The Espoo Story
The Espoo Story is the City's strategy. The Espoo Story, the related cross-administrative development programmes and the goals for the council term are always updated at the start of a new council term. The current council term runs from 2021 to 2025.
Espoo is a network city with five urban centres. Espoo is a responsible and humane pioneer city and a good place for everybody to live, learn, work and be an entrepreneur. In Espoo, residents can truly make a difference.
Espoo’s values and operating principles
Smooth everyday life is important in Espoo. The best resources in Espoo are its residents, communities and companies. Active involvement of residents in the development of our services and our comprehensive cooperation with partners ensure effective services that meet the needs of the residents.
We are broad-minded, creative and open, we challenge the status quo and have the courage to do things in a new way. Being a pioneer involves utilising research and international experience, organising experiments and knowing how to deal with possible failures. We develop Espoo in an economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable manner.
We act openly and fairly and treat people with equality, humanity and tolerance.
Goals for the Council term
Espoo is known as Finland’s safest and most vibrant pioneer city of education and culture, expertise, innovation and business with strong international connections. In Espoo, nature is always close by. We take care of biodiversity and will achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 through determined cooperation with businesses, universities and other communities as well as residents.
The coronavirus pandemic and the health and social services reform will significantly change Espoo’s activities and role. As a city, we will be preparing for this change in 2021 and 2022 by actively eliminating the negative effects of the pandemic and getting ready to focus on city vitality measures, culture and education.
The pandemic has especially affected the wellbeing and learning of children and young people and the coping of families. As part of the Restart Espoo programme, we will make a fixed-term investment in school-specific teaching resources, pupil welfare and improved mental health services to address the learning loss and to increase young people’s wellbeing. Efforts will be made to ensure a smooth everyday life for families and to combat poverty among families with children. Clubs and associations will be supported through a fixed-term investment, especially to ensure that children and young people engage in hobbies more actively. One of the city’s particular goals is to rapidly reduce youth unemployment.
Measures will be shifted from the fight against the coronavirus to the development of basic functions. We must now focus on health care waiting times and basic services. We will use all means to reduce health care waiting times. Through diverse cooperation, the city will create a foundation for future work and new jobs. A particular goal is to strengthen the sectors that require a high level of expertise and the related support services in Espoo. The City of Espoo will ensure the availability of a sufficient workforce and take measures to support the coping and wellbeing of employees.
The city’s goal is to ensure a smooth implementation of the health and social services reform and guarantee the availability of services during the transition. The city will increase its cooperation with the third sector and organisations to strengthen the conditions for wellbeing. In connection with this change, we have to make every effort to safeguard Espoo’s interests in relation to the tasks and financing of the growing city and the wellbeing services county. The city will examine appropriate ways of ending the ownership of properties used for the health and social services of the wellbeing services county. The city’s administration and support services will be adapted to the new organisation.
Espoo will be Finland’s best city for children, young people, families with children and adult learners. Espoo will develop its cultural sustainability as an exemplary UNESCO Learning City community. We will safeguard the quality of education and early childhood education and increase the rate of attendance in early childhood education. Espoo will continue to be Finland’s leading learning city with the best learning outcomes in both basic education and upper secondary education. We will maintain the number of additional lessons in basic education at least at the current level. Positive emotional experiences, joy and creative activities promote learning and encourage a person to develop their own skills. The varying needs of pupils and schools will be identified, and everyone’s learning will be promoted through the differentiation of teaching and a sufficient amount of special support. Study places in upper secondary education will be increased. We will have zero tolerance for bullying and violence.
