Espoo residents’ thoughts on sustainable everyday life

3.10.2022 5.51

In the summer, the City of Espoo’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development examined how Espoo residents would like to participate in promoting sustainable development and what they consider to be the most important sustainability factors in everyday life.

The materials used by the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development were collected between autumn 2021 and spring 2022. The following materials were analysed for the study: material from the Our Espoo 20X0 project, a resident survey on sustainable development, the My Espoo survey, a resident survey on the themes of our series of webinars, and a survey on the promotion of renewable energy in Espoo. Answers to the surveys were collected through the City of Espoo’s social media channels and website.

Three themes stood out in the surveys as being especially important to Espoo residents: the city’s proximity to nature, sustainable mobility, and community spirit and participation. Residents would like to have more opportunities to enjoy nature, move around easily and cheaply, and participate in decision-making.

Regarding the city’s proximity to nature, Espoo residents value the city’s green areas and the protection of ecosystems. Construction was seen as a threat to biodiversity, and many hoped that the city would take a more active role in environmental protection. The importance of local nature was emphasised, in particular, due to the recreational opportunities and positive health effects nature offers.

Sustainable mobility was also deemed important. The survey respondents’ wishes included sustainable forms of mobility, good accessibility of public transport, short travel times, and more facilities for charging electric cars.

Community spirit and active participation were also seen as important themes. Residents would like to have more opportunities to participate in decision-making. Many hoped to see new and diverse types of communal spaces, such as areas for allotment gardening. The importance of local services and recreational opportunities for example at multi-purpose facilities were mentioned as means to increase community spirit.

“Espoo clearly has active residents who want to participate in the development of their residential areas. Sustainability themes are important for residents, and they want to be involved in promoting a more sustainable lifestyle. Together with our residents, we will definitely achieve sustainable changes in Espoo,” explains Lotta Harsunen from the City of Espoo’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development. 

To the surprise of the experts at the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, energy and the circular economy did not stand out as themes in the survey responses. Based on the survey on the promotion of renewable energy in Espoo, respondents felt that the themes were unfamiliar to them and outside their sphere of influence. It should be noted that the material used was collected before the recent major changes in the energy sector.

However, the circular economy was included in the themes highlighted by residents in the form of new circular and sharing economy processes, concepts and practices, even though few residents emphasised circular economy as a separate theme. Based on the surveys, we can state that more attention should be paid to energy and circular economy themes in the future, for example by communicating about them more effectively and comprehensively.

In summary, the surveys revealed that Espoo residents are active and willing to participate in the development of their own living environment and are, thus, also interested in sustainability themes. It is, therefore, important to maintain an active dialogue with residents so that their views are taken into account in the development of the city. 

Would you like to participate in promoting sustainable development in Espoo? 
Read more about the promotion of sustainable development in Espoo here.

  • Sustainability