Collaborative network for development of Kiviruukki circular economy hub – From concept towards realisation

11.7.2023 10.46
The expertise cluster forming in Kiviruukki provides business and development environments for bio and circular economy solutions. The workshop focused on brainstorming over plastic, textile and sustainable food system operators’ collaboration and functionalities.

The new Kiviruukki is an urban circular economy hub where solutions for sustainable future are created. We are developing the area together with partners and interested businesses. VTT Technical Research Centre, property development company NCC, the Joint Authority of Education Omnia, Fortum and several other large and small companies have already established a strong foothold in the area. The easily accessible area and expertise cluster Cleantech Garden’s brand attract new experts and businesses to join. A collaboration forum is about to be created for Kiviruukki development which enables better networking of existing and future operators in the area, dialogue with the city and increases its overall and global visibility. The Kiviruukki area is located in Kivenlahti, Espoo less than one kilometre away from the Kivenlahti metro station.

The first steps towards creating the Kiviruukki collaboration forum were taken on 12 June 2023 in a workshop which brought together various local operators to come up with ideas about activities and collaboration opportunities in the area. The workshop focused on brainstorming over plastic, textile and sustainable food system as well as central themes such as energy. The significance and potential of these themes to create business through innovations and increase competence capital has been recognised. There are already several companies in Espoo who refine food, textile and plastic side streams and waste into new products. Forty people participated in the workshop which  was facilitated by think tank Demos Helsinki.

What kind of functionality and collaboration should there be in Kiviruukki?

“Most material flows in Finland begin in Uusimaa. We have exceptionally good circumstances here to create new business around circular economy which supports sustainable development,” says Reetta Jänis, Development Manager at the City of Espoo. 

Key operators in the area gave speeches at the beginning of the workshop. Representatives of the City of Espoo presented the partial master plan and vision for the Kiviruukki area. NCC, VTT and Nordic Bioproducts told about what they do, their wishes related to the Kiviruukki area and particularly what they want in terms of collaboration. Educational collaboration is also planned for the area, particularly with Omnia. The circular economy hub will not only enable collaboration of businesses but also allow the residents of Kiviruukki and nearby areas to participate in research and development in a living lab environment. 

The speeches were followed by brainstorm discussions where participants pondered what kinds of functions could be located in the area, particularly in terms of textile and plastic circular economy as well as food system changes. 

It is important to develop the Kiviruukki area with a purpose in mind as a built environment in itself does not bring operators together but rather, the area needs to develop to meet the goals. A goal to find leading companies to make the area more attractive arose in the workshop.

Spaces where people can get together, such as a place to meet, an event venue and a seminar room, came up in the discussions. The idea of starting a regular collaboration forum received lots of support. The participants requested a forum which provides additional information about urban plans and collaboration opportunities. Our goal was to identify solutions that various operators had in common.

The participants brainstorming over the theme of food had a lively discussion about the area’s functionalities, such as biotechnological experimental environment, piloting residential participation and accounting for training needs.

What kind of collaboration needs do operators in the area have?

  • Forming a collaboration forum for operators in the area to facilitate brainstorming, realisation of ideas and building collaborative networks. 
  • Importance of sales and marketing, to make the area appealing and have experts, businesses and residents find their way there. This could be done through narratives, for example, and by reserving a large part of a project’s budget for marketing.
  • Building a circular economy solution showroom in Kiviruukki. Also, open platform piloting possibility with reasonable operating costs. There could, for example, be a “Mini-Eureka” of circular economy for residents.
  • Collaboration with educational institutes, to gain new circular economy experts in various fields, such as the textile industry which was recognised as being important. More experts are wanted and the area could serve as a place that provides interesting internships and jobs for students.
  • Shared logistics and storage services to enable local companies to make use of shared storage and logistics systems and, for example, make them as environmentally and cost-effective as possible. 


Next steps towards realisation

The results of the workshop will be utilised in the development of the Kiviruukki area in the future. The importance of taking the principles of circular economy into account in the design and construction of the area was also discussed at the end of the workshop. “Kiviruukki is an incredible area. We are creating a growing circular economy hub together in Kiviruukki. Kiviruukki, which has been built with the principles of circular economy in mind, right from the start, piqued interest both nationally and globally as an exemplary area,” says Demos Helsinki Senior Expert Satu Lähteenoja .  

The first part of the Cleantech Garden expertise cluster and business park is estimated to be completed in late 2025. You can find more information about Kiviruukki land use development, for example, on the City of Espoo website (Kiviruukki district plan | City of Espoo).

How to participate? 

For more information on the Kiviruukki collaboration forum, contact Reetta Jänis, Development Manager at the City of Espoo: 


Written by Elli Jaakola, Demos Helsinki and Riikka Koskenranta, City of Espoo

  • Urban development
  • Innovation work
  • Entrepreneusrship
  • Sustainability