Data produced by Espoo residents as part of urban planning

  • City planning
  • Participation and influencing
  • Environment
8.9.2021 13.43Updated: 26.11.2021 7.13

The residents of Espoo possess valuable experience-based data about our city, which we can utilise in the development of the city. The Espoo Urban Planning Centre wants to make data on the experiences of residents visible at the very beginning of zone planning, so that the data can affect the planning and its final results better than at present.

City-wide material

A digital map survey is one way to gather data from residents on a large scale. In the autumn of 2020, the City Urban Planning Centre conducted a My Espoo on the Map (Mun Espoo kartalla) survey, which was answered by more than 6,000 Espoo residents from all over the city.

The survey was conducted in collaboration with Aalto University's research team, as part of the Nordgreen project. The research examines the health and well-being effects of the urban environment and nearby green areas, as well as how the data produced by residents is utilised in urban planning. The project involves Nordic research partners and municipalities.

In the survey, residents were asked to mark on a map where they spend time on weekdays and which places are particularly relevant or particularly unpleasant to them. Residents were also asked for development ideas and thoughts on where new housing could be placed in Espoo. The respondents made about 70,000 entries and comments on the map.

Research data will come to benefit residents of Espoo

For the NordGreen research, city residents were asked about their health status and quality of life, as well as previous participation experiences. Based on this data, researchers will be able to find out, at a general level, e.g. what kind of environment increases the well-being of the residents and what should be prioritised in future planning.

Thanks to university cooperation, the data produced by the residents of Espoo is processed into research data and then returned to serve the development of our city. 

The data of the residents is linked to the planning of the city

The Urban Planning Centre will use the results of the survey over the following years in both master planning and local planning. In Espoo and Aalto's research group, close cooperation is established so that experience-based spatial data can be utilised as well as possible in planning.

In zonal work, planners use a map-based planning database with background data about different areas. The results of the My Espoo on the Map survey are exported to this database in such a way that the respondents' personal data and domicile locations have been removed from the data.

In the future, therefore, planners will be able to view residents' experience data in the same way as other data related to the design area, such as terrain or construction data. For example, the map-based resident data shows whether the planning area has clear development needs from the residents' point of view or, on the other hand, important places that the residents hope to be preserved and nurtured.

The material can also enrich the interaction of residents: once the data has already been gathered, the discussions at residents' meetings can deepen the conversations about what kind of Espoo would be the best for its residents.

About the author:

Saana Rossi has a doctoral degree at the Department of Built Environment at Aalto University. She has a background as an architect specialising in urban planning. Her research focuses on how data gathered through resident participation affects planning and decision-making in cities, and how the effectiveness of resident information can be improved.



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