People make the city – the model for resident activities

The model was created together with residents in 2021 and 2022. The model is not yet complete, as it will be tested and further developed with residents. The model will be gradually introduced from the spring of 2023 onwards.

A symbol to indicate opportunities for participation

When a resident sees the participation symbol, they know they can participate in the development of their city. You can find the symbol at the bottom of the page. It shows two people giving each other a high five.

The new model for resident activities is one way of implementing Espoo’s participation model

The model for resident activities allows us to put the goals of Espoo’s participation model into practice and also get quieter voices heard through new means of participation. The participation model offers a framework for activities, and through resident activities we can ensure that the voices of local residents are heard.

Neighbourhood associations are honorary partners

We ensure participation through cooperation. Neighbourhood associations and other organisations are important partners as we develop participation, build trust and communicate information. Agreed and systematic practices ensure the flow of information and strengthen everyone’s participation.

Annual schedule for participation

The annual schedule is a compilation of upcoming opportunities for participation and shows the dates of residents’ evenings. The schedule is constantly being updated. Here you can also find information on current and past activities. It is impossible to put together a list of all participation-related activities in Espoo, but the annual schedule is a good source of information. Our residents can trust that their voices are heard. Systematic and predictable practices help improve quality and build trust.

In addition to residents’ evenings, we organise theme events, encounters between people, residents’ panels, Town Hall Meeting workshops for co-creation, surveys and low-threshold opportunities for participation.

Work is coordinated by the participation working group

The participation working group is responsible for coordinating the implementation of the model. The representatives from each sector work together to plan an annual participation schedule and to coordinate the city’s participation and resident activities. The group members are participation experts and support the work done within units. Cooperation includes combining different ways of participation and influencing at the same events.

Through cooperation, participation work becomes more organised, the sharing of information is easier and communication is improved. Work can be planned in the long term, and residents know in advance what is going to happen.

Support and training for staff

The development manager for resident participation and the city’s participation network of 300 experts organise training events and offer support to all employees. The model includes complete concepts, practices and materials that are developed together with residents by testing and doing.

Area coordinators give the city a face

During the autumn of 2023, we will determine how local participation could be further improved. Residents have asked for area coordinators, i.e. contact people who would also give a face to participation.

Residents’ evenings coordinated by the city create a framework for the model

The residents’ evening concept is being developed together with residents. The first residents’ evening was held in the autumn of 2022. In the spring of 2023, an event focusing on a specific area was organised in the Greater Espoonlahti area, as requested by residents.

All residents’ evenings are organised by the city. They are open to everyone and may be related to a specific area or theme. Residents’ evenings are versatile events where each resident can choose which parts they wish to participate in. After a joint introduction, a variety of options for participation are offered. This allows people to participate in those parts of an event that they find interesting.

Events are organised as hybrid events whenever possible. This ensures that people can participate even if they are unable to make it to a specific place.

The themes are based on the residents’ wishes and the city’s needs. Possible themes include schools and day care centres, accessibility and employment. Local events are based on Espoo’s greater areas, but the event programme always mentions the specific areas that will be discussed.

Residents’ panels highlight different views to support decision-making

If a resident is interested in making a difference and developing their city in the long term, they can join a residents’ panel. These panels are open to all residents. The composition of a panel depends on what the aim is. Usually, it makes sense to have a diverse group with participants from different age groups, neighbourhoods and backgrounds. Each panel is set up for a specific period.

The first residents’ panel is related to sustainable development. The goal is to make residents’ panels an integral part of the activities in Espoo.

Encounters between people

Meet the City events, social media activities and area coordinators give the city a face. The city feels more like home when the dialogue between residents and the city organisation is active and effortless. City employees are encouraged and trained to use social media.

Area coordinators are city employees whose work includes serving as contact persons for residents. The city’s area coordinators may also work with a voluntary resident coordinator who serves as a contact person for local associations and communities.

Different forms of participation

Digital technology offers new forms of participation, and the city will launch its new participation platform in early 2024. Activity-based participation allows people to work together, while participatory budgeting offers residents a channel for direct influencing.

Building a sense of community through collective activities

A sense of community develops as people do things together. The city cannot build a sense of community on its own, but it can support the creation of community spirit by offering facilities, information and training.

Residents’ own activities are the best way to create a sense of community. In the best case, the city organisation is not visible at all. Residents form their own communities and create the city together, for example through clean-up events, garden parties and jogging groups.

Low-threshold participation

There are also quick and easy ways to participate in the city’s activities. Registration is usually not required. Instead, you can just pop in for a while when it suits you.

Meetings are pop-up or hop-on hop-off events, and surveys are very short (no more than four questions) or in poll format. Bus and bicycle trips are also arranged for residents.

Monitoring and development

A feedback survey with three questions is carried out for each event at the venue. When we receive a sufficient amount of feedback, we are able to develop our activities based on the continuous improvement model. The model includes follow-up and communication (“What happened, what did we learn, what should we develop further?”).

Long-term monitoring of impacts is done with the help of a resident survey every two years.


Residents are informed of upcoming events through the city’s website, newsletters, social media channels and digital displays in libraries and other facilities run by the city and its partners. If necessary, communication can be targeted at specific groups with the help of networks.

Espoo is a village and a group of neighbourhoods – your home village in a city. Find your way to participate!