The temporary use of Keran Hallit chosen as a finalist of the most interesting initiatives taken by municipalities to support circular economy

Published: 28.6.2022 10.38
A band is performing for an audience in an industrial hall’s courtyard, the background shows graffiti art painted on the hall’s outer walls.
Photo: Arina Hiltunen, Kera-kollektiivi

The competition for the most interesting circular economy initiatives taken by municipalities looks for local actions that promote circular economy.The temporary use of the Keran Hallit industrial property in Kera, Espoo, was chosen as a finalist in the competition.

Keran Hallit buildings were previously used as the Inex logistics centre, and nearly half of all food sold in Finland passed through these halls. Over the last decade, the large-scale industrial and logistics operations have left the Kera area, which has freed up the old logistics halls – currently Keran Hallit – for other business use and diverse urban culture. The halls were left empty in 2019 after the Inex logistics centre moved to Sipoo, and the new temporary operations at Keran Hallit began late in the same year. At the moment, several different companies have settled in Keran Hallit, such as hobby and sports services, distilleries, urban food production companies, design agencies and more. The Kera area in now known for its lively and communal urban culture, embodied by the several local urban events, art and urban allotment gardens.

To facilitate the buildings’ temporary use, the City of Espoo’s Planning and Building Control reviewed the many potential new ways of utilising the expansive hall, together with its owner. Some of these new purposes were not even known during the permit application stage. The City of Espoo has also been actively involved in the planning of potential temporary uses of the Kera area and the halls, considering the business operations and nature of the area. Planning competitions and several workshops have been held regarding the subject. The City has also brought together different operators to develop the area. When the rental operations in the halls were first launched, the City’s Dynamic Espoo development programme and the Event and Cultural Services of Espoo provided funding for a Kera collective in 2020–2021. The collective produced arts, events such as public flea markets, music and urban farming opportunities in the Keran Hallit area.

Photo: Olli Urpela

During the area’s long development period, the temporary use of facilities is an important way of promoting the buildings’ efficient use before they will eventually be demolished. Changing the purpose of use of a large industrial property will prolong the building’s life cycle, while also increasing the vitality of the local urban culture and varied business operations. Keeping the old building in use for as long as possible has been taken into account when planning the construction stages of the Kera area’s new local plan. The owner has carried out a demolition review for the building and has worked together with the City to plan the further use of demolished materials.

Kera is known as an industrial area, but it will turn into a new residential and working area in the 2020s. The City of Espoo is developing Kera into an international example of circular economy, together with residents, landowners, businesses and other partners. Keran Hallit buildings will be demolished in stages, and the temporary operations in the halls will continue until approximately the summer of 2025. Construction in the Kera area will start in 2022–2023, and it is estimated that the first residents will arrive in 2024. The future Kera city district will also have space for the cultural operations, sports services and other experiments that have emerged in the area.

The most interesting initiatives taken by municipalities to support the circular economy competition are implemented by the Finnish Environment Institute, the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and Sitra. The competition winners will be published in September. Read more about the competition and the finalists (in Finnish): Kuntien parhaat kiertotalousteot(extrernal link).

  • Sustainability
  • Urban development
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