We will support the development of university campuses into strong innovation and competence clusters. In addition to Otaniemi, campus development efforts will focus on Leppävaara and Kivenlahti. In all these areas, we will set special goals for partnership activities related to city vitality and urban development. Students will be happy and want to stay in Espoo. Espoo’s library services and their accessibility will remain among the best in the world. Culture will be strongly present in the daily lives of Espoo residents through high-quality operators and culture that is integrated into the city structure. Espoo will offer unparalleled experiences in everyday exercise. One of our important goals is to ensure that all young Espoo residents have at least one enjoyable hobby. We will build a football stadium in the Tapiola sports park as well as facilities for the City Theatre in connection with the Cultural Centre.
In Espoo, services will be provided by the entire city community, not just the city organisation. Companies, organisations and other communities will be part of the innovative urban ecosystem and service provision. We will promote the implementation of the City as a Service multi-provider model. The development of services will be characterised by creative enthusiasm, the breaking of various boundaries and the strengthening of vitality, also with the help of technological development, art, top-level sports and business cooperation. We will actively look for partners and businesses to provide services in maritime Espoo and along the Waterfront Walkway. We will promote the development of an active restaurant culture in different parts of Espoo.
Espoo is a good place for the elderly. High-quality cultural and exercise services, opportunities for outdoor activities, organisation activities for the ageing population as well as private services support elderly people’s wellbeing, living at home and social encounters. Cooperation between the city and the wellbeing services county will be seamless. Social and health services will be available when a person needs them.
We will develop management based on information, data analysis and effectiveness. Espoo and its partners will actively utilise digitalisation, robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies throughout the operating processes. We will promote social innovations, resident-, customer- and partnership-based activities, effective service provision, improved productivity as well as cost savings. With the help of digitalisation, we will increase the openness of our activities, develop new platform solutions and speed up service processes. We will also take into account those who are unable to use digital services.
Espoo will collect information material for use by its own administration, residents, customers and partners to support the systematic sustainable development of different areas. This will be developed into Espoo’s area model, in which we digitally present the facts and illustrate the current situation of an area, the changes enabled by approved plans, the planned investments and changes in the service network as well as the longer-term target.
Municipal regulation of planning and construction will be reduced without compromising quality, while more clearly setting functional goals for different areas. We will carry out analyses of how the preparation of plans, permits and land use agreements could be accelerated and processing times reduced. The City Board will make decisions on the measures. We will strengthen resident participation and interaction in all city activities by implementing and further developing Espoo’s participation model.
During the council term, we will implement the Economically Sustainable Espoo programme. The aim of the programme is to achieve a balance between expenditure and revenue, to bring the level of investment down, closer to the internal financing capacity, and to ensure fairer cost distribution between the state and the municipality from Espoo’s perspective. In order to optimise the use of the city’s resources, the functions included in the city corporate group will be assessed. The city’s investment capacity and needs must be assessed, and we have to be prepared to lower the investment ceiling as a result of the health and social services reform. Espoo’s local income tax rate will not be increased in connection with the health and social services reform.
The target levels and measures of the Economically Sustainable Espoo programme will be updated during the spring of 2022 with regard to the impact of the health, social and rescue services reform so that the programme will strengthen Espoo’s ability to adjust to the economic changes caused by the reform. At the same time, the problem areas of the Economically Sustainable Espoo programme will be assessed. The programme goals concerning the balancing of the city’s economy and the reduction of indebtedness will remain unchanged.
Espoo will strengthen its position as the internationally most interesting and attractive centre of innovation in Northern Europe in relation to competence, science, art and economy. Our partners – Aalto University, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and businesses in particular – will play a key role in this. Espoo will be known as the best Nordic city for start-ups and growth companies, and to support this, we will develop a growth company campus together with our partners.
With the help of partnership activities, we will create an “attractiveness programme” for businesses and experts with the aim of also strengthening Espoo’s revenue base. Espoo will offer top talents and their families the best place to live. Our goal is to ensure that Espoo is the best place in the Nordic countries for expat employees. Espoo will have enough places in English-speaking early childhood education and schools. English will be used as the third service language in Espoo. Applying for national recovery funding and EU funding will be particularly important in promoting the green transition and digitalisation, in which Espoo together with companies and scientific communities is a strong player. Espoo will develop and learn through international cooperation. We will promote employment through services that are targeted in a customer- and company-centred manner.
