libraries and schools, on campus and even in a metro car.

Open to everyone, workshops and talk shows under the name Espoo-live will be held on weekday evenings in Tapiola, Kivenlahti, Espoon keskus and Leppävaara. The purpose of the workshops is to seek solutions to the challenges of sustainable development together with the residents, and perhaps even to develop new, local business ideas. The City of Espoo is inviting residents to have a say in their future participation and advocacy opportunities. The Espoo-live debates will be streamed live online, and the topics will be crowdsourced through social media: during the summer, city residents can propose topics for discussion.

On Saturday, Espoo-live will become Metro-live. The discussions held in a metro car will also feature themes from Helsinki. Travelling between Vuosaari and Matinkylä, the mobile talk show will encourage discussion about the differences and similarities between various city districts.

The City of Espoo will host the week’s biggest public event, the pop-up market Lähiöfest Tori on Saturday, 28 September, at Tiistilän koulu school in Matinkylä. The event is open to all kinds of actors and intended for people of all ages. At Lähiöfest Tori, the City of Espoo will introduce themes of cross-administrative programmes ranging from sustainable development to well-being and involvement. At the same time, the event will celebrate Matinkylä’s 50th birthday. The implementation involves the main partners of Lähiöfest – Innovarch, K-Market and NCC – as well as many content partners. The programme will be published in late August.

The central hub for the entire Lähiöfest week will be the Dome of Visions pavilion, brought to the Aalto campus area in Otaniemi by one of the main partners, NCC. The Dome is an open space for discussion about the city and, in particular, the main theme of the week: sustainable development. The events will include info sessions, book launches and the development of nightlife in the city. On Friday, 27 September, the Aalto campus will host the international main seminar People-Driven City, which will bring together urban developers from countries like the Netherlands, Sweden, Estonia, Switzerland, Mexico and Finland.

Innovarch (part of Vahanen Group) and K-Market are involved as the main partners of Lähiöfest for the second time, strengthening the communal spirit and spreading good vibes in their local areas. Innovarch will organise an innovation competition for schoolchildren on the theme “Identify, innovate and create!” K-Market wants to be actively involved in developing the local communities of its shops in various parts of Finland and creating comfortable meeting places for residents.

City learning for future leaders

Ever since the first Lähiöfest event in 2015, the festival has been closely involved with schools and learning. In 2019, collaboration with schools will be taken to a whole new level.

Lähiöfest will include the kick-off of the City Learning project. Together with teachers, pupils and Lähiöfest partners, the purpose is to develop ways of phenomenon-based learning about the city at schools. The city is a good example of a phenomenon that is impossible to understand by only looking at one thing at a time.

Entitled Juniori Pormestari (Junior Mayor), the experiment consists of two parts: in the spring, workshop-type lessons were given at schools by specialists in various fields, whereas in the autumn, schoolchildren will go out into urban spaces to learn under the guidance of specialists. The autumn’s experiments will involve schools from various parts of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. The experiments will be supplemented by Lähiöfest main partners’ own projects, which will offer to schools new tools and ways of learning, free of charge. The lessons learned during the experiments will be shared and freely available to all. 


Established on the initiative of Urban Practice, Lähiöfest will travel to four cities in 2019: the host city is Espoo, the event cities are Kauniainen and Riihimäki, and Helsinki is involved as a campaign city.

Lähiöfest is being organised using a collaborative model: all the partners are involved in the festival as both specialists and active programme organisers. In addition to cities, the parties organising the events and experiments include companies, educational institutes and universities, associations, groups of activists and residents. The main partners of Lähiöfest2019 are Innovarch, K- Market and NCC. The content partners are Aalto University, the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Architecture Information Centre Finland, Omnia, EMMA, Maptionnaire, Yhteismaa, Treamer, the Embassy of the Netherlands in Finland, the Embassy of Estonia in Finland, the Finnish Cultural Institute for the Benelux and Hanaholmen, the cultural centre for Sweden and Finland. The cooperation also involves the YLE Metropoli editorial team.

The previous Lähiöfest festivals were held in Mikkola in 2015 (under the name “Lähiöfestivaali Our House”) and in 10 city districts of Helsinki in 2017.

For more information and press images, please contact:

Executive Producer Katja Lindroos, katja@lahiofest.fi / +358 50 354 1411

FB & IG @lahiofest Twitter Lähiöfest @OurHouseFI


Lähiöfest2019 is produced by Urban Practice Oy, urbanpractice.fi