“Forests and urban nature near home” – Espoo residents rank nature as number one in master plan start-up survey

8.2.2023 13.56
a drawing of a hand holding a phone and the text: What would you like the future to be like in Espoo.

Do you want the Espoo of the future to have village-like neighborhoods or a lot of forests? Such choices were weighed by the more than 1,000 residents who responded to the Master Plan 2060 survey. Choices related to nature were clearly of highest importance to Espoo residents.

The electronic survey was open for a month from 20 October to 20 November 2022. Most of the slightly over 1,400 responses came from the Finnish-language survey. A few hundred responses were also received in Swedish and English.

The results of the survey will be used in the preparation of the master plan for 2060. The preparation of the plan was launched in the autumn, and the work is expected to continue until 2027.

“New master planning work for the entire city has only just begun, and we are currently preparing the goals of the plan. As part of this, we wanted to hear from residents and map their views already at this stage, as early as possible,” says Sakari Jäppinen, Planning Manager of the master plan from Espoo City Planning.

The master plan is a land use and transport plan that covers the whole of Espoo. It anticipates and guides the city’s development over the coming decades and enables sustainable growth.

Nature was number one in comparisons

The quick survey was designed to find out what respondents would like to see in future Espoo. First, respondents were presented with 10 pairs of options and had to select the option that felt more important.

The comparison pairs were randomly selected from a data set with a total of 34 response options. The survey was conducted using the Innoduel tool. Its algorithm ensured that all the different options came up roughly the same number of times to keep the result reliable.

This resulted in a list of the different options in the order of their popularity in the various comparisons.

“In the Finnish-language responses, only nature-related answer options made the top of the list. This is a clear message about residents’ values: nature is number one for Espoo residents,” says Tuuli Aaltio, Interaction and Inclusion Specialist, who was involved in planning the survey.

So what were the top 10 choices of Espoo residents? The top three were local nature, biodiversity and recreational opportunities on the seashore. Immediately after them came forests and carbon sinks, urban nature and attractive recreational routes in different parts of Espoo.

The top ten also included local services, pedestrian and bicycle routes, village-like neighborhoods and smooth public transport.

Wide range of answers to open questions

At the end of the survey, the respondents were asked to describe in their own words what they want to see in the Espoo of the future. Nearly 1,700 open answers were received, with a fairly even distribution of different themes.

The largest group, amounting to slightly under a third of the open answers, related to nature and recreation. Particular emphasis was placed on the importance of local nature. The next most feedback came on services and jobs, especially public services. The key message there was that services should also be available in places other than shopping centres and should be accessible to everyone. Espoo should also have different kinds of meeting places and urban culture.

The third most feedback came on transport, mostly in relation to public transport and its development. Less than a fifth of the responses were about housing and energy. Respondents wanted housing to be versatile with different forms of housing, units of various sizes and different construction solutions. In the opinion of the residents, the distinctive character of residential areas should also be strengthened and highlighted.

Nearly one in ten responses concerned construction, with a lot of conflicting wishes. Some respondents want spacious and low-rise construction, while others want dense and urban high-rise construction. People want areas to form clear entities with urban centres. Approximately 5% of the responses were on topics other than those mentioned above.

  • Master plan 2060
  • Zoning