Sustainable growth, residents and mobility
Espoo will be built into an attractive and safe city in a resident- and customer-oriented manner. Espoo’s growth will be economically, environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable. We will prevent segregation between and within different areas. We will improve our preventive activities to reduce the need for more extensive services. Espoo will achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a forerunner and will develop and share its expertise in sustainable development through national and international city networks. Sustainable and intelligent urban solutions will make daily life and mobility smoother. All Espoo residents will have good opportunities to make sustainable choices in their daily lives and make a difference in their local environment.
We will stop pitting public transport and private cars against each other, as they are both needed. Transport emissions will be reduced. Our efforts will be seen, among other things, in the improved conditions for public transport, walking and cycling and, with regard to private cars, in the rapidly increasing use of electric cars. The safety of people’s daily lives will be improved through multidisciplinary cooperation to ensure that Espoo is the safest city in Finland.
Promoting the conditions for low-rise residential construction
We will allocate sufficient resources for the detailed planning of predominantly low-rise residential areas in the master plan area of northern and central Espoo. At the same time, we will ensure that the planned buildings are constructed along rail transport routes and that there are enough plots for workplaces. Especially in the master plan area of northern and central Espoo, low-rise residential areas that comply with the principles of sustainable development will be built together with partners. We will create conditions for the construction of low-rise villages and townhouse areas through new types of cooperation projects. They will also serve as international examples.
Pioneer of sustainable construction and promotion of vibrant urban centres
We will ensure that our city has diverse and distinctive areas with low-rise housing, pleasant apartment buildings and a sufficient number of plots for workplaces. Densely built-up urban areas along good transport connections will be vibrant and attract service sector companies. During planning and construction, we will highlight the principles of sustainable development and pay attention to the life-cycle emissions of buildings.
We will promote timber construction. During the council term, the areas to be developed into densely built-up urban centres along rail transport routes are Kera, the northern part of the Leppävaara centre, the area around the Kivenlahti metro station, and Espoon keskus. These projects will be planned and implemented based on the goals related to the activities and vitality of each area and by utilising suitable forms of cooperation and a tailored development commitment, similar to the one that exists for Kera.
Local nature will be used for recreation and as a source of wellbeing. In Espoo, local nature is accessible to all. We are a pioneer in reconciling a growing city and biodiversity. The city will examine the impact of its activities on nature. The entire Espoo community is responsible for protecting biodiversity. Espoo’s urban development will take care of, revitalise and increase biodiversity. We will prepare a roadmap for the recovery of biodiversity and to achieve the goal of no net loss by 2035.
Espoo will actively combat climate change, strengthen biodiversity and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Espoo will adapt to the impacts of climate change. Cooperation with universities, research organisations, innovation activities and businesses will generate solutions with a significant carbon handprint that will help tackle the global climate challenge. Espoo will promote new solutions for local energy production and examine the possibility of placing a small nuclear power plant in the city’s area. A roadmap for combating climate change will be drawn up for the city to describe the City of Espoo’s own activities and the cooperation with partners and residents to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality. The roadmap will be based on the Sustainable Energy & Climate Action Plan (SECAP) and the Sustainable Espoo programme. The main principles of the roadmap will be decided on by the City Council during 2022. In the future, the implementation of the roadmap will be reviewed and the adequacy of the measures will be assessed in relation to the goal of carbon neutrality. Furthermore, the required additional measures will be taken to achieve the goal.
The city’s vitality, the availability of labour and socially sustainable development will be ensured by attracting skilled individuals and their families to Espoo, improving the integration of immigrants and speeding up the process of finding employment. Espoo will effectively implement an early-stage integration programme with the aim of ensuring that immigrants learn Finnish or Swedish and find a study place or employment that matches their skills. The difference between the learning outcomes of children and young people with an immigrant background and those with a Finnish background will be halved during the council term by improving learning outcomes. The employment rate among women with an immigrant background will be increased towards the Nordic level. The main aim of the Skills Centre for Immigrants is to promote employment in private sector jobs.
