Housing development efforts by City of Espoo and Espoon Asunnot Oy recognised with ARA award

29.5.2023 7.01
Three people posing with an award.
The award (ARA-asumisen raivaaja) was accepted by Housing Manager Anne Savolainen, Project Director Mikko Kivinen and Planning Manager Liisa Ikonen from the City of Espoo.Photo: Videomakers Oy

Espoon Asunnot Oy and the City of Espoo have been recognised as housing pioneers for the comprehensive, sustained and innovative development of the Suvela residential area. The development work for affordable ARA housing in Suvela has been exemplary, versatile and bold.

Espoon Asunnot and the City of Espoo have been carrying out sustained renovation work to renew the Suvela area in Espoo for over 12 years. During the development work, the city has changed the local plan concerning the area. NAL Asunnot and Avara Oy have also been involved in the work. 

The measures taken in Suvela include demolishing old housing stock that has come to the end of its lifecycle and replacing it with new, energy-efficient buildings. The new dwellings are better suited to residents’ current housing needs.  

The project has managed to balance the distribution of housing ownership in the Suvela area with the other developers who participated in the cooperation. ”The reforming of the area can be used as an example for eliminating or alleviating segregation in other areas as well,” says ARA Director General Hannu Rossilahti.

This is not the first time Suvela has received recognition: the new Kirstinharju block located in the area was awarded the HURRAA! prize of the City of Espoo’s Environment and Building Control Committee and Building Control Department in February 2023. The award is an acknowledgement of particularly creditable and successful projects related to the man-made environment.

Close cooperation at the heart of development 

The development work began in 2013 when the Suvelan Onni plan project was launched as a result of cooperation between the City of Espoo and Espoon Asunnot. The aim of the reform was to improve the cityscape, develop the local sense of community and diversify the distribution of housing ownership. In addition, the plan change was intended to improve the pedestrian and bicycle traffic connections between Suvela and the Espoo station in the form of a new footbridge. 

“The successful renovation of the neighbourhood is largely thanks to Espoon Asunnot! Without Espoon Asunnot’s strong vision of developing the neighbourhood, a great project like Suvelan Onni could not have been possible”, says Liisa Ikonen, Planning Manager at the City of Espoo. 

Developing the Suvela area has had a positive impact on the city district’s reputation. Developing the area will continue in the future. 

“We are now looking forward to building a new Kirstinsilta bridge,” Ikonen continues. 

ARA encourages the development of housing 

Through its annually awarded ARA acknowledgement, the Housing Finance and Development Centre of Finland ARA encourages municipalities, tenement building communities and other operators to develop the ARA building stock and housing conditions with a comprehensive, sustained and innovative approach. Recipients of the award are distinguished for versatilely and boldly improving housing, even in a financially challenging operating environment. 

  • Urban development
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