Our Espoo 20X0: Smooth everyday life in a dynamic and green urban community
At the Our Espoo 20X0 event series held in spring 2022, residents and city planners discussed the future of the City of Espoo. Espoo residents were especially concerned about local services, mobility and smooth everyday life, dynamism and community spirit in the city, and local nature, biodiversity and climate change.
A key part of the Our Espoo 20X0 series was the discussion events that were organised citywide and in all major districts in Espoo. We took notes at all eight discussion events, which were then analysed by the City Planning Department during the summer.
The themes brought up will also be made part of the upcoming work on the master plan and the associated goals. Residents’ views will also serve the detailed planning of various areas.
Local services, mobility and smooth everyday life
The services available in their own neighbourhood was a leading topic for the residents of each major Espoo district.Functional local services are a prerequisite for smooth everyday life, and the residents believe that not all services should be located exclusively in shopping centres.
If local services are not available or the public transport network is not sufficiently functional, a car is the easiest of way of getting around. The car is an important mode of transport to many, and residents hope that the City will pay attention to their need for parking spaces.
However, many residents are also enthusiastic about trying other forms of transport. They trust bus connections for their own journeys; the functionality of the bus routes was both praised and criticised. Some feared that the metro would threaten the cross-town transport, while others were excited about the opportunities the metro brings. For many Espoo residents, cycling and walking are pleasant ways of commuting and running errands while also keeping fit.
Based on the discussion events, Espoo residents are interested in a sustainable lifestyle. Many people want to plan their routines to be good for the climate and environment. Residents feel that the City could promote eco-friendly mobility, construction and recycling even more.
A dynamic city with community spirit
Residents throughout Espoo value the community spirit in their own neighbourhood. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased need for human interaction.
There are several large shopping centres in Espoo where people spend their leisure time. The discussion participants wondered if the interaction between services and people always has to involve consumption. Services that support community spirit, such a libraries and adult education courses, are popular among residents.
Espoo residents are interested in organising community events and activities, and they would like the City to support these. Residents hope to see venues for low-threshold meetings, such as hobbies or associations, or simply spending time together.
In fact, many residents share an ideal of a modern urban village on a human scale, where key services are close by. Residents want to see a pleasant residential environment that allows for interaction and events that support community spirit. Residents of all ages should be looked after, both by the public sector and the community.
Residents would like their own neighbourhoods to remain lively. They are enthusiastic about finding attractions in their area, renovating the city and taking care of key landmarks. Many residents believe that architecture increases the pleasantness of a residential area significantly.
In the discussions, it was also emphasised that community spirit supports the development of a climate-smart city and a sustainable lifestyle. The residents presented ideas that the City should support the sharing of services and goods. Enthusiasm spreads easily, which is why many believe that the City should encourage residents to recycle, for example.
Local nature, biodiversity and climate change
At each discussion event, residents highlighted the importance of nature and the local environment. Many participants spoke in defence of local nature, and they were concerned about nature being overtaken by buildings.
Residents also wondered if the recreational opportunities offered by local nature have been used to their full potential. The discussion participants hoped to see activity opportunities related to nature. Many value the seaside location of Espoo and its other water areas and hope to see services and activities built around these.
The participants paid attention to the significance of local nature for adapting to climate change. Parks and forests absorb rainwater and prevent flooding. The city will remain cooler during heatwaves if there are trees among the concrete structures.
Many discussions focused on the role of nature and who it should benefit, which was an especially interesting topic. Some residents pointed out that forests must remain good habitats for other species, while people can also relax and refresh themselves there. Residents praised the insect meadows in the city and wondered if everyone understands their significance for biodiversity. Residents proposed that the City could share more information about the importance of diverse habitats.
Espoo residents wonder what the realities of an ever-growing population will be. Almost all discussions touched on the increasingly dense urban structure and changes to people’s immediate environment. Residents are concerned about buildings taking over natural areas. Many are wondering how dense the city can grow without compromising comfort and community spirit.
Many participants brought up that detached houses and low construction feel more pleasant than high-rises. Residents believe that high-rises are suitable for specific locations, but many were apprehensive of having them built in their own neighbourhood. However, some participants pointed out that high-rise construction will leave more space for preserving local nature.
Master Plan 2060
Espoo will prepare a city-wide master plan that will extend all the way to 2060. The work on the master plan will anticipate the City’s development in the coming decades and outline the directions and emphases of the City’s growth at a general level.
The master plan will be prepared through extensive cooperation and reconciliation of different points of view. We will agree on the goals of the master plan in the autumn and winter. The discussions had during the Our Espoo 20X0 series of events provided important information about residents’ views. The analysis of the discussions and the residents’ views will be used to complement other information when the plan goals are prepared.
You can follow the progress of the work and even participate, yourself. Read more about the work on the master plan. https://www.espoo.fi/en/housing-and-building/city-planning/master-planning-process-stages
- Urban development