Cross-administrative development programmes
The cross-administrative development programmes are cooperation platforms that allow the city, together with its partners, to develop innovative solutions through experiments and pilot projects in line with the Espoo Story. To ensure effectiveness, external funding will be applied for through national sources and EU programmes.
- will launch, with the help of experiments and partnerships in Espoo, activities to increase the city’s vitality and attractiveness in a strategically more effective way;
- will experiment with and develop different forms of activity so that the city and its partners can highlight Espoo’s profile as an innovative city of future work, where the sectors that require a high level of expertise grow and become stronger and where new jobs emerge in the sectors that in many ways support the former and are needed by them;
- will promote and innovate new practices to make it easier for young people, the long-term unemployed, people with partial work ability and immigrants to find employment;
- will support the Sector for Economic Development, Sports and Culture to help ensure that it develops all of the city’s activities in an innovative and high-quality manner;
will diversify and strengthen the city’s participatory resident and partnership activities.
- will innovate and promote various ways of addressing health care waiting times and treating and preventing mental health problems;
- will develop the city’s operations that support a smooth implementation of the health and social services reform, and will also develop cooperation with organisations and the entire third sector as well as the residents’ own activities and other work to promote wellbeing, such as the potential of sports, culture and youth work to increase Espoo residents’ health and happiness;
- will develop and steer communications and activities that strengthen resident and customer orientation, promote the availability of staff, and support staff and resident activities in the implementation of the health and social services reform.
- will implement, through extensive cooperation with partners, innovative, local and sustainable urban solutions that will serve as global examples of how to achieve carbon neutrality and protect biodiversity;
- will develop and spread activities that will open up Espoo, its developing areas and nature solutions as an increasingly interesting research and development area for companies and research institutes;
- will create a roadmap for the climate work done by the city and together with the Espoo community, assess and strengthen its carbon handprint and support in a significant way the achievement of carbon neutrality goal included in the Espoo Story;
will contribute to strengthening all aspects of sustainable development in the city corporate group’s operations and create solutions to ensure that the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are achieved in Espoo and other cities.
- will develop forms of activity and experiment with activities to strengthen Espoo’s attractiveness and vitality and a feeling of togetherness and promote recovery from the coronavirus pandemic through events, for example in the fields of culture and sports;
- will promote a sense of community and an increase in the number of local activities in different parts of Espoo, and increase and diversify participatory resident and partnership activities;
- will remove any obstacles to and promote suitable conditions for creating a foundation for a variety of local events in Espoo and for the Event City Espoo concept that will enable major events;
- will create, through diverse cooperation, various ways and events to celebrate Espoo’s 50th anniversary as a city.
For more information: The Events Together in Espoo development programme
Annex: Espoo – The most sustainable city in Europe
Espoo’s chronology began when the Espoo Parish separated from the Kirkkonummi Parish in 1458. The Espoo Cathedral located in Espoon keskus is one of the oldest buildings in the capital region. In 2022, Espoo will celebrate its 50th anniversary as a city.
Espoo was built along the King’s Road that connected Turku with Vyborg, and in 1556 King Gustav Vasa built Espoo Manor in Kauklahti. From there, the King’s Road continued across Espoo parish village to Bemböle. The section of a couple of kilometres from Bemböle to Träskända Manor is still today officially called Kuninkaantie (King’s Road).
The development of Espoo represents Finland on a miniature scale. Our development carries all the same characteristics as those of Finland: strong agriculture, manor and peasant culture, nascent industrialisation and urban development, a key role in the country’s post-war development, strong population growth, construction of an affluent society and modern development as part of a strengthening, networked and international metropolitan area.
