Urban Environment resident evening was well received in Greater Espoonlahti

3.4.2023 12.39
People around an information point.

At the From Finnoo to Kivenlahti resident evening, local development, nature issues and current plans were looked at as a whole. Over 200 local residents interested in the future of the area attended the event that was organised in Lippulaiva library on 21 March.

A look into the future of Greater Espoonlahti, presentations on current plans, discussions on nature and recreation, story workshop, name quiz and much more. The Urban Environment resident evening provided a variety of information and discussions about the future of Finnoo, Kaitaa, Soukka, Espoonlahti and Kivenlahti. The information points were crowded and the designers were busy answering residents’ questions.

Heli-Maija Nevala, Service Manager from the Urban Planning Department, said that the residents requested local resident evenings. The hope is that lots of feedback will be received for this first experimental residential evening as more new local events are planned for the autumn. Torsti Hokkanen, Director of Urban Planning, sees Espoonlahti as a good pilot site as the area has it all: local nature, the sea, services and growth. Residents are also concerned about the growth of the city. Preserving green spaces, considering the future of the public transport system, such as changing bus routes, providing services and deciding on locations for housing, jobs and schools are some of the things to consider in city planning.

The Chair of the City Planning Committee, Jouni Särkijärvi, described city planning as an opportunity. Future and change have to be discussed. It is important to think of Espoonlahti as a whole. Although there is pressure to build new housing, the area also needs new jobs, for example. To have the residents participate, we need various events and channels – like this resident evening where people get together.

Greater Espoonlahti grows and evolves

“Last year, the new shopping centre Lippulaiva was opened, Länsimetro introduced routes all the way to Kivenlahti and the Blominmäki wastewater treatment plant began operating,” Regional Architect Mervi Hokkanen lists some of the most notable events in Greater Espoonlahti. A lot has also happened around the station. The Finnoo centre district plan is finished and was approved, the Hannusranta metro plan at the north of Kaitaantie in Kaitaa was approved, the district plan for Soukka business premises was just approved, the Meripoiju plan in Kivenlahti became legally valid. The Kiviruukki Ruukinhuhta plan and Kiviruukki partial master plan have become effective. Furthermore, the City Board has just approved the goals for Espoo Master Plan 2060 which will govern development in the whole city.

A new maritime district which combines nature and urban landscape is about to be built in Finnoo in Merikortteli, for example. The district plan for a local harbour is currently in progress. An urban environment where verdant block courtyards and the like bring nature into the city will form around the metro station in Kaitaa.

New development at Soukka is governed by the principles of complementary construction and the 1960–70s feel will be preserved. The development goals for Soukka centre can be seen around the shopping centre and the area’s plan is currently in progress. In the autumn, feedback was collected on plans for Ylä-Soukka A located near the metro station entrance and the district plan for Alakartanontie is now in the early stages.

Espoonlahti is the service centre and transport hub of Greater Espoonlahti which is home to both urban living and the large recreational area of Sammalvuori. Kivenlahti forms an urban area around the metro station and Kiviruukki develops into a diverse residential, study and employment area with an internationally unique bio and circular economy concentration.

Several plans are currently in progress for the areas around the western metro stations. Soukka, Kaitaa, Kivenlahti and Espoonlahti all have plans for regeneration and complementary construction of residential areas in common. The surroundings change when new construction is combined with the old. Employment and industrial areas will be transformed into diverse urban environments in both Finnoo and Kiviruukki.

The city planning is governed by the Espoo Story which aims for a pleasant, functional and sustainable urban environment. Espoo aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 and wants to promote biodiversity.

Information points crowded with people asking questions

There was one information point around each metro station from Finnoo to Kivenlahti where people had the opportunity to take a look at current plans for the area and discuss with the designers. Mini info sessions were held at some information points. Although the information points were busy at times, the atmosphere was good. Just like at the metro station information points, there was no shortage of discussion or things to do at the participation point, story workshop or name quiz. The My Hoods survey was used to collect information from 49 young people about their favourite places, children drew future cities in their own workshop and people could learn more about sustainable development at the SPARCS project information point.

The theme of nature came up at Soukka information point. In the residents’ opinion, the cliffs and nature should be preserved. At Espoonlahti information point, people asked about the recreational area of Sammalvuori which they want to preserve. On the other hand, people also want housing areas to be developed. The Maininkipuisto district plan, which the designer says has received a lot of feedback, was looked at in more detail at the mini info session. At the permit and space issues information point, people asked about local events.

Construction quality was discussed at Finnoo and Kaitaa information points. Residents asked questions about building height and expressed a desire to turn the shore and harbour into the residents’ living room.

Things like Suvisaaristo and green spaces were discussed at the Master plan information point. Many people thought that preserving old and creating new green spaces is important. People said that Suvisaaristo should be better utilised. Plans should be made for the area and updating the old partial master plan would be a good place to start. The development of Finnoo harbour divided opinions.

Participants also asked about the Espoo Master Plan 2060 schedule and were interested in where to find it and how to participate.

In the Espoonlahti name quiz, people could test their knowledge on local place names. There were some tricky ones among the ten questions and nine was the best score. An Urban Name Planner answered the residents’ questions on the history and etymology of place names and how they have been translated from Swedish to Finnish.

A story workshop was set up to collect residents’ stories and memories of Espoonlahti, Soukka, Finnoo, Kaitaa and Kivenlahti in particular. People of all ages shared their stories. Even small children could participate in the drawing workshop where people could draw their dreams of future Espoo.

Concerns over the city’s growth came up in nature discussions

Topics around nature and recreation were considered in a small, hour-long group discussion. There were seven participants in the conversation led by Heli-Maija Nevala, Service Manager from the Urban Planning Department. Nature is important to Espoo residents and the participants particularly appreciated that the theme was being discussed.

Green spaces are important to the residents of Espoonlahti. Suvisaaristo, the waterfront walkway, proximity to sea in general and large wooded areas were brought up in the discussion as some of the most important points. The participants were concerned about the growing population and how Espoonlahti is becoming more compact and especially how this is going to affect nature and recreational opportunities. The participants thought that the city should spend resources on nature and set ambitious goals for preserving old and creating new green spaces.

What’s going on with Espoo’s urban planning now?

The City of Espoo has nearly five hundred urban environment projects. Subscribe to the ‘Vaikuta nyt’ newsletter (in Finnish) to learn about what’s going on in your local neighbourhood and what projects you can have an impact on right now. Additionally, you will also be informed of all upcoming resident events. We are looking forward to your participation and contribution!

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