The first 500 years were a time of slow growth in Espoo. It was not until the beginning of the 1950s that the population exceeded 20,000 people. In recent decades, Espoo has experienced strong growth. Since the early 1950s, the population of the Greater Helsinki area has multiplied by 2.5, adding up to 1.5 million inhabitants. During that same period, the population of Espoo has increased more than ten-fold.
In 1949, the Government decided to place the Helsinki University of Technology in Otaniemi. The Otahalli sports centre and the first buildings of the Otaniemi student campus were built at the beginning of the 1950s to serve as one of the Olympic Villages during the Helsinki Olympics. The construction of Tapiola began in 1953. Tapiola was built on the theme “Homes for the needs of families”. Espoo continued to grow and families with children got homes in new residential buildings that were built close to nature. At the same time, the number of Finnish-speaking residents exceeded that of Swedish-speakers in Espoo.
Espoo responded to the Great Migration that started in the 1960s with new district development agreements. The agreements enabled the building of homes, day care centres and schools for new residents. After Tapiola, next in line were Matinkylä-Olari and Espoonlahti, which were built along Länsiväylä. Leppävaara and the Maxi-Market hypermarket grew along the railway line. Espoo and its suburbs were built in the settler spirit. New residents were active, and many cultural associations and sports clubs that are significant today were established at the time. The main building of the Helsinki University of Technology was completed in 1965 and the Dipoli building in 1967. The students of technology moved to Otaniemi. The administrative centre of the city was located in Espoon keskus (“Espoo centre” in English). Espoo became a market town in 1963 and a city in 1972. In the early 1970s, Espoo received international attention when the Dipoli building in Otaniemi was leased to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs for several years. The SALT negotiations were held there, as were the preparatory meetings for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
In the 1980s, Espoo’s population growth was more moderate than in the past two decades. The Espoo Cultural Centre and the Espoontori shopping centre were completed. In the 1990s, single-person households became more common, the proportions of older age groups in the population increased, and the number of foreign-language speakers started to grow. Since the 1990s, the population has grown faster in Espoo than in other large cities. The Nuuksio National Park was founded in 1994. Finland’s first IKEA store opened in Espoo in 1996. Espoo’s role as part of the global society and Europe grew stronger. In the early 1990s, Espoo established a partnership with Shanghai, which led to the signing of a sister city agreement in 1998. Aalto University started operating in 2010, as the Helsinki School of Economics, the University of Art and Design Helsinki and the Helsinki University of Technology merged into one larger university.
Today, Espoo is a safe and attractive city close to nature. The city is a bilingual and culturally diverse part of the capital region. Espoo is characterised by vibrant international business and innovation activities. Espoo has consistently developed itself as a network city with five urban centres and two local centres. We offer extensive services to all our 300,000 residents. However, we also have a lot of challenges.
Espoo continues to grow. Our population grows by an average of 4,700 residents per year. Our foreign-language population, in particular, is increasing at a fast pace. At the moment, we have more than 58,000 foreign-language residents, and this number is expected to grow by 35,000 by 2030. The number and relative proportion of elderly residents also keeps rising. These changes pose a challenge to our service provision. As a result of population growth, the monetary scale of our investment programme is unprecedented.
Espoo residents appreciate nature, which in our city is always close by. Espoo features 58 kilometres of coastline, the Waterfront Walkway, 165 islands, 100 lakes, the Keskuspuisto central park and the Nuuksio wilderness area in northern Espoo, where suburbs meet the national park’s natural values and dozens of lakes.
Thanks to Aalto University and VTT, Espoo is also home to a cluster of science, art and business operators, making good use of high technology, innovations and world-class expertise. Several headquarters of international companies are located in Keilaniemi, and Otaniemi has developed into a seedbed for young companies. Numerous small local companies from different fields provide services for the residents of our urban centres. We are part of a growing networked city community and the metropolitan area.
The City Rail Link is the backbone of Leppävaara, Espoo’s largest urban centre, at the heart of which both private and public services are offered. In the Matinkylä-Olari urban centre located along the West Metro line, the Service Centre offers public services in connection with commercial services, which makes residents’ daily life and running errands easier. We use the experiences gained from the Service Centre to develop similar activities in other urban centres.
The economic operating environment, sustainable development, digitalisation, urbanisation, ageing and integration of immigrants are great challenges for Espoo. The coronavirus pandemic has further increased economic pressures, unemployment, loneliness and social problems in our city and weakened the operating conditions of companies. The city’s economy is also strained by tax-based equalisation between municipalities as well as population growth that is stronger than the growth of tax revenue. Even though the economic outlook is positive at the moment, our city’s operational economy and debt load force us to prioritise development needs and make choices. We will streamline our activities responsibly in a forward-looking way.
The national health and social services reform has begun. As part of the reform, the Western Uusimaa Wellbeing Services County will be established. The planning of the wellbeing services county is already under way. The reform will keep city employees busy, and it will also bring significant changes to the city organisation. In addition, it will have major economic impacts.
Espoo has on average a healthy and highly educated population. Many international companies and start-ups have found their home in Espoo. In the autumn of 2021, the coronavirus pandemic is at a turning point. During the lockdowns, we have learned a thing or two about remote work. Now, we have the opportunity to explore, try out and introduce new practices and operating models for the city.
In Espoo, everyone will have the opportunity to grow and develop in life. Participation will be part of everyday life in Espoo. Every Espoo resident has the right to feel at home in Espoo. We have zero tolerance for racism.
Global megatrends and national changes challenge the traditional role and operating models of cities. We accept these challenges. We see a bright future ahead of us. Our activities will be increasingly based on cooperation between the entire Espoo ecosystem. Good services will increase the vitality of the city, the activity of our residents and the ease of everyday life. Effective and accessible services will be arranged according to high standards, and we will develop them further together with residents and customers. As our population grows, we will respond to the increased need for services locally, near the residents. Extensive local services are important to residents. Regardless of the background or wealth of their families, all children and young people in Espoo will get a great starting point for life, further studies and work from safe and inspiring day care centres and schools. The city will invest in high-quality teaching and education in cooperation with parents. Education will support the development of wide-ranging cross-disciplinary competence, which begins in early childhood and continues throughout life. Education and teaching in Espoo will be based on a positive educational approach. Positive emotional experiences, joy and creative activities promote learning and inspire children to develop their skills. Distress among children and young people will also be prevented by supporting families, providing services at the right time and increasing collaboration between different parties.
In connection with the health and social services reform, we will secure good health care services for Espoo residents and create good cooperation models for promoting wellbeing in Espoo.
As the service needs of the elderly and people with disabilities increase, we will support them in many ways enabling them to continue living at home. The city will do this work together with families, friends, associations, parishes and companies offering services. When an elderly person is no longer able to live at home, we will offer them home-like care facilities. We will support the right of people with disabilities to live a full everyday life with equal access to services.
Happiness, health and mental wellbeing primarily stem from close relationships. Therefore, we will implement the services together with the wellbeing services county and in cooperation with our clients and their families. We will resolve the most difficult challenges together, with an emphasis on prevention.
Espoo residents will actively and independently take care of themselves, their family and friends and their immediate surroundings. No one will be left without support if their own resources prove to be inadequate. An increasing number of people will participate in activities that suit them and their situation in life.
The city will collaborate closely with Finnish, Swedish and foreign-language parishes, organisations and companies operating in its area especially in club activities, fighting social exclusion, family counselling, work with the elderly and the integration of immigrants. We will decrease homelessness together with our partners.
Our operations will be open, democratic and easily accessible. All Espoo residents, young and old, will be able to participate and have their say in the development of our home town.
Espoo - Sustainable and close to nature
Espoo is a network city with five urban centres and local centres. We will be an integral part of the developing metropolitan area and the travel-to-work area of Southern Finland.
All our urban centres will become attractive and safe residential, service and employment centres with great services, inspiring leisure activities and easily accessible local nature. We will ensure that a sufficient number of apartment buildings and detached houses are built, that city planning progresses at an adequate speed, and that there are enough plots available. We will prevent segregation between and within different areas.
Urban centres will be developed according to their own strengths. Densely built-up, village-style areas of low-rise houses will be supported by the nearby urban and local centres.
Tapiola, Matinkylä-Olari and Espoonlahti are located by the West Metro, and Leppävaara and Espoon keskus by the planned City Rail Link. In addition to the existing Kauklahti and Kalajärvi local centres, new centres will include the maritime Finnoo along the metro line and the ecological Kera along the City Rail Link. Later on, Hista will be built along the one-hour rail link between Helsinki and Turku. Increasing the efficiency of cross-town transport services in the capital region, the Jokeri Light Rail line will connect the metro and the City Rail Link in 2024. We will improve infrastructure for public transport and cycling. At the same time, we will make sure that travelling by car is safe and easy. Our aim is to increase the popularity of public transport, walking, cycling and electric cars. Together with our residents, we will reduce the ecological footprint of Espoo residents and work to combat climate change as a pioneering city.
Espoo will continue to be the most sustainable city in Europe. A networked city structure based on rail transport will provide us with optimal opportunities to develop our city economically, environmentally, socially and culturally. In 2018, Espoo won the title of the most intelligent community in the world at the Intelligent Community Awards. Espoo has also been among the finalists in the European Capital of Innovation Awards several times.
During the council term, we will implement the Economically Sustainable Espoo programme. The aim of the programme is to achieve a balance between expenditure and revenue, to bring the level of investment down, closer to the internal financing capacity, and to ensure fairer cost distribution between the state and the municipality. Although Espoo’s economy is going strong, the city’s role in funding Finland’s municipal services has grown into the billions, which poses a major challenge for our growing city. As a growing city, Espoo’s task is to lay the foundations for future employment, the creation of new jobs, growth, productivity, investments, labour immigration, competence, and the strengthening of sectors that require a high level of expertise together with our partners.
We will work to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts. Our goal is to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Together with residents, communities and companies, we will move towards this ambitious goal by investing in clean energy, circular economy, sustainable land use and construction, as well as sustainable means of transport. Espoo will abandon the use of coal by 2025 and produce district heating from renewable energy sources. The city structure will be developed to enable a sustainable lifestyle in all parts of Espoo. Low-carbon transport will be supported by the electrification of transport and the completion of the West Metro, the City Rail Link and the Jokeri Light Rail. In order to achieve the ambitious sustainability and climate goals, we will continue to increase cooperation between large cities, make use of the resources available through cities’ ecosystem agreements and EU funding programmes, and strengthen cooperation in the metropolitan area and partnership activities between European cities.
The living environment of Espoo residents will be attractive. Espoo will be a pioneer in reconciling a growing city and biodiversity. Local nature, recreational areas, lakes, rivers, the Waterfront Walkway and the closeness of the sea are the strengths of Espoo and appreciated by our residents. We will continue to take into account our forests, fields and cultural landscape as we develop our city.
Partnerships for success
Through strategic cooperation and networking, we will develop Espoo together with our residents, communities and businesses. In promoting wellbeing and vitality, we will collaborate closely with the wellbeing services county, the Helsinki region and the municipalities of Western Uusimaa. We will promote future urban policy through active partnerships at the national level and act as an exemplary pioneer at the EU level.
The needs and wishes of our residents and the entire city community are becoming more diverse. We will be a national and European pioneer in the development of people-oriented service and innovation ecosystems and in the utilisation of digitalisation. The City as a Service model utilises existing resources in a networked manner, enabled by digitalisation. According to the model, services will be provided by the entire city community, not just the city organisation. Companies and organisations will be an important part of our urban ecosystem and service provision.
Active Espoo residents
International and close to nature, Espoo will be an attractive event city enlivened by active urban culture and versatile sports.
The Espoo City Theatre will have functional premises, and all our urban centres will have highly valued libraries and indoor swimming pools. The libraries will serve as meeting places for residents, and the Adult Education Centre will offer residents interesting courses. Sports parks and facilities will be the result of diverse municipal cooperation and lively club activities in different parts of Espoo.
Our surrounding nature and vast forests will provide Espoo residents with plenty of exercise opportunities, and various sports clubs will promote physical activity among people of all ages. Espoo residents will win championships in all age groups, which will especially motivate the young to get involved in sports.
Espoo residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a wide variety of high-quality culture. Living in Espoo will be about everyday life and encounters, for example, at exhibitions at EMMA, concerts by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, the Tapiola Choir and other Espoo-based choirs, April Jazz, top sports and cultural events, matches and leisure activities.
We will collaborate actively with youth, culture and sports clubs, health and social organisations and other associations. We will guarantee all children and young people in Espoo the opportunity to enjoy hobbies.
Professional people and companies will put down roots in espoo
Espoo will be a nationally and internationally attractive bilingual city with services that are also available in English. Our city will be known worldwide as an innovation environment for science, art and business, its key operators being Aalto University and VTT together with other universities and businesses. Business-friendly Espoo will be a great place to live, renew oneself, work and do business. We will develop the city as an operating environment for entrepreneurship and business together with entrepreneurs.
Espoo will be a city of expertise and experts, and our schools will be among the best in the world. The offering of education in English will respond to the strongly increasing demand. Our urban centres complementing each other along with their innovation and service clusters will provide a functional platform for encounters between experts and growing businesses. These factors will increasingly attract new international operators to our city.
Speakers of foreign languages are estimated to make up 30% of Espoo’s working-age population by 2030. The employment of all working-age residents of Espoo fit for work will ensure the preconditions for the wellbeing of residents and the balance of the city economy. We will ensure that companies have a skilled workforce by investing, in particular, in improving the skills of jobseekers. We will develop the path of young people from school to working life and ensure that the youth employment rate is among the highest in Finland. By implementing the structural reform of employment and business services, we will ensure that Espoo offers the best services in Finland to both jobseekers and employers.
From pandemic to prosperity
We will continue implementing the good practices we introduced during the coronavirus pandemic. Our residents and employees have gained new digital skills, and we will increase the use of digital tools in our services.
The post-pandemic era will also offer many opportunities for the labour market and businesses. The international success of Espoo’s business and innovation community is essential for our recovery and growth. People have been waiting for our society to open up; they want to attend events and meet other people. This is a good opportunity which we will use to improve and reform employment, entrepreneurship and vitality.
At the same time, we will address the health care waiting times and service backlog caused by the coronavirus. We will respond especially to challenges related to the wellbeing of children and young people and make sure that inequalities related to wellbeing, such as poverty among families with children, will not increase. The importance of mental health will also be emphasised as we recover from the pandemic.
Leadership and management will be based on a positive, trusting view of people. Our work community will be known for respectful interaction as well as the skills and commitment of a thriving staff. Through supportive and responsible leadership and by promoting our employees’ professional development, we will maintain the conditions for our resident- and customer-oriented operations while ensuring a smooth everyday life for our residents. We will improve expertise within the city through the Executive MBA programme organised by Aalto University, which has already been attended by 100 representatives of the city’s senior management. Espoo will be known as a good employer, which will help us find skilled personnel.
Open and functional democracy
Decision-making in Espoo will be open, and our elected officials will be known for appreciative interaction and collaboration. The mutual trust between elected officials and office-holders, as well as participation in networks and collaboration, will contribute to the achievement of Espoo’s goals.